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Thread: Warm white vs incandescents

  1. #1
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    Default Warm white vs incandescents

    I don't know if it's just me, but the led warm white offerings just don't measure up to what real incandescent lights can put out.

    As far as leds go it seems I'm more of a neutral white fan now. What I call neutral though is no noticable blue or yellow- just white. A lot of lights nowadays can be on the cool side of the spectrum and still meet that criteria though. Any thoughts....?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by greenpondmike View Post
    I don't know if it's just me, but the led warm white offerings just don't measure up to what real incandescent lights can put out.

    As far as leds go it seems I'm more of a neutral white fan now. What I call neutral though is no noticable blue or yellow- just white. A lot of lights nowadays can be on the cool side of the spectrum and still meet that criteria though. Any thoughts....?
    So... after you said this I thought I'd grab my Brinkmann I bought from Target about 25 years ago for under $10 (IIRC). I have two (they are basically the size and shape of the NC P20i except all plastic), as well as a Browning 3xCR123 that I bought a year or two later that I used to keep for my emergency lights. The Brinkman's are 2xCR123... I don't know if it is considered a Xenon, Halogen, or whatever.

    Anyway, I brought out my Acebeam TK18 with Nichia 219C and shined them on a box that had multiple colors on the side. Wow... the TK18 seems like more of a wash of white while the old Brinkmann's bulb made the colors pop in comparison! It was kind of like looking at the box with a cheap-o LCD screen, then looking at it with a nice plasma screen.

    On the flip side, the TK18 seemed about the same brightness, and it was only on it's 50 lumen setting (20hr est runtime). Guess I'll be trying the higher CRI SST20 when I have a chance.
    Last edited by Scotty321; 07-20-2021 at 04:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I completely agree. It's funny because incans are still my favorite and I love the colour. But a 2700-3000k led looks terrible and I prefer 4500-5500 but don't mind 6500 too much as long as it isn't blue

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Incandescent light has a very unique and high quality to it, just like OG film. It is also technically 100 CRI, so that is a huge component to how the beam renders the world. I have found that 3000-3500K 90+ CRI emitters can match incandescent very closely, some bins of the 90 CRI XM-L2, Osram Square 3500K, and XP-G2 90CRI match nearly dead-on, though there is an ethereal quality I find to true incandescent light.

    MOST warm white 70 CRI emitters will look and feel NOTHING like an incan, largely due to the CRI I would be inclined to say.


    The rest is all context I would say. My house and studio use mostly warmer lights, so my 3500K flashlights really look right at home in the warm hue. Some 4000K can definitely be "more yellow" than pure white, 'pure white' for me goes up to about 5700K, then it gets far too blue.
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    Flashaholic Olumin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I am quite happy with my 3000K leds. I have them both in my Malkoff MDC (M61WLL 80lm) and MD2 (M61W 400lm), which should be 95+ cri, and in my desk lamps (originally florescent but modded to LED) which are rated at 90+ CRI.
    They get awfully close to Incan. When Iím not comparing them directly, I canít really tell the difference. But its true that the Incan looks better still (blackbody 100 cri and all). For this reason, I still love Incans and still have quite a few. I recently just got another pelican M6 and a Surefire 9N.

    After I got the Malkoffs however, I donít find myself using them regularly anymore. Before that I carried a Lumens factory E series smoothie head with a 40lm Incan module on my MDC body, and was perfectly happy with it except for the low battery life (less then 1 hour for 40 lumens). The battery life with LEDs is just too good to pass up, and with 3000k and Hi-cri its close enough for me. I donít think I would ever get a low-cri warm white led light however.

    Regarding OG film; I remember shooting film (fuji usually) with my Nikon FM2 (titanium shutter!) back in the day. There definitely was a certain quality and pop to the colors that most digitals do not capture. Realistically tho this has probably more to do with the monitor you are viewing them with rather than the actual digital raw file.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Glad to hear from people who feel the same. I thought something wasn't quite right, but I needed other people's input.

    Something does seem to be missing- maybe it's the lower cri of some leds, but also it seems like something is missing in the spectrum mix....maybe less red. I don't know. Seems like a few years ago someone posted a spectrum color chart for cool white leds, warm white leds and incan. I don't know if they did neutral white leds though.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    https://tapnewswire.com/2016/10/to-p...escent-lights/

    There's the link with the spectrum graphs. I guess I posted it on another thread years ago and forgot. If I remember correctly someone else posted the same spectrum graphs years before that. You have to scroll on down to find the graphs. It's very enlightening parden the pun.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Most warm white LEDs don't measure up to a real incan light in terms of color rendering. Like someone said, an incan is technically 100 cri. With that though, the LED that comes closest to an incan would be the Nichia 219b SW35 LED. Below is a pic of the Nichia and a Surefire P60 incan bulb. To be honest, I don't remember which one is which.




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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    That's impressive. Great pic

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I admit, on those 2 pics I can't tell any difference as far as color rendering. One light is shining a tad higher than the other though. Maybe distance plays a role since incans have a longer wavelength.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    If I recall correctly, the target distance in the pics was probably 2-3ft. One was a P60 bulb in a Surefire 6P and the other was a modded Maratac inspection light with the 219b SW35. Considering that, the P60 would have a tighter beam and so with that fact, it's probably the first pic that is the P60 and the second pic the 219b.

    And I realize taking photos with a smartphone for tint comparison presents many issues, but realistically, those two photos are pretty true with what I saw with my eyes. The 219b sw35 is an amazing LED.
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    Flashaholic* Thetasigma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    R9080 SW35 219B thanks to the extra bump of red that gives it the rosy tint so many love is by far the closest thing I've seen to an incandescent, it is still missing that "spark" but it is damn close. Almost anything else is too devoid of enough red to look any good next to an incandescent

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I just did a building check about 15 minutes ago with a Surefire M3 Combatlight with an MN10 running on two P17500's.

    There's still no direct comparison to it in terms of direct quality of light to any LED to this day.

    LED's are great, but there's just some things incans still excel at.
    ampdude

  14. #14

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I have a Brinkmann MaxFire (the mystery light mentioned in post 2) that has a bulb assembly that was a krypton bulb until I swapped in a warm white Malkoff N4L module. I prefer the krypton bulb beam over the LED but the beam from sst LED has a nice old school look. Not a bad substitute.

    I do like the potential of 20+ hours runtime vs 1 or so. Yet it's kinda fitting how as things in the LED world evolve the goal is to have the beam look like they used to look during the days of the light bulb.
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    It doesn't sound outlandish at all to me at least. Incan got a lot of things right, like as mentioned, CRI and color temperature. LED was considered an advancement because of its much greater power efficiency and raw output. We're just trying to join the best of both worlds now that both technologies are field-tested and well understood

    To answer the thread, I like incandescent lighting a lot, it's pleasant and feels nostalgic for my childhood. However, the thought of "this EATS through power" weighs on my mind, and I'm easily pleased, so the imitation of a 2700K SST20 has been enough for my tastes. I get almost the same pleasant warm tint with the delight of not having to worry about battery life in an output level equal to an old incan's.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Yeah with some it's like dollar signs are coming out the front with the beam.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    The money or runtime thing is something that I generally do not understand. I can understand if you're using a CR123 light multiple hours a day how that can hurt the wallet. But most of us are using rechargeable batteries. Within reason who cares what the runtime is? For people who need their light 6 hours a day and don't feel like changing out batteries, okay I get it. But most of us are using a light for half an hour a day if that. Any reasonable incandescent can do that.
    This isn't to say that incandescents are better and that everyone should get rid of their LEDs. We all like what we like and I get that. I just don't see it as being dollar signs going out the front of the light.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by vicv View Post
    The money or runtime thing is something that I generally do not understand. I can understand if you're using a CR123 light multiple hours a day how that can hurt the wallet. But most of us are using rechargeable batteries. Within reason who cares what the runtime is? For people who need their light 6 hours a day and don't feel like changing out batteries, okay I get it. But most of us are using a light for half an hour a day if that. Any reasonable incandescent can do that.
    This isn't to say that incandescents are better and that everyone should get rid of their LEDs. We all like what we like and I get that. I just don't see it as being dollar signs going out the front of the light.
    I obviously don't speak for everyone, but I try to extend my items' battery life as much as possible so I have to recharge them less often Ė the less cycles I can put the cells through in a certain amount of time, the better. My country's currency is immensely devalued and I have to make do with a monthly wage of 800-900 dollars, so even a pair of moderate-capacity 18650s is a carefully-planned-in-advance purchase.

    EDIT: I should note that this has worked well for me I have li-ion batteries about to reach 6 years of use that still work well.
    Last edited by Jean-Luc Descarte; 07-21-2021 at 03:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    I take your point. I generally find my batteries in used battery recycling bins. Most of my 18650s are like 1200-1500mah imr cells. Some more than 6 years old. Still going strong

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by greenpondmike View Post
    https://tapnewswire.com/2016/10/to-p...escent-lights/

    There's the link with the spectrum graphs. I guess I posted it on another thread years ago and forgot. If I remember correctly someone else posted the same spectrum graphs years before that. You have to scroll on down to find the graphs. It's very enlightening parden the pun.
    Interesting link GPM - thanx! I don't have any LEDs with an incandescent-range CCT (nothing warmer than 4K right now), but as others may have suggested, I think one must probably have fairly high CRI to go with that to start getting comparable to that 'look' of incan that some seek. It also seems likely that a HCRI LED w/ a high 'R9' is an important factor as well. I recently picked up 2 lights to 'experiment' with using - both @4000K w/ HCRI, but one with much higher 'R9', and I think I can appreciate the difference. I don't know - I'm just an ol' sparky guy, not a 'light' guy, but others 'round here know a lot more about visible light than I do. I'm just a rank amateur photographer, and when I use an optical spectrum analyzer, it ain't for visible light - mostly C-Band DWDM. Others can comment better about the R9 thing, but some of them may not be reading the incan section:-)

  21. #21

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    in my experience it varies
    i had a 600w halogen light in my bathroom, 2 bulbs 300w each, i replaced them with 9x 2700k xml2 s6 bin iirc, 90+ cri. i drive them at about 1a each, on the outside the light stayed the same, a curved frosted glass box, when i turned it first time, i did not notice any difference in tint, or how i saw colors, it looked exactly like a bulb looked few hours before, there is no optics on leds, just frosted glass in front of them,
    other times i use other warm leds, i can tell it is not a bulb, all depends on a led and optics.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Many references to "high CRI" in this thread. Of note is that while all light sources that render colors accurately are also high CRI, not all high CRI sources render colors accurately. Human vision has peak sensitivity in an almost normal curve centered at green (555nm) while the typical incandescent has almost 90% relative intensity at the transition from NIR to red, dropping almost linearly to about 5% at the transition from violet to NUV (green averages about 35%). Halogen far better replicates the sensitivity curve than incandescent, but warm white LED is also close.

    I can't speak to subjective preferences, of course. But having transitioned my residence to CFL 20 years ago then LED more than 10 years ago I don't miss incandescents. Low-end incandescent flashlight bulbs always looked terrible to me - just a step up from candlelight with everything cast in shades of brown, red, yellow. My brief experiments with better halogen bulbs were more satisfying, but power consumption was high and lifespan short. Early LED flashlights were a compromise - longer battery life and smaller lights in exchange for dim angry blue. But about a decade ago LEDs started achieving CRI fit to print (and generally color rendering accuracy to match), tints that were <=5000K, and bumps in output that won the argument.

    But I'm in a weird place when it comes to the lighting market. I don't like 2700K, find 5000K a bit much for anything other than a workspace, and even think 3000K is a bit too warm. I miss the 3500K T5 circline fixture I used to have in my dining room - such an ideal color for me. 4000K is about the closest I can get in monolithic fixtures. For applications with multiple bulbs I try to mix 5000K/2700K - 1:1 will achieves ~3850K while 2:1 hits ~3467K.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by badtziscool View Post
    If I recall correctly, the target distance in the pics was probably 2-3ft. One was a P60 bulb in a Surefire 6P and the other was a modded Maratac inspection light with the 219b SW35. Considering that, the P60 would have a tighter beam and so with that fact, it's probably the first pic that is the P60 and the second pic the 219b.

    And I realize taking photos with a smartphone for tint comparison presents many issues, but realistically, those two photos are pretty true with what I saw with my eyes. The 219b sw35 is an amazing LED.
    Great pics showing the comparison.

    Only reason I say 1st is LED and 2nd is the Incan is the beam artifacts present in the second pic.


    I agree the runtime on my Darksucks 2xAA is one of the reasons I carry it more than my E2D with a 1x16650 Tad bulb and socket in it.

    Still at times I absolutely LOVE the hot spot off the Incan! Even in ambient lighting situations and I need to inspect machinery and look for anomalies sometimes I canít believe I donít just carry the Incan more. The way the natural hot spot grabs the eye is also very pleasing. Instead of a flood of warm beautiful light.

    Hope that makes sense,


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  24. #24

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by badtziscool View Post
    Most warm white LEDs don't measure up to a real incan light in terms of color rendering. Like someone said, an incan is technically 100 cri. With that though, the LED that comes closest to an incan would be the Nichia 219b SW35 LED. Below is a pic of the Nichia and a Surefire P60 incan bulb. To be honest, I don't remember which one is which.




    Although I could be wrong, I would guess that the Nichia was the bottom pic.

    Although the 219b should be better than my 219c, the box with colors I flashed with the Brinkmann vs TK18 exhibited a similar reduction in color contrast as the "fall soccer sign up" advertisement on the bottom pic... particularly in the upper right quadrant near the pink and yellow marker caps.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Informative post from idleprocess. We too ended up mixing LED bulbs in bathroom to get the light 'Goldilocks' right.

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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    You're welcome aznsx.
    vicv, I forgot about rechargeables. Must of had alkalines on my mind.

    A lot of informative posts for sure. Last night at work I shined my 2aaa led mini mag through my truck window and then tried the ml25it.
    The mini mag had a lot of glare back at 100 lumens, but at 30 lumens the ml25 lit that cat up real good even though I was also shining it through the window and it did it with way less glare.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by greenpondmike View Post
    Yeah with some it's like dollar signs are coming out the front with the beam.
    And that old viewpoint makes zero sense to me since there are so many rechargeable options for incan lights, and lithium primaries are not very expensive these days and haven't been expensive for a long time. Even all of my HID lights run off of either lead acid or lithium ion rechargeable batteries. I would like one that could run off of lithium primaries though as well.
    ampdude

  28. #28

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by aznsx View Post
    Interesting link GPM - thanx! I don't have any LEDs with an incandescent-range CCT (nothing warmer than 4K right now), but as others may have suggested, I think one must probably have fairly high CRI to go with that to start getting comparable to that 'look' of incan that some seek. It also seems likely that a HCRI LED w/ a high 'R9' is an important factor as well. I recently picked up 2 lights to 'experiment' with using - both @4000K w/ HCRI, but one with much higher 'R9', and I think I can appreciate the difference. I don't know - I'm just an ol' sparky guy, not a 'light' guy, but others 'round here know a lot more about visible light than I do. I'm just a rank amateur photographer, and when I use an optical spectrum analyzer, it ain't for visible light - mostly C-Band DWDM. Others can comment better about the R9 thing, but some of them may not be reading the incan section:-)
    My camera sensors play nice with a cool beam. Not the icey blue kind but the ones that run say between 5700 and 6200 like the CREE produce. Now in some cases using a warmer LED can produce a photo that invokes a warm, nostalgic, almost sepia appearance like from the late 19th century. But for fill light I definitely prefer the results provided by the cool end of the spectrum. Intensity matters more than the tint at those times though as you probably know when dialing in a flash module.
    A few years back I used a Fuji film can with the bottom cut out and slid over the flash. It really helped reduce the overwhelming amout of light a point and shoot flash put out. Then I discovered Gary Fong products. Then one day I was snapping photos of bees on flowers and whipped out a small flashlight with a cool white beam and used it to even light out when in a not so ideal position where the angle of the sunlight was causing issues.

    Many speak R9 value making or breaking the good CRI value, but I've always preferred to look at the R13 (fleshtone) as the important one. Too much R9 (in my view) can overwhelm the R13 and cause an almost "fake tan" look, especially when people are the subject. But at 2am I definitely prefer a nice warm beam regardless of what the numbers are.
    John 3:16

  29. #29

    Default Re: Warm white vs incandescents

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty321 View Post
    Although I could be wrong, I would guess that the Nichia was the bottom pic.

    Although the 219b should be better than my 219c, the box with colors I flashed with the Brinkmann vs TK18 exhibited a similar reduction in color contrast as the "fall soccer sign up" advertisement on the bottom pic... particularly in the upper right quadrant near the pink and yellow marker caps.
    You could be right about that. I honestly donít remember which pic is which. The only reason I think the first one is the P60 and second one is the 219b is because of the beam pattern. The P60 has a narrower beam pattern than the Maratac pen light and from what I can tell, the first pic has the narrower beam. But like I mentioned, this is from an iPhone 11 Pro Max and taking pics from a camera phone for tint comparisons definitely presents problems. But it is good enough to show how close they are.
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