Why do you buy lights without High-CRI emitters?

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Firelight2
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jon_slider wrote:
….I feel like Im herding cats. Everytime I try to steer us back to the Original Topic, CRI, people scatter in all directions, bringing up CCT, Lumens, Tint, beam, etc…
that’s because the factors are NOT independent of each other.

Want to know why someone buys a low-CRI over a high-CRI light?

  • It’s because the low-CRI light has some OTHER advantage: such as lumens, beam pattern, color temp, tint, body options, price, etc..

If the only difference between two choices was CRI, then of course everyone would take the high-CRI option, but that’s never the case.

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Firelight2 wrote:
If the only difference between two choices was CRI, then of course everyone would take the high-CRI option, but that’s never the case.

fair enough
lets use a specific example then

If you had the choice to buy an Olight S1 Mini Low CRI or an Olight S1 Mini High CRI, knowing the tint is the same, the beam is the same, the CCT is the same, and the price is the same, and the differences are only that the High CRI is 25% less bright, but has 29% higher CRI, would YOU buy the Low CRI model?

If you say yes, why, just for the extra lumens, even though it makes red things look brown, and makes colors wash out more? Note wash out is a Low CRI issue, not just a CCT issue.

or another example, HDS w 4000k high cri N219b, or HDS w 4000k low CRI XPL. Same beam, same CCT, but the N219b has tint closer to the BBL, and does “only” 200 lumens instead of 325.

would you buy the brighter light, even though the tint is above the bbl, and it makes red things look brown due to the low CRI?

I agree there are tradeoffs, but not every single variable favors Low CRI for the same CCT. The main thing Low CRI does better is that it is brighter, but the tint is worse and the CRI is worse. Is brightness more important to you than tint and CRI, such that you would buy the XPL instead of the N219b?

If so, lets just respect that we have different priorities, neither is wrong, just different.

I care least about max lumens, and care most about High CRI. I dont want bad tint, bad beam shape, or bad price, but when I can have less lumens and more CRI with better tint, I will give up the lumens to gain the better color rendering.

Im glad you and I agree that neutral white low CRI is not better at showing colors than neutral white high CRI. I think we also agree that a neutral white Nichia most likely has better tint than a Neutral White Cree.

So my answer to the OP is, people buy Low CRI because max lumens is more of a priority for them. and many have no experience with good High CRI neutral white with good tint, good beam, and good enough brightness.

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Your example:
If the choice was purely between 25% lumens versus 29% CRI and everything else was equal I’d probably go for the high CRI.

However, most low-CRI neutral white emitters tend to be in the 80 CRI range (at least for the ones in my lights). So going from low to high CRI usually means a gain of just 10-12 CRI, not the 29 in your hypthetical.

If the very large gap between low and high CRI in your hypothetical is because you were describing cool-white color temperature lights, then I wouldn’t have been in the market for either light since one of my criteria is usually “must be neutral white”. I find cool white to be harsh and unpleasant regardless of CRI and avoid them.

A more realistic scenario I face is like that for the Emisar D4 choosing between high-CRI nichias, or lower CRI XPL HI:
3800 lumens for the Nichia 219C v. 4300 lumens for XPL HI. And the XPL HI version has better tint, better color temperature, much better throw, and runs cooler so can maintain high output longer.

So yes, in your example I would probably go for the high-CRI option assuming both options were neutral white and did not have greenish tint. But the example you described seems unrealistic and exaggerated to me. When presented with realistic choices when buying a flashlight, the benefits of the high-CRI option (if there even is one) almost always seem to be outweighed by the tradeoffs.

I do make the decision on a case-by-case basis though, and do consider high-CRI if it is an option.

For example:
The light I received yesterday is high-CRI and I’m quite pleased with it. Zebralight H604C headlamp with high-CRI CREE XHP 50.2. This light features:

  • 4000K color temp
  • Tint is yellow, but not green. Quite pleasant.
  • Fairly good output of 1700 Lumens.
  • Small and lightweight

Overall, I quite like this emitter. It’s better than the 4500K neutral white XHP 50.2 in my Zebralight SC600w IV Plus, which has a slightly greenish tint. If Blizzard offered an SC600c IV Plus with the same emitter as the H604c, I would prefer it over the SC600w IV Plus. The slight reduction in total lumens would be outweighed by the nicer tint and CRI.

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jon_slider wrote:
ok, I see you continue to miss my point
neutral color temperature has less glare, and less blue, than cool color temperature

however 3600k low CRI does not show colors better than 3600k high CRI

and 5000k color temperature with low CRI does show colors worse than 5000k color temperature with High CRI

you continue to miss the point that CRI is an independent variable from color temperature.

thats ok, and I mean no disrespect to you personally, your comments are very typical of the misuse of terms, even Elzetta does it, but it is not accurate.


Actually, I think it’s you who are missing ‘the point’ all of us are trying to make. We’re not saying that “we want low CRI” or “we don’t want high CRI” but that is what you keep responding to. Look at your quoted text here. You’re implying that I said I prefer low CRI 3600k and/or 5000k over high CRI 3600k and/or 5000k respectively. What I said wasn’t anywhere near that. I said that low CRI 3600k does a noticeably better job of showing objects than low CRI 5000k. I would also believe that high CRI 3600k most likely does a better job showing objects than high CRI 5000k.

What I, and others, are saying here is that CRI is not a priority, meaning we could take it or leave it. Of course high CRI is a nice addition. We keep saying that over and over. We’re just saying that color temp and tint make such a huge noticeable difference that they MUST become priorities to anyone with a preference. But, CRI is something we could “live without” if it just happens to not be available, because the impact on our usage and enjoyment of the light is low. We know it’s an independent variable. It happens to be a variable that doesn’t affect us much, compared to the other variables.

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DavidEF wrote:
…What I, and others, are saying here is that CRI is not a priority, meaning we could take it or leave it. Of course high CRI is a nice addition. We keep saying that over and over. We’re just saying that color temp and tint make such a huge noticeable difference that they MUST become priorities to anyone with a preference. But, CRI is something we could “live without” if it just happens to not be available, because the impact on our usage and enjoyment of the light is low. We know it’s an independent variable. It happens to be a variable that doesn’t affect us much, compared to the other variables.
Well said.
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Firelight2 wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
…What I, and others, are saying here is that CRI is not a priority, meaning we could take it or leave it. Of course high CRI is a nice addition. We keep saying that over and over. We’re just saying that color temp and tint make such a huge noticeable difference that they MUST become priorities to anyone with a preference. But, CRI is something we could “live without” if it just happens to not be available, because the impact on our usage and enjoyment of the light is low. We know it’s an independent variable. It happens to be a variable that doesn’t affect us much, compared to the other variables.
Well said.
Yes… that sums it up very nicely. Thumbs Up

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So, are we summing up that even amongst the “dissenters,” there is agreement that high-CRI is very nice to have in many use cases? And that it’s more of an availability problem? I.e., not just that lights with high-CRI emitters are limited, but that even when they are available, the tint/temp choices are sub-optimal in many cases? Because I’m pretty sure tint and temp aren’t limitations of the tech.

I’m not even sure exactly what flavor of nichia are in my Maratac AA, Lumintop Tool, and Reylight mini, but I’m sure I have no complaints about the tint and temp on them, pretty much perfect for my taste. Also, as indicated earlier: Yes the difference is subtle, at first, but at least for me once I got used to it, it’s hard to go back.

To hear a bunch of flashaholics downplaying and otherwise pooh-poohing the importance of accurate color rendering on the objects their illuminating is bizarre to me. It’s like watching a group of people agrue for standard def over high def, or hamburgers made with filler over 100% beef, or cheap domestic beer over craft beer…
Different strokes, lol.

By the look of this poll so far, it sounds like I’ll need to gird my loins and move into mods to really get what I want. I don’t see much pressure on manufacturers to offer better high-CRI lights coming from this group anytime soon.

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There are many factors when it comes to choosing a light.

  • CRI is just one of those factors.
  • CRI is a relatively minor factor.

Quote:
To hear a bunch of flashaholics downplaying and otherwise pooh-poohing the importance of accurate color rendering on the objects their illuminating is bizarre to me. It’s like watching a group of people agrue for standard def over high def..
Think of it like graphics in computer games. There are different factors which make for impressive graphics:
  • Resolution: you could play at 640×480 or 1920×1080
  • Screen size: you could play on 12” monitor or a 30” monitor.
  • Color Depth: you could play in 16 bit or 24 bit color.

High CRI is like the color depth option, while color temperature, tint, lumens and beam pattern are like the other options. Sure it helps having the extra colors, but screen resolution and screen size are a lot more important.

_______________________________________

After I came to CPF and BLF I saw all the posts about high-CRI and jumped on the bandwagon. I NEEDED to get high CRI lights. They were the thing to get. Everyone was talking about how much better things looked with high-CRI.

But then something happened: I tried using my high-CRI lights and compared their beams to lower-CRI lights. I also learned about the differences between CRI, color temperature and tint. After that instead of just being on the bandwagon, I actually made up my own mind based on my observations and drew my own conclusions.

… and I have concluded that high-CRI really isn’t that noticeable most of the time. Not having it doesn’t feel like a detriment. And though I own both high-CRI and low-CRI lights, 95% of the time I’ll reach for a low-CRI light.

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I find I can identify objects more quickly with higher CRI lights even when that comes at a cost of about 30% output to go from 70 to 90, all else being comparable. When trying to explain it quickly, I often say it’s the difference between a stick and a snake on the trail.

It might be an exception if the main use of the light is to spot highly contrasting objects, like white sheep on a green hill. My stuff is always more general-use than that though, and because human perception of brightness isn’t linear, it would take a huge percentage difference in output before it mattered much.

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If I really want the light but not the emitter I’ll buy it and swap to what I want.
So many reasons to buy a light, nowadays many lights have good emitter options. If not good enough there are plenty of how-to videos for swapping emitters. Else there are plenty of modders.
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FWIW, here are beam shots of a few different lights ranging from 65 CRI to 92 CRI, including one which is wide-spectrum. No post-processing has been applied, except for the camera’s auto-white-balance mode to minimize color temperature differences and simulate how they look in person.

Without looking at the file names, can you sort them in order of lowest to highest CRI?

A:
B:
C:
D:
E:
F:
G:

… and here’s one which theoretically has 100 CRI since it’s an incandescent light. However, its 2700K tint makes everything look yellow. Here’s how it looks in person for me:
H:

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nquinn wrote:
Plain and simple there just aren't many affordable (<$30) headlamps with a high CRI emitter. I went with the H03 and don't care nearly enough to swap the XML-L2 out. Zebra = too expensive Manker E03H = ugly with that sliding diffuser

I like my Nichia E03H. Smile Usually I don’t have the diffuser on. The light it makes is very nice to me. 

I did a runtime test on moonlight with a standard eneloop, it reached 256 hours before I shut it off.

 

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I have generally found that emitter characteristics work like a dart board. Here’s how the concepts map:

  • Color temperature is which concentric ring the dart lands in. The center is neutral white, and the outer rings are increasingly warm or cool.
  • Tint is the angle of rotation, like whether it hits at 2-o’clock or 7 o’clock. Some tints look better than others.
  • CRI is how close the dart is to the center of the cell it landed in. It certainly helps, but not generally as much as the other factors.

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Nice analogy Toykeeper.cool

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Firelight2 wrote:

Nice analogy Toykeeper.cool


Yep. Crown Thumbs Up

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jon_slider wrote:

..I agree beam, tint, brightness and CCT are all relevant variables, but this thread is not about those things, it is only asking why someone would buy Low CRI instead of High CRI.

Thumbs Up

.
.

I do appreciate all of the discussion though. I’ve learned some new things and it’s spurred me to examine other things more closely.

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CRI seems to me a blunt and rather useless measure of how the individual’s eyes see things.

LEDs are a big compromise, they use a mix of phosphors to try to replicate a continuous spectrum, hopefully to match with human eye’s rod and cone response, which varies.

And leave big gaps between them, hoping they will not be noticed.

Likewise digital camera sensors use colour filter arrays over a wide-spectrum sensor, to try to get “nice” colours. Then we struggle to reproduce them on un-calibrated monitors with different colour filter arrays, but somehow it mostly works, the human eye and brain is very forgiving.

Try lighting a scene with LEDs and shooting it with a digital camera, critically, and you might realise why flashes, or halogens, (or even daylight), with continuous spectrum, still rule.

Bottom line: trust your eyes (even my left one is different from the right), and choose what suits you, not because of some simplistic CRI number, or popular LED brand name.

Don’t misunderstand, I am as fascinated with tints etc. as most, and have strong opinions, but CRI doesn’t seem very relevant to me, other things dominate in practice, particularly at low light levels, when everything changes, to the human eye, rather than to a measuring instrument.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
Without looking at the file names, can you sort them in order of lowest to highest CRI?

Definitely not. I tried, but it’s too many and too much scrolling lol. “E” stood out to me the most though (and then as soon as I quoted you I realized I shouldn’t have as all the file names showed Innocent Party )

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ToyKeeper wrote:

Without looking at the file names, can you sort them in order of lowest to highest CRI?
This is my guess TK. And I stress the word “guess”… Big Smile

Lowest to highest CRI……

1. G
2. B
3. A
4. C
5. E
6. D
7. F

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Before I forget…

In the pics above, the CRI is (approximately):

  1. F: 65 (cheap SK-68 ~7000K)
  2. G: 70 (XM-L2 3C thrower hotspot)
  3. C: 70 (XM-L 1A floody)
  4. A: 75 (XP-G2 3B floody)
  5. E: 91 (219b, reflector)
  6. D: 93 (219b, reflector + diffuser)
  7. B: N/A (wide-spectrum, looks like >100 CRI)

I don’t have very precise stats on these, so the numbers are pretty rough.

In person it’s easier to guess the CRI, but after a trip through a camera and a screen, most of the extra color information has been discarded so it’s hard to tell which is which.

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Without seeing the reveal, here’s the order I put them in:

EDABCGF

I figured the wide-spectrum light would be in there, but I didn’t try to ID it. I have a suspicion it wouldn’t actually test very high for CRI, but might have a higher Rg (gamut). The reds look a little off with it compared to the 219Bs.

Edit: that’s H->L for the order.

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That last photo from Toykeeper and the posts by firelight2 sum it up for me. High CRI without also having your preferred colour temp and tint is pointless.

I have two astrolux A01 lights, supposedly both with high CRI Nichia 219, yet one is too cool and washes out the colours, the other too warm and muddies the colours. I dont like either, as far as I am concerned I want colours to look real and natural, and a 70 CRI neutral temp smashes a 90 CRI with noticeably off neutral tint out of the park every time.

I have a neutral 90CRI on the way, and will be very interested to compare it to my other neutral lights, but honestly, I’m not expecting to see much difference.

Beam me up!

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This discussion has been very educational & thought provoking to me.
The photos by TK are very helpful also.

Her photos & all the discussion illustrates ‘to me’, as Zulumoose said; without your preferred Color Temp & Tint…. High CRI does not mean squat. Wink

Zulumoose wrote:
That last photo from Toykeeper and the posts by firelight2 sum it up for me. High CRI without also having your preferred colour temp and tint is pointless.

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Founder’s Harvest Ale backlit by S42 w/ Nichia on my ancient Note 4. Big Smile
(Then the file was stepped on hard by tinypic… Sad )

Cheers, happy Friday!

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“The End Of The World”? Big Smile

I just got another case of Warsteiner Dunkel. It’s gooooooood drinkin’!

Actually, first in a long time. Winter ain’t B33r Season…

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Nice! I just had some Dunkel a few weeks ago.

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ValuseekeR wrote:
Nice! I just had some Dunkel a few weeks ago.

Yep, good stuff…

Winter is more for Rumpleminze and Clement Orange Shrubb. Big Smile

Ooooooh, I wonder how the Shrubb would look lit up from behind by some nice 2000K LEDs. Not high-CRI by a longshot, but…

Rumpleminze is clear, and minty, so a CW would look quite nice lighting up the bottle. Big Smile

Forgot who it was, djozz?, who had a high-CRI CW LED, like 6500K or more.

Even in CW, lighting up the reds on the label would look quite nice, I imagine. Big Smile

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

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I like it, might make for a fun pic thread.

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ValuseekeR wrote:

Founder’s Harvest Ale backlit by S42 w/ Nichia on my ancient Note 4. Big Smile
(Then the file was stepped on hard by tinypic… Sad )

Nice glowing brew! Founders Harvest Ale? Looks tasty.

One of my favorite drinks glows. It’s um, well, I don’t really know what it would be called on Earth. So I’ll just show you.


I may need to whip one up real quick …

… there.


Tasty, no?

Note: This image has not been edited, except to crop out some irrelevant background. It’s otherwise straight from the camera.

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