What about the CRI hype (color rendering index)

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What about the CRI hype (color rendering index)

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Edited by: sb56637 on 01/09/2022 - 12:45
zoulas
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Oh boy, this is not gonna end well.

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zoulas wrote:
Oh boy, this is not gonna end well.
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You’re very wrong, human eyes did not evolve to see blue light, it causes eye strain and irritation, we should limit the amount of blue light produced as much as we can. Sunlight has color temperature of 4500-5500K and we shouldn’t go above because it just means more blue. More – since LEDs are heavy on blue even 5500K LEDs look cooler than sunlight, that’s why I prefer to stay below 5000K personally. But I know there are many people who like ~2700K which looks very orange, more like fire light.

Red on the other hand is not useless, it has an impact on how we see multiple colors from yellow to brown which are everywhere in the nature. Not to mention skin kolor.

So both CRI and CCT are very important, it’s all about balance. You don’t have to loose a lot of brightness, Cree has 80+ CRI emitters (realistically around 84-85) at 4000-5000K that are just 1-2 efficiency bins below the top – I’m talking about the XHP family. You’re loosing maybe 10-15% of light but what you get is quality thanks to a much better color reproduction. As usual, quality or quantity?

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I’ll repeat myself: unless National Geographic Magazine contracts with me to go down to the Amazon basin to catalog Poison Dart Frogs, or I get into nighttime portrait painting, I couldn’t care less about high CRI, or even beam patterns.

I need to see in the dark, is all.

I’m a gun guy, but not a ‘great white wall hunter.’

Chris

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rayfish wrote:
> i think efficacy is the most important thing

use whatever light makes you happy

if you dont care about Full Spectrum light,

you might enjoy a green light, since it has the highest efficacy:
.

.

“the human eye features a peak sensitivity at 555 nanometers (in the green region of the visible light spectrum).”

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Some people think high-CRI is only useful for white wall hunting. Not going to change those people.

I personally notice the difference a lot in daily use. My EDC lights all have high-CRI emitters. The lights that don’t have them aren’t really EDC lights anyways.

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ChrisGarrett wrote:

I’m a gun guy, but not a ‘great white wall hunter.’

I’m not a gun guy but I’m also not shining at the wall. I’m using my flashlight in the forest so there’s a lot of green and brown (sometimes some yellow). Color temperature affects green (higher CCT=more blue=green gets pale and blueish), CRI affects browns and yellows (higher CRI=higher R9/red=juicier browns).
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rayfish wrote:
Threads here suggest that CRI is the most important thing

You sure you’re not making a strawman and it’s not actually just people preferences ? just like you prefer cold CCTs, low CRI for better efficiency.

In your case you have much, much more choice since flashlights are predominantly cold white and low CRI, so it’s all good right ? I guess I don’t understand what is the point of this thread, especially since this is a recurrent topic.

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rayfish wrote:
i tried a green filter, i dont like it very much, its to monochromatic,

a green filter lowers efficacy… if efficacy is the priority, you need a green LED, not a filter

I agree green is monochromatic.. it just has the highest efficacy,
I only suggested it as you mentioned that efficacy is your highest priority..

maybe you dont really want highest efficacy after all?:-)

choices are good
I like green much better than red.. but I like High CRI most of all

but, dont copy me, unless you share my priority, which is Full Spectrum Quality.. not partial spectrum Quantity

rayfish wrote:
I doubt that green is more efficient

maybe read more
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jon_slider wrote:

use whatever light makes you happy

if you dont care about Full Spectrum light,

you might enjoy a green light, since it has the highest efficacy:

Thumbs Up Smile Big Smile

Exactly. There is no correct and same answer for all people. Just like a whole lot of other things in life, the answer depends upon many variables.

I have made the journey from “I must have the absolute most number of lumens possible and the color/CRO does not matter” to where I do look at the CRI and what the intended use is. I have a few very bright, low CRI lights that fulfill certain uses. Most of the lights I use frequently have high to very high CRI and I can see the difference. Seeing, or appreciating that difference, took some time to develop to where I gave it some serious thought.

“Different strokes for different folks” as we used to quip back in the 60’s. LOL

There is nothing here to have an argument over.

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phantom23 wrote:
I’m not a gun guy but I’m also not shining at the wall. I’m using my flashlight in the forest so there’s a lot of green and brown (sometimes some yellow). Color temperature affects green (higher CCT=more blue=green gets pale and blueish), CRI affects browns and yellows (higher CRI=higher R9/red=juicier browns).

Walking in the forest was where I first really noticed how much better I liked the illumination qualities of my then-new high CRI light compared to the max lumens lights I had been using.

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I used to be all about efficiency. But then I had a hike where a poor CRI made it hard for me to distinguish the details of the trail under my feet. This was slightly dangerous and made me much slower. And required my full attention to tread carefully.

Since then, I think that flashlights shall have high enough colour rendition. But so far I failed to determine what exactly is high enough. Wink

Also, world in high CRI and below BBL just looks better. I like to live in a good looking world.

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rayfish wrote:
@john I doubt that green is more efficient, the xpe datasheet says 110 lumens on green and 130 lumens on white.

xpg3 datasheet states that cri 70 to 80 costs 20 lumens, and to 90 60 lumens. Cri 80 would be a good compromise.

It is not simply the efficacy of the led. What colors the eye sees best is also a consideration.

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rayfish wrote:
@john I doubt that green is more efficient, the xpe datasheet says 110 lumens on green and 130 lumens on white.

It is for phosphor converted green, but not direct green ( XP-E)

For example CSLNM1.F1 (PC green) : 400~630lm at 1A
CSLNM1.TG (white, 5700~6000K) : 280~450lm at 1A

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Agro wrote:
I used to be all about efficiency. But then I had a hike where a poor CRI made it hard for me to distinguish the details of the trail under my feet. This was slightly dangerous and made me much slower. And required my full attention to tread carefully.

Since then, I think that flashlights shall have high enough colour rendition. But so far I failed to determine what exactly is high enough. Wink

Also, world in high CRI and below BBL just looks better. I like to live in a good looking world.

Usually LEDs below BBL have better or hi cri
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Quadrupel wrote:
Agro wrote:
I used to be all about efficiency. But then I had a hike where a poor CRI made it hard for me to distinguish the details of the trail under my feet. This was slightly dangerous and made me much slower. And required my full attention to tread carefully.

Since then, I think that flashlights shall have high enough colour rendition. But so far I failed to determine what exactly is high enough. Wink

Also, world in high CRI and below BBL just looks better. I like to live in a good looking world.

Usually LEDs below BBL have better or hi cri
That’s true only at certain levels of CRI….once you get past 9895 LEDs tend to be close to the BBL.
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more Full Spectrum Quality, top pic with High CRI

more Lumen Quantity, bottom pic with Low CRI

if you just want to know if the pan is boiling over, a green light would suffice, and would use less battery power

since I use rechargeable batteries, runtime is not a priority for me. My priority is Spectrum Quality. I use my flashlights to illuminate things with Red in them.

Things that Look Redder, taste better.. LOL

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As the colour management specialist in print industry I must say, that colour reproduction is key factor.
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Agro wrote:

Also, world in high CRI and below BBL just looks better. I like to live in a good looking world.

But not too much below, I’m not a fan of rosy tints.
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Some people cant see colors or recognize them. Im sorry for them.

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Quadrupel wrote:
Some people cant see colors or recognize them. Im sorry for them.

Me too, I’m thankful I can see all the colors.

Also, choosing a low CRI light over a high CRI light for walking around the woods at night is kind of like choosing to eat spaghetti with just a spoon. You may not realize it, but you’re just making more work for your eyes.

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I dealt with Pantone color printing using high-end CYMK printing devices in my career.

 People often didn't calibrate their (RGB) monitors; it's time consuming and the equipment is somewhat expensive.  Then they whined about "the print doesn't match my monitor".  Well... duh!  This, under low CRI, cool white fluorescent lighting no less.  Walk them outside into daylight & see how the colors on the same print change; the look on their faces was priceless.

I find low CRI/cool white acceptable for long distance throwers.  I prefer warm-ish high CRI on my floody lights for closer use and will happily pay extra for it.

 

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Acceptable doesn’t mean good. Warmer light actually punches better through not so clean air.

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Low cri and cool LEDs are useless even harmful. They should be restricted by law. Proper search lights should be warm for better fog and dust penetration

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I’d say lower CRI reduces the contrast, it also flattens the perspective. There are no upsides of low CRI high CCT light, it should be used for decorational purposes only.

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I know this is only anecdotal, but when I walk the wooded paths or the dirt and gravel roads around us I found that the lights with the higher CRI leds seemed to make discerning objects off in the dark easier. Plus the foliage appeared more realistic. Much of what is said about the subject of CRI centers around red, the R9. But I first noticed that the greens of the grasses, leafy planys as well as the evergreens were easier to differentiate with 90+ CRI.

Inside our home the woodwork, the wood doors and trim, the cabinetry, etc. all reveal their true colors under 90+ CRI lighting. I must admit that it takes more effort for me to discern the differences between my 90 CRI flashlights and the couple I have with 98+ Optisolis leds. But the difference is there, though not as important.

I don’t even like the lower CRI cold, flourescent lighting in the barn any more. The tractor was not the right (correct) color at night. Wink Most of those are now 80+ CRI led’s now. Cost can be a factor.

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phantom23 wrote:
I’d say lower CRI …………… it also flattens the perspective.

That may be one reason I find higher CRI lights better for walking trails at night.

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Quadrupel wrote:
Low cri and cool LEDs are useless even harmful. They should be restricted by law. Proper search lights should be warm for better fog and dust penetration

Is there a “warm” competitor for an Osram CSLNM1.TG?

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CRI has its place, but isn’t the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to flashlights, at least for most people.

Advantages of low-CRI compared to high-CRI in flashlights:

  • Available at higher outputs. SST-40 is only available in low-CRI
  • Available in higher intensities. Oslon White 1, White 2, and SFT-40 are only available in low-CRI (and only in cool white for that matter). Yet flashaholics still love these leds because they are the throw-kings. Sure, what they illuminate off in the distance may look horrible, but at least you see something. The best-looking high-CRI light in the world is useless if it doesn’t put enough light on the target to actually see it.
  • Cheaper
  • Larger selection, not just of LEDS, but in manufactured flashlights. This can be especially useful for people who are not modders and aren’t interested in or capable of emitter swapping to a high-CRI LED.

My personal experience: at first I was not a CRI fan. Available high-CRI leds like Nichia 219B had enormously lower output than low-CRI options like XPL-HI. The advantage in lumens, intensity, and in some cases tint seemed to vastly outweigh the marginal benefit from high-CRI. My preferred LED for years was XPL HI 5D.

However, today’s high-CRI leds like Nichia 219C, LH351D and SST-20 have dramatically narrowed the gap. An Emisar D4 with 95 CRI SST-20s in it looks to punch a similar distance to XPL HI. And despite the SST-20s putting out 2/3 the lumens, things illuminated are actually easier to see due to the extra contrast from high CRI.

Like many other flashaholics on these forums, my preferences have gradually evolved to prefer high-CRI.

  • Nowadays, if I get a new EDC light I either buy it in high-CRI or with a plan to swap the LEDs to high-CRI.
  • I have gone so far as to actually swap out almost all my XPL HI leds and replace them with high-CRI SST-20s.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn’t replace them all as Kaidomain finished off their reel of good FD2 bin emitters, and their new reel of supposed FD2 emitters all have the much more common greenish tint typical of SST-20s. I don’t think their new reel is actually FD2 bin. GRRR.

I respect that others who are not flashlight connoisseurs may not care about CRI. My other family members who are not flashaholics couldn’t care less about CRI … they just want a flashlight to produce white light.

NOTE: When people are talking about preferring high or low-CRI on these forums, they’re really talking about white light flashlights. I think it’s a bit ludicrous to assume that someone who prefers low-CRI white cares so little about color rendition that they would actually be better off with a monochromatic red, green or amber flashlight.

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Lh351d is a very floody LED, so it will appear less bright if you compare it to a different LED like xpl2,CRI aside. The brain perceives brightness by the amount of light intensity on what we are looking it, which is not the same as the lumen output of the LED. For a fair comparison, you would have to use two identical LEDs in the exact same setup to truly guage if the drop in output/efficiency is worth the compromise for high CRI. The difference is usually about 25% less from 70 CRI to 90 CRI, which is not a significant difference but a noticeable one nonetheless.

I think it’s fine to favour brighter and low CRI if that’s what you prefer.

Tint, CCT, beam intensity, etc all aside, all else equal but CRI, will personally gladly take high CRI over low CRI as I find the difference in color rendering far outweighs the slight drop in output for me personally.

The other thing is that lights have gotten so bright, that in most cases even a high CRI has more than enough output. Example, a Fireflies E12r with 219b is ridiculously bright, and the tint, CCT, and color rendering is jaw droppingly good. Yes, an XPL Hi 70 CRI in the same light will shine a little further at the highest setting, but that’s not what the light is best suited for, so not important to me. In the most practical and typical scenario of how I will use the light illuminating short to medium distances, I don’t feel like I am compromising anything with the 219b E12r. In a Thrower where ultimate reach is the goal, then it may make more sense to go lower CRI.

And as it has been mentioned in many other discussions, tint, CCT, beam profile are all equally important compositions of light quality.

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