Best Hi-CRI LED suggestions please!

If you want the absolute best color reproduction, you want to look at the SST-20 95CRI, which is available in 2700-3000-3500-4000k CCT options.

If you want to push even farther, get yourself this MCPCB:

And put these for sunlight like color reproduction:

And for 2700k-4000k, get these instead:

I sell the Nichia 219b r9080 emitters that are also very high in CRI. I have sw35, sw40, and sw45k available.
The warmer sw35 batch I have was tested at over 95 CRI and it’s currently my favorite emitter. PM me if interested.

I have 10 of those, and they are very good. They are my fallback option if I can’t find anything better.

Thanks for the quick reply! They look really promising, I will do some research.

I second this advice. Optisolis LEDs are as good as you can get, 98-99 CRI. But they are weak and you need quite a few to reach 1000 lm.
If using many Optisolis is not an option for you, my second suggestion would be COB, there are quite a few CRI98 ones available. But it’s not easy to use if a flashlight so if many Optisolis are not an option, this is likely not an option either….
The third suggestion would be SST-20.

I did mention that LED configuration is a non-issue, but with this magnitude it would actually be a lot of work that I don’t want to do :stuck_out_tongue:
So yeah let’s say minimum 25 lumens typical outout per LED.

Highly considering the SST-20 now.
Does anyone have experience on the tint shift about off angles?

They can do much more than that. maukka has tested them up to 200 mA and they kept high CRI. They do well over 50 lm at that current.
They can be pushed much harder, even to 1A but whether they maintain CRI at that current is unknown.

The 3000k sst20s are known to have great uniform tint, no tint shift and extremely high cri. You won’t be disppointed with those.

And easy to source, f.i at kaidomain.

The SST-20 does show a tint shift at an angle, more rosy straight above, clearly less red at 60 degrees. It is just a lot better than Cree leds but certainly not absent. Plus they show heavy tint shift with current changes, but that may not be a problem in this application

Optisolis leds hardly have tint shift at an angle and have pretty good output, can safely be driven at 700mA and make over 100 lumen per led.

Alright you convinced me. They’re just $2ea at mouser so I’ll buy 3x 3000k 95cri J3 302, A solder pads.

Anyone have a favorite 3x series copper mcpcb? I’m probably just going to get the noctigon+carlco triple optics for now.

Noctigon+triple carclo 10507 is my favourite. But I use the kaidomain triple also, 3 leds, the mcpcb and the optic for 7 bucks.

My favorite is the E21A much more so than the Optisolis because the tint on the E21A is better. Optisolis is generally slightly above the BBL but if you want to mimic sunlight, it’s as good as it gets.

For higher power emitters, the SST-20 is great and I also really like the Oslon Square 92 and 96 CRI emitters.

After doing some research, I’ve decided to go with the Nichia E21A, and Virence 4x MCPCB.
I’m going to put 4 different tints from 2700k to 4500k, and address each one individually so I can set a light output, and then modulate the tint as needed.

How am I going to do that? Good question, I think I will have to design a custom 4 channel driver, unless anyone has something that would be able to do this.

Thanks all for your suggestions.

Hi Kitty, check this out: Virence VS35SP36 MCPCB - cost effective (High CRI) General Lighting solution - #31 by maukka
We are all still waiting for Maukka’s test result :slight_smile:

For photography light panel I only recommends you 5700K Optisolis for below reasons:

- As you can see from above link, it’s the closest possible to natural sunlight (5000K, 5700K, and 6500K Optisolis only) as per this post is written. For anything below 4000K, although Optisolis still produce extremely high CRI its only edging those other high CRI LEDs.

- High power LEDs are naturally have large tint shifting due to their wide operating current, unless you use PWM

- So far Optisolis is the only extreme high CRI LED I know with minimal tint shift even without PWM. There is, but barely noticeable

- For wide flood/diffused lighting required in your application, big panel with low luminance is to be preferred than a single point source. Shadowing is a big problem in photo shooting

  • Optisolis is far cheaper and very easy to solder

VS35SP36 + Optisolis will give you about 2300lm with (2700K - 4000K) or close to 2500lm (5000K - 6500K) reliably at only 200mA/LED.


Yes, I don’t understand why people are recommending their preference (luminus SST-20, Nichia E21A) while the “Nichia Optisolis™ provides a natural light source with a spectrum that achieves the industry’s closest match to that of the standard illuminant, including both the sun and incandescent” which is more important in photography than the preference for the Duv of the E21A, or SST-20 output that has a lower CRI.

The e21a is my favourite LED for tint, but as tally-ho has mentioned above, as a photography light, optisolis is a better option, especially if using the virence new board that will use a very large array and reach 2500 lumens at low current per LED. I would personally get it in 5700 so you can use it during the day, and then gel it with CTO filter for use in warmer sunset light.

Or edit the RAW white balance later… :wink: . Shooting in RAW is very convenient, you can adjust the WB, tint, etc…to whatever you like. Butt….you can NOT edit what’s NOT there. A complete widest spectrum coverage in the first place is a start. This is why editing sun lit picture is totally different from editing incandescent lit pictures.


CRI95 or 98 are pretty close in photography light source
but 98 usually fills the cyan gap better, the more consistent the spectrum is the better

there are also CRI95 LEDs that say typical CRI is 98

may be an option

Okay thank you for the comments.

I understand why you’d typically want a neutral tint light, but in this case my friend asked me specifically for something that is very much on the warm side.

I think it would also be easier to easier to meet the goal if I can adjust the tint a little.

Regarding the tint shift, I don’t care too much about tint shift with current as I will fix the current. I do care about tint shift across the beam.
Think of the side of and xpg or XML, IMO it looks terrible and is a totally different color than the center.

The optisolis looks really almost perfect according to mauka’s tests, but I didn’t see any tests for the E21A?
After seeing the output graphs, I’m leaning toward the optisolis LEDs, but I’d like an MCPCB that allows controlling some LED banks independently (this is so I can put 2 or 3 tints and power them with separate channels).

Maukka’s E21A tests are here (see also following messages on the same page) : [Reference] Nichia E17A/E21A (2000K - 6500K, R9050/R9080, color) CCT and tint shots - #35 by maukka

Ahhh I see, thank you.
Looks like the Optisolis is just superior… I wish there was an MCPCB with 2 or 3 addressable channels though.