some not too scientific thoughts on led-tint

There has been some recent debate on led-tint, a lot of us begin to prefer neutrals over cool white, the BLF mini (that is still somewhere in the mail for me ) is too green for some, and during hurricane Sandy the people don't care less about tint of course, but I think it is awesome that the BLF-mini has had good use already under those circumstances!!

So without knowing if anyone has written up anything similar, I thought let's share my thoughts on the tint-subject, without using (or being an extreme expert on) the details of what is happening in the colour spectra of light sources or how the perception of colour is organised in humans (actually very poor, but our wonderful brain manages to compensate for that by making the most of the little information that is coming in from the eyes. But our colour perception is very easily fooled!).

I believe one should understand that there are two separate qualities of of a 'white' lightsource regarding colour. First is how good the light is in distinguishing all separate colours of what is illuminated. I am not sure if this the exact definition, but I think that is ment by the term 'colour rendering' (the CRI-value of a source is an imperfect measure of how good a light source is in colour rendering). Second there is the tint of the light, that can be from pure white to very coloured light, with all tints in between. Lights of very different tints can still be good in separating the colours of what is illuminated, but of course if you divert too much from white the colour rendition can never be very good.

An example: light from the sun is very good in colour separation. Everyone experiences that if you really want to judge a colour, you go outside. But to do this it doesn't matter too much if it is sunny or overcast, the colour rendition of the light is good either way. But if you would type the white-tint of daylight, it goes all the way from cool white to warm white, and with all diverting tints underway; late in the afternoon the light gets a bit more pink, on a clear day in the shadow of a house, the light is very very blue. When it is cloudy with the sun peeping through, the light is extremely yellow. But our brain compensates very nicely for all that variation, we experience the light as more or less 'white'.

The different whites of led-light can also have all those tints, although not in the extremes of daylight. But we humans are nicely adapted to that, when we don't have another lightsource to compare it with, our brain just does the interpretation-trick towards what we believe is 'white', no problem. But how sensible are we for poor colour rendition? Oh well, actually, we are sensible but we do not notice it mostly, well, ..a bit.., ..some of us.., but even then we don't care less. If there is a choice for a light source: yes we prefer the source with better colour rendition, it is nicer to the eyes, we experience our surroundings more vividly. But if the choice is not there, well, any poor lightsource will do the job!

This all does not count for us light-snobs of course. We do notice led-tint and care about it, and if we train ourselves (and of course we do that ) we get better and better in judging the colour rendition qualities of a light source at a glance.

I hope this was helpfull to some of you, and of course all comments on errors that I made, or additions to this subject will be appreciated. Let's end with a chart I found on the internet somewhere (hope it is not copyrighted) on led-tints, the use of colour in this particular chart I find very helpfull:

Was wondering where the nichia 219 fits in the above graph. I have know tints of led in 1c, 2b, 3d, and 4c along with the nichia 219. I like the 2b alot then made two of the same lights one with a nichia 219 and the other with a xpg2 4c comparing the two both are nice! Comparing the nichia to the 1c on the grass and leaves in the backyard. With the 1c it looks faded and fake with the nichia the colors come alive! The same happens when comparing the 1c to the 4c also.

Thanks for the chart it is very useful

My Nichia 219’s from Illumination Supply, I would estimate the tint around 4D, with that slightly rose hue.

I don't think much about tints. High CRI gives the more realistic colors and I just know that I prefer 4,500k to 5,500K than any other range. I know there's tints within the that K range, but most of the time availability keeps me from being too concerned. For me High CRI was a total change. I never expected it to change the way I looked at lights, but now, it's all I want in an EDC. I still prefer a higher K led for a thrower, as it "seems" to reach out farther and "seems to" is all my eyes need to tell me.

The first time I looked at something colorful with a 219, I immediately knew there was a big difference in CRI and didn't have to train myself to notice it.

it's Mr. perfect tint ...LOL

It is a great emitter and it is slightly rose' ...

The discussion about tint always seems to blow me away ..

If you understand the inverse square law than you understand that there is virtually NO difference in a 600Lumen light and a 800lumen light ,, you can't even really see the difference ..

A neutral white tint is 7% less lumens ...NOT visual output .. The inverse square law states you need to quarruple your output /lumens numbers to see a doubling of light ..

So I see people trying to preserve a imperceivable amount of light .(Something they CAN"T SEE ) for a tint that is hugely obvious .. This makes Zero sense to me . People trading a real gain for nothing...All because somehow they want to think one is brighter ....just crazy ..

Most people will say that a throwy light is brighter than a floody light too ... when in some cases it is less than half the lumens ... the numbers really don't mean squat and untill you stop measuring tv's by pixels or some easy numbers that manufacturers so easily lie about or toss out, then you'll be endlessly fooling yourself .

So it appears according to the election it's easier to sell people using fear .. So lets do that ..CW makes you want to commit violence's hugely bad purple and blue light ..most of which you don't see till you compare a beter tint to it ..CW washes out all color and craetes glaring . it makes all items seem like they are cardboard cut outs .. if you buy neutrals women will like you better :P

i think this would be a very interesting test to perform ..Obviously we can't judge a nichia against a xpg ..we beed to judge apples against apples ...The xin td has a huge following of neutral buyers and a c-8 is a thrower ..

someone with both want to weigh in ?

It's interesting to hear peoples reaction to tints and the color that suddenly jumps out at you .. I've commented before about standing slackjawed staring at flowers in the garden at 2AM when I went out to shoot tight beams of thrower light WAY up in the air ,,Instead I'm catching myself staring at the garden dumbfounded ..



I have noticed that in time all my LEDs become more and more white. Especially if they are driven hard.

Yea most marketing on color temp is all relative. Sometimes some are spot on. Some are 2-5k off. Here’s some pictures off HID headlights.

and lastly Someone’s NW could be someone’s Green, lol.

Most are off because those are Photoshopped.

It was more than a WAG, given the 92+ CRI rating it can’t be far from the black body line. Given the rose/magenta tint I put it below the line in the 4A-4D range. The 4500K spec looks spot on compared to other LED’s in the 5000K range. Bingo: 4D, its a big area there. I have several XP-G and XM-L in the 3C bin and The 219 shows a good shade warmer and towards magenta.
It would be interesting to see where a color meter pegs these emitters.

I would say that the Crees are a shade too yellow-green when compared to a black body radiator and that the 219 is just about right.

I've looked at the 219, Cree 3D, 5C, 7A, and Xenon, and the 219 looks like a really well driven Xenon while the Cree's look slightly yellow-green in comparison.

Btw, an 85 CRI Rebel also looks slightly rosy compared to a Cree, and just right when compared to a Xenon.

I have the xpg2 4c and it is more yellow then the nichia or you could say the nichia is more rosey then the 4c. But one thing is definately true the xpg2 is quite a bit brighter then the nichia. :heart_eyes: for both

120k-300k led lights, cant’ wait for dem tints!

The Nichia is my favorite for it’s neutral ‘tint’ and most likely due to high CRI color balance. I’ll take any of them in the 4000-5000K range over the 6500+K blue lights though. I have some XP-G2 3D tint on the way too. The Crees do have a good margin over Nichia in efficiency and a lower Vf.

Edit: Also ….If the flashlight manufacturer doesn’t specify a tint bin, you could be getting those S, T, U & R bins with very heavy tints off the ‘black body’ line.