What's your light with the worst tint?

As a rookie about to order his first LED lights, how do I avoid the issues in this thread? Do these variances occur because a given light doesn’t actually deliver its 4000K or 4500K or 5000K or whatever? Or, are they caused by looking at photos, thinking you like 4500K, then discovering after-the-fact that you really prefer 3500K.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Unless you get a really horrible tint, most lights will look decent enough if you’re a n00b. It’s really only after you have a few lights that you can compare side-by-side and you start gaining preferences (and dislikes).

I wouldn’t fret about it too much.

As I’ve sold off all the lights with tint I don’t like, my worst tint light is currently the BLF GT!

Generally a manufacturer like CREE will produce the LEDs and then they analyze them, grouping them into ‘output’ bins and then ‘tint’ bins.

Usually, when you see a LED listed for a light, you’ll see something like ‘XM-L2 U2 A2’, or a variation of that.

The ‘XM-L2’ part is the family of LEDs, in this case, made by CREE. The ‘2’ would be the second iteration, or upgrade to that particular emitter. The next alpha-numeric pair would be the ‘output’ bin, as small improvements are realized coming off the production line, or in say…subsequent runs. Also, they’re evidently not all uniform to begin with, so grouping helps people out.

The first pair of characters also gives us an idea of where in the evolution, that particular LED is, above and beyond the ‘L2’ part.

Finally…and we didn’t use to see it all that often when I started in 2012, but you’ll now see a second pair of alpha-numeric characters after the output bit rating and that’s the ‘tint bin’, or the shade/color/hue of the LED.

I think this is a graph for the XM-L and it will differ slightly from emitter model to emitter model, but it gives you an idea:

In the earlier days, manufacturers like Zebralight (and most others BTW) didn’t really give two hoots about tint, but that’s all changed.

Some of us are ‘tint junkies’ and some of us don’t care all that much. The warmer tints are pleasing like an incandescent light bulb is to a fluorescent, so it’s a personal preference for the most part.


Thanks, Chris. I’m putting my flashlight orders on hold until I can learn a bit more about which lights are available with which LEDs. My preference is to get away from the incandescent tint (warm white/yellowish) and move toward lights that not only are brighter with greater range, but trend toward the neutral white. Apparently, not all flashlights can be bought with those tint characteristics.

I’m a bit of a ‘stick-in-the-mud’, but a flashlight is a tool for me to see in the dark. I just need to see and if I’m using my ZL SC-600 with sea-foam green tint on low, I don’t care, since I’ll still be able to see whatever I need to see.

Now, if National Geographic rings me up tomorrow and tells me I’m going down to the Amazon to catalog Poison Arrow frogs, then maybe I’ll go for a high CRI (color rendering index…noon sun on a clear day) and do my thing, but I don’t need a high CRI light to put a water heater into a closet area, or look for a beer that rolled under my truck.

One needs to be careful on banking the cow on temperature numbers, like 3500, 5500, 6500, because as with other things, one man’s 3500, is another man’s 3850, as we all perceive things a bit differently and who knows where these numbers are actually coming from, or how truly accurate they are?

Don’t sweat it, get some various tints and see what you like, but one rule of thumb is that you go cool white for urban areas and seeing at distance and then warm/neutral white for enjoying nature outdoors.

If you look at things like plants, trees, flowers, you’ll notice a real difference, which may be important to you, or it may not be?


My worst tint is a XML-T6 star that I got last year from fastech. I guess I should have looked at the specs as this one is so yellow it could pass as having a yellow filter.

My worst is the 2 Ultratak K18’s i have. All i know is they are xpg2 and very cold “angry blue”. I really need to change out the led’s.

I’ll throw in one more complication to your requirements:

Warmer tints tend to have greater range, given the same output, than cooler tints, especially in humid conditions. This is because longer wavelengths of light (warm tints) scatter less in the atmosphere than shorter wavelengths (cool tints). So, not only does more of the warm light reach your target, but you also get less light scattered back in your face.

In dry air, this is much less of a concern. But in humid air, a warm light can really make a difference.

I find my lights with the most pure white tints tend to have the worst visible colour rendering. Does an off white tint help with rendering? My worst tint lights are ledlenser P7.2 which has a purple tint, and Meco (Lattice Bright) XM-L cheap zoomy with a green tint.

I suggest you avoid completely the term neutral, because it is used in two different ways, and people mix them up

1. Neutral White is a reference to a range of Color Temperature (people disagree what that range is, some would say 4000-5000k, others will disagree). Instead I encourage you to use Color Temperature Numbers. Learn if you like 4000k, or 5000k, or something else.

Hint, the color temperature your brain is adapted to at the time, will bias how you see the color of a flashlight.

2. Neutral Tint is a reference to the color fidelity, compared to an ideal light source. Most LEDs fail to land exactly on the ideal BBL (Black Body Radiator Line). I suggest you look at maukka’s reviews, he has the most complete info, and charts, to show where an LED lands on the Color Temperature and Tint fidelity plots.

also, LEDs do not produce the same color spectrum as Sunlight. There is no single Pure White value for all color temperatures.

As far as beam shots being nonsense, not to me. I have a lot of practice taking photos and comparing different LED colors and tints. I can get a generally good idea how an LED will look in person, from looking at photos.

otoh, MOST people who buy flashlights buy for maximum brightness, and those are not high CRI and do not in any way have Tint on the BBL.

So it is possible that people that are interested in Maximum Lumens, will not be as interested in CRI or Tint as I am. I use my lights indoors, close range, after dark. I like warmer colors when my brain is adapted to full darkness, I like cooler colors when my brain is adapted to sunlight.

And, shining a flashlight on the palm of my hand is Hugely informing about CRI, and Tint.

Bottom line for me, I like N219b 4500k as a general multi purpose Color Temperature, and I prioritize Red Rendering (CRI). For me, the Cree LEDs all fail to deliver the kind of Tint I enjoy, they are too “Creen”

here is a typical Low CRI LED, with green Tint.

here is another example of a green tinted Cree LED, in the middle: (it still lets me see in the dark, but not with accurate colors)

ps, I do agree that beam shots of a single beam, can be pretty useless. I prefer to show 3 lights at a time, one of them being cool white (6000k), to provide relative color reference…

Reading this excellent thread I feel most, if not all, the tint preferences are only making sense when contrasting one tint with another. Colors, are not perceived in without reference point to some other. Any color looks different when placed next to some different color. It is unavoidable.

Nothing is neutral white by itself alone - only contrasting makes it so and besides, preference for various colors and shades of tint changes even in one person during seasons, environments, time of day, activities etc…… It appears hard to make any definitive statements about best or worst, with all the psychological subjective factors involved :partying_face:

Probably my worst “tint”…………no, there are a couple thinking about it. 1st or joint worst would go to the sc5c mkII 4000k xp-l2. At times its not too bad, in fact it can look fine. . Other times(ambient light and my eye calibration dependent) it is too much towards yellow. Think smoke stain yellow, dingy horrid kind………………not the sun kissed! . My sc53w which is a little lower in CRI and 4500k is much more palatable.
The other is 47’s mini turbo cool white……………damn that thing makes a fugly coloured beam on higher levels. Low down, not too bad, but once you get to medium and high…… :person_facepalming:

actually, no
tint preferences arise when they contrast with the white balance of the brain of the user.
this means that when a user is accustomed to sunlight, they will tolerate a large amount of green in a TINT, but will not like a Color Temperature that is warmer than sunlight.

otoh, when a user is accustomed to incandescent light, then the green tint of most LEDs, other than some Nichia, will be obvious and unpleasant. And in this ambient light environment a cool white LED will seem too Blue.

a lot of people think they want an LED that is similar to sunlight, and that is what most flashlight manufacturers market to. However, many people use flashlights not in sunlight, and not when their brain is adapted to sunlight. For these people, especially the ones who are adapted to full darkness, cool white with low CRI and green tint is particularly unpleasant.

Olight is particularly good at producing green tinted cool white flashlights. Zebralight also. They are driven by the consumer who thinks the most lumens is the best. I am not one of those, so I proclaim my hate for cool white, low cri, and green tint, for all the world to hear. :slight_smile:

Worst tint?

  • Zebralight SC51 - great light for its time, but the tint was fairly greenish. Still a good light, but the tint definitely didn’t match up to modern standards. On the upside, Zebralight has greatly improved their tint selection since. This doesn’t seem like an issue for their current lineup.
  • Olight S10 - another great light for its time, but the puke green tint was pretty gross. This was mostly caused by Olight’s unfortunate choice of AR lens coating. Swapping in a different LED and lens fixed the problem. Like Zebralight, Olight seems to have addressed this and its no longer an issue with their current lineup.
  • Some random budget lights - I have dozens of cheap budget zoom lights mostly purchased as mod hosts. Some of them have ridiculously ugly green or even blue tints.
  • My Coleman fuel dedomed XPG2 and XPL lights - These are emitters I dedomed myself. They all seem to have super-greenish tints. Yuck! Nowadays I either use XPL HI, or use a hot knife to slice-dedome (SST-40).

I find minus green filters make a light whose green tinted LED I hate, much more tolerable, despite the 28% drop in brightness

Is there a risk of those filters melting to the glass, in a high-output light? Absorbing 28% of light, plus the hot glass, sounds like they must heat up a lot.

good question
maybe do some tests and let us know your results
I don’t think I would use the filter on a D4, but, try it, maybe the few seconds the light stays at max won’t be long enough to melt the filter…

I seldom use more than 200 lumens, but yes, at about 1000 lumens one of my dark green filters (70% light loss) got warped. It did not stick to the glass.

I have not had a problem using the Lee minus green filters on a CR123/16340/18350 lights, nor on my AAA lights.

They do make a special version for high heat, that I have not tried

learn more about the standard filters here

Lee minus green Filters are fun to experiment with, but ultimately an LED swap is the more durable solution to a light with unacceptable green tint.

Im very sensitive to green tint, because the majority of time I use lights with High CRI Nichia LEDs.

I love to hate the Cool Greenish White, Low CRI XM-L2 LED. but, Im an equal opportunity hater, and the 6000k XP-G3 is equally green… Cree = Green

read maukkas post that shows Lee Filters can actually move the tint of a light closer to the BBL, and even slightly increase CRI

and here he mentions the high temp filters:

(I added the pics of a stock S Mini and my Cu S Mini w filter, pointing to the filter I used, in the same light he tested)

Thanks for posting these:-)

What three tints are we looking at, in the bottom ( wall beam shot comparison of three lights) picture?

left to right
4000k N219b I had swapped in; guessing about 6000k XM-L2 (stock for the pictured light and also for the Copper Olight S Mini); and stock Fenix E01 that uses the Nichia white GS LED (known for being blue, my guess is its also about 6000k)