Survival-Pax Blog: Color Temperature - High CRI (85+) & Neutral White LEDs

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Color Temperature - High CRI (85+) & Neutral White LEDs

Many of you are probably wondering about the new 4Sevens High CRI (85+) and Neutral White LED flashlights that recently came out. I'm sure with all of these names and numbers, figuring out which flashlight to get can be quite confusing.

Well, I'm hear to help enlighten you guys. (Oh, I couldn't resist a cheesy pun.)

These two LEDs, the High CRI (Color Rendering Index) (85+) and Neutral White are offerings of the CREE XP-G series of LEDs. There are many LED's in this series with varying CCT's (Color Correlated Temperatures).

Before I continue, let me explain what CCT means. Color Correlated Temperature relates to the color of a light source and is measured in kelvin with the symbol K being used. Now it may seem odd, because Kelvin is actually a unit of temperature. A unit of temperature is used to measure color because color temperature really means the temperature of an ideal black-body radiator that emits light at that specific color. Think of a piece of metal glowing as it's being heated up.

Basically, 2,000 K is an orange light; 3,000 - 4,000 K is yellow; 5,000 - 6,000 K is white; 6,500 K + is blue-white.

Now back to LEDs. The various XP-G LEDs made by CREE have varying color temperatures. The standard XP-G LED that 4Sevens uses is called the R5. This LED has a cool white color in the 5,000-6,500 K range. It's a white light, but can seem to make certain colors look a bit gray. We are used to seeing things in the sunlight, so when we use a cool white LED to visualize something, the colors can look pale.

Comparing the XP-G R5, Neutral White and High CRI (85+) LEDs.
Looking at the High CRI (85+) and Neutral White LEDs, we see the difference in color when compared to the standard R5 LED. This difference corresponds to a shift in color temperature towards the lower values of the scale. The Neutral White LED would have a color temperature of around 4,000 K while the High CRI (85+) LED would have a temperature closer to 3,000 K.

These softer temperatures give a warmer color rendition, something closer to sunlight or the incandescent light bulbs that we are used to using indoors. This lighting can be easier on the eyes and may also help bring out certain colors that would otherwise be washed out with the standard R5 LED.

In the end, it's a matter of personal preference but if you haven't yet seen these new LEDs, I would suggest checking them out. A new High CRI (85+) or Neutral White flashlight may become your favorite.

Take care!

Simon - Survival-Pax Team Member

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