“What is color? No object of itself alone has color.
We know that even the most brightly colored object, if taken into total darkness, loses its color. Therefore, if an object is dependent upon light for color, color must be a property of light.
And so it is.”
Paul Outerbridge, Photographer 1896 – 1958
Have you ever wondered why things look different when you change a light bulb, say swapping a compact fluorescent for a good old incandescent? It is because the compact fluorescent has different color properties than the incandescent. The primary difference is know as color temperature. (more…)
Now that regular incandescent light bulbs are a thing of the past and LED’s and CFL’s are the new “go to” light bulbs, what can you expect your house to look like? The reason I am asking this question is because the colors in your home are going to appear differently than they do under good, old fashioned incandescent lighting. This is because of something know as CRI or Color Rendering Index, a scale of 0-100 where incandescent light bulbs are at the top of scale, 100.
Different light source have different CRI’s, all of which are compared to incandescent light bulbs, but non of which are equal to incandescent. Fluorescent and LED light sources vary in CRI between about 75 to about 85 with some LED’s approaching 90. Therefore things are going to look different depending on the CRI of you light bulb. Note the picture of the fruit and vegetables above. For most purposes, a CRI of 85 is considered good enough in residential applications.
This chart lists different light sources and their associated CRI values. At the bottom of the list is Low Pressure Sodium, a light source that was primarily used in highway lighting in the past. With this kind of lighting, a police officer could not tell the difference between blood and oil at an accident scene. CRI does make a difference!
New light bulb labeling laws are useful in selecting the correct light bulb with a satisfactory CRI. Please see this label and note that in addition to other important information the CRI value is shown as “Color Accuracy”.
Please be advised that higher CRI’s require a higher standard of manufacturing. In a fluorescent light bulb more expensive phosphors must be used and in LED’s higher quality computer chips must be used. Therefore you can expect to pay more for better quality light. There is no right or wrong, just be sure you understand the differences.
Visit the App Store and download the UL app, LightSmart, for all kinds of great information. And please visit FoggLighting.com and like us on Face Book.