Color Temperature: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

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Color Temperature Chart

Color Temperature Chart

Color temperature can simply be defined as an indication used to measure the coolness and warmth of a light source. Color temperature scale (from 1,000 to 10,000) and it is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K). When a metal piece of heated, the color emitted by it would change. To be more precise, the color associated with the light would change. The color will start with a redness and it would gradually transform to yellow and white. If the piece of metal is heated further, it would transform into light blue and go to deeper blue colors. The temperature of the metal is directly related to the color emitted by it as well. With that understanding, you can go ahead and learn more about color temperature. It will assist you to learn the underlying concepts in an effective manner.

Color Temperature LED Lights

The color temperature of LED lights (LED flashlight for example) can be divided into different types of white lights. They include warm white, neutral white and standard white light. Warm white can be seen at a color temperature of 3000K whereas neutral white can be experienced at a temperature of 4000K. Moreover, standard white light is linked with a color temperature of 6500K.

Color Temperature Chart of Lights (view large image)

Color Temperature Chart of Lights

But why do we divide color based on the temperature? That’s where you need to know about color rendering. Color rendering is a parameter based on Color Rendering Index (further reading: Color rendering index from Wikipedia), which is also known as CRI. The range of CRI is from 0 and it goes all the way up to 100. The CRI explains how a source of light can produce a color to make it visible to the eyes of human beings. In addition, it is possible to explain the different variations in color via the CRI.

If you take a look back at the above mentioned example, you will be able to get a better understanding. You might notice that the piece of metal doesn’t emit a light when it is not subjected to a high heat. But in reality, it does emit a light. But your eyes are not capable of capturing that emitted light. But when you keep in heating the piece of metal, you will be able to see the light emitted out of it. When you heat it further, you can see color variations. That’s because the color temperature fluctuates according to the CRI. If the CRI rating is high, it has a better color rendering capability as well.

The CRI of a white colored LED is somewhere around 75%. When the temperature is getting high, CRI rating will reduce. That’s why warm white light and natural white light is associated with a high CRI rating. For example, the CRI index of these two white colors is somewhere around 80%.

When you have a good understanding about color temperature, you will be able to go ahead and apply that knowledge in a variety of day to day instances. For example, you will be able to use the brightness given out by a strong flashlight in order to figure out the contour of a subject. However, you will not be able to get a clear view about the gradation and details of the object. That’s because you need to have a good CRI in order to figure out the gradation and details of the object. Hence, brightness is not in a position to assist people figure out the contour of objects on its own.

Deep diving into Color Rendering Index (CRI)

If you want to identify the gradation, detail and color of a subject, you will need to use a minimum CRI of at least 75%. If adaptation and interference is not considered, the CRI should be around 135%. Otherwise, you will not be able to see the complete color rendering effect of a subject. That’s the main reason why interested people tend to go ahead with the highest possible CRI as well. It can provide them with a better view of the object that they are examining.

It is important to have a detailed understanding about the principles associated with white Led light as well. The electrons that you can find within the source of light will chip in order to give out blue colored light. Then they can excite the fluorescent powder placed within the source. Once fluorescent powder is excited, yellow colored light will emit. The two lights would then combine together in order to give life to a white colored light. In here, the CRI associated with yellow light is much higher when compared to the CRI of the blue light. Hence, to improve the increased proportion of yellow light is capable of increasing the overall CRI.

If you take a look at the CRI index with this background, you can come to a conclusion that the CRI is high when the light color is warm. Hence, they are ideal for outdoor sporting activities. On the other hand, the low color temperature that you can find in warm light is associated with a longer wavelength. When the wavelength is high, you can expect it to deliver a better penetration capability. Hence, they become ideal to be used during foggy and rainy weather conditions. This can be considered as the main reason why warm LED flashlights are being used during outdoor sporting activities.

Efficiency of Fluorescence

You should also keep in mind that the efficiency associated with fluorescence in excited state is extremely low. The total brightness that is delivered by warm white light is much lower when it is paired along with a dim color. In such a situation, the beam of light will dye the subject that you are analyzing, just like if it was lighted up with a low powered incandescent lamp. This would be a pretty interesting scenario to observe as well. Moreover, neutral white light that is produced by LEDs can be considered as the best choice available to be used for outdoor sports. They don’t just offer a satisfying color rendering. In addition, it can avoid dying and brightness reduction problems, while improving the penetration capability.