Cheap LED Lights: What is CRI and does it matter

Nov 13, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Cheap LED Lights: What is CRI and does it matter

Nov 13, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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As a long time reader of the blog, you probably already know that not all LED are made equal. One of the prime parameter indicating the quality of light that an LED panel gives out is its CRI (Color Rendering Index) rating. The higher the CRI, the more colors that light is able to render, giving a more precise image for the camera to capture.

If you heard about the green tint or the purple hue LED horror stories, those are both a result (or the cause) for a low CRI rating.

The folks at Videomaker put a colorful object under 4 types of light: tungsten (very close to CRI of 100), and three LED lights: a 77 CRI light, a 99 CRI light and a light with a unknown CRI (which probably means very low) and compared the results.

As a thumb rule, anything that you want rendered well, should be lit with a light qualified to  85+ CRI rating and preferably 90+.

Here are the four scene shot, each with a different light, can you pin each photo to it light source? (here they are again: tungsten77 CRI light, 99 CRI light unknown CRI light)

led-cri-95 led-cri-uk led-cri-tuled-cri-95

 

YouTube video

[Cheap LED Lights: What is CRI and does it matter | Videomaker, thanks for the tip, Adam]

 

 

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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2 responses to “Cheap LED Lights: What is CRI and does it matter”

  1. Peter Fornaro Avatar
    Peter Fornaro

    Important article but it is very important to note, that CRI assumes that the standard observer is perceiving light. For a digital camera that has spectral sensitivity curves different than the standard observer CRI has litte to no meaning.

  2. Pawan Ranta Avatar
    Pawan Ranta

    I’m thinking of replacing halogens with LED lights for my new photography project. Which LED products would you recommend that have 90+ CRI and don’t burn a hole me my pocket.