LED Color rendering

February 26, 2011

A quick and half-assed comparison, inspired by an argument on SlashDot.

I took (more than) five pictures, of my hand, holding a bunch of different colored wires, in indirect daylight, under neutral, cool, and warm LEDs, and under the light of all three LEDs combined. Camera was Canon SX100IS, ISO 100, Cloudy white balance, let the camera pick aperture and shutter.

Executive summary: true daylight is best of all, then mixed LEDs, then neutral, then you’re probably not happy with your light.

True daylight

LED, neutral

LED, cool

LED, warm

Mixed LED light, neutral/cool/warm

3 Responses to “LED Color rendering”

  1. Chris Cooper Says:

    All you prove here, is how LED’s affect photography. Photos are very rarely a good representation of the tonal differences that we see with our eyes. If you are a photographer, then LED light poses some filter, exposure, and aperture challenges for sure. I would say each individual needs to judge the light for his/her self.


    • dr2chase Says:

      If you have a better idea for how to convey this information, I’m all ears.

      I can say, that the camera is “more sensitive” than our adapted perception to color glitches, and in the same direction. Our eyes can discern finer color differences, but they also adapt pretty quickly, especially when the color is not too far off.

      So, for example, “neutral” looks a little greenish both in person and to the camera, but it isn’t something that bothers you as much as you would expect from looking at the photo. At least, that is my experience. My wife is more aware of color glitches than I am, and “neutral” (good CREE XP-E — the LEDs here are Luxeon Rebels, and I think they are a tad greener) is okay with her. “Cool” is not okay with her.


  2. fireofenergy Says:

    Thanks for posting this, and the diffraction grating on florescents and leds. Nice to be able to see the differences!


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