A color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative metric to measure the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with a natural or standard light source.
Color rendering, as defined by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), is the effect of an illuminant on the color appearance of objects in comparison with their color appearance under a reference or standard illuminant.
The CRI is typically expressed as a numerical value on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating better color rendering.
● A CRI of 100 represents perfect color rendering, meaning the light source accurately replicates colors in the same way natural daylight does.
● A CRI below 80 is generally considered to have a noticeable impact on color rendering, making colors appear less accurate or less vibrant.
Actually, the CRI is calculated based on how closely the colors match their appearance under the reference light source. It is determined by evaluating the color rendering for eight specific sample colors (R1 to R8). A spectrometer checks to see if the light contains adequate quantities of those colors compared to sunlight.
However, this 8-color(R1 to R8) metric can’t tell you comprehensively whether or not a light source can render more saturated colors, so CIE decided to add 6 more saturated colors R9-R14, also referred to as CRI (R96a), while the former 8 colors we called CRI (Ra).
The CRI characteristics for LED lights can vary from product to product or in different production periods or methods. Measuring the Color Rendering Index is important for several reasons:
Overall, the measurement of CRI is essential for assessing and ensuring the quality of light sources in various applications, where the accuracy and fidelity of colors play a significant role in aesthetics, functionality, and safety. It provides a standardized way to evaluate the ability of a light source to faithfully reproduce colors, thereby influencing our perception of the world around us and the success of specific tasks and activities.
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