Best Xenon Color Temperature

Paul Gonzalez
• Tuesday, 27 October, 2020
• 7 min read

One of the main reasons why headlights today are so good is replacing the old halogen bulbs with newer technologies. The first that made the jump was HID (High-Intensity Discharge) technology, also known as xenon lights.

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(Source: www.aliexpress.com)


This technology greatly improved on halogen bulbs, both on light intensity and energy consumption. HID or xenon lights were first introduced to the public in 1991 with the launch of the then-new BMW 7-Series.

That said, while these headlights were available as an option on cheaper cars, they were never offered as standard. The xenon headlights color temperature, on the other hand, depends on your needs and wishes.

This gives the colors a more saturated appearance, but also reduces the overall contrast and perceived sharpness of the scene. When the sun is on the horizon, on the other hand, the color temperature is much cooler, and the contrast and perceived sharpness rise.

It’s the same color temperature of older models of halogen bulbs and is great for driving through fog. Yellow-white or 4300K HID’s produce much more natural temperature output, closer to daylight.

With a set of 4300K bulbs upfront, you will have balanced headlights for both night driving and fog. With a set of these bulbs, the night scene will appear sharper, and it will be easier to see things in the distance.

audi a3 xenon bi 8p retrofitlab h1 mini retrofit lupe halogen headlights reply
(Source: www.retrofitlab.com)

Pure blue lights don’t offer any significant advantages, other than the fact that they look cool and refreshing. Purple HID headlight bulbs are by far the worse choice for driving and can cause severe eye strain.

Cause eyestrain: blue light is not found in nature, and our eyes aren’t designed for it. That’s why prolonged looking at blue light can cause eyestrain and other issues with human sight.

Bright white HID bulbs (5000K) produce the brightest light output. However, both yellow-white (4300K) and alpine white (6000K) are very close in the light output, and the difference is often negligible.

It is generally considered that 5000K is the best xenon headlights color temperature thanks to the brightest output and similarity to daylight. It also sits in the middle of the HID color chart, which means that it’s the best of both worlds.

Warmer temperature light is much better for hazy weather, such as fog, rain, and snow. The temperature at which the gas inside the HID bulb is heated determines the color of the light emitted ranging from red to white to purple.

b7 a4 audi h1 mini projector retrofit xenon headlight retrofitlab audizine copyright bi
(Source: www.retrofitlab.com)

Most people shopping for His believe that a higher bulb temperature will yield a brighter light but this is in fact not true. The light output (brightness) of His is therefore proportional to the amount of power that is supplied.

For maximum brightness and the ultimate nighttime driving experience, we recommend going with our 55W HID kit in white, which produces an exceptionally powerful, dense, and wide bright white light without risking any damage to your vehicle, headlight or electrical systems. * Total light output from both headlights or fog lights Most people looking to upgrade their headlights to His from halogens are doing so with the intention of improving visibility on the road, in which case the best HID color would be 4300K, 5000K or 6000K.

3000KGolden YellowYellow (95%) White (5%)Fog lights4300KYellow-WhiteWhite (80%) Yellow (20%)Nighttime visibility5000K×Bright White White (100%)Nighttime visibility6000K×Alpine White White (90%) Blue (10%)Nighttime visibility/style8000KIce Blue White (70%) Blue (30%)Stylish look10000K**Pure Bubble (95%) Purple (5%)Stylish look12000K**PurplePurple (100%)Stylish look Shop HID Headlights *Recommended **May be illegal in some jurisdictions Kelvin is an absolute color temperature scale that can also be approximated in lumens, which is a common measure of light output/brightness.

There is a common misconception that a higher temperature bulb will emit a brighter light output, but this is in fact very wrong. The optimal HID color temperature for ultimate brightness stands right in the middle of the scale at 5000K or 6000K.

Although 3000K (golden yellow) and 4300K (yellow-white) have a higher light output (~3,200 LM) compared to the whites (~3,000 LM), the human eye can see better and more clearly in a white light comparable to natural sunlight. The light output can be improved by almost two folds up to 8,000 LM by using a more powerful ballast, such as the upgraded 55-watt HID conversion kit by Xenon.

megane renault retrofit h1 mini xenon retrofitlab
(Source: www.retrofitlab.com)

5000K is the ultimate bright white light found right in the middle of the color temperature spectrum. This bulb will unquestionably produce the purest white color and is perfect to dramatically improve nighttime visibility.

Your lights will look like those of new luxury vehicles such as BMWs and Audi's and will be most similar to LED headlights. These bulbs emit a powerful light-blue beam, which will only be marginally brighter than your stock halogens but will definitely look good.

Blue and purple HID headlight bulbs are very popular despite not being a great source of light. We strongly recommend against using blue or purple bulbs (anything 6000K) for your safety in times of poor visibility (fog, haze, rain, snow, etc.

I have found many inaccurate guides to measure the color and kelvin ratings of HID and LED Lights. Obviously... the sun is also affected by the atmosphere when we judge its color, but an LED or HID Bulb can be visible as “white” from between approximately 5500k-6000k.

Scientists tell us our eyes are best adapted to see the contrast of objects at around Mid-Day sunlight. Most BMW, Mercedes, and Audi come standard with 6000k, however...some vehicles such as a Honda, and an older Mercedes have 4200k or 4300k (which is a similar color to the yellow halogen lights you see driving on the road every day).

alfa romeo h1 phase mini projector retrofitlab xenon headlight
(Source: www.retrofitlab.com)

We recommend 6000k for standard driving applications, and 99% of our customers buy, and are very happy with, the 6000k color temperature. The color temperature of a light source is determined by comparing its chromatic with that of an ideal black-body radiator.

Note the even spacing of the isotherms when using the reciprocal temperature scale, and compare with the similar figure below. Because it is the standard against which other light sources are compared, the color temperature of the thermal radiation from an ideal black body radiator is defined as equal to its surface temperature in kelvin, or alternatively in mired (micro-reciprocal degrees kelvin).

For source other than ideal black bodies, the color temperature of the thermal radiation emitted from it may differ from its actual surface temperature. CCT is the color temperature of a black body radiator which to human color perception most closely matches the light from the lamp.

The changing color of the sun over the course of the day is mainly a result of scattering of light, and is unrelated to black body radiation. In professions involving color reproduction, such as photography and publishing, daylight is often approximated using standard illuminant D50 or D65, as recommended by the CIE.

This is the opposite of the cultural associations that colors have taken on, with “red” as “hot”, and “blue” as “cold”. The traditional associations come from a variety of sources, such as water and ice appearing blue, while heated metal and fire are of a reddish hue.

ceramic hid bulb h4 double kit 12v xenon 35w fff bi iron plate hi lights base low ac metal dhgate
(Source: www.dhgate.com)

An object that appears to the eye to be white may turn out to look very blue or orange in a photograph. Matching the sensitivity of the film to the color temperature of the light source is one way to balance color.

However, they are ineffective with sources such as fluorescent or discharge lamps, whose light varies in color and may be harder to correct for. Color matching software, such as Colors will measure a monitor's color temperature and then adjust its settings accordingly.

Common monitor color temperatures, along with matching standard illuminants in parentheses, are as follows: 5000 K (D50), 5500 K (D55), 6500 K (D65), 7500 K (D75), 9300 K. Designations such as D50 are used to classify color temperatures of light tables and viewing booths. The RGB standard commonly used for images on the internet stipulates (among other things) a 6500 K display white point.

Most cameras also have an automatic white balance function that attempts to determine the color of the light and correct accordingly. While these settings were once unreliable, they are much improved in today's digital cameras, and will produce the “correct” white balance in a wide variety of lighting situations.

Experimentation with color temperature is obvious in many Stanley Kubrick films; for instance in Eyes Wide Shut the light coming in from a window was almost always conspicuously blue, whereas the light from lamps on end tables was fairly orange. Cinematographers do not “white balance” in the same way as video camera operators; they can use techniques such as filters, choice of film stock, pre-closing, and after shooting, color grading (both by exposure at the labs and also digitally).

Cinematographers also work closely with set designers and lighting crews to achieve the desired effects. For artists, most pigments and papers have a cool or warm cast, as the human eye can detect even a minute amount of saturation.

Since fixtures using discharge type lamps produce a light of considerably higher color temperature than tungsten lamps, using the two in conjunction could potentially produce a stark contrast, so sometimes fixtures with HID lamps, commonly producing light of 6000–7000 K, are fitted with 3200 K filters to emulate tungsten light. The international color code is often used to denote the temperature of a lamp's light.

The first digit refers to the color rendering index : if it is 8, then the CRY is between 80 and 90, if it is 9, it lies between 90 and 100.

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1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicola_Walker
2 www.imdb.com - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908070/
3 www.hellomagazine.com - https://www.hellomagazine.com/film/2020030185521/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-split-star-nicola-walker/
4 www.telegraph.co.uk - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/10735392/Nicola-Walker-Ive-got-a-feisty-face.html
5 - /rebates/welcome