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What is the best fluorescent light to use for color matching?

People often ask me, what's the best light to use when color is critical? It can be a tough question because there's no one right answer for everyone. That being said, the most color accurate fluorescent light that you can get on the market is something that's 5000K with a high color rendering above 90. The color that we designate 5000K is like noontime daylight. The reason that color is so important is that our eyes were made for natural daylight, not artificial light. We can see colors better and have improved visual clarity when we're at a color temperature that's like outside daylight. So if I was to answer the question without reference to someone's subjective preference, I would say that something like the GE T12 Chroma 50 or a T8 950 would be a good choice for almost any type of color critical situation. With either of these lamps, you're going to be able to differentiate color better and be more accurate in those results. This is especially important for the medical industry where people are often trying to determine a diagnosis that might be based on some color variation. The dental industry for years has used this type of lamp to differentiate between different shades of white. This becomes critical when you're trying to match up the correct white for someone's dental work. This kind of lamp comes in the older style T12 version which is the F40T12/Chroma 50 or the newer F32T8/950. The one you choose will depend on what kind of lighting system you have. The T12 is 1.5" in diameter operating on a magnetic ballast and the T8 has a 1" diameter tube and runs off an electronic ballast. So these two are not interchangeable and you will need to determine which type you have now and then you can replace them with the correct ones. For most applications this would be the most color accurate fluorescent light you can get. It should eliminate many of the frustrations that people have when it comes to color in their homes, offices or retail spaces. I forgot to mention that this lamp isn't just for medical applications, but also for color critical retail paint stores, newspaper and magazine production and many more. And of course it can be used anywhere people simply wanting a better, more natural light that can help with eyestrain and visual comfort.

I hope that answers your question, let us know if there's anything else we can help you with.

John Bolduan

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