(Topic ID: 304757)

Bulb sales coming up! Here are color temperature comparison pics

By horseflesh

8 days ago


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  • 28 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 days ago by horseflesh
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 8 days ago

I want to update some games from incandescent to LED, but the eternal question remains... what kind of bulbs should I pick?

Comet has a nice article discussing the options and they include the color temperatures for their most popular bulbs:

https://www.cometpinball.com/pages/the-art-of-pinball-leds
Warm white: 3000-4000K
Sunlight: 4000-5000K
Cool white AKA Natural white: 5000-6000K

OK, but what does a color temperature REALLY look like?

Well, I realized that have smart some LED bulbs that let me dial in color temperature... so I don't have to guess what a game should look like, I can just view a game under a bulb that is set to any color temperature I want.

But how can I share those photos? Color correction is pretty complicated and everyone's screen is different. Here's what I tried...

I took the photos on my Android phone, and then used the Google Photos app on my iPad to tweak saturation and warmth to make the playfield on screen look like the playfield in front of me. If you look at this post on a bright iPad screen that does not have Night Shift turned on... it should hopefully look close to what I saw. I would think an iPhone would be similar.

FWIW, the photos also look pretty correct on my Android phone, in Google Photos on my color-corrected Windows monitor, and in this post on my Windows monitor. I was honestly surprised at the consistency.

The pics below are in this order: OEM incandescent lights (different angle to hide from backglass glare), 3500K, 4500K, 5500K.

Here are my impressions in case the pictures are misleading.

* Compared to the OEM incandescent lighting, ~3500K (like Comet Warm White) is dramatically, outrageously cooler. After a few minutes of looking at the game under my lighting tests, the OEM colors looked flippin weird... so yellow!

* Despite the dramatic difference, I liked ~3500K *a lot.* Now that I have done a comparison, OEM incandescent lights are so yellow they look crazy.

* I liked ~4500K OK, almost as much as ~3500K... but not quite. I could see choosing Sunlight for a game with cooler tones in the artwork; but I also think Warm White will be good everywhere.

* I did not like ~5500K at all. It was like grocery store lighting.

* Comet's article said something like "if you aren't sure what to do, Sunlight is safe" and based on my tests that sounds fair. If you tend not to like cooler lighting in general, I think Warm White is a safer all-around choice.

* Based on this test I am going to confidently order a ton of Comet 2SMD frosted Warm Whites on the Black Friday sale.

I hope this helps someone.

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#2 8 days ago

The last three pics don’t show anything.
How about placing the four choices in four adjacent same color inserts?
Easier to see side by side.

Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
Http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact
http://www.PinWiki.com/ - The new place for pinball repair info

#3 8 days ago

I can’t exactly do that … I was lighting from the top with a comparable source, not actually using playfield lamps. It’s easiest to see the tint difference on the grey nuclear plant towers.

#4 8 days ago
Quoted from horseflesh:

what kind of bulbs should I pick?

Frosted warm white. Keeps the original look, just brighter.

#5 8 days ago

I tried those sunlights a year or 2 ago. They were off the game an hour later and tossed on a shelf where they're gathering dust.

I've used colored ones under inserts in a couple games and frosted warm whites behind a couple older backglasses, but out of our 24 games only a few have any LEDS. The games arent on often enough that heat is an issue, and I prefer the color temp and subtle fade in/out of incandescents. I've tried several types from different manufacturers and none have nailed the color temp of a #47 bulb yet.

#6 8 days ago

Did you try the retro smd warm whites from comet? Those would probably be closest. If you want exactly like incandescent, you’ll never find it.

#7 8 days ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Did you try the retro smd warm whites from comet? Those would probably be closest. If you want exactly like incandescent, you’ll never find it.

Yes - and you're right, i won't.

Like I said, I do have some in a few backboxes, but nowhere visible like in the g.i.

#8 8 days ago

It really boils down to horses for courses. The choice of color temp depends on the predominant color palette in the game. It also must be taken into consideration that (especially in older games), the artists were likely working (including mixing colors) under incandescent lighting, so you’ll see the greatest fidelity to their “vision” by reproducing those conditions with the playfield lighting. For example if you ever seen a BK or Gorgar retrofitted with cool-white LEDs, you know (unless you lack any sense of aesthetics, lol) that it looks washed-out and just ALL WRONG.

If there are lots of blues, purples, whites, and other “cool” colors, then I think a cooler white LED can work better. I don’t think these games look “right” with incandescent lighting; just for fun I once experimented with replacing the stock LEDs with #44s in a section of my ST playfield, and it made the playfield look like it was stained by 40 years of secondhand smoke - gross.

If the game is more red/orange/yellow/green based, the warmer whites and incandescents will make the colors more vibrant. ACDC and Met look better in incandescent than LED, for example.

Simpsons is a subjective case. Incandescent or warm white led is faithful to the way it was designed, but lighting it up with cool white is more consistent with the way the Springfield universe looked on a CRT TV. (I’d lean cool white personally.)

#9 8 days ago

Cool white doesn’t suit pinball in any capacity imo. Leave cool white for operating rooms only.

#10 8 days ago

First pic with incandescents look best by far.

#11 8 days ago

I use Comet frosted warm white 1SMD. Sitting next to an incandescent game it definitely looks cooler. Sitting next to a newer Stern game it looks like incandescent. Once you have all your games converted, and nothing to compare it to, they look fine.

#12 8 days ago

I like the way the comet sunlights looked in Pinbot's head. Sunlight to me looks better with the darker blues, etc. - looked terrible in anything with warm colors (dragonfist backglass).

I was definitely a member of the better-dead-than-led club.... but the retro 1smd frosted bullet type (warm) I'm fine with. It makes a difference not only with the heat, but with the electric bill as well. A Saturday party with 25-30 machines up and running used to add $40 to the electric bill for the month, and made the basement 90+ degrees. Now I don't even notice the $$ increase and the basement is ambient temp instead. That's just with 80% of the machines having the head lamps changed to LED..... slowly doing (sometimes selected) areas in other machines.

#13 8 days ago

I've now done several full LED upgrades on my machines (using Comet LEDs). While initially I was reluctant as I do like the warm glow of incandescent lamps, I love the brightness and 'pop' that LEDS provide...particularly under inserts. I will continue to migrate all my machines to LED.

I've found that you have to experiment and find what looks best for a given machine and given location. Particularly with warm, sunlight, and cool whites. That's the downside of LED. Where before I stocked like 6 type of incandescent lamps, I now have well over 60 varieties of LED on hand.

Personally I've preferred warm white to the sunlight lamps in most cases. For me the sunlight has a bit of a greenish tint to it. I use 2SMD frosted in the GI, and tend to use 1SMD clear non-ghosting for feature lamps. I feel that cool white looks too cold in most cases for GI. I generally color match for the feature lamps, but in some cases a warm or cool white looks much better...I tend to like a warm white under blue inserts. For flashers, I've found that the 8SMD flashers are ok under the playfield or in the backbox but are too bright where there is direct line of sight to the player. In those cases I find the 5SMD much preferable.

It's really a matter of personal preference. Experiment and enjoy.

#14 8 days ago
Quoted from rwredmon:

For me the sunlight has a bit of a greenish tint to it.

I saw a little of that too.

#15 7 days ago

Im going to blow your minds! Some Games, I have 2 or 3 of the Whites in the Same Game in the GI!
No one mentions it or notices.

Ill also ALWAYS have a need to mix brightness too!

-1
#16 7 days ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Im going to blow your minds! Some Games, I have 2 or 3 of the Whites in the Same Game in the GI!
No one mentions it or notices.
Ill also ALWAYS have a need to mix brightness too!

That’s cool for you, Art. That's what you like. Great.

Fulll disclosure. You started and owned and then sold Comet.

You’re a great guy. But you should disclose that.

The OP is just dialing an overhead light to color temps. Not really useful at all.

#19 7 days ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

No one mentions it or notices.
!

I dont doubt dipshits today can't tell cool from warm white; they also like putting purple in everything so, yeah.

#20 7 days ago

Ignored pinsider's can still downvote you? Must be a bug...

#21 7 days ago

It was my personal opinion.

#22 7 days ago
Quoted from Jigs:

First pic with incandescents look best by far.

Agree. Old skool

#23 7 days ago

Wish Comet would offer a warmer light. 4000k shouldn't be sold as warm white. If someone offered a 2700k LED I'd pay twice what Comet is charging for their "warm" bulbs.

#24 7 days ago
Quoted from A_Bord:

Wish Comet would offer a warmer light. 4000k shouldn't be sold as warm white. If someone offered a 2700k LED I'd pay twice what Comet is charging for their "warm" bulbs.

warm is always in the 1700 - 2000k's

I'm just a knuckle dragging movie guy tho.

#25 7 days ago

I'm sure I'm missing it somehow, but I see no significant difference in the last three pics.
They all look the same. No lamp inserts turned on. No GI turned on.
In the first pic, some lamp inserts are clearly lit.
But the last three pics, nothing is lit.

Could someone please enlighten me as to what I am supposed to be seeing?
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#26 7 days ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

I'm sure I'm missing it somehow, but I see no significant difference in the last three pics.
They all look the same. No lamp inserts turned on. No GI turned on.
In the first pic, some lamp inserts are clearly lit.
But the last three pics, nothing is lit.
Could someone please enlighten me as to what I am supposed to be seeing?
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

Hey Chris. OP did not have or use bulbs in the game to show lighting difference. (sans the first pic of incandescents) He is using an overhead light with a color temperature dial. Not useful, for the comparison he is trying to make.

#27 7 days ago
Quoted from Jigs:

Not useful, for the comparison he is trying to make.

Oh. Ya. I agree. Thanks. I thought I was having a stroke or something...
--
Chris Hibler - CARGPB #31
http://ChrisHiblerPinball.com/Contact ... for board repairs
http://www.PinWiki.com - The Place to go for Pinball Repair Info

#28 7 days ago
Quoted from ChrisHibler:

Could someone please enlighten me as to what I am supposed to be seeing?

In the 3 pics without the game on, the overhead light is in a different color temperature for each shot. The 3 pics range from more yellowish to more bluish. It's entirely possible that the difference is not perceptible depending on how your screen is set up.

The test served my needs--in person and in the photos I decided I definitely preferred warmer light to cooler light. That's all this test was ever meant to do.

If I had a bucket of each kind of LED I would have installed some, this was to help me decide what to order.

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