If a picture is worth a thousand words then the animation above is a 5000 word thesis on the color and spread of a variety of LED spotlights from NanoCustoms and Volx Japan. Over the weekend Taka and I got together and we pitted the Nano Customs PAR 38 spotlights against 3 different Grassy LeDio LED spotlights including the 21 watt Coral Blue, and the 7 watt Coral Blue and Mystery Purple lamps. To be clear, keep in mind that these lamps are not all of the same wattage, number of LEDs and different optics. The images were made with the LEDs about 15″ above the water surface and with the camera white balanced to a 6,000 Kelvin-lit freshwater aquarium; that seemed to be the best reference to make the images appear as close to what we were seeing as possible. The Nano Customs PAR 38 LED spots are both 21 watts with 5 LEDs but we have changed out the lenses from the stock 40 degree lens they ship with: the 12K in this image is using 80 degree lenses and the 20K is using 60 degree lenses. The Grassy LeDio Coral Blue is also 21 watts but since it is using 7 LEDs, it should be a little bit brighter than the 5 LEDs of the NanoCustoms (see this post for a quicky explanation of how drive current affects luminous efficacy of LEDs and this post for an overview of all the LeDio spots from Volx Japan). All of the LeDio spots use 60 degree lenses but these clear lenses do not appear to blend the light as well as the honeycomb surface of the Cree lenses, perhaps favoring light transmission over blending. Moreover, these LeDio LED spotlights are designed for operation on 100V and although we saw no difference in running the lamps at 110V through the wall or 100V through a transformer, Volx is working to produce these lamps with drivers specifically designed for use with 110V which may alter the performance of the LeDio spotlights. All of the lamps had some strengths in bringing out certain colors of a range of corals including lords, scolymia, disc corals, chalices and some exotic corallimorphs but there are some definite trade-offs between color and intensity. The ideal lighting setup would use a few of these lamps in tandem to get the desired balance of color rendition and sufficient lighting intensity. We’ll reserve our opinions on different lamps for the comments but we’d love to hear your feedback about what you think of the different color schemes.
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