Author Topic: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K?  (Read 771 times)
dor123
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Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « on: January 22, 2023, 10:01:02 AM » Author: dor123
I've recently discovered that 5500 is the purest white available without any shades of yellow and blue, while 3500K have shades of yellow or pinkish like my Osram HWL 160W and Philips ML 160W SBMV lamps. This is after watching LED lighting with a pure white color that an American member recognized as 5500K.
So why 3500K is called "White" in the western world and not 5500K and 5000K?
And why 5000K MH lamps are called in Europe "Daylight", despite they are in fact pure white?
Also: Here in Israel, "White" is any color higher than 5000K (12000K is also called "White" here, despite it bluish color).
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #1 on: January 22, 2023, 03:23:49 PM » Author: merc
These are names for consumers so I'd expect marketing rather than something very logical.
I've noticed swapping of 'daylight' and 'cool white' names some time ago and it seems to have infected more sellers.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #2 on: January 28, 2023, 11:04:52 AM » Author: jrmcferren
In the beginning of fluorescent lighting there were only two white colors. You had the 6500k daylight and 3500k white. My assumption was that they used those names to better differentiate the shades of white like they did with incandescent lamps at the time, you had standard and daylight incandescent lamps with daylight having a blue tint to the glass to provide a cooler light.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #3 on: January 28, 2023, 11:24:02 AM » Author: dor123
Thanks. I didn't know that when the American invented the fluorescent lamp, the only colors that could be made from the Zinc Beryllium Silicate phosphor is 6500K and 3500K, and I even didn't know that the names of these colors are taken from the incandescent lamps (Like there are white and daylight incandescent lamps, there are white and daylight fluorescent lamps), as theoretically, the 3500K could be called "warm light", in contrast to the 6500K "daylight".
It is also possible that the 3500K came first, then the 6500K came later, so when the 3500K was the only color of fluorescent lamps, since it is whiter than incandescent, it called simply "White".
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 11:32:15 AM by dor123 » Logged

I"m don't speak English well, and rely on online translating to write in this site.
Please forgive me if my choice of my words looks like offensive, while that isn't my intention.

I only working with the international date format (dd.mm.yyyy).

I lives in Israel, which is a 220-240V, 50hz country.

WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #4 on: January 31, 2023, 10:36:41 AM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
It is also good to know that there were 4500K beryllium lamps too known as “4500 white” lamps.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #5 on: January 31, 2023, 11:20:42 AM » Author: joseph_125
I find the names used to describe CCT to be rather imprecise for this reason, different companies, locales, etc have different naming conventions so any guesses to CCT from the name might be wrong. Personally I like quoting CCT in degrees Kelvin for that reason, no ambiguity as to what CCT it actually is.

5000K typically seems to be called "Natural Light" or "Sunshine" here, or in the case of modern GE lamps "Closet and Laundry" for some reason. IIRC 4100K was originally known as "Standard Cool White" on the early lamps but was later changed to "Cool White". 3500K was originally known as "White" but on modern lamps, they're typically called "Neutral".

Oddly enough on the app for the Cync bulbs, the highest CCT is "Cool White" and "Daylight" corresponds to a lower CCT, almost as if the names were swapped. 
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WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #6 on: January 31, 2023, 12:13:08 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
I have also seen 5000K fluorescent lamps referred to as “daylight” lamps too.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #7 on: March 03, 2023, 01:48:52 PM » Author: kai
5000K typically seems to be called "Natural Light" or "Sunshine" here, or in the case of modern GE lamps "Closet and Laundry" for some reason.
That's a really good designation for expensive HMI lamps ;D

(The differences between 5000 and 6500 Kelvin appear to have their roots in the amount of deep red. See the recent discussion of HMI lamps for event use with, apparently, reduced dysprosium.)


IIRC 4100K was originally known as "Standard Cool White" on the early lamps but was later changed to "Cool White". 3500K was originally known as "White" but on modern lamps, they're typically called "Neutral".
While in German the 4000 Kelvin are called "Neutralweiß". The only 3500 Kelvin lamps I'm aware of in the post-beryllium era here were imports from the USSR where this light colour is just called "white", explicitely without meeting further demands, just high output with rather poor colour rendering.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #8 on: March 03, 2023, 06:12:52 PM » Author: joseph_125
Aside from the odd name, I quite like those 5000K GE lamps, to my eyes they give off a almost perfectly white colour light compared to the bluish looking 6500K lamps or the slightly yellowish 4100K. The high CRI they have probably helps quite a bit in perceiving how it looks too.

I've also have a pair of GE 3500K lamps that were called work spaces, not sure if I agree with that name. If GE was going by the recommended area for use, I think 5000K would be a better "Work Space" lamp while 3500K would be better suite for "Closet and Laundry".

Interesting that 4000K seems to translate to Neutral White in Germany.
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #9 on: March 08, 2023, 09:52:22 PM » Author: Skiller
One thing to keep in mind is that what most people would describe as "white" (as in "no yellow and no blue") is in fact not neutral (from an objective point of view) but biased towards blue. It's not even limited to light. Ask anybody about the precise color of an actual proper "white" object and you get answers such as "it's a creamy white".

Basically, "white" is much more yellow than most people think.


There exist triphosphor 835 fluorescent lamps, albeit they are not very common in Europe. I have one and I quite like it.
I would describe it's light as neither warm (<=3000K), nor cool (>=4000K); just white (3500K). Personally I absolutely agree with this nomenclature.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 09:55:20 PM by Skiller » Logged
WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
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Re: Why 3500K called white and not 5500K or 5000K? « Reply #10 on: March 08, 2023, 10:42:50 PM » Author: WorldwideHIDCollectorUSA
835 fluorescent tubes are more common in the UK compared to anywhere else in Europe.
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