This review actually started from a simple need that we had in the studio. Besides our main lights – a set of three Lishuai high power LEDs (review coming soon), we have a number of generic light fixtures in the ceiling. From time to time we tend to forget turning them off which resulted in introducing some unwanted colors to our videos which we had to fight in post.
The simple way to fix this will be to turn off these lights of course but we do need them some time during the shoot so we decided to see if we can find some high CRI LED bulbs of the same color temperature that we can replace the ones that we currently have in the ceiling.
Searching online we came across the Yuji website. This Chinese manufacturer focuses specifically on different types of high CRI LEDs including strips, COBs, tubes as well as bulbs.
After talking to the company, they were kind enough to send us a number of 10W E27 4000K high CRI bulbs for this comparison. This Bulb uses Remote Phosphor technology which you can read about on one of our older reviews – here.
The Yuji BC Series A60 High CRI Remote Phosphor LED Bulb
On first glance, the bulbs look more or less like any other similar LED bulb however when holding it in your hand you immediately feel the difference. The Yuji bulb is considerably heavier than our test Philips bulb. Putting the lights onto our weight reveals just how much heavier – the Philips only weighs 50g while the Yuji is a whooping 156g or more than 3 times as much.
A closer look at the bulb reveals the reason for the extra weight – the Yuji has metal cooling fins inside the body which you can sort of see when putting the bulb into the light. The Philips bulb has nothing of this sort and when in use the Philips get extremely warm very quickly while the Yuji stays almost completely cool to the touch.
Heat can be an enemy of high-quality color reproduction and so next we decided to test both bulbs using our Sekonic C700 spectrometer to see what we can get. Each test was done from a distance of 1m.
The results are quite interesting – the stronger 12.5W Philips bulb did produce more lux – 336 compared to only 147 of the 10W Yuji – that is a big difference. When it comes to color temperature, the Philips measured 3733 while the Yuji 3755 somewhat warmer than the marked 4000K of both lights.
It is worth mentioning that since bulbs of this type have a very wide beam angles our C700 probably got a little bit of color from the surrounding area (we indeed got closer to 4000K when we measured from 30cm).
The most interesting result is of course CRI. The Philips average CRI (or CRI Ra) was measured as 83, however, the R9 (reds) was very poor at 12 and the R12 (blues) was also low at 61 so this is certainly not a light that we would consider using in any color critical environment.
The Philips 12.5W LED CRI results
The Yuji bulb, on the other hand, produced spectacular results with an average CRI of 97.5 and amazing R9 of 97.6. Really the only score lower than 95 was the R12 with 75. We honestly don’t remember such a high score in any light that we tested here including professional high-end lights costing several thousand dollars so Kudus to Yuji on this one.
The Yuji BC Series A60 High CRI Remote Phosphor LED Bulb CRI results
So what can you do with a high CRI bulb besides replacing your studio lights? well, after playing with these LEDs for a while we actually realized that there are quite a few things that people might want to do with them especially if they can use several of them together as they are not particularly strong.
- You can use them as practicals on set – if you don’t need the output but want to keep the color on your set just use one of those in any visible light fixture in your scene and you are set.
- You can use them to light your editing room – having high-quality lighting in the room where you are doing color-critical work is really important and is one of the things that we are going to use these bulbs for besides our studio.
- Use them as secondary lights – just like in our studio, if you have a location where you want to have some extra “ambient” light beside your main lights – using these bulbs can be super useful. However, you will need to use quite a few of them to make any sort of real impact. Luckily there are E26/E27 bulb splitters that you can buy inexpensively and hook up 3, 4 or even 5 bulbs together and produce a decent amount of light that can cover a room.
- Use them as fill light – this one was sort of unexpected but we quickly discovered while shooting a commercial for a vegan burger recently that we needed a tiny bit of fill light. We decided to use the Yuji LED and since it matches our Lishuai light in color and has a fantastic CRI it worked really well. The big bonus is that the bulb is super diffused so the light is very soft, just keep in might that to make any real change you will need to have it very close to your product – which isn’t always possible so this will only work in some situations.
We started this project simply looking for a product that can replace our studio ceiling lights for something with better color accuracy and discovered a fantastically versatile super high-quality type of lights that can do so many things.
Spending more than twice as much as you typically do on a lower power LED bulb (10W vs. 12W or even more) might sound like a bad deal but from our perspective as product and food photographers it is actually a bargain price for getting super high-quality colors in a form factor that can be used in so many ways and we can certainly highly recommend it if it falls into one of the use case scenarios that we previously mentioned.
- You can get the Yuji High CRI 10W LED Bulbs in packs of 4 (either 3000K/4000K/5000K) – on the Yuji site.
- For more power get the larger form factor 36W (5600K only) bulb from the Yuji site.
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