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  • Writer's pictureFYRLYT

Driving light trends 2023. "Is AMBER the new black?"

We have been asked about the recent market trend of AMBER driving lights and the option of AMBER clip-on coloured filters and their claimed benefits. Do we offer them and if not, why not? A reasonable question. No. We do not. Read on...


We are not denying the success for brands, resellers and customers making purchasing decisions based on brand/store/media promotion, influencers, new for the sake of new etc. However where we take issue is when claims of features and benefits are at best optimistic or worst potentially misleading.

FYRLYT is different. Our design ethos of first principles is based on verifiable data not trends. We appeal to critical thinkers and perhaps the the more pragmatic when purchasing products. In terms of actual performance and long-term benefits, reliable design and high-quality construction are what matter most, not just brand hype. The product must stand alone on an objective measure of its merits.


Let us begin with some specific background. Clip-on filters/coloured lenses are not new and have been promoted extensively in the modern era for over twenty years. (We will preclude yellow automotive lights and fog lights etc as they have been around since the mid 1930's - Viva la France).

Nevertheless, over the past year, there has been a rampant marketing trend around the AMBER colour and or filters that seems to be more about seeking attention for its aesthetic appeal than any tangible benefits. Through trade shows, social media, and influencers, the idea that "AMBER" possesses some sort of mystical quality has been propagated. The cycle is self-perpetuating: Stoke "FOMO" (fear of missing out on something special) and drive sales while encouraging people to purchase more lights and accessories from the brand.


We find this 'interesting' as it is arguably a TOTAL CONTRADICTION from the last ten years plus of typical LED marketing of "brighter and whiter", "like daylight" etc. Furthermore is a strategic 'shift' in many now inferring "their specific light is now even in white light mode is friendlier and less problematic for glare etc". If the core 'typical' driving light LED is a typical 5000-6500K+ with a CRI between 70 or 80 by the chip makers own engineering specifications then NOTHING changes that as a fact. Please take note of the following as so many 'experts' seem to miss when questioning this... We are fully aware of 90-95+ CRI LEDs being available and their use in premium architectural, medical environments and broadcast lighting products. We regularly read the latest engineering data from Cree etc. You must consider the specific use/task or your assumptions may well be incorrect. Just like halogen not all LEDs are equal. We are not anti LED as our media production equipment would prove. The shorter wavelength inherent properties of the typical LED driving light will always have less than ideal qualities for the purpose of driving at night. No amount of marketing can change the physics. (We explain this in further detail in our "4 REASONS WHY".) Some brands are going to great lengths to reposition their lights as somehow now being ideal. For many consumers this is convincing and reassuring to those already invested. We come back to the phenomena of the repeat cycle especially on social media and next minute it becomes "A blanket TRUTH" as perpetuated by salespeople, media and every expert, well meaning or incentivised.


These trends and attitudes should be viewed with scrutiny. Look out for them and think back. Challenge them and you maybe met with cognitive dissonance but that is the era we now live in. "THE TRUTH" however remains resolute. It's in the science.

FYRLYT's exceptional light quality performs reliably in all conditions without the need for additional filters, avoiding the inconvenience and inevitable loss of light output. This isn't a result of any magical or hyped-up claims, but rather the science behind our products, which we have consistently shared and promoted since 2011. We remain unbiased towards any light source, including LED, HID, LASER, hybrid, and beyond, so long as it meets our core values and specific task requirements.


 

AMBER & YELLOW lenses/filters. The facts.


Coloured filters can alter the appearance of the light and improve visibility in certain conditions, such as reducing glare or enhancing contrast. However, the benefits may be subjective and depend on personal preference and driving conditions.


No improvement in CRI:

Adding coloured filters, including amber filters, to LED or other driving lights does not improve the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of the light. CRI is a measure of how accurately a light source can reveal the colours of an object compared to natural sunlight.


Negative performance aspects:

Using coloured filters can have negative effects on the light output and quality. Coloured filters can reduce the overall amount of light output, which can decrease visibility and make it harder to see obstacles on the road. Why would you knowingly use a light that makes it harder to see animals or other hazards? What is initially a novelty of AMBER or YELLOW monochromatic vision soon becomes tiresome and jarring when switching back to normal headlights. With the way human adaptive night vision works this is highly problematic. The irony is what is being promoted as increased safety is in our opinion the absolute opposite of what is ideal.


Compromise in fundamental design:

The use of coloured filters on driving lights is a fundamental compromise, indicating that the light source itself is not ideal in terms of its wavelength and spectral power distribution. The additional filter attempts to improve this, but at the consequence of reducing the light output, which is at odds with good design practices. It also seems a contradiction to what many brands and media experts were telling consumers.


Questionable benefits:

Coloured filters can be a sales marketing gimmick to convince consumers that they will get performance benefits. Consider the potential negative effects before making a decision to use coloured filters on driving lights. These negative effects are sound accepted scientific principles beyond any brand marketing spin or influencer's opinion.


Effect of adding another optical component:

Adding any filter in front of the light source introduces another optical component and two additional surfaces, which can cause reflections, refractions, and absorption of light. Result? You get less light output.


Light transmission and diffraction:

The science behind the effects of coloured filters on driving lights involves the interaction of light with matter, including reflection, refraction, absorption, and transmission of light. The colour of the filter determines which wavelengths of light are absorbed or transmitted, and the thickness and quality of the filter affect the amount of light that passes through. Plastic filters are prone to dust and surface contaminants, which reduce light transmission and increase diffraction.


Conclusion:

Adding coloured filters, including amber plastic translucent filters, to LED and other driving lights may alter the appearance of the light and improve visibility in certain conditions, it does not improve the CRI and can have negative effects on light output and quality.


The use of coloured filters on driving lights is a fundamental compromise, indicating that the light source itself is not ideal, and may be a sales marketing strategy to convince consumers to purchase additional accessories. The addition of another optical component can cause the loss of light, distortion of the beam pattern, and reduction in light output.


FYRLYT chooses to remain focussed on true high performance design and innovation. Any questions? Talk to the design team. No salespeople.


We are here to assist you make the right decision for your specific needs with no obligation. If this means FYRLYT is not the right product for you we will say say so. Read what our customers have to say at our FEEDBACK PAGE. Welcome to the "CAMPFYR".

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