The Difference between Colorimeter and Spectrophotometer

The Difference between Colorimeter and Spectrophotometer

From fan decks and paint chips to smartphone cameras and virtual painting apps, there are many ways to match colors. However, the two most common and accurate methods of color matching are colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Although the purpose of both instruments is to precisely match colors, each instrument has its advantages and disadvantages and is best suited for some color matching tasks.

What is a spectrophotometer?

As the name suggests, a "spectrophotometer" uses visible chromatography to depict colors on any surface. It is achieved by measuring reflected and transmitted light and then forming a reflection curve to describe the color of the surface. Spectros, as they are called, are used to measure colors from many different sources and under different lighting conditions. The spectrophotometer can have different geometry or measuring the ability to adapt to different color measurement scene. The three most common spectral geometric shapes are 45/0, d / 8, and multiple angles.

What is a colorimeter?

A colorimeter is a tool for measuring color in a way that mimics how the human eye sees and understands color. A handheld colorimeter is a commonly used colorimeter that uses a set light source to refine the measurements into three values (also known as tristimulus), red (R), green (G), and blue (B). Color Muse is a colorimeter that matches its type and cost of the equipment with great accuracy. Learn more about color muses here.

Do you need a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer?
The type of color matching technique you need depends on what you're doing. Handheld colorimeters are powerful devices for matching solid colors and comparing similar colors. While smaller devices are often sold to DIY customers as a means of avoiding the hassle of paint chips, a good colorimeter can produce effective basic QA and check accurate results. They usually offer more mobility than desktop spectrophotometers and are ideal for DIY projects, printing, and painting.

However, handheld colorimeters are not very useful when it comes to identifying isomorphism, or how colors change when viewed in a different light, while spectrophotometers are possible. The spectrophotometer provides a large amount of color data needed to identify exact matches and determine formulas. Industries such as automotive coatings use spectrophotometers to measure automotive paint, which can have an impact and look different in various lighting applications.
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