Looking to buy a flash/strobe and can't tell if 5600k ± 200k is considered good or bad quality.

I can imagine using 2 strobes from the same manufacturer and getting a difference of 400K, which could lead to some problems.

I know about CRI for LED lights, but also learning that some people consider it inaccurate.

Wondering if there is any equivalent for strobes.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Whether +/-200K is good or bad for a strobe depends a lot on what type of strobe and price point you are talking about. For a cheap speedlite that is pretty good. For a high end studio strobe that is not so great. It also depends on whether you're talking about +/-200K for two different pops at the same power setting, or for two different pops at highly disparate power settings. Can you give us more specifics about what you are looking at? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 23, 2018 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I can't remember exactly which light I was looking at, but I believe it was one of the cheaper Godox studio strobes (amzn.to/2yzZS2i). \$\endgroup\$
    – juil
    Oct 26, 2018 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


Flash white balance varies with flash power level (depending on power range, typically at least 200K, more likely 400K to 1/32 power, from high to low power, and is the probable intended meaning of your spec). There is no one value of flash white balance, not even in one flash unit. Speedlights typically do not even specify white balance, because it varies with power level (studio lights vary with power level too, but they typically mention one at full power level). Some users are agast when they discover this variation, imagining a defective flash, but it is of course just a simple fact of physics. Just how life is.

Flash is generally near Daylight white balance, but it varies with power level.

Speedlights become more blue at low power, and most studio lights become more red (but a few can operate like speedlights). Speedlight low power is a short duration that chops off the weak trailing red tail, and voltage controlled studio lights simply become a less powerful (warmer color, red vs. blue hot) flash. Some studio lights claim +/- 50K, just meaning the one Full power stability. You know how marketing is. My site has a sample of that speedlight color change: https://www.scantips.com/lights/whitebalance2.html#pwrlvl

It is not necessarily a problem if we correct it. Using two flashes for a portrait are surely in a main/fill relationship (main close and at around 45 degrees, with a frontal fill), at different power levels and different distances. But the subject is dominated by the close main light. Correcting with a test shot with white balance card at the subjects location and light works very well.

Here's a good article about working with flash white balance by a manufacturer. https://www.paulcbuff.com/color-temperature-and-color-balance.html

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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you see the new Godox portable strobes? They claim less than +/-75K over the entire power range, in a special mode. godox.com/EN/Products_Witstro_Flash_AD600Pro.html \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Oct 23, 2018 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the Paul C. Buff company invented that for their Einstein flash model, a special Color mode that varies voltage with duration to hold a constant color. Color shifts red with lower voltage, but shifts blue for shorter durations, so power changes just make the correct choices to balance out. Therefore, it has specs of 5600K +/- 50K in Color Mode, and a range of 5600K to 6400K in speedlight mode (but which includes faster durations). Chinese apparently appropriated that idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info. Surprising they did not patent it to stop the Chinese. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dunno, but I'd assume they did, they have other patents. That does not stop the Chinese, but the prices sure are good. \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ It won't stop the Chinese from making something, but it can't be sold legally in the US or Europe if it is patented. Prices are indeed very nice, I'm very happy with my flash :) Pretty sure Nikon and Canon will copy the Chinese LI-ion battery pack in their next line up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Oct 23, 2018 at 18:43

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