Let there be LED
Did you put LED lights on your Christmas tree last year? Do you have a flashlight with an LED light source? Do you have a new Apple MacBook Pro with an LED display? Do you have an LED reading lamp? Or how about LED slippers? Okay, I'm not sure they make the LED slippers, but if they did, I'm sure they are in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. If you are in the graphic arts biz, then one LED device that may be in your future is an LED light box.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) have been around for years in things like clocks, remote controls, jumbo television screens, coffee makers, tail lights or traffic signals. But lately they are popping up in even more places, including desktop light boxes. German company Just Normlicht (www.justnormlicht.com) announced at Drupa last year their new LED proofControl viewing station. They showed off their new viewing station at the PIA Color Management Conference in Phoenix last month.
LED proofControl is a viewing booth that can accurately simulate any type of light source including UV, D50, D65 and cool white fluorescent. Really any ambient light source can be measured with a spectrophotometer (like an iOne), and then simulated in the LED proofControl unit. The LED lights are much more efficient and stable than standard tubes, providing over 25,000 (10 times longer than fluorescent tubes) hours of usage without replacing the light source. Software allows the user to calibrate the device to match the whitepoint of the monitor.
The Just Normlicht LED proofControl desktop viewer uses the latest LED technology to accuratly simulate almost any lighting environment, and can be calibrated to match the white point of the computer monitor.
The LED proofControl units should be available the first quarter of this year. It is not fair to say that fluorescent tubes for color matching are on the way out at any point in the near future. These LED units are expensive - Over twice the cost of a similar sized viewer (around $4000). And larger viewing booths are not at all practical right now. The large area that would need to be illuminated would make them cost prohibited to produce at this time, according to Michael Gall, Just's Managing Director. But new advances in power LEDs and OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) may make this a reality in the not too distant future.