What’s the difference between Spectro 1 and Spectro 1 Pro?



5 minutes

The Role of Color Instruments

The Challenges of Human Vision

Color measurement devices are becoming increasingly important in color production and quality control. And understanding which device fits your need is an important step.   While human vision is often relied upon to judge color, it is not always accurate, as gloss levels can alter color perception. This is where color measurement devices such as sphere spectrophotometers come in, as they can accurately measure color and account for surface appearance.

One of the main benefits of using color measurement devices such as Spectro 1 and Spectro 1 Pro is that they offer objective and consistent measurements of color. Human vision is subjective and can vary depending on individual differences in color perception, lighting conditions, and human fatigue. In contrast, color measurement devices use objective measurements not influenced by such factors. This makes them highly reliable and accurate, especially in quality control applications where consistency is critical.

Spectro 1 and Spectro 1 Pro align to sphere spectrophotometers (D/8°) which are especially useful in the paint, coating, plastic, and textile industries. They work by shining diffused light onto an object’s surface and measuring that light’s reflectance. The device’s ability to include or exclude the specular component of surface appearance is crucial for evaluating just color or both color and appearance. Let’s take a deeper look into specular light to illustrate the difference between our devices.

Understanding the Differences in Sphere Spectrophotometers (D/8°)

Spectro 1 – Specular Excluded

Measuring Specular Excluded (SCE or SPEX) captures color data while excluding the effect of surface appearance and gloss. This measurement mode is similar to how the human eye perceives color, as surface characteristics become part of the visual color. The Spectro 1 measures in Specular Excluded mode and would be most similar to analyzing with your human vision, including both color and gloss into the measurement. Let’s take an example of two powder-coated samples of RAL 8016 under two different gloss levels – one flat and the other semi-gloss. When measuring the panels with Spectro 1 (SCE), a large ∆E is observed due to the difference in gloss levels, despite having the same color.

Spectro 1 Pro – Specular Included

On the other hand, Spectro 1 Pro measures in Specular Included (SCI or SPIN) and captures true color reflectance from the sample regardless of surface appearance. This mode is ideal for users to measure color regardless of other surface characteristics such as gloss. The Spectro 1 Pro is most commonly used when formulating paint color in tinting machines, measuring textured surfaces like textiles, or analyzing plastics with varying gloss levels. If we measured those same RAL 8016 Brown powder-coated samples from above, we would now have a very low ∆E (Under 1.00 ∆E 2000)despite having different gloss levels and the samples not visually matching, indicating a very good color match.

Most paint companies have large databases of color measurements, most commonly collected by in-house color labs using (expensive) reference D/8° benchtop spectrophotometers in Specular Included (SCI) mode. By adopting the Spectro 1 Pro, which also captures SCI measurements, paint companies gain access to a portable and easy-to-use color measurement solution that aligns well to their in-house reference color data– all at a fraction of the cost of other typical spectrophotometers. [To learn more about how close we can align to these traditional benchtop devices, please visit our article in Paint Coatings Industry Magazine.]

Leverage Your Existing Software  

Integration into Legacy PC Software

Because of the ability for Spectro 1 Pro to remove the effects of gloss and texture, it is commonly used when installed on paint tinting software at the point of sale. Companies can use our SDK to integrate our Spectro devices with legacy desktop software running on Windows or MacOS.  To learn more, please visit our Bridge Kit Integrations page.

Find the Best Spectro For Your Needs

While Spectro 1 Pro is commonly used in the Paint & Coatings industry, the goal is slightly different during quality control for manufacturers & producers of painted products. Since most customers want to source products that visually match, Spectro 1 is typically preferred to ensure quality across a company’s production runs. To help ensure consistent color production, users can analyze every step from incoming raw materials to finished goods.

In conclusion, color measurement devices are essential for accurate and reliable color measurements in production processes. Sphere spectrophotometers, with their ability to include or exclude the specular component of surface appearance, are especially useful in ensuring that color is accurately measured and evaluated for color matching purposes.