I See Better @ Night w/ Halogen Beams than HID/LED

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Ok, I may get taken to task over this observation or not and I can't remember if science backs me up, thought I'd read once where the human eye/brain combo interprets contrast and depth perception better at color temperatures below about 4000K. I may be proof of that possible reality, and I have some limited experience with both. I'll start the farthest back and go forward. Both my Ducati motorcycles had LED beams, the 2013 had LED low beams w/ Halogen high's, the 2016 had LED's for both. My Moto Guzzi has halogen for both. All three bikes were same headlight layout: dual side-by-side (think Harley Road Glide), except the Duc's had geometric shaped reflector and lens combo instead of the traditional circular style the Guzzi has. That was bikes. My F-150 has halogens, but the wife's GMC has HID projector for both high and low beams. Both in the dry and more especially in the wet, I see more comfortably and just more confidently with the Guzzi than the former Duc's (although wet weather time on all those was limited). Same with the truck and cuv-- while it's true the truck has me seated higher, I like the halogen light dynamics better and that's saying a lot because plenty of people complain about newer model F150's headlights being marginal on intensity. I've had extra seat time in the GMC lately with the Holiday season and we take it for most of our run around stuff due to the fuel economy is superior to that of the truck. It's not that the light *output* is better in the truck, it's *not* it's actually less I think. It's the whiteness level. There is something my eye/brain combo prefers about the lower color temperature of the halogens, lumen for lumen. I'm not trying to be a luddite, although it would be easy to make that judgment if only skimming the above. I like the "look" of LED's and HID's better. Bright and clean. Modern. Stylish and cool for sure. When we were looking for her a new vehicle, a requirement was HID or LED headlights, because I felt like buying halogen in 2019 was a step backward or at best, not a step forward. I had my motorcycle experience with LED vs halogen as a guide but at the time chalked that up to bike headlights are different. Short version: My eyes are more comfortable with halogen headlights at night than HID's, and I feel like I see better that way. P.S. Not a cataract issue. Left eye underwent cataract removal in 2016, right eye they're not a factor yet (bi-annual ophthalmic exams confirm).
 
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Could it be you are blessed enough to have Euro style lenses? The type with the hard cutoff line. I had one of those on the motorcycle put it early 80s. It really was amazing. But in the end I give the credit to the shape and style of the lens rather than the bulb type
 
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Sounds about right. Being older your pupils don't require as much effort to narrow / dilate when looking around at night because halogens have a comparatively low output. Whether you can actually see better, that's clearly not the case because halogens just don't throw enough light. The amount of light can be an advantage or disadvantage. For halogens the advantage is that you have less light reflected back at you so fog won't and street signs* won't be a blinding. *I hope as halogens become phased out that the DOT begins to reduce the amount of reflection of street signs because some of them are almost blinding.
 
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It's probably hard to beat LED's with a good color index. LED's with a narrow spectrum will be less able to illuminate certain things. However, finding such a setup is, I think, impossible. One would have to choose the LED's from a specific "bin" of color temperature and wide spectrum. I've yet to drive behind a wide spectrum LED headlamp. Even though I own a few flashlights with such an LED. I drive a lot, and rent cars/trucks constantly. One thing I've learned, despite the various lighting attempts, few headlights are a pleasure to drive behind under all conditions. LED/HID can be glaring in snow. AND, some blu-ish HID's don't illuminate a wet, fresh blacktop road at all. Where as a halogen light will. The setups I've done myself, utilizing the HIR (halogen infrared reflecting) bulbs were always the most pleasant. With a wide spectrum of light, about 3000K color temperature. [Linked Image from jaguarforums.com]
 
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Form vs function. White light is in, modern, expensive looking. Do a bit of searching and you find that yellow is easier for our brain to process than white (more blue). Your motorcycle observations make perfect sense. Might be a reason for yellow fog lights.
 
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I personally like the light of LEDs. There is a sharp cutoff though and that might be what some attribute their diminished sight to.
 
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Many people can see nearly as well with halogens but they mistake dazzling glare of colder color temperature lights as useful. It's a shame there aren't more LED light options in about 3500K color temp. The small reduction in lumens from a warmer temp is made up for by being more compatible with human eyes, but all the silly monkeys understand is a bigger #.
 
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The thing about HID is they don't seem to reduce their output as fast as Halogen as they age. For new bulbs on new cars I also feel that Halogen is easier to see than HID. Maybe because I have problem seeing blue in the dark (blue billboard signs vs red or white), and there's more blue in HID than Halogen?
 
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I agree, I switched back from my LED's to 9011 halogens in my 300. Definitely a noticeable difference in bad weather. I wish they'd make the LED's with warmer colors. Your GMC uses 25w D5S HID's, almost the rest of the OEM industry is using 35w. [Linked Image]
 
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Skippy722 good catch, yeah I'd noticed that. However, I'm afraid to upgrade her to the higher lumen 35W mainly because the Terrain/Equinox canbus is notorious for being finicky about voltage.
 
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Originally Posted by Cujet
It's probably hard to beat LED's with a good color index. LED's with a narrow spectrum will be less able to illuminate certain things. However, finding such a setup is, I think, impossible. One would have to choose the LED's from a specific "bin" of color temperature and wide spectrum. I've yet to drive behind a wide spectrum LED headlamp. Even though I own a few flashlights with such an LED. I drive a lot, and rent cars/trucks constantly. One thing I've learned, despite the various lighting attempts, few headlights are a pleasure to drive behind under all conditions. LED/HID can be glaring in snow. AND, some blu-ish HID's don't illuminate a wet, fresh blacktop road at all. Where as a halogen light will. The setups I've done myself, utilizing the HIR (halogen infrared reflecting) bulbs were always the most pleasant. With a wide spectrum of light, about 3000K color temperature. [Linked Image from jaguarforums.com]
How does one tell when a halogen is HIR type? I might want to upgrade the bulbs in my F-150 to HIR, although the stock long life's aren't as bad as people claim. They could be brighter for sure, but they get it done.
 
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Not an expert here but I have motorcycles ,cars ,trucks ,but Volvo and my Tacoma have the old H4 halogen motorcycle has a halogen headlight in it and the difference is partially the reflector but, also the halogens following a different color spectrum on a lumen chart, I think that's the right term ,if you think of the old seal beams they were more of a yellowish color, the halogens seem to be of more Blue to White ,and then LED seem to be really white at least looking through my eyes , experts police chime in TOMB Convert
 
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Originally Posted by LoneRanger
How does one tell when a halogen is HIR type? I might want to upgrade the bulbs in my F-150 to HIR, although the stock long life's aren't as bad as people claim. They could be brighter for sure, but they get it done.
9011 and 9012 are HIR bulbs. 9011 replaces 9005, 9012 replaces 9006. This link shows how to trim them to fit, though some (my 300 for instance) don't require any trimming.
Originally Posted by LoneRanger
Skippy722 good catch, yeah I'd noticed that. However, I'm afraid to upgrade her to the higher lumen 35W mainly because the Terrain/Equinox canbus is notorious for being finicky about voltage.
In all honesty, I wouldn't replace them till one started failing. They're $350 for 2. But they won't cause any issues. They run at the same voltage, but draw a tiny bit more amps. Assuming they're fed 14v DC, the 35w ones will draw ~2.5A, the OEM 25w draw ~1.8A.
 
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I must agree with the OP. For some reason i see better and feel less strained with halogens than HID/LED. The softer light works more for me.
 
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I agree, LED's, HID's and projectors etc produce whiter light that goes further. When I drive my GF's Rav 4 with HID's I can definitely see better than the halogens in my Golf. However what gets me is other drivers with HID's, LED's etc also blind the heck out of me at night so my vision is impaired VS drivers with halogens which I can tolerate fine. I do have sensitive eyes but I've been driving for 22 years now now and this wasn't an issue until more vehicles with brighter/more dense lights came out. It really sucks actually, it taxes my eyes to drive at night and makes them very tired quickly.
 
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Originally Posted by Skippy722
9011 and 9012 are HIR bulbs. 9011 replaces 9005, 9012 replaces 9006. This link shows how to trim them to fit, though some (my 300 for instance) don't require any trimming.
Can you get H11's or H9's as HIR?
 
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Originally Posted by LoneRanger
Ok, I may get taken to task over this observation or not and I can't remember if science backs me up, thought I'd read once where the human eye/brain combo interprets contrast and depth perception better at color temperatures below about 4000K. I may be proof of that possible reality, and I have some limited experience with both. I'll start the farthest back and go forward.
That is absolutely true in the human eye we process and see best with color temps around late morning or early afternoon...so about 3500k would be in the sweet spot. I personally find that color temperature to be most relaxing and pleasing to my eyes and I think I see better with that color temperature too.
 
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