TRICOR's Model 600 Imaging Spectrophotometer is an exciting new product for measuring color. Unlike other imaging colorimeters, the Model 600 can be used to measure radiated sources, reflectance as well as transmittance from 380nm to 780nm. This spectral information can be used to calculate various color coordinates; by convolving the spectral curve with a user specified type of illumination and standard observer. The software allows for any combination of illuminant (11+ types) and standard observer (CIE 1931 or 1964). Resulting color units include XYZ (Tristimulus Values), xyz (chromaticity coordinates), L*a*b* (CIELAB 1976), Lab (Hunter Lab 1946), u'v' (CIE 1976 UCS), L*u*v* (CIE 1976 CIELUV) and CCT (Correlated Color Temperature).
The "Imaging" portion of Imaging Spectrophotometer refers to the system sensor, a camera, used to acquire spectral data over the measurement area. All this functionality can be done on an image as opposed to a single point. Every pixel location represents a virtual independent spectrophotometer! Therefore, a 1280x960 image is equivalent to having over 1.2 million independent spectral reflectance curves.
Many other color systems on the market use the tristimulus method of measuring color. The tristimulus method has a major distinct disadvantage compared to the spectrophotometric method. The limited tristimulus method simply measures a red, green and blue reflectance over an area with a single illuminant. These devices give no information regarding spectral/reference content; and therefore lack the capability to directly detect metamerism.
We are only beginning to scratch the surface. Color measurement applications will continue to push the operating envelope of this system. It will continue to improve, as new emerging technologies become available to increase performance, capabilities and ease of use.