FAQ – We answer frequently asked questions

What main advantages do the ColorLite sph870/sph900 spectrophotometers have over other colour measuring systems available?

The sph870 and sph900 have been designed as simple to use, but still highly accurate spectrophotometers. Many of our customers compare the colour measuring instruments available before choosing a ColorLite device. 


  • The unique concept of using a small probe head… whereby the measurement is started by simply pressing the head down on the sample.
  • The sph870 and sph900 are both available with an optional d/8° adapter. This means with one device both main geometries (45°/0° and d/8°) can be implemented.
  • A wide variety of accessories make our spectrophotometers extremely flexible – One device is all that is needed to measure small areas 3.5mm in diameter and large areas 38 mm in diameter with the MA38 adapter. Also the same device can be used to measure different liquids or powders.
  • The easy to handle clear menu structure – Measure – Calibrate – Settings – Memory
  • Excellent price/performance ratio
  • We are glad to offer you a custom specific hard and software solution

What is the spectral resolution of the ColorLite spectrophotometers?

The spectral resolution of spectrophotometers is the ability to determine the amount of electromagnetic energy at different wavelengths, within the visible range as described in the DIN5033. The wavelength is measured with all our devices at 3.5 nm steps, which means for the visible spectrum over 100 values are recorded! The light sensitive array transforms the light energy into an analogue electrical signal which is converted into a 16-Bit digital value. This means approximately 100 wavelength values are quantified in 65,536 steps. This is more than most of our competitors.

Is it possible to measure colour with LED (Light Emitting Diode) light?

Most certainly yes! The LED light source has a fixed colour spectrum and is not used to calculate colour values. These are calculated using standardised illumination functions stored on the instrument. The LEDs illuminate the sample in the electromagnetic wavelength range between 400 to 700 nm. The amount of light absorbed within this range at the different wavelengths is determined.

The great advantage of using polychromatic white and blue LEDs to illuminate the samples is that they are practically indestructible. The light intensity stays constant for the lifetime of the instrument, which guaranties a very good long-time stability of results. Time consuming and costly lamp replacement is not needed!

ColorLite was the first company to develop a spectrophotometer implementing white LEDs as a light source, others have followed since. In fact the company was setup based on the advantages from the many years of research gained testing this technology over 12 years ago.

Do the ColorLite spectrophotometers conform to the international norms and standards?

Yes. Our instruments all conform to all the international norms, likely colour metrology a field where worldwide the same standards are valid. These include:


  • DIN 5033 norm in particular part 4 for the spectral method.

  • VDA 280-1 Farbmessung im Kraftfahrzeug; Farbmessung von Kunststoffoberflächen im Fahrzeuginnenraum (Colorimetry for motor vehicles; colour measuring of plastic surfaces of interior materials for motor vehicles)

  • VDA 280-2 Farbmessung im Kraftfahrzeug – Farbmessung von Textilien (Colorimetry for motor vehicles – Colour measurement of textiles)

  • DIN 6174 and ISO 7724-1 Colorimetric evaluation of colour coordinates and colour differences according to the approximately uniform CIELAB colour space

  • DIN 53236 Testing of colouring materials; conditions of measurement and evaluation for the determination of colour differences for paint coatings, similar coatings and plastics

How are the ColorLite spectrophotometers calibrated?

The ColorLite spectrophotometers are calibrated using PTP (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt ) white standards. These ideal diffuse white surfaces have been measured at the PTB and the values are stored on the instrument. The certificate from the PTB is a part of the delivery.

As an option to take care of the PTB standard it is possible to calibrate with a working standard which is made of a robust ceramic and can be cleaned if necessary.

Is it possible to measure powders?

Yes. We offer a special holder and press to compress the powders into a tablet form. The probe head is then supported using a stand and the powder samples placed on top. A simpler way is to measure the powders in a glass cuvette, for which ColorLite supplies a set.

Is it possible to measure liquids?

Yes. We offer a special accessory sets for measuring opaque, transparent and translucent samples.

How are results visualised?

Results are first shown on the graphic display of the instrument. These values can be downloaded to the computer using our ColorDaTra software. Here the results can be viewed in different diagrams or printed as a report.

Can I measure cables or small cylindrical objects with the ColorLite spectrophotometers?

Yes. To measure cables or other cylindrical objects we offer a probe head version with a V-block. This helps position the probe head and ensures a good repeatability.

Is it possible to measure structured surfaces?

Yes. The circular illumination and implementing the multiple sampling function, makes it possible to measure structured surfaces such as leather or plastics.

Can I measure soft surfaces?

Yes. To measure soft surfaces like textiles a small glass plate is used. This guaranties a constant distance between probe head and sample surface.

What is the smallest sized sample that can be measured?

The ColorLite sph870 and sph900 have a measuring spot of only 3.5 mm. For measuring very small objects we offer our customers a probe head with a smaller opening (S-version)

How can I measure small objects?

By pressing the head down onto the sample the measurement is automatically triggered. This means small samples can be held in one hand and the measurement started by pressing the probe head down with the other. Normally we would advise to use a probe head in the S-version.

Are the different probe head versions interchangeable?

No. Making the probe head versions interchangeable would affect the stability of the instruments, as an optical connection which is then necessary would be an insecure fixture.

Can I measure curved surfaces?

Yes. The small head with its low point of gravity make the ColorLite sph870 and sph900 ideal for measuring curved surfaces.