The most common spectrophotometer, this instrument measures light reflected at a fixed angle to the sample, usually 45˚, and can exclude gloss to most closely replicate how the human eye sees color. They are commonly used for measuring color on smooth or matte surfaces.
Spherical instruments can measure light reflected at all angles to calculate color measurements that closely match what a human eye would see. They are commonly used for measuring color that has been applied to textured surfaces such as textiles, carpets and plastics, as well as shiny or mirror-like surfaces, including metallic inks, printing over foil, and other highly glossy surfaces.
A multi-angle instrument views the color of a sample as if it is being moved back and forth, just as you would twist a sample to see the color at various angles. Today’s multi-angle instruments are used for specially coated pigments and special effect colors with additives such as mica and pearlescents, such as nail polish and automotive coatings.