Feb 24.2023

Candela (cd/m2) vs Nits: Definition, Differences and Convert

Different techniques to measure light

Candela (cd/m2) vs. Nits

How to convert nits into candela (cd/m2)?

Understanding the importance of brightness

Final words

When searching for a new television or computer monitor, you may have come across two units of measurement in the product descriptions: "nits" and "cd/m2." Though they both quantify the amount of light produced by the display, they are not equivalent. In this article, we will define these terms, clarify their distinctions, and outline an uncomplicated way to convert nits to candela per square meter.


Different techniques to measure light


Different techniques are employed to quantify the magnitude of light based on the specific use. Common methods used to measure light include:


Candela (cd/m2)


Candela (cd/m2) is a unit of measurement for luminous intensity used to calculate the light emitted by a source in a particular direction. Candela per square meter (cd/m2) indicates how much light is projected onto one square meter of a surface. The International System of Units (SI) established the candela in 1948 to ensure that light was measured by the same units worldwide.




Lumen measures the complete illumination produced by a source of light, making it a determinant of a light source's total output. For example, if you take two bulbs and compare their lumens, the one with a greater rating will radiate more intensely than the one with a lesser rating.




Lux is a standard unit used to measure illuminance, the intensity of light cast upon a certain area. For example, if you are standing underneath a streetlight at night, the luminosity of the light surrounding you indicates the lux. To quantify this, one lux equals one lumen per square meter.




Nits are the standard unit for measuring the brightness of any display. Equal to one candela per square meter, nits are used to describe the luminescence of laptops, phones, and other screens. For example, the amount of brightness you would see when looking at a laptop or phone is typically measured in nits.


Candela (cd/m2) vs. Nits


When it comes to determining the brightness of a display, one might be confused between the measurements of candela per square meter (cd/m2) and nits. While they are both measures of brightness, they measure two distinct values; luminous intensity is determined by candela per square meter, whereas nits assess the luminance of a given area.


Imagine yourself in a room containing a lamp in the corner. If a light meter is employed to measure the brightness of the area, the results would be recorded in lux. Conversely, if a television is activated in the same room, the luminosity generated by the screen would be determined in nits, with the illumination from the lamp measured in candelas. To explain, nits measure a display's brightness from any direction, whereas cd/m2 calculates the brightness from one specific direction.


How to convert nits into candela (cd/m2)?


If your display provides a brightness measurement in nits and you need to convert it to candela per square meter, there is a straightforward solution. Simply use this formula: one nit equals one candela per square meter. Here is the formula:


cd/m2 = nits x 1


For example, if you have a television with a brightness of 500 nits, the formula would be:


cd/m2 = 500 x 1

cd/m2 = 500


The brightness of the television would be 500 cd/m2.


Understanding the importance of brightness


Brightness is an essential aspect to consider when buying electronic displays such as TVs, computer monitors, and smartphones. This is because it directly impacts the visibility and overall user experience. The following benefits make choosing a device with a bright display crucial:


Ease of Use


A bright display makes it effortless to view content on the screen, reducing eye strain and making it simpler to read text, watch movies, or play games. This means that you can use your device for longer periods without experiencing eye fatigue.


Energy Consumption


Selecting a display with adjustable brightness settings optimizes energy efficiency. High brightness settings consume more energy, decreasing battery life, while too little brightness may strain the eyes. By choosing a device with settings that can be modified, users can achieve a balanced approach between luminosity and battery longevity, accommodating various environmental conditions and uses.


Enhancing Image Quality


The brightness of a display plays a significant role in improving the image quality on the screen. High brightness leads to better color accuracy and higher contrast, bringing visuals to life with a more realistic and engaging appearance.


In summary, understanding the importance of brightness is critical when choosing an electronic display to ensure easy viewing, energy efficiency, and better image quality.


Visibility in Bright Environments


Brightly illuminated areas are best suited for using displays with high brightness. A phone with a high nit rating will be easier to use than one with a low rating, for instance, if you're outside in the light on a sunny day. This enhances the user experience and enables the device to be used in different settings.


Brightness and other pertinent elements are crucial to the overall quality of the image while looking for the ideal electronic display. The more expensive higher nit ratings give better vision and better picture clarity, making the additional money well worth it even if they are more expensive. However, keep in mind that greater brightness ratings could result in shorter battery life; as a result, it's important to weigh all advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.


Final words


Grasping the concept of light measurement will prove necessary for various tasks, ranging from displays to illumination systems. Although Candela, Lumen, Lux, and Nit are all ways of quantifying light, they each serve a unique purpose and are utilized in various contexts.


To make the ideal choice when buying any light-emitting device, such as an electronic display or a lighting fixture, you must understand the distinct units of measurement used for quantifying light: Candela for direction-specific intensity, Lumen for total light emitted, Lux for the amount of light on a surface, and Nit for display brightness.


With a familiarity with the various units of measurement, you can pick the most suitable lighting and displays that cater to your needs and preferences.