The purpose of photometry is to measure light as perceived by the human eye. The brightness of a luminous surface depends not only on the amount of radiation it emits, transmits or reflects, but also on its spectral composition and on the visual response function of the observer viewing it.
Because human visual response varies at different light levels and from person to person, precise photometry requires the definition of representative standard observers. The CIE system of physical photometry specifies procedures for the quantitative evaluation of optical radiation in terms of internationally agreed spectral luminous efficiency functions for human vision. V(λ) represents photopic vision, V'(λ) represents scotopic vision and Vmes;m(λ) represents mesopic vision, the latter being intermediate between photopic and scotopic vision. Furthermore, V10(λ) represents 10° photopic vision.
These luminous efficiency functions, together with the SI base unit, the candela, constitute a system that enables the calculation of values of photometric quantities for optical radiation as well as light-emitting, light-transmitting, or light-reflecting surfaces, to be precisely determined based on the international system of units, regardless of the spectral composition of the radiation emitted, transmitted or reflected.
This Draft International Standard has been sent to the CIE National Committees, CIE Divisions and the Board of Administration (BA) for ballot. It is still subject to changes and may not yet be referred to as a CIE International Standard. When approved by the CIE NCs, Divisions and the BA, it will be published as a CIE International Standard.