Testing IR Illuminator Performanceby Scott Oie, posted on Sep 05, 2010
Low light can cause problems for surveillance cameras. IR illuminators may improve this situation. However, questions remain about the price and performance of IR illuminators.
Over the last year, we have examined a variety of issues and approaches for dealing with low light problems:
- Tricks manufacturers play with maximum exposure settings to 'improve' low light performance
- Using IP Thermal cameras such as the Axis Q1910 we tested
- Using built-in IR illuminators such as the Vivotek IP7361 we tested
Each of the above have their limitations, respectively: motion blur, high price and restricted camera choice.
In this test, we examine stand-alone IR illuminators that can be added to surveillance cameras to improve low light performance. Specifically, we purchased 3 inexpensive stand-alone IR illuminators via Amazon (the YY-IR100, YY-IR50, and the YY-IR30 that claim respectively 100m, 50m and 30m IR coverage).
We examined the following issues/aspects:
- How far can the illuminators really illuminate? Inside we show video samples of limitations of half the specified distance.
- What impact does reflectivity of the object has? Inside we show video samples of the dramatic differences between visibility and distance viewed for high reflectivity vs low reflectivity objects.
- Where should the IR illuminators be mounted? Inside we show video samples demonstrating placing IR illuminators perpendicular to the camera and using multiple illuminators.
- What bandwidth savings are acheivable? Inside we show video samples showing that bandwidth savings are likely achievable only in test, non-real world conditions.
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