Training: Using a Lux Meterby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jun 06, 2009 About John Contact John
Getting good images at night is one of the most challenging problems in video surveillance. Making this worse is that generally you cannot trust the illumination ratings provided by manufacturers.
The best tool to solve this problem is a lux meter. Lux meters provide a quantified measurement of the amount of light available. Without a lux meter, you are simply guessing. With a lux meter, you can clearly see and compare the impacts of various lighting conditions. Here is a video overview of the benefits and use of a lux meter:
Choosing a Lux Meter
There are an enormous number of options for lux meters on the market ranging from under $50 to over $500. For video surveillance, the key consideration is that a lux meter can accurately measure under 1 lux (critical for low-light and night-time testing). The cheaper consumer models usually do not do this. Based on Carl's recommendation, I selected the Extech LT300 (for $140 USD) and I am happy with it.
Benefits of Using a Lux Meter
Using a lux meter lets you determine exactly how much light you need for video that is usable for you. This is almost always far higher than what a manufacturer states as their minimum illumination.
With this knowledge, it makes it much easier to plan new camera deployments. Take a lux meter to the proposed camera site and check the light reading. You will know in advance how well it will work or if you need to use a different camera or infrared illuminators.
For more in-depth analysis and demonstrations of low light performance, see our premium report on "How Well Do IP Cameras Work in Low Light?"
Lower Cost Options
In addition to the LT300, Extech has begun offering lower cost compact models. The LT10 is part of their "Pocket Series", and sells for ~$60 online, less than half the cost of the LT300. However, two features are lacking compared to higher end models:
- No remote sensor: The unit is all in one, with the sensor attached to the base unit, so users cannot aim the sensor with one hand while holding the base with readout in the other.
- Claims accuracy only to 0.1 lux: By contrast, the LT300 claims accuracy down to 0.01. 0.1 is likely dark enough for many users, but not those concerned with super low light scenes.
Most Recent Industry Reports
The 4MP Shootout - Dahua vs Hikvision on Sep 30, 2015
4MP cameras are an important emerging trend in video surveillance, aiming to replace 1080p. This is being driven by new sensors from OmniVision that deliver almost twice the pixel count of 1080p a...
33 New Products Directory - Fall 2015 on Sep 28, 2015
New products or major tech isssues that IPVM has reported on this summer / fall: Axis Releases Their Own Video Analytics Axis Non-IP Camera / DVR Kit Is Here BluB0X - The Most ...
Axis YouTube Livestreaming Camera App Tested on Sep 25, 2015
Broadcasting live video has historically been complex and costly, with manual setup and pricey monthly subscriptions required. Now, Camstreamer is aiming to change that, with an Axis Camera A...
Anixter/Tri-Ed Northern Video Tested on Sep 18, 2015
ADI is an IP video manufacturer now (see IPVM's ADI W Box test results). And now, their top rival, Anixter's Tri-Ed arm has also entered the IP video manufacturering business, under the North...
Axis Digital Autotracking Tested on Sep 16, 2015
As camera resolutions continues to climb, the likelihood that you will ever display any camera at full resolution on a monitor declines. This is even more improbable for the normal configuration of...
Access Control Book 2015 on Sep 16, 2015
This book is the textbook for our Access Control Course, today is the last day to get in the course. This is the best, most comprehensive access control training in the world, based on o...
Hikvision iVMS-4200 Tested on Sep 14, 2015
Though best known for their camera and recorders, mega Chinese manufacturer also makes their own VMS software. In this report, we share test results of Hikvision's iVMS-4200, their VMS that works ...
Google Breaks Surveillance Browser Support on Sep 09, 2015
Now you have a choice. Broken video surveillance web browser support or an insecure, prone to crashing interface. As Google has been warning for ~2 years, Chrome has now discontinued NPAPI suppor...
The $28 Million Video Doorbell Ring Tested on Sep 08, 2015
In 2015, video doorbells are big business. Ring landed $28 million in funding from Richard Branson and others who are betting that this is the next big thing. However, when Ring's first generation...
5 Low Cost IR Illuminators Tested on Sep 03, 2015
IR illumination has increased in popularity, with built in IR becoming a common feature in low-cost models. But when low light needs exceed the relatively short ranges of these cameras (usually 100...