X
Get all access to the world's best video surveillance information.
Logo
Free-book-promo-680-70

WDR Megapixel Camera Shootout

by Antony Look, posted on Jul 30, 2011

Dealing with direct sunlight is one of video surveillance's toughest problems. Avoiding the sun is frequently impossible. Making things worse, when a scene has direct sunlight creating both dark and bright areas, image quality can suffer dramatically.

In video surveillance, the technical term used to describe a camera's ability to handle these conditions is WDR or Wide Dynamic Range. In this context, range refers to the variations of light levels that a camera can capture and deliver a quality image. The greater the range, the more likely the camera can handle both very bright and dark areas (e.g., sunlight on a person's face, shadow on the car in the corner).

Earlier this year, we did our first WDR shootout with (2) SD and (2) MP cameras. One of the clear, yet surprising, results was that cameras with more pixels (i.e., megapixel) tended to outperform (i.e., capture more image details) than standard resolution cameras, even if the SD cameras were marketed as supporting WDR.

Given those results, in this test, we wanted to learn more about the differences in megapixel camera WDR performance. To do so, we tested 6 Megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision (AV1315), Axis (P1344), Panasonic (WV-SP306 and WV-NP502), Sony (CH140) and Vivotek (IP8151P) to see who was the best and worst at handling WDR scenes.

[UPDATE 2012: We have tested the Axis Q1604 against the best performing WDR cameras in this group.]

We picked 2 common real world scene:

  • Doorway entrance facing outdoors - this is a common pain point for users who cannot properly identify individuals coming inside for hours a day as the sun faces the door
  • Sun setting in the line of sight of an outdoor camera - this is a frequent problem for parking lot and street surveillance. Accidents or thefts occurring during those times of day can be obscured by the sun.

In addition to testing core WDR performances, we did additional testing of 2 advanced features to see what benefits they provide:

  • Face WDR: Panasonic has an optional feature that can detect faces and then adjusts exposure to maximize the image quality of the detected face.
  • Exposure Regions: A number of cameras, including Arecont and Axis, support exposure regions that allow lighting to be optimized for a specific area of the scene (e.g. region specified for where faces normally appear).

Below is a preview of our test results from the doorway showing fairly dramatic differences among the 6 megapixel cameras tested:

Inside the Pro section, we share full results and rankings of each camera's doorway performance.

Below is a preview of our test results from the outdoor setting sun scene showing major performance differences among the 6 megapixel cameras tested:

Inside the Pro section, we share full results and rankings of each camera's setting sun performance.

The complete report is available only to PRO Members.
Inside the Pro Section

Inside, we rank each camera's WDR performance based on a series of image comparisons and video clips that you can download. We also provide results on advanced features such as Face WDR and exposure regions. Finally, we offer recommendations on camera choices and WDR best practices.

Want to read the rest of WDR Megapixel Camera Shootout and get immediate access?






Most Recent Industry Reports

Testing Genetec Security Center on Jul 23, 2014
This is IPVM's first in a series of all new, in-depth test reports on video management software. We start with Genetec's Security Center. Here's a 50 second video overview: Inside this report a...

Panasonic Series 6 IP Cameras Tested on Jul 21, 2014
Can Panasonic make a comeback? One of the early entrants in IP cameras, Panasonic has been slipping, dues to faster and more aggressive competitors. Now, Panasonic has released a sixth generation...

Favorite Access Control Software 2014 on Jul 16, 2014
What are the favorite access control software platforms? Is it the elder incumbents like Honeywell, Lenel and Software House? Or can newer providers like Brivo, Genetec or S2 make a dent? Just lik...

Testing Samsung vs Google/Dropcam on Jul 14, 2014
Samsung is charging hard into IP cameras. Last year, they attacked the professional market with their WiseNet III launch. Now, they are going after the consumer / residential market with their "Sm...

Summer 2014 IP Camera Course on Jul 10, 2014
Registration is CLOSED. IPVM's industry leading IP camera course provides certification and enables you to master the key concepts, drivers and factors in selecting and deploying modern surveillan...

Testing the Smallest HD Cameras on Jul 09, 2014
Miniature HD IP cameras are a growing trend. It started with cameras that had small 'heads' but large 'base' units. Increasingly, though, the bases are shrinking. Recently, we even found one withou...

IP Camera Statistics 2014 on Jul 07, 2014
All IPVM members can download our new IP Camera Statistics 2014 report.  Here's what's inside the 54 page guide: This is a companion report to Favorite IP Cameras 2014, Worst IP Cameras ...

Testing Varifocal Minidome (IQeye) on Jul 02, 2014
Minidomes are increasing in popularity, as IPVM statistics show. However, the most common objection to using minidomes is the lack of varifocal lenses. In this report, we tested the IQinVision&nbs...

Testing Canon IP Cameras on Jun 30, 2014
Canon now owns one of the top global VMS offerings but how good are their IP cameras? Will the combination of Canon IP cameras and Milestone VMS create the next Avigilon? Or will Canon's cameras b...

H.264 High vs Main vs Baseline Tested on Jun 27, 2014
In surveillance, H.264 is often considered a single 'thing' but there are many different sets of capabilities, called profiles, to choose from. The most well known of these are: Baseline Main ...