ADI 'In The Dark' About Low Light

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 07, 2017

ADI's recent post on 'How To See Better In the Dark' makes basic mistakes, promoting outdated technical claims.

Missing: Super Low Light

Interestingly, ADI completely omits super low light cameras. This is surprising because ADI sells many of these cameras (e.g., Axis Lightfinder, Hikvision Darkfighter, Hanwha Wisenet X, etc.) and they genuinely provide much better color video in low light. ADI could have used this opportunity to upsell larger imager cameras as well (e.g., Axis Q1635 or the 1/1.8" imager Hikvision Darkfighters, etc.). Finally, there are photography imager based cameras that are excellent in low light. Understandably, ADI would not cite the Sony 35mm 4K camera since ADI does not carry Sony but they could still tout the Axis 20MP camera, which they do sell.

Avoid Slow Shutter

ADI's first recommendation is slow shutter.

Slow shutter should simply be avoided. A decade ago, slow shutter was a 'feature' but only because many cameras were so poor at low light. Now, it is something that every camera has but most need not use, because imagers have gotten much better and integrated IR has become commonplace. And slow shutter will cause blurring at night for even moderately moving objects.

Day/Night No Longer Differentiation

ADI's second recommendation is day/night:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Again, a decade ago, true day / night was a differentiator. Now, day/night is available on most cameras and essentially every camera with integrated IR, which is the overwhelming majority of cameras.

Everything Has AGC

ADI next recommends automatic gain control:

Offering AGC is not 'select' or a differentiator since every camera includes this. It is like saying 'look for a camera that supports a lens'.

However, Digital Noise reduction, used with gain control, is a differentiator that ADI omits.

Finally IR Mentioned

At the end, ADI recommends integrated IR, though with many qualifications:

ADI's link to 'IR illuminators' returns their search results showing only 2 cameras:

This is strange since overwhelmingly IP cameras today support integrated IR, including ADI's offerings. As a matter of practice, it is the #1 way of getting low light images, given its low cost and broad availability.

The distance limitation for IR illuminators is increasingly untrue. First, there are many more integrated IR cameras being released with longer IR ranges. For example, our Camera Finder shows ~700 fixed cameras with IR ranges of 30m/ 100' or more. And we have found in our testing, the bigger problem is that since most cameras today come with such wide FoVs that, regardless of the integrated IR range, the problem is that the pixel density is so low it is hard to make out details at such distances.

Low Light Recommendations

Contra ADI, avoid slow shutter, ignore day/night and AGC as 'differentiators'.

For lower cost b&w low-light, focus on integrated IR cameras, many with quite long range distances (search with our Camera Finder). For higher-priced, color imaging, consider super low light and photography sensor cameras.

ADI Pros and Cons

ADI does a lot of things well - its large branch network, extensive stock, and its masterful pitting manufacturers against each other in across the board sales. Related, see IPVM's Distributor Favorability Rankings. However, their technological understanding remains poor, which hurts their sales and also their manufacturer partners who have real differentiators here.

Comments (10)

Only IPVM PRO Members may comment. Login or Join.

Proof they're box pushers.

Given their target audience and who they are trying to sell to some of these tips are pretty solid. That being said they are pretty dated.

My guess is that they just copy and pasted this info from something from years ago....

They are trying to get into social media without true current thought leadership.

Wow...want to say, "the under educated and uninformed educating the under educated and uninformed." One might give the author the benefit of the doubt that he is just trying to communicate with his target audience of video illiterates. Not sure about that.

Pick up a book and read. More importantly, pick up a few cameras and shoot them out in the real world like IPVM does. One can begin to understand optical physics pretty quickly without a physics degree.

Then write a paper.

Nothing here is strange to those of us in the UK used to dealing with ADI. They have extraordinarily poor technical support and an abject lack of any depth of knowledge.

They have turned Gardiner into box shifter's without having clue whats inside them.

Their preference for whatever manufacturer gives them the best "deal", then transposes into what they promote at branch level - and never on the technical attributes or intended use. Having previously sold into ADI as a manufacturer, it is astonishing what poor product knowledge exists at branch level of CCTV, intruder is fine - but IP cameras really are a bridge too far for them.

ADI's link to 'IR illuminators' returns their search results showing only 2 cameras... This is strange since overwhelmingly IP cameras today support integrated IR, including ADI's offerings.

1000+ shown thru the search "IR camera".

Although "IR illuminators" returns just 2, paradoxically if you ask for just the singular "IR illuminator", you'll receive +30 IR illuminators.

No idea why ADI choose the search term they did, just sloppy on their part. They do have filters for various features but evidently not for integrated IR.

Another weird element is that they have a filter for minimum illumination levels but the entries / options are all messed up, e.g.:

It's hard for me to understand how a multi-billion dollar corporation who specializes in selling video surveillance has this messed up so badly. Compare to our Camera Finder.

Compare to our Camera Finder.

Theirs doesn't hold a (foot) candle to it...

The real sad issue is that the useless search functionality is just how the branch network find solutions for their customers! Seriously, buy from elsewhere, from a distributor who really invests and supports both the products and the integrator.

Related Reports

Calculator - NEW Advanced Searching, Camera Favorites, Model Adding on Dec 05, 2017
The IPVM Calculator has significantly improved your ability to work with 5,500+ camera models: Advanced searching - now pick cameras based on...
Hikvision Door Station Tested on Nov 30, 2017
Hikvision has entered the video intercom market, aiming to bring the race to the bottom to a whole new audience. To see how it stacks up, we...
Dahua Multi-Imager Tested (PDBW8800-A180) on Nov 28, 2017
Dahua has released their latest generation of multi imager models, including the PDBW800-A180, a 4x1080p dome model claiming 30m/~100' IR and Smart...
Hikvision 4K IR PTZ Tested (DS-2DF8836IV-AELW) on Nov 10, 2017
The IR PTZ trend continues, now with 4K resolution, with Hikvision releasing its DS-2DF8836IVAEL-W camera, a 4K 1/1.9" PTZ model specifying 200m IR...
Axis M3106-LVE Mk 4MP Camera Tested on Nov 06, 2017
Axis has released the latest in their low(er) cost M series outdoor cameras, the M3105-LVE Mk II, a 4MP turret model specifying 15m IR, their...
ONVIF Wire Free Camera Tested (Netgear FlexPower) on Oct 31, 2017
Totally wire-free cameras are a hot growth market. But they have had one major problem: Proprietary. IPVM has tested Netgear's Arlo and Arlo Go,...
Avigilon H4 IR Mini Dome Camera Tested on Oct 24, 2017
Avigilon has released their successor to the aging Micro Dome, the H4 Mini Dome, claiming easy install, a patent-pending surface/recessed...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Geovision GV-EDR2100 Tested Vs Hikvision on Oct 16, 2017
A number of ADI's top selling IP cameras are, at least surprisingly to us, from Geovision. We recently bought and tested the Geovision EDR2100...
Hanwha 20MP Multi-Imager Tested (PNM-9081VQ) on Oct 09, 2017
Hanwhwa has introduced the latest in their multi-imager camera line, the PNM-9081VQ, a Wisenet 5 20MP model with four repositionable 5MP camera...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Robot Vandalism on Dec 11, 2017
Vandalism of security systems is a common concern. It is so common that camera vandalism statistics show that designers routinely sacrifice camera...
Access Controller Software Guide on Dec 11, 2017
Properly configuring access controllers software is key to a professional access system. These devices have fundamental settings that must be...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference Review on Dec 08, 2017
Investment bank Imperial Capital holds an annual Security Investor Conference where 60+ companies present, including this year: IPVM bought a...
Integrator GPS Vehicle Tracking Statistics and Success Examined on Dec 08, 2017
GPS vehicle tracking is a growing but somewhat controversial topic. On the plus side, tracking may increases productivity by providing greater...
Hikvision NA Biggest Sale of 2017 on Dec 07, 2017
Hikvision North America has been relatively disciplined the past 5 months, reducing the number of sales and the breadth of what is on sale. No...
Security Integrator IT Expertise Statistics on Dec 07, 2017
20 years ago, putting physical security systems on IP networks was just emerging. Today, almost every system is networked in some way, IP cameras...
Lighthouse Deep Learning Camera Tested on Dec 07, 2017
A Silicon Valley startup, Lighthouse, with a Stanford PhD CTO, has released a deep learning AI camera with 3D sensors for just $300. The company...
Access Control Course Winter 2018 on Dec 07, 2017
Learn more below about the Winter 2018 IPVM Access Control Course. Register here. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in...
Broken Hikvision App Exposes Hypocrisy on Dec 06, 2017
While Hikvision talks about a commitment to cybersecurity, their broken app and their insecure 'solution' exposes not only their engineering...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact