Axis Q1602 Lightfinder Test

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 12, 2011

Axis says its new Q1602 camera with 'Lightfinder' technology is a 'revolutionary improvement' for video surveillance cameras. It is a very bold claim. Until now, the only thing available has been Axis produced demos so we bought an Axis Q1602 and did our own tests.

Low Light Challenges

No doubt, low light is a historical problem for video surveillance cameras. While manufacturers make crazy claims of cameras working at 0.01 lux or lower, the reality is that the video quality is fairly terrible at light levels even 10x or 100x greater than those levels. Grainy, dark images are common in low light.

Here's an example of bad low light video:

You can make out that there is a person but not much else. Pretty useless.

This is the type of video one is often stuck with unless they use digital slow shutters or illuminators - both of which have bad side effects, respectively motion blur and poor depth of field.

As such, getting a camera that has strong low light sensitivity without tricks or add ons is quite valuable.

The Test

We took the Axis Q1602 and pitted it against the top two low light performing megapixel cameras from our Megapixel Camera Low Light Shootout and a top regarded SD low light camera. In this way, we could better understand if the Q1602 really was superior to top quality products or was simply marketing fluff.

Then we did a series of tests:

  • At 0.3 lux indoors in both color and black & white mode
  • At 0.5 lux outdoors in both color and black & white mode
  • Outdoors in both close range and long range to see how far the cameras could 'see'
  • Day time at Field of View widths from 15 to 80 feet
  • Indoor / outdoor scene to test Wide Dynamic Range capability

With this approach, we could determine not only what was 'best' in low light but what tradeoffs existed during the rest of the day.

The Questions

When looking at the Q1602 as a whole and trying to determine what, if any, fit the camera has, a number of important questions should be answered:

  • How much more details can the Q1602 capture in low light compared to top competitive cameras?
  • How much better or worse comparatively is the Q1602 in color vs black and white mode?
  • Can slow shutter be used to effectively reproduce or best the image capturing capability of the Q1602?
  • How does the Q1602 compare to top performing megapixel cameras in the day?
  • How does the Q1602 handle bright lights and WDR scenes?
  • How much bandwidth does the Q1602 consume compare to top competitive cameras?

Inside, we answer all of these questions.

*********** ************** **** '***********' ********** ** * '************* ***********' *** ***** surveillance *******. ** ** * **** **** *****. ***** ***, the **** ***** ********* *** **** **** ******** ***** ** we ****** ** **** ***** *** *** *** *** *****.

Low ***** **********

** *****, *** ***** ** * ********** ******* *** ***** surveillance *******. ***** ************* **** ***** ****** ** ******* ******* at *.** *** ** *****, *** ******* ** **** *** video ******* ** ****** ******** ** ***** ****** **** *** or **** ******* **** ***** ******. ******, **** ****** *** common ** *** *****.

****'* ** ******* ** *** *** ***** *****:

*** *** **** *** **** ***** ** * ****** *** not **** ****. ****** *******.

**** ** *** **** ** ***** *** ** ***** ***** with ****** **** *** ******* **** ******** ** ************ - both ** ***** **** *** **** *******, ************ ****** **** and **** ***** ** *****.

** ****, ******* * ****** **** *** ****** *** ***** sensitivity ******* ****** ** *** *** ** ***** ********.

The ****

** **** *** **** ***** *** ****** ** ******* *** top *** *** ***** ********** ********* ******* **** ************ ****** *** ***** *********** * *** ******** ** *** ***** ******. ** **** way, ** ***** ****** ********** ** *** ***** ****** *** superior ** *** ******* ******** ** *** ****** ********* *****.

**** ** *** * ****** ** *****:

  • ** *.* *** ******* ** **** ***** *** ***** & white ****
  • ** *.* *** ******** ** **** ***** *** ***** & white ****
  • ******** ** **** ***** ***** *** **** ***** ** *** how *** *** ******* ***** '***'
  • *** **** ** ***** ** **** ****** **** ** ** 80 ****
  • ****** / ******* ***** ** **** **** ******* ***** **********

**** **** ********, ** ***** ********* *** **** **** *** 'best' ** *** ***** *** **** ********* ******* ****** *** rest ** *** ***.

The *********

**** ******* ** *** ***** ** * ***** *** ****** to ********* ****, ** ***, *** *** ****** ***, * number ** ********* ********* ****** ** ********:

  • *** **** **** ******* *** *** ***** ******* ** *** light ******** ** *** *********** *******?
  • *** **** ****** ** ***** ************* ** *** ***** ** color ** ***** *** ***** ****?
  • *** **** ******* ** **** ** *********** ********* ** **** the ***** ********* ********** ** *** *****?
  • *** **** *** ***** ******* ** *** ********** ********* ******* in *** ***?
  • *** **** *** ***** ****** ****** ****** *** *** ******?
  • *** **** ********* **** *** ***** ******* ******* ** *** competitive *******?

******, ** ****** *** ** ***** *********.

[***************]

****: ********** ** ** / '******** **' ****** **** * ******* resolution ** *** * ***. ** **** ****** ** ** itx *** ********** ******* ** ** ****** (*** * ***) and * ****** ** * ** * ** *******.

** *** *** **** **** *** *.**.* ********. ******: ** December ****, * ******* *******,*.**.*.* *** ********. **** ******* **** **** ***** ******* ******* ***** ******* in *** ***** **********. ** **** *** ******** ***** *** test, ** **** *** **** **. *** ***** ***** ******* was ******* * ****** *********** ******** ** *** ******.

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ********:

  • *** ***** ******** ************* **** ******* ** *** ***** ******** to *** ******* ********* *** ** ***** ***-***, *** **** top *********
  • *** *****'* ********** **** **** ********** ** ***** **** **** in ***** & ***** *** *** ***** *** ******* ******** in **** *****
  • ** **** ******, *** ***** ******** ******** ** ******* **** valuable ******* ** ***** **** **** ** ***** *** ***** mode
  • **** ********** ********** **** ******* ******** *** *** ********** ********* cameras *** *** ******** *** ********* ** *** *****'* *** light ************ (****** *** *** ***** ****** *****)
  • ****** *** ***, *** *** ********* ******* ************* ************ *** Axis ***** ********* *** **** ******* **** *** ***** ** FoV ****** ******* **** ** ****
  • *** *** ****** ******** ************ *** **** ***** ** ****** light / *** ******
  • *** *****'* ********* *********** ** *** ***** *** **** *** and ************ ****** **** **** * *** * ****** *******

***************

*** *** ********* **** *** ***** ** **** **'* ***** at *** ****** ********* ***** (*** *****) *** ******** ** bad ** *** ***** **** (*** **** *** ***). ****, it ** ****** ********* ** ~$*,*** ***. ** ****, *** needs ** ** ******* ***** **** ** *** **.

*** ***** ****** **** ** ******** **** ** **** ********* - ***** **** ** ***/***. ** ** ** ***/***, ** is **** ** ******* ***** **** ******. ****, ** ** night, *** **** * *** ** **** ** **** *****, the ***** **** *** ******* **** ********* *******.

**** ****, *** **** *** ** *** ******* ***** *** light ** *** - ********** *** ****** ***** ***** ***** time ********* ********** ** *** *** ****** ** ****** *********. In **** ************, *** ***** ** * ***** ****, **** complex, ****** ******* *********** ** ***** ** ************. *** ***** provides ***** ** ***** *** ***** ***** ** ***** - two ****** **** *** ********** **** ** ************.

*******, ** *** *** ***** ** *** *** *****, ** recommend ******* **** ***** **** ****** *** ********** *** ** your ***** **** ***** *** ***** **** ******** * ****** image. **** ****** ** *** ******** ** *** **** ***** black *** ***** ** *** ******* ********** ** ***/***** *******. In *** *****, ***** **** ******** ********* **** *** *** help ******* ********* ******* **** ***** ** **** ** ***** and ***** ****.

*************

** ************* ***** ** ** **** ** ******** *** ***** performance. ** ***** *** ** *** ***. ***** ** * new *** ***** ************* ******* ** *** ****** ******** **** that *** * ******** ******* *** ***********. *** *** *** box ** *** ***** *****:

** ** ********* ** *** *** **** ******** (** **) and * '******' ******* *****. ***** *** ******'* ****** *** light ***********, ** ** ******** **** *** **** **** ** use * ****** *******. *** ***** *********** *** *** *** gain ***** **** ** **. *******, ** ** *** ********* it ** **** ***** ****** *** *** ***** *********** *** would *** ****** ******* ********** **********.

*******, ** ******* **** ****** ** ******* *** ****** ***** its *** ****. **** ******* ** **** **** * *** gain ** *** *** *** (********* ****'* ***** *****). *******, comparing *** ******'* *** **** ****** ******* ** ***********. *** numbers *** ****** *** **********. **** ****, ** ****** ** see **********'* ******* *** *** **** ** **** ****** ** a *** ** ****** *** *********. ** *** ***** ****, it ***** *** ** **** *** ***** ************* ** *** an ****** *** **** **** ** ***** **** ********** ** whether **** ***** ******** ***** *** ***** ***********.

Low ***** ******* *******

** ***** *** ***** **** ** ******* *.* *** ***** mode **********. **** ** *** ******** *** *** *** **** the **** ***** ** * **** ***** ** *** **** best *** ***** *********, *** ***** ***-*** ** ******.

** ********* ******* ** *** ****, *** ********** ** *********** becomes **** *******. ***** *** ***** ** ******** ** ******* of ****** ********, *** ***** ** ******* **** ** ***** and ******** ** *** **** *****.

*** ** **** ** * ********* ***** (**** *****) **** *** ******* ** *******. *** ********** ** ******* are *******. **** **** *** *********** *** *** ** ******* except *** **********.

***, ***'* ****** **** ** ***** *** ***** **** ***** in *.* *** **********. **** *** **** ***** ** ***** brighter *** **** ******** **** *** ******. *******, ***** ******, the ***** ****** ***** **** **** ***** * *** ** details.

***, ** ****** ** ******* **** ****** *******. ***** *** Axis ** ***** ********, *** *** ******* *** ******* *** narrowed **********. *** ***** ** ****** *** ******** * *** of ******* (****** **** ******* *****) *** *** *** ********* cameras *** ******* ****** **** ** ***** **** (****** ***** far ***** **** ****** ** ******).

VS **** ******* *****

*** ***** **** ********* ****** ************* (********* ****) ******** ** is *** **** ******* ******. * ************ ***** ***** **** slow ******* ** **** ****** ** *** ********** *** ***** while ********* *** ******** ** ********* ****** *** ***.

** ***** ***********, ** **** *** **** ***** ******** ** 1/30s ***** *********** *** ******* ***** *** *** ********* ******* to */*** - ** ******** ** ~***%. ** **** */*** was ********** *** ********. ************* *** ***** ****** *** ********** - */**, **, ***. *******, */*** ** * **** ******* between ******* **** ***** *** *** ****** **** ****** **** even **** ********** ****** *******.

*** ***** ********** ***** ***** ***** ** ******** ** *** scene. *******, *** ********** ** **********/******* ** **** ***** **** the ****** ******** ** *** ********* *******.

***, ***'* **** ** ** *** *******'* **** ** *** what **** ***** ** ***** ** ******* ********. *** ***** Dinion ***** ***** ****** *** ******* **** ******* **** * modest ******** ** ***** ******** ** *** **** *****. *******, the ***** ********* *******, **** **** *** **** ****** ******* still ** *** ***** *** ******* ** *** *****.

** ******, ** ******* ** **** ******* *****. ** ********** here, *** **** ** *******, **** ******* ** ****** *** going ** ** ****** ** ****** *** ********* ******* **** the ***** ********.

Low ***** ******* ********

** **** ****** ******** ** * *****. **** ***** ** moderately ******** **** ** ~*.* *** *****. ***'* ***** **** an ******** ** *** ******** ** *** **** ***** ** color ****. *** ***** ** ******* ****** **** *** **** but *** ***** ** ** ******** *****.

****'* *** **** **** ********* ******* **** *** *******'* **** and *********. *** ***** ***** ***** ******* ** ****** ******* significantly ****** *** ******.

***, ***'* ****** ** *** ******* ** *** *** ***** of ****. **'* *** ***** ****** ** *** **** ******. Again, *** ***** ******** *** ******** ***** **** *** ***** SD ****.

***, ***'* ********* **** **** *** ******* *** ** ***** 100 **** **** **** *** ****** ** ** ~*** **** wide ***. **** ** *** **** ********** ******** ** *** in *** ****** ****. ***** *** ***** ***** *** *** subject's ***** ***** *** **** ***** *****, *** ***** ******* barely ******* ** ******* ** *** *****.

********* **** ** ***** *** ***** ****, *** *** ** performance ***** *************. ****************** *** **** ***** ******** **** ******* in ***** *** ***** **** ** **** ** *****. *** Pelco ********** ******** ******** *** **** ***** ****** ** *** is ***** * ****.

******, ***'* ****** ** *** **** ***** ** **** **** our ******* ***** ** *** ****** ** ***** *** ***** mode. ** **** ******* *****, *** *** ** *********** *** shrunk *************. *** *** ******* *** ****** ***** (****** *** the ***** *******).

Long ******** / *** **** *******

*** ** **** ** *** **** *********** ** *** *** the ******* ******* ** **** ***** **********. **** ** *** trying ** ********** *** **** ** * **** ** *********** does *** ***** ****** **** ****** *** ** *******.

***** ** ***** **** * ********** ****** ~** **** **** FoV. ** *** ********** *****, *** *** ******* ******* *********** facial *** ************** ******* ****** *** *** *** **** *** Axis ***** ** *** ** ***** ** *** ** *******.

***, ** ****** ** * ****** ***** ** **** **** our ******* ****** ****. ***** *** ** ******* ***** **** facial ******* ****** *******, *** ***** ** *** ********* **** details (** ** ** ******** ** ******* *****)

** ~** **** **** ***, *** ***** ** ****** ******** meaningful ******* ** *** *******'* **** *** **** ** *** chart ****** *** *** *** * ****. ** ********, *** MP *******, ********** ***** *** ***** *** ***** ***** ********.

** * ***** ** **** ***, *** ******** *********** *** similar. *** ** ******* ***** ******* * **** ****** ** detail ***** *** ***** ****** ***** ***.

*******, ** ** ** **** **** ***, *** ** ******* still **** **** **** ******* ***** *** **** ***** ******** mostly ** ******* ** *** *******.

WDR *******

** *** **** ***** ******** *******, ** ******** **** ******* Range ***********. ** ********** **** ** * ********** **** *** scene **** ********** ** ***** ***** ** ***** ** **** the **** ***** (******) ** *** *** ***** ******** (********).

*** ***** ********** ** ** *** **** ***** / ****** area. *** **** ***** ** ******* *** ***** **** *** Axis ***** ****** *****.

***, ** **** ** *** ****** ** *** *****. *** Q1602 ***** ** *** ***** ** *** *******.

*******, **** ** * ********** ** *** ******* ** *** far ***** ** **** *** ** *** ******* ***. ***** most ** *** ** ******* ******* ****** ******* *** ** least **** ** *** ******* ***** ******, *** ***** **** neither *** ** ** *** *** ***** ********* ** **** scene.

*********

*** **** *********** ****** ** *** *****'* ********* *********** *** how *** ** *** ** *** *****. *********, **** * and * ****** ******'* ********* ****** ** *** ***** ******** 5Mb/s, ****/* ** **** ****/*. *** *** *** ** ** the ***** ******* **** *** ***** ** **** ****** ** visible *****.

** ********, ** *.* *** ** ***** **** **** *** same *********** ********** **********, *** *****'* ********* *********** *** **% lower **** *** *****. *** *****'* ********* *** ~***/* *** 768 * *** ********** ***** *** *****'* ********* *** ~****/* for *** * ***. ************* ****** ************* ****** *****.

*** ***** ** *** ***** **** ****** ** ******* *.*** Main *** ******** *******. *** ******** ******* ******** ****. *** tests ****** **** **** *** ******** ********* ******* **** ******** but *** *** ********* ********* ****** *** *** ******* ******* noise.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Arecont To Release Industries' Best H.265 Support on Sep 30, 2016
Go big, or go home. That seems to be Arecont's philosophy for H.265, they say they are working on the "best" H.265 implementation in the...
Axis 4MP Camera Tested (M3046-V) on Sep 28, 2016
Axis has brought 4MP to its camera line in the new M3046-V, the highest resolution model in their revamped M30 series. We bought and tested this...
VLANs for Video Surveillance Tutorial on Sep 26, 2016
Many people confidently say to 'use VLANs' as an answer to IP video networking problems and as a way to signal expertise. But how should VLANs be...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
How to Measure Video Quality / Compression Levels on Sep 16, 2016
Two cameras have the same resolution, frame rate and scene monitored but camera A consumes half the bandwidth than camera B. Is Camera A better?...
Camera Course September 2016 on Sep 15, 2016
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Milestone VMS Adds H.265, SVQR, RAM Video Optimization on Sep 09, 2016
Milestone is rolling out enhancements to XProtect to support H.265, enhanced edge recording functionality, and potentially allow users to reduce...
Hikvision 4K Camera Tested on Sep 09, 2016
Hikvision is the most common choice for low price entry level products but they are also competing with low light models, smart CODECs, WDR...
Pelco Optera 270° Camera Tested on Sep 06, 2016
Multi-imager cameras are typically 180° or 360°. Pelco has released a fixed 270° versions of their Optera intended to cover exterior building...
Panoramic Camera (Fisheye / Multi-Imager) Guide on Aug 31, 2016
Panoramic cameras, including fisheyes and multi-imagers, have become increasingly widespread, with most manufacturers offering fisheyes and an...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Arecont To Release Industries' Best H.265 Support on Sep 30, 2016
Go big, or go home. That seems to be Arecont's philosophy for H.265, they say they are working on the "best" H.265 implementation in the...
Wall Street Journal Runs Report on Dahua Hack on Sep 30, 2016
The Wall Street Journal is bringing attention to the massive Dahua attack we reported on Tuesday. In an Thursday article entitled, "Hackers Infect...
Dahua USA CEO Tim Wang, Where Is Your Integrity? on Sep 29, 2016
Dahua USA CEO Tim Wang and Dahua Director of Marketing Tim Shen shared their IPVM passwords extensively, resulting in Dahua USA CEO's account...
Allegion NDE Wireless Lock Examined on Sep 29, 2016
While wireless locks are one of the hottest areas of access control, two of its biggest challenges are high cost and limited integration with...
The 'Last Chance to Save' On Hikvision Is Here on Sep 29, 2016
It is over. After at least 8 across the board price cuts in the past 10 months, including an unprecedented back to back 20% off, Hikvision has...
Camera Calculator Class and IPVM Member Orientation October 2016 on Sep 28, 2016
Members, learn how to better design video surveillance systems and get the most out of your IPVM memberships with 2 upcoming live classes. Both...
Axis 4MP Camera Tested (M3046-V) on Sep 28, 2016
Axis has brought 4MP to its camera line in the new M3046-V, the highest resolution model in their revamped M30 series. We bought and tested this...
Hiring Spree At Aimetis 6 Months After Being Acquired on Sep 28, 2016
Aimetis was acquired in April 2016, and is now expanding almost all of their departments, hiring employees from Axis and other industry...
Hikvision Chairman Tours With Chinese Government Boss on Sep 28, 2016
Two China Communist senior officials toured Europe this summer, one was Hikvision's Chairman and the other was his boss, SASAC Director. In this...

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