Axis WDR vs WDR?

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 14, 2013

Axis has two types of WDR, and if you do not know the difference between the two, join the club. One is called WDR with Dynamic Contrast and the other is called WDR with Dynamic Capture. They even sound almost identical. Recently, we had debates in the IPVMU class about this with attendees conflating both and us arguing that performance differences between the two were dramatic. In this note, we explain the differences between the two and how to best use (and not use) these features.

Background: Readers not familiar with WDR should first read our WDR tutorial

Contrast vs Capture

Axis' 'Capture' mode is what IPVM refers to as 'true' WDR using multiple exposures while Axis' 'Contrast' mode is what we consider a 'fake' digital WDR.

Axis explained the technical differences as follows. With dynamic contrast:

"The camera sensor captures an image with higher bit depth than what the camera can send out. The camera then performs an advanced tone mapping technique, where some brightness levels are dropped to decrease the bit depth to a format that the computer screen can handle. In this tone mapping, both the darkest and the lightest parts are taken into account, resulting in more details on both ends – i.e. why the term “contrast” is used. A camera with a more powerful sensor/processing power can perform more advanced tone mapping."

And here's Axis' explaining dynamic capture:

"The camera ‘captures’ several images in fast sequence with different exposure levels between them. These images are then put together to a composite, where both the lightest and the darkest parts are kept. This image has a much higher bit depth, higher than a computer screen can handle. Therefore, a tone mapping is made – to downsize the image."

While many, if not most of, Axis professional cameras support Dynamic Contast, only two lines support the more powerful Dynamic Capture, the Q1604 box and P3384 domes.

In our WDR scene tests, cameras with Dynamic Contrast (like the P1344) delivered no noticeable improvements with WDR enabled while the Q1604 with Dynamic Capture, delivered top tier quality (see the Q1604 / P1344 WDR test results).

Beware of Dynamic Contrast

If you really need WDR from Axis, you should use Dynamic Capture cameras (Q1604/P1384) and stay away from the Dynamic Contrast ones. Moreover, if you are specifying WDR, be careful not to accept WDR with Dynamic Contrast cameras. To avoid this, you can add require WDR implemented with multiple exposures as this is the standard technique for true WDR MP cameras.

Confusion?

Axis is not the first company with WDR terms that confuse though given their market power and the nearly identical sounding terms, their approach is likely to cause problems. Currently, Axis has a WDR white paper [link no longer available] but that only mentions Dynamic Capture. Axis says they are working on new material to better explain the differences. Perhaps they can follow the lead of others and rename 'Dynamic Contrast' as simply DWDR, the more common acronym identifying 'fake' WDR.

4 reports cite this report:

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) Guide on Oct 01, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...
Axis Chinese Competitor Companion Dome V Tested on Jun 29, 2016
A $169 1080p dome from Axis? The Companion Dome V is, by far, Axis' lowest cost 1080p dome, a full $100 less than even their new M3045-V. Every...
New: Axis Video Intercom on May 12, 2015
A suicide resistant camera, an IP horn and now a video intercom. Axis might be getting pushed out of the low end of the market, but they are...
Axis Advances Its Best Overall Camera on Jun 17, 2014
While Chinese competitors rush to sell HD cameras at 1/5th to 1/10th the price of Axis, Axis continues to push up market. Axis has announced the...
Comments (9) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on WDR

Avigilon H5A Analytic Cameras Tested on Oct 07, 2019
Avigilon has released its H5A analytic cameras, claiming to "detect more objects with greater accuracy even in crowded scenes." We tested the...
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) Guide on Oct 01, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...
Vivotek 4K S-Series Camera Tested on Sep 30, 2019
Vivotek's highest-end S-series camera claims "Supreme Night Visibility", "Smart IR II", "Smart Stream II", "WDR Pro for unparalleled visibility in...
Uniview Prime Series 4K Camera Tested on Sep 18, 2019
Is the new Uniview 'Prime' better than the more expensive existing Uniview 'Pro'? In August, IPVM tested Uniview 4K 'Pro' but members advocated...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
WDR Camera Mega Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Sep 04, 2019
This is the biggest WDR Shootout ever, with 23 cameras from 8 manufacturers: We included true multi-exposure WDR and non-WDR models, ranging...
Uniview Pro 4K Camera Tested (IPC3238ER3-DVZ) on Aug 29, 2019
In our 8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout, Uniview's low end 8MP was firmly in the middle of the pack. Does their higher end Pro Series 4K camera...
Wyze Image Quality Tested vs Axis, Hikvision And Nest on Aug 27, 2019
With Wyze's new AI feature, it is strong at analytics, but how good is the camera's image quality? Is it just as good as incumbents like Axis,...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...
Dahua Celebrates PRC 70th Wearing Communist Party Hammer and Sickle on Oct 11, 2019
Dahua celebrated the PRC's 70th anniversary with a video of various Dahua employees wearing China Communist Party hammer and sickle pins as shown...
Last Chance - Register Now - October 2019 IP Networking Course on Oct 10, 2019
Last Chance - Register Now - Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. The course starts next week. This is the only networking course designed...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
HID Fingerprint Reader Tested on Oct 09, 2019
HID has released their first access reader to use Lumidigm optical sensors, that touts it 'works with anyone, anytime, anywhere'. We bought and...
ONVIF Suspends Dahua and Hikvision on Oct 09, 2019
Dahua and Hikvision have been 'suspended', and effectively expelled, from ONVIF, immediately following US sanctions being placed on the 2 mega...
Hikvision And Dahua Sanctioned For Human Rights Abuses on Oct 07, 2019
In a groundbreaking move that will have drastic consequences across the video surveillance market, Dahua and Hikvision have been sanctioned by the...
Avigilon H5A Analytic Cameras Tested on Oct 07, 2019
Avigilon has released its H5A analytic cameras, claiming to "detect more objects with greater accuracy even in crowded scenes." We tested the...
Crisis At China's Largest VMS Provider, Netposa, Now State-Controlled on Oct 07, 2019
NetPosa, which bills itself as the PRC's largest VMS provider, is in a crisis. The firm is pursuing huge unpaid bills from clients, and its...
Knightscope Sells Just 1 Net New Robot In 6 Months on Oct 04, 2019
For the first half of 2019, US government records show that Knightscope has sold just 1 net new robots ('machines-in-network'), inching up from 52...