4 Biggest Low Light Problems

By: Brian Karas, Published on Oct 10, 2016

100 integrators told IPVM what their biggest problems were with low light images.

The most commonly cited themes were:

  • Limited IR Range
  • Uneven Coverage
  • Image Noise
  • Cost vs Customer Expectations

In this report, we share dozens of integrator comments and analyze these most common problems.

*** *********** **** **** what ***** ******* ******** were **** *** ***** images.

*** **** ******** ***** themes ****:

  • ******* ** *****
  • ****** ********
  • ***** *****
  • **** ** ******** ************

** **** ******, ** share ****** ** ********** comments *** ******* ***** most ****** ********.

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

*****

******* **** ************ ** a ******** *** * common ******* *********** ********:

  • "***** ** **."
  • "**** ** ***** **** the *****-** ** *******."
  • "***** / ******* ** the ** *** *** well ***** *** ****** is ** **** ** those **********."
  • "*** ** *** **** objects ** * ******** all **** ***** ** grey **** ****** ****** detection ******** ** ******** with **********."
  • "******** *** ** ***** is **** ** ********** and ***** ** ******* surfaces."
  • "******** ** ******* *** IR *********'* ******** ****."
  • "*** ***** ***** ****** distance ******* ** ********* is *** ******* ********* for **. ******* *** take *** ***** ** some **********. ***** ******* image ******* ** *********, we **** *********** ******* for **** ***** ** is *******."
  • "******** & ****"
  • "*** ***** *** ******** at ***** *** ****** is ********* ******* *** the ******* ******** *** images. ** *** *****, the ***** ** * concern ** ****."

**** ** ********** **** data **** ********* ******, ***** ********* **** ******* **** built-in **,**% ** ***** **** a ***** ** *** or ****.

Uneven ********

******* ** ***** **** even ******** ** * problem, **** **** *** trying ** ***** * long ********. *** ***** or **** ***** **** common ******:

  • "*** ***** - *** even ********. ***** ******* are ********** *** ***** by ********* *** - pointing *** ** **** out, **** **** *** center ** *** ***** are ** ******* **** even ********. **** ***** any ****** **'** **** with *** ** ******** around *** **** *** the *******. **** *** customer ******** **** **** coverage, ** ***** ******** emitters ** ******* *** the *****."
  • "****-**** ** ** ******** across *** *** - near ******* ***** ***, farther ******* *** *********** enough, ** ** ***."
  • "**** ********* ***** ** light."
  • "***** ***** ************. ***** in ****** *** ******* but ***** **** ***. Some ******* ***** **** reflected ** ************."
  • "******** ****** *** ****** of *** ** *** to ****, ** ******. Anything ** ***** ** washed ***."
  • "**** ***** ** ** hotspots *** *** **** quality *** ***** ** deal ****."
  • "******* *** *****-** ** to ***** *** **** of *** ***** ** view, **** ***** ***** are **** *****."

Image *****

***** ******, ***** **** drives ** ********* *** storage *****, ** * common ********** **** ******** is ****:

  • "***** *** *****, ****** lowlight ***** ******* **** preferred ******** ******* ** infrared ************."
  • "******* ***** *** ***** noise. ********** **** *** a ******* ******* ***** cause **** ****** *** ghosting ** *** *****."
  • "*****, **** ********* **** trying ** ***** *** for *** *****."
  • "**** ***** *** *** storage *** *********. ****, whiteout / ******* ** image - ****** *** faint *** **** *** washout ** *****."
  • "** *** *****, *** noise ** * ******* as ****."
  • "***** *****, **** ****** explodes/quality ********, ** ** gain ****** ***."
  • "***** ** *** *****."

Cost *** ******** ************

**********, **** ***-***** ****** could ** ****** ** installing ****** ****-***** ******** IR ************, ******* ***** lights, ******* *** ******, or ******* ********. *** problem ** *** ** cost, ***** ********** *** add ********* ** ******* to *** ******, *** customers *** ** ******* to ******** **** *****. Similarly, ********* *** ****** more *********** **** ** realistic, *** ** ******* to ******** **** ***** to ******* *** *****.

  • "**** ********* ***'* **** to *** *** ******** IR. **** *** ******* to ***** * **** for *****-** ** *** then ****** **** *** problem *** **** ******. As * ******, ** can't *** **** *** unless *** ******* ** close ****** ** *** the *** ***** ** the ******. ********** *** light ***** - ******** that *** ***** *** camera ** *********** ****** to *** "***" ***** source - **** ******* challenges."
  • "************* *** ***** ** view ** *******, *** managing *** *********** ** front ** **** * must. *** ******* ******* is **** * ******** doesn't **** **** ** to ** * ***** of ******* ** *****, then *** ************ ******* it's *** ** **** as ****'* ***** ******* pushing ** ** *** the **** ********* ****** in ** ******** ***********. When *** ******* *** customer ** *****, ***** are ** ********* *** they'll ****** ** ***** with *** ******* ** be ******* ** *** more ** ** ****'* needed."
  • "********* ***** ****** ****** range *** ** *** built-in ** **** ** available. ** ** ********* fine ** ** ***** 70 ** *** ***** off **** ***** ****. Some *******, **** *** Arecont *****-******* (****+) **** high ********* ***** ** lower ***** *** ****** frame ****. ** * larger ****** **** *** bog **** ******* **********."
  • "*** ***** **** ** cost. **** ** *** customer ******* ** *** for *** ****** ** equipment *** ************ ****** to *** **** ******** 'everywhere'."
  • "**** - ********* ***** a **** *** ***** picture *** *** ******* to *** *** ****** IR/White ***** ** ** it. ** **** ***** long ***** ** ** pretty ********* *** ******** additional ***** *** ******. Also *** **** ************* pleasing ** **** * double/tripple ** ***** ** a ***** ** * building ** * **** pole."

Ultra *** ***** *******

** *********** ** ****** to *** **** ***** to * ****** *** scene ** ** *** cameras ************ ********* *** these **********. **** *********** preferred **** ********:

  • "*** **** **** ******* Hikvision **** ******* ****** in *** *****."
  • "******** **, ****** ***-***** technologies (************, ***.), ****** sensors, *** ****** *** have **** **** ******, but *** ****** ***** entire ******* ** ** capture *** ****** *****, more ** ****** ******."
  • "**** *****, ** *** better ******* **** *** Light *******, **** ** Axis *********** ** ***** BackIluminated ****, ****** **** adding *** ***** ** scene."

Comments (12)

Any time a problem exists where we need coverage in Low Light situation we have turned to the Hikvision "Dark fighter" and problem is solved. Have used these in LPC situation also with great success.

Do you use HIKVISION DARKFIGHTERs with integrated IR or not, usually?

Ultimately, many low-light issues could be solved by installing either high-power external IR illuminators, visible flood lights, parking lot lights, or similar products. The problem is one of cost, these approaches can add thousands of dollars to the budget...

With the cost being so prohibitive, you might as well buy a couple of extra Hikua adaptive IR cameras just to use as external illuminators. 50M ~ $100

It's too bad nobody makes a camera with built-in IR that takes full advantage of the 15.4 watts available over PoE (or the 30 watts on PoE+). Most of the cameras I see use approx 5 watts in day or 7 watts at night with IR on. So I take this to mean that IR consumes 2 watts. What about taking the 7-8 extra watts available on PoE and adding more IR or more powerful IR? Has any manufacturer taken this approach that you know of?

In some cases it may be that cameras have a heater/defroster/fan that uses the remaining power.

Not at all.

HIK Darkfighter xx4526xx domes are 17watts max and use PoE+ (30watts). What about the leftover 13 watts?

El cheapo HIK xx2112xx domes are 7 watts max and use PoE (15.4 watts). No heater, no fan. What about the leftover 8 watts?

I agree, some cameras do not have other power consumption and may be criticized for not exceeding expectations. I was merely stating not all cameras are able to use the leftover wattage for IR illumination due to required power from enclosure/heater/fan.

It's too bad nobody makes a camera with built-in IR that takes full advantage of the 15.4 watts available over PoE (or the 30 watts on PoE+).

1. You're using the wrong numbers, POE af power available at the camera is only 12.95W. POE+ is only 25.5W.

2. More power can't be 'taken full advantage of' without additional LEDS or more expensive ones, increasing costs.

3. Higher power draw increases cost/size of components related to DC step-down, like capacitors.

4. More IR output increases internal heat, possibly requiring design modification.

5. Saftey margin, to prevent reboot during DC inrush when LEDS come on.

Yes, you are correct, PoE actual max is 12.95 and PoE+ is 25.5. So the question remains, are there cameras that take full advantage of the 12.95 or 25.5 watts - I haven't seen any.

Anyone ever using an IR camera outdoors is guaranteed going to be disappointed. So the problem exists and therefore a market exists. I'm just wondering why a company out there hasn't addressed your points above (#2, #3 #4 and #5) and engineered a camera taking full advantage of the PoE or PoE+ power available.

For example, take the HIK xxx2112xxx which only uses 7 watts -we could still add 18.5 watts worth of IR LEDs and make it a PoE+ camera. Just wondering why you don't see that out there. Maybe it's coming soon?

For example, take the HIK xxx2112xxx which only uses 7 watts -we could still add 18.5 watts worth of IR LEDs and make it a PoE+ camera. Just wondering why you don't see that out there. Maybe it's coming soon?

Maybe. One other thing is density. If you look at a typical external illuminator panel, it has a much bigger surface area for the LEDS than is typically available with a traditional dome/bullet camera.

IR laser and superleds are both higher density, and were seeing more of those, so maybe soon.

There is a manufacturer that use it and has very good products: www.gensecurity.co.kr

With IR both dahua and hik have long range ir models of 150-200ft in stanard cam and up to 2400ft in ptz. I think that is enough for most requirements.

With low light i believe dahua starlight is superior to hik darkfighter. I do work for dahua though. :)

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

Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...
False Verkada 'Unrivaled' Low Light Performance Claim Removed on Jun 12, 2019
Verkada falsely claimed that it delivered 'UNRIVALED LOW LIGHT PERFORMANCE' until IPVM questioned. In fact, Verkada's low light performance is...
Camera Course Summer 2019 - Register Now on Jun 12, 2019
Register for the Summer 2019 Camera Course.  This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Favorite Wireless Manufacturers 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
Many wireless options exist for video surveillance but how are integrator's overall favorites? 170 integrators answered the question: What is...
Avigilon 32MP and 12MP H4 Multisensor Cameras Tested on Jun 11, 2019
Avigilon has released their H4 Multi-Sensor line of cameras claiming "broad scene coverage and high image detail" We bought and tested the...
Axis Will Not Block Resellers on Jun 10, 2019
While Axis generally has strong favorability amongst integrators, the biggest complaint is their channel model, which results in smaller integrator...
Dumber Techs, Bad Box Movers, Says Australian Distributor on Jun 10, 2019
Techs today are "dumber" than they used to be, despite better education and training and that makes a typical day "frustrating" for one...

Most Recent Industry Reports

HID Mobile Tested on Jun 21, 2019
HID Global is one of the largest access brands, but their mobile access has had challenges. Indeed, the company has already restructured their...
Genetec Beats Milestone For IHS #1 on Jun 21, 2019
For years, Milestone has touted that they are the #1 VMS. Now, Genetec has beaten them in IHS rankings. But what is this? Even other manufacturers...
Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
Briefcam Buys Frost Award* on Jun 20, 2019
Frost 'awards' are well-known and widely disrespected. Now Briefcam is touting their win. The way it has worked for many years is that Frost...
IFSEC 2019 Show Report on Jun 19, 2019
The UK's largest trade show, IFSEC, is underway and IPVM has been examining what is new and happening at the show. Inside, we cover: Huawei...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Startup Vaion Launching End-to-End AI Solution Backed with $20 Million Funding on Jun 17, 2019
An EU / USA video surveillance startup, Vaion, founded by ex-Cisco Senior Directors is launching an end-to-end VSaaS platform with $20 million in...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...

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