[UPDATE June 2013: We tested the Bosch Starlight camera against the new Sony Gen 6 camera. When doing so, we upgraded Bosch to its newest available firmware (5.80). We found this change (moving from 5.70 to 5.80), resulted in significant improvements in image quality and bandwidth consumption. The March 2013 test has been updated inside.]
Low light performance is critical for high end surveillance cameras. Delivering high quality, detailed low light images without any added light is highly valued and a key competitive differentiator.
In the past two years, Axis has boasted 'Lightfinder' technology in their top tier camera line, claiming quality color images even in extremely dark environments. And those cameras have performed well in IPVM shootouts - see our tests of the Q1602 and Q1604. Plus, Axis has integrated Lightfinder to many new cameras, helping to differentiate and justify its premium prices.
Now, Bosch has launched a new 'Starlight' series claiming exceptional low light performance.
Lightfinder vs Starlight
We wanted to see how they would compete so we matched up Axis's Q1602 and Q1604 vs Bosch's Starlight NBN-733V and their NBN-932V 1080p box camera.
We did series of tests indoors at very low light levels including 0.1 lux, 0.5 lux and outdoors from 5 lux to less than 1 lux.
[UPDATE: The report now includes comparisons of image quality and bandwidth for Bosch's new 5.80 firmware.]