Comparing Surveillance IR Illuminators

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 27, 2011

Video quality at night can be very poor. Even cameras that rate their minimum illumination as .1 lux or less routinely display dark, noisy images at night. One of the most direct ways to rectify this problem is to add IR illuminators to provide artificial 'invisible' light.

In this report we examine add on IR illuminators to better understand the differences and trade-offs among the options available. We have concentrated our comparison and review on 3 commonly cited product offerings:

In the last year, a surge in IP camera manufacturers offering integrated IR illuminators - from Axis's dome IR accessory to Bosch's IR SMB series as well as Sony and Arecont's new megapixel series with integrated IR. Of course, these manufacturers are not alone. Many, if not most, Asian manufacturers have offered such products for years. The recent trend is primarily the rest of the world joining in.

In this report, we focus on the other side - the manufacturers who develop add on IR illuminators. We look at the distances achievable, power requirements, premium features, cost concerns and more.

This is part of our ongoing series of reports on low light surveillance. Here are other relevant reports and tests we have done in this area:

***** ******* ** ***** *** ** **** ****. **** ******* that **** ***** ******* ************ ** .* *** ** **** routinely ******* ****, ***** ****** ** *****. *** ** *** most ****** **** ** ******* **** ******* ** ** *** IR ************ ** ******* ********** '*********' *****.

** **** ****** ** ******* *** ** ** ************ ** better ********** *** *********** *** *****-**** ***** *** ******* *********. We **** ************ *** ********** *** ****** ** * ******** cited ******* *********:

** *** **** ****, * ***** ** ** ****** ************* offering ********** ** ************ - ********'* **** ** ****************'* ** *** ******** **** ** **** **********'* *** ********* ********** ********** **. ** ******, ***** ************* *** *** *****. Many, ** *** ****, ***** ************* **** ******* **** ******** for *****. *** ****** ***** ** ********* *** **** ** the ***** ******* **.

** **** ******, ** ***** ** *** ***** **** - the ************* *** ******* *** ** ** ************. ** **** at *** ********* **********, ***** ************, ******* ********, **** ******** and ****.

**** ** **** ** *** ******* ****** ** ******* ** low ***** ************. **** *** ***** ******** ******* *** ***** we **** **** ** **** ****:

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

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

*** ******** *************' ** ************ *** ************* ******* ** ********** and *******. **** ****** *********** ***** ***** ******** **** ** illumination ********* *** **** ******, *** ****** ****, ******* *******, and *******. ** ****, ******* **** *****/*********** ** ** ** illuminator *** * ***** *********** ******** * *** ***** *********** into *** ********* ************ ****** ************* *** ***** ******.

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

  • ******** ** ** ************ *** ***-*******
  • ***-******* ** ************ ******* ******* *** ****** ** *****'* ******
  • ****-******* ** ************ *** ******* ** ** ******* *****
  • *** ************ *** *** ****** ********* *** **** ****** ********* up ** ** ******
  • *** ************ *** ********* '****' ****** ** ******* ******** ** controllability *** *******
  • *****, ******** *** ****** ****** ****** '***' **** **** *** same ********
  • *** ** ************ ******** *** **** ******** *** ******* *** with **** ** ****** *******
  • ********* *********** *** *** ***** *********** *** ******** ******** 
  • ********* ******* ** ** **/*** *** */* ****** ********* ****** present ** ******** ** ****** (******* ****** ** *****'* ******* ranging ******* ******)
  • ****** *** ****** ***** * **** *** ***** ****** ****** (850nm ********* ***** *** '*******' **********)
  • ****** ****** *** ******** ******* ********* *** ******* ****** ** features

** ** *********** ***** *** ** ************ ****** ****** *** to *** ******, **** **** ******* ******* *** *********. ****** is *** **** ************ ******** ***-** ************ ** ***** ****** while ***** ****** ****** ********** ****** / ** *********** ******.

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

*** *****-***** ** ****** ************ (*.*., going ** ** ************* ******* **** **** *** ***** ********* add-on ** *********** **** *** ** ***** * *************. ******* *** the ******** ******* ***-** ** ************ **** **** ************ ******** falls ** ****** $*** (****) *** ***** ********* ********* ~** meters:

***** ** ****** *******, ******** ***** **** ****** ** ****** $250 ** $*** *** ****** ** ** ** ***********. ***********, additional ************/***** ***** *** ********* *** ** *** ** ** illuminator. ** ********, *** ******* *** ** ** ****** **** integrated ** ************ ** ********* *** **** **** $*** ** $150 **** * '*******' ****** (*** ******* ** ~** ** ******* **** ********** ** ************).

******* *** *** ******* ****** **** *******, ******* ** ****** an *** ** ** *********** ******* (*) ******** * ******** angle ** ************ (****** ****** ***** *** ********** **, (*) placing *** *********** **** **** *** ****** (*** ******** **** integrated ** ************), (*) ******** ***** ***** ******* ****** *** (4) ******** ***** ** ********** / ***********. ** ** ******* in *** ** **** *******, *** * ** *** *** on ** *********** ************* *** **** *** ****. ******* **** integrated ** ************ ********* *** ***** ******* ** **** (****** determining ***** **** ************ ** *********).

*** ****** ***** ** ***** **** ************, *** ** ** illuminators *** ********* (********* *** ** *** ***** *** **** more ********* ******* ** ***** *******). ** *** **** ***** IR ************, *** ****** **** ******* *** ******* ** ********. ***** MSRP ** *** ******* *** **** ****** ** **** *** 'deepest' ******** *********, ** ******* ** ****** ***** *** *** a '*********' ** **** ******** *********. ** ****, ****** *** be *** **** ********* ** *** ***** (** ***** ** this ********). ****'* * ********* ** *** * ************'* ******* ranging ***-******* ** ************:

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

*** *********** *** ****** ******** *** *** ***** ******* *****. Below, ** ******** **** *** ****** *** **** ****** ***** on **** ** *** ********* *** ********** *******.

** ** ** ********* ** ******** *** ******* ************ ******** over *** **** ** *** ***********, *****'* '******** *****' ******* appears ************ ******** ** ******* **** ***********. *******, *** ********** cost ******* *** *****'* ************ *** ** * ************ ******. Another ****** ** ** ****-**** *** ******** *** ******** ************ and ***** *** *** ***** ******* ** ******* **********. **** will ****** ** ********** ******* ******** **** *** ** '******' as *** **** **** ******** **** ****. **** ** **** that **** **** ****** **** *** ******* '*****' *********** ******* fluxes ** *** ******.

************ ************ ***** ******** ** ******** *** ***** ******* * wide ***** ** ****** ****** * ***** *** **** *********** to ******** **** ****/***** ********. *.*., ******** ***** ** ******/*********** tend ** ** ****-*******, ***** ******** *** **** ******/*********** **** to ** *****-*******. ** **** *****, ******** *****'* **** ***** features '** ********' (******** '***** *******') **********. **** ** *** most ********** *** ******** *********** ******* **** **** ********** *** involves **** ********** ***** ********** ***** **** ****** ******* ********** and **********.

IR ****

** **** **** ** ********* **** ** ******* ** *********** performance. ***** *********** *********** ***** ***** ** **** ********* ** the ******, *** ******** ******** **** *****, ******, *** ******** ****** source ***** **** **** *** **** *****************. ** **** *******, ** ******* *** ******* ********* *** the ********* ** *****.

*** ****** ******* *** ********* *** ** ****: (*) *******-**** (radial) **** *** (*) ******* ***** ********** (***) ****. *******-**** varieties *** ********* *******, **** *** **** ********* *** ******* less ***** **** *** ****. ***** ****** ** *** ** a ****** ************ ****** ******* *** ***** ****** *** ************ distance. *******-**** **** *** ********** **** ** **** ********* ********* such ** ******* **** ********** **. *******, *** **** *** superior ** **** **** ** *******-**** ****, *** *** ******** used ** *** ** ** ************.

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

  • ****** ***** - ******* ** ***** **** *** ** ********* by ** *** (****** **** ** *** ** **** ** almost ** **** ** ****** (** * *)
  • ********** - *** **** ** ******* ***** ** ****** **** IR ***** ****** ****

*** ****-************* ******* ***** ******** ** ***** **** ** *** highest ****** ** **** ********* ** *** ***********. *** ****** Platinum **************** *** * ****** ***** ****** ** *****. ** *** this ***** ****** ** ***********, ***** ****** **** *******-**** (******) competitors *** **** ******* ******* **** ** ***** **** ** LEDs.

***** ********** ***** ****** **** *** ******** *********** (** ***** output) ** ***** ******* ** ***** '****' ***** ** *** x ***. ***** *** ************* ********** *** ****** ** ***** from *** *******, **** ****** *.*** * *.*** **** ***** to ****** **** ******* ********* ******** *********** ******.

***** **** *** * ******** ****************, ***** *** ** ****** ***** ** ***** ** ****** twice *** ****** ***** ** *** *******. ***** ************ **** by '********' *** *** * *** **** **** *** *******.

***** **** ****** *******, **** ******** **** ****** ******. *****'* TOPLED (*******/*******) **** *** ***** ** * ******* *.*** * *.*** chip ****, *** **** * ****** ****** ***** ** ****.

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

***** *** **** ** ** *** **** ** ***** *********, determining **** **** ** **** ** *********. ****** ** **** disclosed ** **** ****** *** ** ** *** ****** ** verify ** ******* ** * ******* *******. ********, **** ******* will ******* ** ******* ** **** ***** *******.

Strengths *** ********** ** ********

*** ********* *** * ****** ** ******* *********** ** ********** that ***** ****** ******* *********:

High ******* / ****** *******

********** ** ******, *** ******** ** ************ ******** *** ******* through ***-*******. ** ****, **** *** ***** *** ******** ** products ******** *** *********** ***-*******. *****, **** ****** ****** **** voltage ******. ******'* *** ** ****-******* ****** **** ** ***** the ******** ************ ******** ** **** ****** (* ****** ****). (Note ** ******** *** ***** *******-***-**-**).

****** **** ******* ******** ***** **** *** ***** ******** ** high-voltage *****. ******** **** ** *******, ****** *******, ***** *****, and ***** ******* ******* ******* ****** ** ******* ** ******* applications. *** **** ***********, *********'* *** ****** *** ************ *** ******* ***** ** ******* ***** ***********.

Maximum ********* *******

*** ***** ************* ******* * ******* ******* ******** *** ***** longest ******* ***-******* *****. ******, *****'*******-********* ****, ********'******-***-******** ****, *** ******'******-*-**-******** **** (*** ********* *** ** ******). *******, *** ** Iluminar's ***** *** ** ********* ******** ** ******* * ******* 392m. ***** ** ******* ******** ******** *** ******** ***** ** a ***-******* ****, **** ** ******** ******* ** ********* ************ distances ****** *******, **** ** ********* ** ***** '****' ***********.

PoE *******

******** ************, *** ****** *** *** ******* ** *** ***** of *** ************* ********. *** ******, *** ********* ** ******** and ****** **********. *******, *** ** *** ********* ****** *** Bosch ****. ********'******-***-****** ******'*****-**-*********** *** ******* ******* *** ** ************ **** ***** ********** companies (**** ****** ******* ***+ ** ***.***). *** ************ ****** are *** *** ********'* *****-***-*** *** *** *** ******'* ****-**-**.

LED **** / ***********

********** *** **** ** ** ********* *** ********* ****** ** IR ************.

***** ****** ***** ******** ******* *********** *** *** ****** ****** over **** ** ********** ***** *****. ***** **** ******** ********* ** monitor *** ***** ****** *** ******** ***** *****, ** ******, to ******** * ********** ******** ************ ********.  

*******, ****** ****** **** ***** ********* **** ********** ********** *** actually **** ********* **** *****'* *******. ****** ******* **** *** of ***** ***** *** ******* ********** (****** **** *****'* ***** output **********). ***** **** *** ******* ** * ***** **** substrate ***** **** ***** ** *** **** **** ************ ******** available.  They ***** **** *****'* ********* ******** ******** *** *********** ** 'driving' *** ***** ****** ****** (******* ********* *******/****).

*************, ******** ******** **** *** *********** ** ****-***** *** **** of * ******* ***** *** ************ ** *** ********** *** performance *********, ******** ** ***** *********** *****.

** ****** ****** ***** ****** ***** ** ******* **** ***** be ********* *** ******* *********** ***** *** **** **** ****** involved ** **** ****** ** ***********.

Near ***** / *** ***** ******** ******

***** **** ** ** *****, ** *********** ****** *** ** overexposed (*.*., ****** ***). **** ** ********* * ******* **** subjects *** ****** ** *** ****** (** ** ************ ****** will ** ****** ******).

**** ***** ****** ** *********** **** ********** ***** **** ********** problems **** ****-*****/***-***** ******** ******. *** ********** ** ***** ** special **** (*******) **********. ***********, ** ** *********** **** ****** between **** *** *** *****. ******** *** ****** ** *** offer * ************ ******** ** **** **** **** **** ** situation.

Certifications ********

************** (*.*., **, ***, ** ***.) ** *** ***** ************* provide ********, *** ******** ******* ** ****** * *******'* ******, electrical *** ***** ************. ** *** ***** *************, **'** ***** that **** *****, *** ******** **** ******* ************** ** ****/********* sheets. ************** *** ***** ********* ** *** ******** *** *** given ***********; ********, ** ******* ******** ************ *.*., **********, ********, transportation,industrial ***. ******** ************* ************ **** ****** ** *********.

'Adapting' ************

******'* ******** ************ ******* ****** ***** ******* ** *********** ****-****** and *** **** ** ****** ********* *** ******* ****** ****. A *********** ******* **** *** ** ***** ************ ******* **** functionality ** ****** **** ********** *** '**' *********** (******** ** IR ************). ** ********, ***** *** ******** ***** *** ********* sold ** ****** *****, ***** **** ***** ************. ***** ***** illuminators ** *** ***** *** '**-*****' ************* ** ******* ** re-purpose ************ *** ********/***** *** ************.

**** **** ******'* ******** ************ ********* **** *** ****** ** address ****/***** ******** ****** ** ****** ***** ************ ************. ** contrast, *****'* '** ********' ********** ** ******* ** ** ** explicit ******** ** ******* **** ****** ********* ****-*****/***-***** ******** ******.

Intelligence / ******* ***********

****** ******** *** **** ******* ** *********** ******* *** **/*** and ***** ****** ******. ***** *** ***** ************* ********* ******* telemetry *** */* ****** ************ ** ***** ***-******* *********, ***** are ****** **/*** ********. ** *** ***** ****, ******'* ****-******* Pro ****** *** *** ** ******** **** ********** ******* ** provide ***** '************' ** ** ***********. *** *********** *******, ***** Boost, ****** ** ***** * **% ******** ** ***** ****** to *********** ********** ***** '********' *** ** ***** ** *** illuminator. ** *** ** *********, *.*., **** * ******* ******** a *** ** ***** ****** ********** ** *** *** ******* of * ********* ****. ***** ******** *** *** ****** *** provides *** *****-*****, ****** *******, ********* *****, *** ***** *******.

**** **** *** ****** *** ** ******* ** ******'* ****-******* line.

********* *** *** ************ ******** ** *** ******* ********** ************, and ** ** ******* ** ******** ** *** ****. *** units **** ********** ******** ***** ** * ****** *********** ** watch. *************, **** *********** **** ** ** ******* ***** ** used ** ******* **** '***********' ******** ** ******** ************ ******* illuminators *** *******/*****.

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

  • ******* *********** ***** ***** ******/*** ********* (*.*., ***** ** *******'* location ** **** ** *** *****)
  • ******* ***** *** ********* *********** **** * ******* ** *********
  • ******* *********** *** ****** ** ************

*** ******** ** **** ***** ******** **** *** ** ********* on ****** ******* ************ ********* **** **** *** ******* **.** the ***.*** ******** ********. *** **** ** ****** ************ ** both *** ****** ************** ****** ******** *** ***** ** *** ************, *** ** what ****** ** *********. ********* *** *** ********* *** ******* 3 ** * ***** **** **** ** *** ***-******* ******.

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

  • *** ********* *** ******* ***** (**.** ** **)
  • ****** *** **********
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