Exposure, and the tricks manufacturers play with exposure, are key to accurately and fairly assessing low light performance of cameras.
For instance, take these two images:
The images capture the same scene but look substantially different. However, which one is better?
No doubt, the image of the right (Camera B) is much brighter and the vehicle in the background is much easier to see. However, these two images are from the same camera - simply with a change to the maximum exposure setting.
Keep in mind that:
Using still images as 'proof' of video surveillance quality can easily be used to mislead
The 'hidden' problem is that long exposure times blur moving objects to the point of being unusable.
With the rise of cyber security awareness, and a general increase in hardware reliability, "software warranties" may prove more valuable than...
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