Super Low Light vs Integrated IR Shootout 2013

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Oct 07, 2013

Two of the biggest trends in IP cameras collide in this unique IPVM shootout.

In the past few years, a surge of manufacturers have released integrated IR cameras as well as 'super' low light ones. Indeed, many manufacturer now offer both types.

They both address the same core problem - poor low light performance - but which one is better? and what are the tradeoffs?

The Test

In this shootout, we took 6 cameras - 3 integrated IR ones and 3 super low light optimized ones and tested them head to head.

  • Integrated IR cameras: Avigilon H3 (both 3-9 and 9-22mm models), Dahua and Axis M1114-L 
  • Super Low Light cameras: Axis Lightfinder P3354, Bosch Starlight NBN-733v, and Sony Gen 6 SNC-VB600

We then tested them indoors and outdoors, ranging from distances of 6' to 300', and light levels of 10 lux down to 0.1 lux.

Below is a preview of the 14 image comparisons we compiled from our tests:

The Questions

Our test results answered the following questions:

  • Which cameras provided the best details?
  • How did the results vary across light levels (e.g., who was better at 0.1 lux, 1 lux, 10lux, etc.)?
  • How did the results vary across distance? (including a special long range 125' - 300' test)
  • How did the results differ indoor vs outdoors?
  • Which cameras did better in minimizing bandwidth consumption? Is IR's advantage here real or a myth?

*** ** *** ******* ****** ** ** ******* ******* ** this ****** **** ********.

** *** **** *** *****, * ***** ** ************* **** released ********** ** ******* ** **** ** '*****' *** ***** ones. ******, **** ************ *** ***** **** *****.

**** **** ******* *** **** **** ******* - **** *** light *********** - *** ***** *** ** ******? *** **** are *** *********?

The ****

** **** ********, ** **** * ******* - * ********** IR **** *** * ***** *** ***** ********* **** *** tested **** **** ** ****.

  • ********** ** *******: ******** ** (**** *-* *** *-**** ******), Dahua *** **** *****-* 
  • ***** *** ***** *******: **** *********** *****, ***** ********* ***-****, and **** *** * ***-*****

** **** ****** **** ******* *** ********, ******* **** ********* of *' ** ***', *** ***** ****** ** ** *** down ** *.* ***.

***** ** * ******* ** *** ** ***** *********** ** compiled **** *** *****:

The *********

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

  • ***** ******* ******** *** **** *******?
  • *** *** *** ******* **** ****** ***** ****** (*.*., *** was ****** ** *.* ***, * ***, *****, ***.)?
  • *** *** *** ******* **** ****** ********? (********* * ******* long ***** ***' - ***' ****)
  • *** *** *** ******* ****** ****** ** ********?
  • ***** ******* *** ****** ** ********** ********* ***********? ** **'* advantage **** **** ** * ****?

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

Key ********

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

  • ** * *** ******* ******* *** (< ****), *** ***** cameras ************ ********** ** ******, ********* ****** ****** ** ***** range, *** ******** ********* ** ******* ******, ** ** ***'. Only *** ******** ** (*-***) ****** ******** ******* ***** ** low ***** ******.
  • ********, **** *** ****** ***, ~*.* *** *** *****, ** cameras ******** **** ****** ******* **** *** ***** ******, **** details ** ***** ***** *** ********* ** ****** ******. *** light ******* ******* **** ********* ** **** ***** *****, *** no ****** ****** ******.
  • ** **** ***** (** ** ***'), ********'* *-**** ** ******, at *** ******* ***** ******, ************ *** ***** ********* ******* with *** **** ***. *** ******** ****** *** **** ** ****** a ******* ** ** ***' ****, ***** *** ***-*** ******** detection ** ~***', *** *** ******. *** **** ***** *** unable ** ****** ******** ** ***** ****** ** ***.
  • *******, ** *** ***** ** ** **', ********** ** ******* clearly ************ *** ***** *******, **** ****** ****** *** ******* visible *****. 
  • **** ******* ******** **, ***** **** ******** ******** ***** ******* in *** ***** ******* ******** ** ***** **********, *** ** increased ******** *** ***** ***********. *******, **** ******* ******** ***, ********** mode ********* ****** **** *****.
  • ********* ***********, ******** ** ************ ******, *** *** ***** ******* the *** **********. ***** ********** ** ******, ***** **** **** bandwidth **** *** *** ***** ****** ** *** ***** ******. Avigilon's ** ****** *** *** ******* *********** ** *** ****** in *** ***** **** ****** ***. *******, *** ***** ***'* ********* usage *** ***** **** **** ********** ** ******.

*******

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

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

*** *-**** **** **** *** ********* **********(~$*** *** ******).

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

** **** *** ***** ****** ***** * *** (******** **** no ********), ********** ** ******* ***** ******* ** ***** ***** where *** ***** ****** ** ***, *** ********* ** ******** at ******* *********, ***** *** ***** ******* ******* ****** ** no ****** ******. ********* ** ***** ********* ***** ****, ********** IR ** *** ********* ****** ** ***** ******.

** ****** ***** ******, * *** *** ***** (**** ** lit ******* ****), *** ***** ******* *** ****** *** **** choice, *** ** ******** ******* *** ***** *********** ******* ** a ********** *****. **** ** ********** **** ** ****** ****** where *********** ******* *** ** ********. 

** ****** *** ***** ******, ********** ** ******* *** ********* the **** ******. ** ************ ** ***** **** ********* ** these ****** *** ** *** *********** ** ***** *** ***** objects ** ******** ******, ********* ** **** ***** *** ***** bandwidth **** *** ***** ********* *******.

*******, ****** ********** ** ******* ********* ******* **** ********* ** night **** *** ***** *****, ***** ****** ** ***** **** severe ****** *** ***** **** **** ****.*** **** * ***** ******** ************* ************ ********* *** ******* *****.

Outdoors, ****** **

*** ***** **** ***** *** * ******* *** *** *****, with ******* ***** **, ******* **** ***** * *** ** ~10.

** *', *** ********** ** *** *** ***** ******* *** closest ** ***********. *** *** ***** ******* ******* ****** *******, providing **** ****** ** *** *******'* **** *** *******. **** overexposure *** ******* ** **** ** *** *** ***** ****** from ****.

** **', *** ***** ******* ******* ********** ******, ***** ********* more ******* *** ****** ******** ** **** *****.

** **', *** *********** *** ******. ** ************ ****** ** fade ** *** ******* ** **** *****, *** ******** ** lost, **** *** ******* ******** **** *** ********** *** ******** by *****. *** *** ***** ******* ***** ***** ***** *********** and *********** ****** ******** ******* ********** *** *******. ******* ******* much ****** ** *** *******.

** ***', *** ******* ** ****** **** ** *** ********** IR *******, ***** ***** ******* ********** ** *** *** ***** models.

Outdoors ****** ***

******* *** ****** ***, ********** **** ********* ****** **** ***** in *** ***** ********* *******. ***** ****** ******* ** ~*.* lux **********.

** *', *** ********** ** ******* ******* ****** *** ******** details ** *** *******, ***** *** *** ***** ********* ****** provide ********* ****.

*** ** ******* ******** ** ********** *** ***** ****** ** 25', ******* ******* *** *******. *** ***** ******* ** **** range ******* **** *****.

** **', *** ******* ** ***** ********** ** ********** ** cameras, ****** ********** **** ********* ** ******.

*******, ** ***', *** ******* ** ********* ** ****** **** in ********** ** ******.

Long *****

** **** ******* ******, ** **** ********'* *-**** ** ******, along **** *** *** ***** ****** ******** **** *-**** ********* lenses. ** ******* ******** ********* ********'* *** ********* ** ************ ***** ** **** ***** was ********, *********** ** ******* ******* ** ******* *****.

******** ** ***', *** ** ****** ** ******* ******** ** low ***** ******. *** ***** ***-**** ** ********** **** ** detect * ****** *******, *** *** ***** ** ***.

** ***', ******** ***** ****** ******* *** *******, ***** *** 733 ** ***** ********. 

*******, ** ***', *** ** ****** *** ********** ********* *** subject, ****** ** ** ***** *******. ***** ******* ******* ** usable ******.

*******

*******, ** ****** ** *** ******** ****** ********** **** ** get * ******** ** ***** ******* *** *** *********** ********* in ******* ******.

** **' *****, ****** * ***, *** ** ******* ******* better ****** **** *** ***** ******, **** *** **** ***** more *******, *** **** ****** ****** ********. *** ***** ******* suffered **** ****** ***** **************.

** **** *****, *********** ** *****, **** ******* ********* ********** close ** *** ****. *** **** *****-* ******** **** ******************* ***** ****** ** **** ****, ********* **** *******.

*********

*** ********** ** ******* ** *** ***** ********* ******** **** bandwidth **** *** ***** ********* *******, ** **** ** *** charts *****. **** **** *** ******** ** ******, ***** *********, and ***** ***-**** **** ******** ** ****, *******. ***** ******** more ********* **** *** ***** ******* ******** **** ****** **, while ***** ******** **** **** **** ** *******. **** *******, with *** ****** ***, *** ******** ** ****** ******** *** most ********* ** *** ****** ** *** ****, **** *** VBR *** ** ** **/*, * ** ******** **** *** bandwidth **** ****** **.

Test ********** 

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

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

  • **** *****: *.**.**
  • ***** ***-****: ********
  • **** ***-*****: *.*.*
  • **** ***-*****: *.*.*

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

  • ******** *.**-**-***-** (*-*** ******): *.*.*.**(****)
  • ******** *.**-**-***-** (*-**** ******): *.*.*.**(****)
  • **** *****-*: *.**.**.*
  • ***** *********: *.***.******* **.*.*,*****:****-**-**(**.*.*)

******* **** ************ ** */*** ******* ******* ********. ***** ******** were **** *********.

Comments (16)

**** ** **** ***********. **** **** ** *** ********** ** trying ** ****** ** ******* *** ***** ************ ****** :)

**** **** & ****** *** ************* ** ****** ********* ** what **** *****?

******.

*** **** *** ** ******* ***** ***** **** ** ******* in *******, ********** ** * **** ****** *** ***** *********.

***, **** ** * ********** **** ********* *** ******** (** and ***** *** *****). ***** ** ********* ****** **** *******, the ***** ** *** ** ******** ******* *** *** *** two ******** ********. ********** ** ******* ** **** *** ***** model *** ********* (** *** **** * ****** ********** ** model), *** ******* ******* ******* **** ********* ***** **** **** the ****.

** *** ******, ** **** ** ** ********** ** ******** where ** **** *** '****' ** **** ****** ************ *** then **** **** **** ** ****. ** **** ****, ** will *** ***** *** ***** ***** ** ***** ** ***** cameras **** ******* ** ***** ********* ********** ** *****.

****, ***** ** * ***** ***. **** ******** ***** ** if * ******* * *****. *** *** ** ******, *** maybe ** **** ***** **** **** ****** ******.

**** ****, ** ***** *** *****. *** ***** *** *** lower **** ***** **** * ****** ***** ** ****** *** $161, ***** ** ******* **** *** ***** *** *****, *** on *** ** *** *******, *** ***** **** **** ** would ******* ****** **** *** **** ********* ****. *** ***** Dahua *** ** ***** * ******, ** ** ******** **** with ***** ******, *** ** ***** **** **** ***** ***** picking *** ****** ** ***** ******.

* ***** **** ******** ** ***** ** **** *** ********, but **** ***** *** ***** *** ****** ******* **** ********* their ****** *****. ** *** ***** ** *** *****, *** wouldn't **** *** ***** ********** ******** ** ****., *'* ****.

***, ** ***** ***** ******** *** *************** *** ****** ***** cameras ******** **** ****. ******* *** *** *** **** *** they *** '******'? :)

****,*** ***** *** ********* (***-*******) *** *** ***** ** **** (***-********) *** ***** *** *** **** ******* ** ********: ** meters.

***, ** **** ** **** * ****** ********** ** ***** instead ** *** * ****** ***. ** **** *********** **** we ***** ******* ****** * '***' ***** ***** *** *** do **** **** **** ** *****.

*** *****,the ***** ** **** **** ** * ********** **** and even if we used the HFW2100 or the Axis P series integrated IR unit, the ******* *************** between super low light and integrated IR would ****** *** ****.

***'* **** *** **** ********** ** ********. * ******* **** the ******** ** **** **** ** **** **********.

****'* *** ***** **'** ********** ** *******. ************* ******, *** Dahua ****** ***** **** **** *** **** ******** ** *** the *********** ** **** ******** ***** ****** *** ****** ** the *****. *** ** *****'* **** *** ** ***** ***** like *** **** *****-* (***** *** * **** ********* ** pattern). ** **** ** ** *********** ****.

*** ***** ** *** ***, ****** * *** *********** ***********. The ******** ** *** ***** *** *** *******.

********, *'** **** ** ***** *** ****** ** ****** (*** adaptive) **** *** *** **********, **** ** ****** ***** *****.

***** *** ********** ******* "*** ***** ******" ** "**** ******* rage" ** "**** ******* *****" *******? *** ***** ******* ***** the **** ******* (********* ***** ** *** *****)?

**** ******* ***** *** **** ******* ************ *** *********** *** **** *****, ******** ** ******* ****** images ** ****** **** **** ********** ** ********, **** ** lobbies **** **** *******, ******* ***** **** **** ******** *****, etc.

*** ***** ******* *** ******** ** ******* ****** ** ***** lux ****** **** ***** *******, ***** ** ***** ** *****. They ****'* ******* ******** *** ****** **** **** ***** **********, however.

***** ** **** ******* ** ***********, ** **** *** ****** perform **** ** **** *** *** *** ***** ******. ** see **** ** ******* **** ******* *****,***** ***-****, *******'* *** **********. **** ******* ***** *** ** *** *****, *******, *** both.

*** ****** ** ***** *** * **** ** *** ******* WiseNet *** ******* ** * *** ***** ********? ** ****, they *** * ******* **** ****** ***** *** ***** *********, but * **** ** *** ** ** *** *** *********, or ** **** ****** ** **** ***** ***** ** *** top **** ** *** ***** ******.

**** *** **** (*** ******) ******* ** ******* *** ******* using ******* ******** ** ******** ** **** ******** **** **** you ******* ****? *** ********, * **** **** *** **** to *********** *** ******* *****, *** ***** *** ***** ******** at ********. ***'* **** ****** ** * ****** **** *** WDR, *** ** *** ** *******? ** ** **** ****** you *** **** ******* * *******, *** *** **** ***** it ** ***** ****.

* **** **** ** ** * ****** *********** **** ******** that **** **** ** *** ***** ******, *** * ***** it ***** **** ** * **** ***** *********** ******. **** of ** *** ******* *** *** ***** *********, *** ********* product, ***** ****** *** ******* *** *** **** **********. **** should ******* *** *** *** **** ** ***** *** ******** twice *** ****** *** * *** **** ****** ** ***** it, ** ***** ***.

***, **** *** *** ******** ******** *** ***** **** ** to ******? *** **** ** ** **** *** ** *** cameras ***** ** ********* *** *** ** *******? ** *** mean******* *** ** *****-******** ***? **** ***** ********?

** **** ***** **** ******* ******, *** ** ****** ******* ** ****** *** **************** **************** **** ****** ** ******* ***********.

*** *******, **** ** *** ******* ** **** ********* *** of *** *** *** ******* ****** ***** *** *** *********** they *** ********* ****. * ***'* ******** **** ***** ***** the ******* ******** **** ******* *******. **** *** * ***** list ** ******** **** ******** *** *******:

*) ***/**** **/***

*) ******* ***** (***** *** ******* *********** *** ********, *** maybe *** ********)

*) ****

*) **********/********/**********/***

*'* *** ****** **** ***** **** ** ***** ** *****, but ** ** *** ******* ******* **** *** ***** ** performance, ******* **** ** ** *** **** ******** ******** ***** possibly **** *** **** ** * ***** ******/***** ********. * think **** *** *** **** ** *** *** ***** ******* especially, ***** ****** *********** ***** **** * **********.

*** *'* *** ********** **** *** ******* **** ******* ******, because ** *** ***** ** ****. * **** **** *** test **** ********, **** *** ********* ** *******. ** ** a **** ******** **** **** ** **** ** ******* ******* the ********* ********.

"** *** *** ***** ******* **********, ***** ****** *********** ***** make * **********."

**.

*********, ******* ***** ***** * **********, *** ** *** **** acknowledged, **** ** *** ** ******/********* ****.

*********** ***** ****** ******** *********** **** *******, ******** *** ****** ** ******** **** ** *** *** in *** *****. *** *** ****** *** **** ********* **** **** ********* *********** ***** ** *** ***** (***'** ****** **** ******* ***** at *** ******* ** ************ ****** ******).

**********/*****/********** ** *** **** ******** *********** ** ******* ********/********* *** certainly **** ** ******** ********** ** *** *****. *******, **** people **** ***** ****** '********' ****** **** ******* ** ***** settings *** ********** ***** *** **********.

*** ***, ** **'* *******, ** ****** ***** *** ********** either *** (******* **'* *** ** *****). ** **'* *****-********, it *** **** * ****** ********** *** ** ***** **** that *** ******* ***** **** ** *** **** (** **** allow ** ** ** ****** *** ** *****).

**** **** **** ** *** ***** *** ********** ****** ******* * ******* ** ***** ****, ***** ******* **** our ****** *** *** ***.

** *** ** *** *** **** *** ****** **** **** massive *************, **** **** ** **** *** ** **** ********. However, * ** ******* *** ** **** ***** ***** **** every *********** **** *** **** ********* *** **** ***** ******** make ****** ** ********** ******* ** ********** ******** ***********.

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

Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We bought and tested...
March Networks Company Profile on Jul 17, 2017
March Networks was one of the most well-known video surveillance manufacturers of the 2000s. In 2012, March was acquired by Chinese / American...
Nest Cam IQ Tested on Jul 10, 2017
Nest has released their latest entry in their camera line, the Nest Cam IQ, touting 4K "Supersight", facial recognition, "HD audio", invisible IR,...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on Jun 30, 2017
For years, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Hikvision H.265+ Tested on Jun 27, 2017
Hikvision, which in the past few years released H.264+ (see test results) has now released H.265+, that claims even greater bandwidth savings. We...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
Axis P3225 Mk II Tested Vs. Original on Jun 20, 2017
Axis has released a number of 'Mk II' versions of their cameras, which are the same fundamental camera but with specific improvements. We tested...
VMS UI - Light vs Dark Preferences on Jun 16, 2017
Several VMS manufacturers have the ability to choose a user interface with either a light or dark color theme. 150+ integrators told us which they...
Axis 20MP Q1659 Camera Tested on Jun 13, 2017
Axis has joined the super high resolution camera trend with their Q1659, a 20MP model equipped with Canon's APS-C sensor. We tested the Q1659...
Avigilon Announces New Lowest Cost Camera (Mini Domes) on Jun 06, 2017
Avigilon's first Micro Dome (see IPVM's test) is now 4 years old. Since that time, low-cost fixed focal Chinese manufacturer dome usage has...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision H.265+ Bullet Tested (2035) on Jul 24, 2017
Continuing our tests of Hikvision's new low cost Value Plus line, we bought and tested the 3MP DS-2CD2035FWD-I, now including H.265+. We shot the...
Sports Stadium Security Design Recommendations on Jul 24, 2017
Sports stadiums pose many challenges for designing security systems. The facilities vary from being mostly vacant, to packed with tens of thousands...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...
Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We bought and tested...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...

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