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 ****** ** ********** ******* ** ********** ******** ***********.

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