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

Last Day - IP Networking Course May 2017 on Apr 27, 2017
Today is the last day to register for the May IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Axis Lowest Cost Outdoor IR Camera M2025-LE Tested on Apr 24, 2017
Axis has lagged offering low cost IR cameras while their Asian competitors have made IR standard even in their most entry level cameras. Recently,...
Ring Floodlight Cam Tested on Apr 20, 2017
Ring has released their latest entry, the Floodlight Cam, calling it the "Evolution of Outdoor Security", touting motion activated floodlights,...
Hanwha Lowest Cost WiseNet X Camera (XND-6010) Tested on Apr 13, 2017
IPVM bought and tested the lowest-cost WiseNet X model, the indoor 2MP fixed focal XND-6010 dome, continuing our testing of Hanwha's new WiseNet X...
Pelco Surevision 3 Tested on Apr 12, 2017
Pelco has released generation 3 of its Surevision cameras, claiming improved performance in both super low light and WDR performance. We bought...
Hanwha Wisenet X Tested on Mar 27, 2017
Hanwha has released their latest generation, the Wisenet X series, powered by their new Wisenet 5 processor. This new series claims improvements...
SimpliSafe Camera Tested on Mar 07, 2017
SimpliSafe is one of the most controversial companies in the industry, as they have become the symbol of the DIY threat to traditional alarm...
TVI 4.0 Doubles HD Analog Bandwidth on Mar 05, 2017
HD analog's move up market continues. Starting a few years ago at just 720p, HD analog is now poised for 4K and beyond. Techpoint, the company...
Vivotek 3MP 180 Wall Mount Camera Tested on Feb 28, 2017
Purpose-built wall mount panoramics have become an attractive niche to cover entranceways. In 2013, we bought and tested Vivotek's 1MP...
Dahua 4K HD Analog Cameras Announced on Feb 23, 2017
HD analog has been gaining popularity (even if Axis hopes otherwise). Last year, HD analog's max resolution doubled from 1080p to 4MP (see our 4MP...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IP Networking Course May 2017 on Apr 26, 2017
NOTE: Registration ends tomorrow, Thursday the 27th. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals...
Tri-Ed Favorability Results on Apr 25, 2017
Tri-Ed, owned by Anixter, far outranked Anixter, the lowest ranked company in our distributor favorability series. Still, Anixter's ownership did...
Chinese 'Attacking Us From Every Direction', Says US FBI on Apr 25, 2017
"Chinese eating our lunch. Attacking us from every direction" said the US FBI's Deputy Director Andrew McCabe at the ASIS 2017 CSO Summit. .@FBI...
Eagle Eye Exec On Mountain Of Servers - VSaaS Growth Analysis on Apr 25, 2017
Eagle Eye VP of Operations, Hans Kahler, posted a picture of himself sitting on top of a shipment of new servers, as a testament to the companies...
Axis Posts Strong Q1 2017 Financial Results on Apr 24, 2017
Axis posted strong numbers for Q1 2017, after having some challenges in 2016 (Q1 2016, Q3 2016). Inventory levels and overall spending show...
Axis Lowest Cost Outdoor IR Camera M2025-LE Tested on Apr 24, 2017
Axis has lagged offering low cost IR cameras while their Asian competitors have made IR standard even in their most entry level cameras. Recently,...
IPVM First Dean's List W2017 - Thomas Atkinson, Matt Hurly and Fredrik Lundqvist on Apr 24, 2017
IPVM is happy to congratulate and celebrate our first "Dean's List", the top students in our courses. For the Winter 2017 IP Networking course...
Splicing Alarm Circuits Guide on Apr 24, 2017
Alarm installers commonly connect multiple sensors to a single zone. They do this by splicing the wires together. In this report, we will explain...
PureTech Video Analytics Examined on Apr 21, 2017
PureTech's analytics were chosen for a US border protection system (see related post), which the company claims no other analytics vendor was able...
US Border RVSS / Video Analytics System Examined on Apr 21, 2017
US Customs and Border Protection has been rolling out a video analytics-based detection system along the US/Mexico border, with detection ranges...

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