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

Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
CES 2018 Show Final Report on Jan 12, 2018
This is IPVM's final edition of our 2018 CES show report. Below are already numerous images and commentary, with more coming tomorrow.   CES is...
Hanwha ExtraLux Camera Tested on Jan 11, 2018
Hanwha has released the latest in their Wisenet X line, the "extraLUX" series, claiming to "capture crystal clear, true-color images in low-light...
Canon Launches World's Most Expensive IP Camera (ME20F-SHN) on Jan 09, 2018
Canon has launched the ME20F-SHN , likely the world's most expensive single imager, non-thermal, IP camera at ~$20,000. And Canon subsidiary...
Hikvision IR Bullet Camera Shootout on Jan 08, 2018
Hikvision's widely used Value Plus line claims 30m/~98' IR illumination range, on multiple lens options ranging from wide angle (100°+) to...
Multicasting Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 04, 2018
Network bandwidth can be a concern for some surveillance systems. While improvements in video codecs, such as smart codecs for H.264 and H.265,...
2018 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 03, 2018
The new IP Networking Book 2018 is a 228-page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
QoS for Video Surveillance on Dec 29, 2017
Along with VLANs, QoS is one of the most misunderstood topics in IP surveillance networks. Many purported "experts" claim it is required in any...
Resolution Tutorial on Dec 28, 2017
Understanding video surveillance resolution can be surprisingly difficult and complex. While the word 'resolution' seems self-explanatory, its use...

Most Recent Industry Reports

PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial on Jan 19, 2018
Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.  However, access requires more power than cameras, and the...
If You Have 4 Cameras, You Can Throw Them Away, If You Have 400, They Throw You Away on Jan 19, 2018
Do users care about anything but price? Do user care about cybersecurity? Do users care about trusting their supplier? These have become...
Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Vivint Streety Video Strengthens Door Knocking on Jan 17, 2018
Vivint is famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) for mastering large scale door to door selling. The company has skyrocketed from a...
Axis: "It’s A Question Of Trust And Who You Want To Be Associated With" on Jan 17, 2018
Who do you trust? Who do you want to be associated with? Axis is raising hard questions to start 2018. In this note, we examine these questions,...
Software House Vulnerability Allows Inside Attacker To Open Doors on Jan 17, 2018
A vulnerability in Software House IP-ACM modules allows an attacker to potentially unlock doors, or perform other actions, on affected systems....
'Defiant' Hikvision 'Strikes Back' At WSJ And US on Jan 16, 2018
The fight is on. Hikvision and their owner, the Chinese government, 'strikes back' against the Wall Street Journal and US politicians raising...
The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...

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