5 Low Cost IR Illuminators Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 03, 2015

IR illumination has increased in popularity, with built in IR becoming a common feature in low-cost models. But when low light needs exceed the relatively short ranges of these cameras (usually 100' or less), users have historically been left with few options aside from high-priced external illuminators. And for those cameras without IR, even for short range, the cost of those illuminators can now be more than the camera itself.

However, a new crop of low-cost illuminators has hit the market, claiming wide illumination angles and long ranges (400'+) at rock bottom prices, under $100 as well as short-range models for under $20.

We bought 5 of these IR illuminators from Amazon for a total cost of under $200, shown below:

We put them to the test and see how the performed in these categories:

  • Range: Did illumination reach specified ranges or fall short?
  • Angle: Did illuminators suffer from bright center hotspots or evenly cover the field of view?
  • Features: How do these illuminators compare to pro models in featureset?
  • Camera Performance: How did these illuminators work with different Arecont, Axis, Hikvision and Sony cameras?

** ************ *** ********* ** **********, **** ***** ** ** becoming * ****** ******* ** ***-**** ******. *** **** *** light ***** ****** *** ********** ***** ****** ** ***** ******* (usually ***' ** ****), ***** **** ************ **** **** **** *** options ***** **** ****-****** ******** ************. *** *** ***** ******* without **, **** *** ***** *****, *** **** ** ***** illuminators *** *** ** **** **** *** ****** ******.

*******, * *** **** ** ***-**** ************ *** *** *** market, ******** **** ************ ****** *** **** ****** (***'+) ** rock ****** ******, ***** $*** ** **** ** *****-***** ****** for ***** $**.

** ****** * ** ***** ** ************ **** ****** *** a ***** **** ** ***** $***, ***** *****:

** *** **** ** *** **** *** *** *** *** performed ** ***** **********:

  • *****:*** ************ ***** ********* ****** ** **** *****?
  • *****:*** ************ ****** **** ****** ****** ******** ** ****** ***** the ***** ** ****?
  • ********:*** ** ***** ************ ******* ** *** ****** ** **********?
  • ****** ***********: *** *** ***** ************ **** **** ********* *******, Axis, ********* *** **** *******?

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

Key ********

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

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

*** ************ *** ** ******** ***** ********* ******, **** *** longest ******** ~$***'. **** **** ***** ****** ********* **** ******** ranges (***-***', ***-***', ***.) ******* *** *** *** ** ********* range.

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

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

** ***********'* ********* ***** ** ************ ****** ********* **** *** actual ***********. **** *** ********* ** * ****** ***********, ****** varied ************* **** ****, **** *** ******** **** *******, *** two *****.

** ******

***** ***-**** ************ *** ******* *** ***** *** **** **/*** based ** ** ******** *********. **** ** *** ******* *** ******** ******** found ** **** ****** **** ************, **** ** ****** *** ********* camera ***/***** ****,******** ******** *******, ********* ************.

*******

** ********* *** **** ** ***** ************ **** ******.***, **** prices ******* **** $**-**:

***** ****** *** * ******** ** **** ************ ************ ****. For *******, * ****** ****** ** (****-**) **** * ** degree ***** ** ************ ***** *** ~$*** ******. ******* **** with **** ******** ***** ** ************, *** ***** ** ******* to ***** **', **** * ***** ** *** ******** ** the ****** **** ***** ** **** **** (***, $**).

****** ***** ****** *** **** ******* ******* ******* ****, ***** with ******** ************ ********.

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

*** ************ ****** **** ******* * ****** ***** ** *** illumination ** *** ***** ****** ** ****** **** ***** **** professional ***** ************, *** ** ****** ****** ***** ** **** integrated ** ******.

*******, ** ******** ******* ***** **** ***** ************ ** ***** with ***** ****** ******, ** ***** *** ***** ** ************ vary *********** **** ****, *** *** *** ** ********** *** the ***********.

The ************

*** ***** ***** ***** *** ************ **** ** ****. *** counts *** ********** ****** **** *** ***** **** ** * large, **** ******* ***** *** ***** ** ************.

Illuminator ********

***** ************ **** **** ** *** ***** *** ******** ***** in **** ********* ********** ******. **** *** ******* ** ***** only, *** ********** **** *** ** ******** *********. **** ******* no ************* ** ***** ****** ** ***** **** **** **/***, nor ***** *********** ***** ** **** ****** ****** ******. 

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

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

Powering *** ***********

**** ***** *** ****** ** *** *** ** ***** ***** *** these ************ ******* ** ** ***, ** ** ******* **** ******* ******* **** ****** **** ****** ********.

  • ***** ******* ** "*** ******" *** ** ***** ************ *** do ** **** * *** **** *** ********. **** ****** *** *********** ** **** ***** **** * free *** ****** ****, ** ** ** ****, ******* ** using *** *-********* *** *****.
  • ** *** * ***** ****** *** ******* ** ***** ** the ***********, * ***** ********** ****** **** ** *********** ******* ** ****.

Range ***********

*** ************ ****** ******* ** ******** ***** ********* ************ ********. Those ********** * ***** ******* ** * ****** ******, *** IR130 *** *****, ******* *** *** *** ** ***** ********* range, *** **** *******.

*** *** *** ***** *** *** ******* ***** **** ("***-***'") *** actual ***** ** ***, ***'+, **** ** *** ***** *****. Note **** *** ***** (**********, ******* ** *** ***** ** the *******) **** ***' **********, **** *** ***** **** ~***' from *** ******/***********.


*** ***** ******* ************ *** *********** *** ** ***** ***'. However, *** ******** ******* ****** **** **-** *******, **** **** hotter ** *** ****** **** ******.

**** ***** **** *** ******* ******* **** **** ***' ** the ****** ******** ***** *** ** * (* ***) ***********. ************ becomes ********** ****** ******* *** ***** *** ****** *****, ~***'.

Coverage *******

*** ************ ****** ********* ****** ** ************ ******* **** **-** degrees. *******, ** ***** **** *** ** ***** ***** ** be ******** (*** ** ****** ****).

*** ****** ************ **** **** ******* ** ***** **** (*****/*****) were **** ***** **** *********. **** ******* ** ************* ** ****** angle, **. ** *** ** ******* *****, ************. **** ** shown ***** *** *****, *****.

*******, *** ******* ****** ***** * ** * **** (***/****) overspecified ***** ***** ** ************. *** *** ********* * ** degree *****, *** *** *** ********* ******* ** *** ************ tested, ~** *******. *** **** ********* ** *******, *** ******* only ***** **.

Overexposure ****

********** ** ***** *********** *** ****, *** ****** ******** **** risk ** ************ ******** ** **** ******** *** *******. ******* which *** ********* ****** ** ******** ******* *****, **** ** the**** *************** ***-****, *** **** ** ********** *** *** ***** ** ***** in *** *****, ***** ******, **** ** ***************************** *****, *** ****** ** ******.

***** *** ***** ******* ****, ************ *** *** ** ******, though ***** ** ***** ** ***** *****:

Comments (10)

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

****** ***'** ***** ***** ******* *** **** ****, *****? ********** the ****** *** ******* **** ****** ***-***** *********** ***** ***** make ** *********** ****** ** **** (********?) ******.

***** *** ****** ****** * *** ** "*********" ******* ** you're ***** ** **** ************ *********.

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

***** * ** **** ***** ** **** ******* ** ** illuminators ** **** ** ******* ****** ******* ***** *********** **** 2015, *** ** ****** ** ****** ** **** **** *** all ******, ********* ******* ***********. ****'* * ***** **** *** 2010 ****;

*** **** **** ******* ** "***********" ** "***********" ******* ******* illumination?

* ****** **** ****** ******* ***** ***** ********* ** ***** up ******* ******* **** **** ***** *** ****** ** ***** (e.g., ** ************) ** **** **** **********

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

****, **** ********* *** ******** *** ***** ** ********** ** ********

*** ************ ***** ************?

***********, ** ** "*******" *** "********". *** ***** ***** **** an ******** *********, *** ****** ****** ** ** * ******* company.

****** ***, * ***** *** ****** *** ******* ** ****. These *** ****** **** ********** ****-******* ********** ***** ** ********* low ******.

** **** **** ***** *** ***** ** * ******* *** about * ****** ***. ** **** ****** ***** ***** **** what *** **** ****** ** *** *******. *** *********** *** works *****.

****** *** *** ***, *********** ** **** **** ****'** ******** getting **** ***** ***!

**** ****** ** *** ******* **** ** ******** ******* ******** a *** ******. ***** ***-*** **** ************ ***** **** ***** blowout ** ***** *********.

**** ****** ** *** ******* **** ** ******** ******* ******** a *** ******. ***** ***-*** **** ************ ***** **** ***** blowout ** ***** *********.

*** *** **** *** ****** ** **** *********** **** ****? We ******* *** ************ ****** ** *** ******.

* ******** **** *** *******. ** *** *******, *** ** not ****** ** ****** *******. **** *** ********* **** ** smart ** **** ******* ******* ** *** **** ***** *** turns **** *** ** *****.

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

Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
Top Used License Plate Capture Cameras on Aug 21, 2017
Capturing license plates is a common video surveillance application. But what cameras do integrators mostly commonly used? Special purpose LPC...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
Axis Laser Focus PTZ Tested on Aug 14, 2017
Axis has been touting its new Q6155-E laser focus PTZ as 'always in focus' and 'always in color'. Does it really deliver? We bought and tested...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
Rebooting IP Camera Statistics And Practices on Aug 10, 2017
Dahua cameras automatically reboot weekly, by default. Is this an innovation by the Chinese mega-manufacturer or a sign of a problems? 125...
ADI 'In The Dark' About Low Light on Aug 07, 2017
ADI's recent post on 'How To See Better In the Dark' makes basic mistakes, promoting outdated technical claims. Missing: Super Low...
Dome Versus Turret Camera Usage Statistics 2017 on Aug 07, 2017
Turret cameras are a growing segment within video surveillance. Indeed, many integrators argued strongly for turrets in an IPVM...
Access Control Commissioning / Install Checklist on Aug 03, 2017
This 80+ point checklist helps end users, integrators and consultants verify that access control installation is complete. It covers the following...
Dahua 4K Turret Tested Vs Hikvision (N84BG44 ) on Aug 02, 2017
Dahua has released their latest low cost 4K model, the N84BG44, claiming Smart H.265+ and 50m IR range. We bought and tested this new model against...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
Top Used License Plate Capture Cameras on Aug 21, 2017
Capturing license plates is a common video surveillance application. But what cameras do integrators mostly commonly used? Special purpose LPC...
VLAN For Video Surveillance Usage Statistics on Aug 21, 2017
VLANs (see our tutorial) are an option for networks using video surveillance, but how often are they actually used? 125+ integrators told us how...
Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...

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