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?