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

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