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

Last Chance February 2018 Camera Course on Feb 15, 2018
This is the last chance to get into the Winter camera course, starts next Tuesday. Register now. IPVM provides the best education, live online...
Assa's Lowest Power Draw Maglock: Securitron M680E Examined on Feb 14, 2018
Securitron produces some of the most extreme maglocks on the market, including massively strong maglocks and even ones with integrated CCTV cams...
Hanwha Wisenet X 5MP Camera Tested (XNV-8080R) on Feb 13, 2018
Wisenet X is Hanwha's high-end camera line. We tested their Wisenet X 1080p camera last year. Now Hanwha is offering 5MP cameras listing super low...
Arlo, Bigger Than Avigilon, More Valuable Than Axis on Feb 08, 2018
Arlo, the wireless IP camera offering that Netgear bought ~5 years ago for a few tens of millions is now doing more revenue than Avigilon and...
Axis 'Best' Q3517-LVE 5MP Camera Tested on Feb 05, 2018
Axis boasts of its Q3517-LVE: Simply put, AXIS Q3517-LVE delivers the best video quality possible. But is it really the 'best'? We bought...
Dahua 5MP Starlight Camera Tested (N52BM3Z) on Jan 30, 2018
Is 5MP the new 1080p? According to our recent statistics, average resolution continues to trend upwards. And now, manufacturers releasing new...
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...
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...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Why 3VR Failed on Feb 16, 2018
3VR destroyed transformed ~$65 million in VC funding into a $6.9 million exit. The reason they failed is simple. They bet on analytics. They...
"Fear Mongering": Hikvision USA Cybersecurity Director Dismisses Chinese Government Ownership Concerns on Feb 16, 2018
The facts are: The Chinese government created Hikvision and is Hikvision's controlling shareholder. Hikvision's Chairman, a Communist Party...
16:9 vs 4:3 Video Aspect Ratio Statistics on Feb 16, 2018
What aspect ratio do security integrators prefer? The 'standard' 4:3 or the 'wide' 16:9 one? 100+ integrators told us what they preferred, with...
Mercury Releases New Series 3 Redboard Access Panels on Feb 15, 2018
Mercury Security has their first major product release post-HID buyout, and things literally look different. The Series 3 SIO boards now are red...
Last Chance February 2018 Camera Course on Feb 15, 2018
This is the last chance to get into the Winter camera course, starts next Tuesday. Register now. IPVM provides the best education, live online...
Hikvision DeepInMind Tested Terribly on Feb 15, 2018
While Hikvision is heavily marketing deep learning and 'AI' as their next big thing, new IPVM test results of their DeepInMind NVR shows their deep...
Genetec CEO: You Cannot Buy Trust on Feb 14, 2018
Genetec's CEO, Pierre Racz, delivered a direct message at their channel partner conference: Racz has become a focal point in the industry debate...
Assa's Lowest Power Draw Maglock: Securitron M680E Examined on Feb 14, 2018
Securitron produces some of the most extreme maglocks on the market, including massively strong maglocks and even ones with integrated CCTV cams...
Hanwha Wisenet X 5MP Camera Tested (XNV-8080R) on Feb 13, 2018
Wisenet X is Hanwha's high-end camera line. We tested their Wisenet X 1080p camera last year. Now Hanwha is offering 5MP cameras listing super low...
Top Problems For Integrator Project Management on Feb 13, 2018
Security projects routinely encounter issues that jeopardize deadlines, create confusion, and shrink profits. Unfortunately, there are common...

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