Lux Rating / Minimum Illumination Guide 2021

By IPVM Team, Published Jul 16, 2021, 09:58am EDT

Lux ratings are often used by manufacturers to market their cameras' low light abilities, but in reality, these specs cannot be trusted.

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In this 14-page guide, we explain why lux ratings (aka minimum illumination specifications) are so problematic, how they are established and what tricks/techniques are used:

  • How lux ratings are tested/determined
  • The competitive reasons manufacturers skew lux ratings
  • How standards are used and how realistic they are
  • Color vs B/W impact
  • The incorporation of shutter speeds in lux ratings
  • Understanding how IRE levels are used
  • Practical lux level ranges based on IPVM testing
  • IR and white light illumination and lux ratings
  • Advances in super low light cameras
  • How to avoid getting burnt by lux levels

Fundamental *****: ************* ****-********* *** *******

******* ************ ************** *** fundamentally ****** ******* **** manufacturer ******* *** **** will ********* ***** *******' lux *******. ***** **** standards ***** (********* *****), they *** *** ****** adopted *** **** ************* simply *** ***** *** methods ** ********* ********** minimum ************.

**** **********, **** ************ decides **** ** ***** is ** ***********. ** ** **** point, ****** ** ***** discretion, **** ******* *** self-assigned *** ******.

*** *******, ** *** image *****, **** *** level ***** ****** ** considered "****", *** **** no *************** ** ****** or ******* *********, ***** is "*****"?

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Competitive *** ****** ******

************, ***** **** ************ is **** ** ********* what ** ** ** not * ****** ***** according ** ***** *******, they **** ** ********* to ****** *** ******* one ********, ******* **** of ***** *********** **** do *** ****. ******, multiple ************* **** ***** to ********* **** **** took ***********' *** ******* into ******* **** ********* their ***, ** ** not ** **** ***** specs ****** *************.

********** ** **** ***** methods *** ** **** to ********* ***** **************, this ********* ********** *** competitive ******* *** ******* bias * ************'* *** ratings.

Few ********* **** / **** ********** *** "**** *****"

***** ***** *** **** standards **** ***** ** minimum ************ *******, **** are *** ****** ****. A *** ************* **** has ****** ** **** referenced*** *****-* ("************** *** Image ******* *********** *** Camera *******")** ***** *******, *** its *** ** *** widespread.

************, **** ***** ********* exist, **** *** *********** conditions ***** **** **** unrealistic *** ****-***** ***. For *******, ***** ********* IEC ***** *** *********** charts ***** **** *** camera's ***** ** ****:

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***** **** ** **** for ***************, **** ****** are *** ** **********, with **** ****** ******** and ******** *** **** details ******** ** ********* artifacts *** ******* ***** which *** ******** ** be ************* ****** ***** these ******.

Motion **** ******

** ** **** ** our***** *** ***** *******, **** ****-********** ******* blurred ****** ********. *******, regardless ** ***** ******* method ** ****, ******* illumination ** ********* ********* only ** ********** *******.

**** ***** ******* ************ specifications **** **** ********* to ********* **** ****-***** scenes *******, **** **** above * ****** *** rating, ***** ******* *** likely ** ** ****** on ****** ********.

*** *******, ***** *** camera ***** ***** ***** subject ******* **** ** is *****, ** **** as ******* ***** ** the **** ***** *** some ****** ******, ** motion, ***** ******* *** lost (*****).

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Beware **** ***** **********

** ******** ** *** selection *** *********** ********** above, ***** ****** **** be ***** ** *** qualifiers ************* *** ** their ********** ***** *** further **** ***** *****, including:

  • ***** **. ********** *******
  • *-****
  • ***
  • ******* *****

Color ** */* *******

**** ***/***** ******* ***** include ********* ** *** filters **** ***** **** 2 *** *******, *** first ** ***** ****, the ****** ** **********. This ********** ** *** to ********* *********** ** monochrome **** *** ** ambient ** ***** ***** is ******* ** ***** mode. ******* *********** *** often ***********, ** ** the ******** *****, ***** both **** ********** ******* illumination ***** */**** ** color **** (************* *** better).

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***** ***** *** ** ambient ** ***** ** occur, *** ********* *** overstated. ****** ***** *********** and ******** *** **** brought *** *********** ** color *** ********** ******* much ******, ** **** in **** ********** ***** from * *******-********** ****** in *** **** *****.

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F ****** *** *** *******

***** ** ***** * manufacturer **** ******* ***** minimum ************ ***** * different* ********** *** **** *** camera ****. *** *******, a ************ ***** *** their ****** *** ****** is *.** *** ** f/1.0 *** *** ****** may **** ** ********** f/2.0 ****.

** *** ******* *****, this ** *** ****, with ******* ************ ****** at **.*, *** *** camera ******** **** ** F1.8 ****, ***** ************ **** **** *** amount ** ***** ** an **.* ****.

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**** ******** *** ************'* own **** ****-**********, ********** this ***** ***** ***** the ******* ************ ** at ***** *.*** *** rather **** .* ***.

*******, ***** ***** *** typically ***** ** * given ******'* ****** ***** of **** **** ***** varifocal ******. *******, * number *** ****** *********** from **** ** *********, worsening *** ***** *********** as *** ****** ** zoomed **.

IRE ******

*** ** * ******* of *** ******** ***** in ** ****** ***** signal, ****** ***** ********* video ******* ** ****** cameras, *** ** ****** applicable ** **. *******, since ** ******* ** not ******* ****** ****** of ***** **** **********, it ** * **** metric.

* *** ************* ***** list ** ** **** sheets, ******* ********* ******* illumination ****** *** ********* IREs (**** ***** ** and **). *******, ***** it ** ******* *** manufacturers *** ******* **** IRE, ** ********* ***** the ****** ******* ************ spec ** ***** ***** (typically **) *** ******** lower ********.

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Shutter ****** *** *** *******

***** ************* **** **** lux ******* ** ********* or ******** ******* ******. Some **** */***, ****** 1/2s, *** **** ** the **** **** ****** 1 **** ****** *******. Users ****** ****** ************** at *** ******* ***** other **** */***, ******* while ***** ****** ******* speeds ***** **** ***** and ***** ******* ************ levels,****** **** ******* * significant *******.

** *** **** ***** example *****, *** ************ lists ******* ************ ** 1/30s *** */** ******* speeds:

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** ******, *** ******* illumination ************* '*****' ****** at */**, *** **** is *** * ************* improvement, ****** ******* *** more ***** *** **** blur.

Historic ******* ************ ******: ****-** *** "** *********"

******** **** *** **** in ****, ***** ****** be ***** ** *** tricks **** ** **** cameras, ******* **** *** still ** ******* ** specs ** ******* ********* in *** *****.

  • ****-** (*********** **):****-** ** *********** * marketing **** *** **** shutter. *** ****** *** sens ** "*****", *** slower *******, **** **** multiplier (**, **, ***, etc.) ****** ********** ***** 1/30s ** ******* *** effective ******* *****.

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  • "** *********" *****:**** ************* (******* ******* in *** ****) **** attempted ** ******* ********** by ******* "* ***, IR *********" *** ***** standard ***/***** ******* (******* integrated **). **** ***** "If *** *** *** add **** *** ** light ******, *** ******* need ** *****." **** is ********* **** *** any***/*********** *** ********** ******* it ******** ****** ******** IR *********** *****, ***** are ************ **** ** 2021.

Rough *** ***** *********** ******

***** ** **** *******, we************ ******* **** ***** ranges ********* ** ***** lux ******:

  • ***** *.** ***: ******* aggressive/inflated
  • ******* *.** *** *.* lux: ************, *** ** guarantee ** ***********
  • *.* *** *** *****: Weak ***********

Beware ********** ***** (

************* ********** ******* ************ below *.** ****** **** ***** ************ overstating ***** ******'* *** light ***********, ********* ** a *********** ************** ** bid **** ****.

*** *******, *** ****** below *** ** ********* low *.*** *** ******* illumination ****. *******, **** at ~*.** *** (*** lowest **** ************ *** meters *** *******), ******* facial ******* *** **** and **** **** ** obscured ** ******* *****.

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***** **** ******* ** this ******** *** ******* strong *** ***** *********** (e.g.********* ******* *** *), ** **** ******** those **** ********* **** performance, **** ** *****'* Ultra *********** **** (***** massively ******* ****** ******* due ** **** *******,*** *** **** *******) *********** ******* ******, *********** **** ** low *****.

** *****, ** ******* of ************* ****** ****** below *.** ***, ** performance ****** ******* ***** specs.

Conservative ***** ** *** ********* *********** (*.**–*.* ***)

******* *.** *** *** 0.1 ***, ******* *** **** conservatively ********* *** **** likely ** ******* **** realistic ***********. *** *** performers **** ****' *****-** (0.03lx) *** ***** ********* 8000i (*.****) *** ********* in **** *****, *** performance ** ** ** means **********.

*** *******, ***** *** camera ***** **** * relatively ************ *.** *** rating, ** ***** **** only *** **** ***** was ******* ******* ** this *****, **** ** usable ******* ** *** subject, **** * ***** outline.

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******* ** **** **** variance ** ***********, ** strongly ********* ******* ******* in **** ***** ** place ******** ********.

Higher ***** ****** **** *********** (>*.* ***)

******* ********* ** *.* lux ** ********* ********* ****** ** low *****. **** ******** contains **** ********-********** ******* whose *** ***** *********** has **** ********** ** new-generation ***** *** ***** models, ** **** ** many******* ********* *******.

*******, ***** ***** *** light ***** *** **** compared ** ****, **** in **** ********, ******* illumination ***** *** *** reflect **** ***** **********.

*** *******, *** ****** below ** ********* ** a ********** **** *.** lux, *** ******** **** weak ***** ******* **** heavy ******* ***** ** this *****:

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IR ************ *** *** ****** - *** ******

**** ******* ***** ****/******** today*** ********** **.

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******* ** ****, *** ratings ** *** ********* apply ** ****, ***** these ******* **** ***** own *****. ** ** possible ** **** ** cameras ** ******* *** IR *********** *** **** is ********* *** ****. As ****, **** ** cameras ****** * *** rating ** * ***, since **** ** *** need *****.

** ********** *** ****** is ***** ******** *** IR ******* **** ** is ********, ********* ****** color **** (***** **** IR ** **, *** camera **** ** ***** and *****). *** **** example *****:

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**** *** ************* ******* from *** **** ******* as *** ***** *******. Moreover, ***** ** ******* have ***** *** ************, many, ********** *****-**** ****, are **** ** *** light, ******* ** ***** built-in ** ************* ** make *** ***** ****** (e.g.,*** ********** ******-***** *******).

Integrated ***** ***** ***** ******

** *** **** *** years, ******* **** ********** visible***** ***** ******************* ** ** **** become **** ******, **** the ********* ** ********* color ***** ** ***** instead ** ********** **** using **.

******* ** ** *******, since ***** ***** ******* produce ***** ************, *** ratings ** *** *********** apply ** **** *** their **** ****** ********* simply ******* "* *** with *****" ** *******:

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*** ******'* ******* ************ spec **** ******* **** its ***** ***** ** disabled.

Other *** ***** ********

************, ** *** ********* and ****** ********** ******** that *** ******* **** poor ** *** *****. Even *** '****' ***** struggle **** **** ****** of ***** *** ******** in ***** **** **********.

***** **** ** *** white ***** ************, **** has ******* ** *** past *** ***** *** two *** *******:

  • ***** *** ***** **********:** *** ****, "***** low *****" ******* **** generally ********* *** ******* to *** **** *** end ** *************' ******* lines. *******, ** ****,**** $** ******** ********** ** ******** **** high ******* ***** *** light **********. **** ***** is ******** ** ********.
  • ****** *******:**** **** *** ***** ago, */*" ******* **** common. ***, "*******" ******* use ****** */*", */*.*", or **** */*" ******* which ******* ******** *** light *********** (******* **** advanced ***** *** ***** processing). ***** *** **** some **** ***** ****** IP ******* (*.*. *' or ****) **** ******* images ** ****-********, *** at *** ****** ****** (e.g.,****** ** / **** Camera).

How ** ****** ******* *******

** *** ***** ** important ** ***, *** do *** **** **, and *** **** ******* minimum ************, **** ********** the ********* ************* ********:

******* ************ ** *.** lux ** */*** *******, no **** ******* *******.

*** ********* *** **** is **** ******* ********* at *.* *** ** higher *** ****** ****** fairly *** ** *** light, **, ** *****, you *** ****** ***** cameras. *******, ** *** specify ********* ***** **** that, *.*., *.***, *** significantly ******** *** ****** of ********* ****-******* ***-***** cameras **** *** ************** specified.

*******, **** **** ** include *** "*/*** *******, no **** ******* *******" to ******* ************* ********* specifications **** *** ******* gamed *** ******* ** introduce *********** ****** ****.

[****: **** ***** *** originally ******* ** **** but *** **** ******* with ********** ********, ************ in *** *****, *** further *** ******* ***********.]

Comments (3)

*'* **** *** ***** the ****/******* ***** *******. I ***** **** **** the **** * **** to **** **** **** footage, ** ** ** minimal ***. **** ** the **** *** ******* is ** *** **** passing ** * ******. Is *** ****** ** this ** *** **** larger ****** ** *** cameras **** *** ******* more *****? **** *-*.*?

*'* **** ** **** a **** **** **** "please ***** ***** ***** here *** ******."

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

* ******** **** ***** ago, **** ** *** analogue ****, **** *** level *********** *** ****. Back **** ** *** simple, ** * **** of *****, ** * higher ******* (** ********) camera ** *** ********* lux ***** *** ***** expect ** *** ****** features. ** *** ***** cost (****** / *******) cameras ** ***** ********* lux ***** *** ***** expect ** *** ** outline.

** *** *** ****** days.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

**** **** ****. * particularly **** *** **** "Minimum ************ ** *.** lux ** */*** *******, no **** ******* *******." But ***** * *** Spec *** *** ***** saying ** **** ***? "Provide ******* **** ******* illumination ***** *********** ** 0.09 *** ***** * shutter ***** ** **** than */***".

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
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