Minimum Illumination (Lux) Tested - Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Vivotek

By Ilya Ignatenko, Published Jul 27, 2021, 11:30am EDT

In video surveillance, manufacturers often specify cameras' minimum illumination at extremely low levels (e.g., 0.01 or 0.004 or even 0.0005), near complete darkness, but in IPVM actual experiments, results are poor to non-existent.

IPVM Image

To find out how manufacturers varied and who most overstated their low light performance, we tested 12 cameras from 6 manufacturers, ranging from the best to the worst performers from our Color Low Light Mega Shootout 2021, with a few additions, to discover their ability to perform at the illumination levels specified in datasheets:

In this report, we examine:

  • How do cameras perform at their minimum light specifications?
  • What are the actual illumination levels needed for cameras to produce recognizable facial details?
  • Do minimum illumination specs really reflect performance?
  • How do cameras handle moving subjects?
  • How do camera manufacturers measure and specify minimum illumination levels?

For basics of minimum illumination and how it is calculated and used, see our Lux Rating / Minimum Illumination Guide.

*******

***** ** *** *******, Hikvision **** *********** ******** their ******* ************ *****, with ** ****** **** difference ******* ***** *******' specs *** ***** ****** needed ** ******* *********** facial ******* (*.****** **. 0.05lx), *.*. *********** *** specific ****** **. ******.

**** *** **** ************ in ***** **************, ******* from **** *.** ** 2x, ***** ****** **** more ********, *** ** a **** ****** **** Hikvision, ******* **** ** (Vivotek) ** *** (****** ExtraLux).

*******, **** *** ***** applies **** ** ***** or **** **** ********, with *** ******* ******** moving ******, **** ********** reducing ******* *** ****** totally ******** ********, ********* no ****** *******.

Test *******

** ****** **** ****** using *** ********* *******:

  • **** ****** *** ***** tested ** *** ********* minimum ************ *****, ** at *.** *** (********* was ******). **** ** because **** *** ****** cannot ********** ******* ***** 0.01 ***. ***** ***** this *** ****** ***** filters ** ******** ****** scenes (********* ***** ** this ******).
  • ****** ** ******* ************ levels **** ******** ** what **** ********** "******" for ***** ****** *******.

*** *******, *** ***** below ***** *** ************'* specified ***** ***** ** the **** (*.** ***) compared ** ******* "******" facial ******* ** *** right, ** ~*.* ***. Note **** **** ** "usable" *** **** *********** may **** *** ******* setups *** **** ****** appear ******** ** ******, skewing ***** ******.

IPVM Image

Unrealistic ******* ************ **************

***** ** *** *******, the ***** ***** ***** the ********** ******* *************' minimum ************ ************** *** IPVM-determined ****** ******** *** facial ******, ****** ** manufacturer ***** **** ****** to *******.

*********** ****** **** *.** lux (**** *****-**) ** 0.75 *** (****** ******* Q).

IPVM Image

*******, *** ****** ******* showing * ******** ********** between *** ******* ************ levels ********** ** *** manufacturers *** ************ ******* is *********** ** *** differential ***** ***** *****.

******* ** *** ************ between ***** *** ******, Hikvision ************* ***** ******* illumination ***** ** ~**-****, while **** *** ***** aggressive, **** **** ******* differences (~*.** ** ~**).

IPVM Image

Camera ***** **. ****** *** ***** ***********

***** **** ************* ****** overstate ***** ******* ************ specs, **** **** *** necessarily **** ***** ******* perform ****** ** ******* low ***** ********.

*** *******, ***********'* ******* * ******* *** ** *** most ************* ******* ** this ****, *** *********** at **** *** ***** levels ** ***** ******, making ** *** ** the *** ********** ** our***** *** ***** ******** 2021.

IPVM Image

** ***** ***** ************** may ** **********, ******* with ********* *** (*****-, four-decimal) *** ******* *** still ** ****** **********.

**********, ***** ****** *** assume **** ******* **** higher, **** ************** ********* minimum ************ ***** *** objectively ****** **********. *** example, *** **** *****-** had *** ******** ************ between ******* ************ ************* and ****** ************ *********** but *** ********** ****** than **** ***** ****** tested, **** *********** ****** details ********* **** ***** (~0.1 ***).

IPVM Image

Performance *********** ******* ** ****** ********

*** *********** ** *** cameras ** ***** ******* illumination ****** **** * moving ******* ** *** scene *** **** *****, with ******** ****** *** dark ** ****** ** see ****** ******* **** walking ** ***** *****.

*** *******, **** *** cameras ******, ****’ *****-*** produces *** "****" ***** at *** ******* ************ level ** *.** *** with * ***** *******'* outline. *******, ****** **** and ***** **** ** impossible ** *** *** facial *******.

IPVM Image

*** ***** ***** ***** the *********** ** ******* at ***** ******* ************ levels, **** *** ******* simply *** **** ***/** blurred ** **** *** details, *** **** *** even ********* ******** *********.

IPVM Image

How ************* *******/******* ******* ************

***** ** ** ******** standard ** *** ***** surveillance ******** **** ** used ** *********** ******* sensitivity ******* *******,*** ***** **** *: 5.4.3. ******* ************.*******, ******* *** ********* are *********, ** ** up ** **** ************ to ****** **** ******* procedure *** *********** ******* they ***, *** *****/******* employed, *** **** ** the ******* ****, ***. The ******** ******** **** recommendations, *** *** ******** requirements *** ***** *******.

************, *** ******** ** light ****** **** ** measure ***** ** *** is * ******* **** persists ****** *** *****. Light ****** **** **** manufacturers ******* **** * precision ***** ** *.** lux. ** *** ** manufacturers ****** ** ************** down ** * ******* points?

** ***** ** ********* measure *********** ***** *.** lux, **** ************* ***** (******* *******) ********* ****** *** ****** of ***** ******** ** the ******. *** *******, the ************ *** *** a *.* *** ***** and ** **** ****** (reduces ***** ** */** of ******) ** ****** at * ******* ************ of *.** (*.*/** = 0.03125).

Feedback **** *************

** ******* *** ** each ************ ****** ** find *** ** *** testing ********* *** ********** representing *** ******** *********** of *** ******* *** what ******** ***** ** adjusted ** ******* *** image ******* ** ******* illumination.

*** ********* ******** **** manufacturers *** *****. **** and ********* *** *** respond ** ** *** time ** *******, *** we **** ****** **/**** feedback ** ********.

*****

** ******* *********** ********* to *** ******** ********: IEC *****, *.*.* ******* Illumination. **** ** * technical *********** **** ** used ** *********** ******* sensitivity ******* *******. ** does *** **** * light ***** ***** * perfect ***** *** ** captured, *** ** ********* the ******* ******* ***** illumination ********* ** ****** 30% ******** ** ***** level ***** *** ***** floor *** **** *** (color) *** ***** (**********) mode.

*** *********** ***** ******* of ****** *********** ********* *************** * ***** *********** of **** * +/- 100 *. *** **** chart *** * ***** area ** *** ****** area *** ** ***** at *** *****. ** reduce *** ***** ****** to *** ******* *** levels, ************* ** ******* should ** ****. *** video ** ******** **** multiple ****** *** *** settings *** ********* *** the ************. **** ****, our ************ *** **** at *** ******* ******** (fully ****, ** ****) and * */** ******** time.

** ***** *****, ** measuring ********* ** **** method, ***** ** ** subjective ****** ** *** value *** ****** *** be ******** ******* *******.

***** **** *********** ******** the ******** **** ** 1/25s, *** (********* ***** Control) ***** ** ***, "ALC - ******* **. peak" ** -**, *** turning **** (*********** ******* Noise *********) ***.

******* **** *** *** changing *** ** *** did *** ******* *** image ******* ** ~*.** lux. ******** *** ******* speed **** */*** ** 1/25s ********* *** ****** of ***** ******** ** the ****** *** ************** brightened *** *****. *******, the ****** ******* **** still **** *** ******** by ******* *****.

IPVM Image

*** "*** - ******* vs. ****" ******* *** greyed *** *** ***** not ** ********.

IPVM Image

*****

***** ******* ********-* ******** to **** *** ******* illumination.

** *** ********* ******** to ******* *** ********* grey ***** *** ****** the ******* ********** ** make ** ** *****(******* speed */***, */** **** 100). ***** ********* **** be ******** ** *** light ***** ****.

[** ********* *** ******* lux ***** *** ****** image] ** *** ******** resolution ******* **** ** get * ****** **** number *** ** ******** at *** ***.

****** *** ********** **** the ******* ********** ********** of *** ***** ***** to **%, ** ***** point *** ************ ** treated *** ****** ****** illumination **** *** ****** image.

***** **** *********** ********* the ******* ***** ** 1/3s ***** ***** ***** more ***** *** * far ******** ******* ** dark **********, ** ***** also ****** ******* ******** that ***** ****** ******* useless.

******

** *** *** ****** to ********* *** ******* illumination **** ** ***** and */*.

*** ****** ** ** calculate *** ******* *** level **** *** ****** achieves ***** @ ******* speed */**.

*******

** *** ****-***** *********** chart(TE153) *** *** ****** FOV. ****** ******* ***-* light ***** ** **** for ******** ***********.

******* *** ****** ******** performances ** * *******: Luminance, *****-*****, ***, **********, Saturation.

*** **** ** ** (minimum ************):

**** *** ****** ***** in ***** ** ** longer ** ***** **% of *** ***** ** full **********. *** ************ will ** *** ***** of **.

*** ****** *****, ** consider ***** * *******. We ***** *** ************ of ****** ***** ****** be ****** *.*****.

*******, *************** *** ******-**** ***** states **** *** ******* illumination ***** ** *.** lux ** *** ***** mode. *****, ******* *********:

** ***’* **** *** definition ** “****** *****”. For ********* ************, *** requirements ** ****** ***** are *******. **’* **** to ****** *** ************ of ****** *****.

*** ***** ** *.***** is *** **** ********* that *** ***** ** close ** ****** ***** of ***** **********.

*********, *** *.***** ** the ******* ******.

Test **********

*** *** ******* **** defaulted ***** ** *** test **** **** *********** to *********** *** ******* procedure:

  • ******** *** ** * maximum ** */***.
  • *** ********/***.
  • ***** **** ****** **.
  • **/*** ************ ****** ***.
  • **** ********* (** ******* in *** ********).

Firmware

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** ** *** test:

  • **** *****-***:**.*.*
  • **** ***** **. ***: 10.6.0
  • **** *****-**: **.*.*
  • ***** ***-****-**: *.**.****
  • ***** ***-*********-**: *.***.*******.*.*
  • ********* **-*********-*: *.*.***
  • ********* **-*********-*: *.*.***
  • ****** ***-*****: *.**.**
  • ****** ***-*****: *.**.**
  • ****** ***-*****: *.**.**
  • ******* ******-****: *.****.**.***
  • ******* ******-**: *.****.**.***

Comments (6)

*'** *** ********* **** night ****, ******* *** success **** ******* *****, Dahua, **** *********. **** almost ****** ******* **** with **** ******* *******.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

** ********* ***** *** a ****** ** **** outs **** ****

*/ ************* ******* ****'* worth *** *** **** are ******* ****

*/ *** '********' **** to *** ***** ******* is, ** *** **** world, ******* *******. **** is ******** **** *** manufacturers *** ******** ******* the ***** ***** ********* the ********.

*/ ** **** ** encourage ************* ** *** real ***** *******, ** not **** ******* ***

*/ ** ***** ** very ******* ** ** organisation **** *** ********* & ******** **** ** have ***** ***** ***** of *** / **** cameras ** * ************ test ******** / ******. eg * ********* ******* a **** ***** *** 10' **** *** ****** & ** ***** ** various ***** ******, ** 1, *.*, *.* & manufacturers ******* ***** ***** with ***** ****** ****** been *** ** *** same ********, ** ******* speed, *** ***.

*** ***** ***** ***** with * ****** *****, then ******* *** ****** rotate ****** ** ******** motion ** **** **** motion **** ****** *** each ******.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**** ** *** ***** types ** ******** *** camera ***** *** ********* to **. **** ** the **** ***** ** IPVM.

***** *** **** **** YouTube ****** *** ***** a *** ** *** pro *******, **** ****** good ***** ****** *** so ****.

** ****** ***** ***** the *** ***** *** usually ******** *** ** each **** ** ****** we **** *** ********* may **** **********, ****** and **** ********* (******* you *** *** *** of *** ***** *** if *** *** *** three *** ** *** three *********) *** **** them ********* ***** ** marketing. ******, **** ** our ************ **** "****" us ****** ** *** out ** *** ***** stages ** * ********* project *** **** ** so *** ** ** send * *********** ** mfg *** ** **** in *** ***** *** demo ******(*** ***** ** surprised ** **** ** available ** *** ****** ask). **** *** ***** to ******** *** ********** specifications **** ************ ******** to ***** ******* *** prevent ******* *********.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

*/ *** '********' **** to *** ***** ******* is, ** *** **** world, ******* *******. **** is ******** **** *** manufacturers *** ******** ******* the ***** ***** ********* the ********.

*/ ** **** ** encourage ************* ** *** real ***** *******, ** not **** ******* ***

** ******** **** * section ** ****** ****** / ******* Illumination ********* ***** ***** **** of **** **** *** manufacturer's ***** ** ****. It ** * ***** place ** ** **** your *********** *** ********** drastically ***** **** ***, as *** ***** *** up ****** ** ****** your ****** ***** ** bids ** ****'** ****** specified.

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

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

**** ***** ****, ** definitely *****'* **** **** the ********* **** ** exist *** ******* *** basically ***** ** * really ******* ***** ** contrast ***** *** "*******", so ****'* ****'* **** aimed *** **** *********** lux *******.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

*** ***** *** ********* for ***/****

*** *** ******* ** develop * ******** *** IP ******* *******?

*** **** * *** community ****** *** (**** members) *** *** **********

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**** ********** **** ** correct ** ***** *********** of ******* ***** *****. shown ** *************.

***** *** **** ** variables **** *** *** accounted *** ** ***** specs *** **** ********* never ********* **** **** sheets ** *** ******* of *** *****.

*** ************* ** *** deal **** ************; ** whatever ********* *** **** claim. ** ** * measure ** ************ ** the *****. *** ****** sees **** ******* ********* if *** ****** ***** viewed ** ***** ( 100% ************) ** ***** ( **** ************).

**** *** **** ***** used *** ***** *** camera *********** ********. *** focus ** *** "*" stop ** *** ****, while ** ******* ***** is ******* *********** "*" stop **** ******** ******* the ***** ******* **** the ****. ****** *** widespread *** ** ********* lenses ***** *** ****** difference ******* *** "*" and "*" **** ** there ** **** * few ********; ********* **** more ******* *** ********* more ***** ****.

*** **** **** *********** that ***** ** **** if *** ****** ***** all *** ******** ** Faceplate ** *** ******; eliminates *** ************, **** loss *** **** ***** variables. ************* **** ***** happened **** *** *****.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 7,216 reports and 962 tests and is only available to subscribers. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a subscriber? Login here | Join now
Loading Related Reports