Pixim Nightwolf IR Optimization Reviewed

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 25, 2012

Overexposure and blooming can ruin video from cameras with integrated IR illuminators. Now, chipset manufacturer Pixim is releasing a new series, named Nightwolf, that is optimized for use with IR illuminators, claiming to overcome those problems. In this note, we examine Nightwolf and contrast it to rival techniques like exposure adjustment and 'Smart IR'.

Overview

Here are key details of Nighwolf:

  • A variation of the Seawolf chipset, it uses new IR optimized firmware
  • Like Seawolf it is SD resolution only; no MP
  • A 'companion offering', it does not replace Seawolf
  • Nightwolf focuses on processing IR exposed images, giving up the low-light color optimization of Seawolf.
  • Nightwolf is the same price as Seawolf

Common IR Illumination Problems

The image below demonstrates a common IR illumination problem:

Notice how the subject's faces are washed out and overexposed due to the intensity of the IR illuminator. This image is only shows people present but provides no identifying details. Even if this camera performs above average in daytime situations, the performance at night gives it limited utility.

This is an example of improvements Pixim claims with Nightwolf:

Commonly, 'low light' optimized products rely on adjustments to the exposure settings and shutter speeds to enhance performance. Nightwolf's IR optimization comes from the signal processing in the chipset, not from settings adjustments. Some common image quality drawbacks of those methods, like image blurring and ghosting, may be avoided.

Pixim claims to do this without having to use 'Smart IR', which varies the intensity of IR illumination to avoid overexposure spots. However, this method also limits the overall amount of IR light cast into the scene. Theoretically, by maintaining full IR illumination and processing the image to optimize overall details, Nightwolf provides a better offering

Application

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Like Seawolf, we expect Pixim Nightwolf to be attractive choice for lower cost offerings. IR bullet and dome cameras are especially common analog offerings. The use of Pixim's Nightwolf might improve their image quality without significantly impacting cost.

The big constraint we see is lack of MP support. IR illumination is especially important for many megapixel cameras that have worse low light performance. Plus, MP is a much faster growing segment than SD.

Where is Pixim's Megapixel Offering?

Pixim indicates that a recent acquisition will help them offer MP chipsets in the future. While Pixim does not disclose its roadmap, they did note that their acquisition of Advasense last year provided them with strong technology for future MP offerings.

We think MP support is critical for Pixim's market positioning. Pixim used to be the big name in WDR but with so many of the large manufacturers offering their own WDR MP cameras and Pixim having none, this has eroded its presence in the market. While the Nightwolf looks to be a sold incremental advance, a megapixel offering is now long overdue.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on IR

Hikvision Colorvu Camera Tested on Jun 24, 2019
Hikvision says their new ColorVu line captures "vivid chromatic images in darkness", with unconventional white light illuminations whereas most...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Camera Course Summer 2019 - Register Now on Jun 12, 2019
Register for the Summer 2019 Camera Course.  This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Avigilon 32MP and 12MP H4 Multisensor Cameras Tested on Jun 11, 2019
Avigilon has released their H4 Multi-Sensor line of cameras claiming "broad scene coverage and high image detail" We bought and tested the...
Vivotek 20MP Multi-Imager Tested on May 30, 2019
Vivotek has released their latest repositionable multi-imager camera, the MA9321-EHTV, a 20 MP model claiming "Supreme Night Visibility", "Optimal...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Hikvision DeepinView Camera Analytics Tested on May 08, 2019
Hikvision is expanding its 'deep learning' offerings with a new camera series called 'DeepinView' claiming false alarm reduction and improved...
Dahua ePoE Long Distance UTP / Coax Tested on May 03, 2019
Dahua's Enhanced PoE (ePoE) line is claiming extended video and power transmission over 600m without repeaters, with devices interchangeable via...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Colorvu Camera Tested on Jun 24, 2019
Hikvision says their new ColorVu line captures "vivid chromatic images in darkness", with unconventional white light illuminations whereas most...
China Subway Facial Recognition System Examined on Jun 24, 2019
A China city of 6+ million people has installed facial recognition-enabled gates in subways, allowing commuters to enter stations by simply showing...
HID Mobile Tested on Jun 21, 2019
HID Global is one of the largest access brands, but their mobile access has had challenges. Indeed, the company has already restructured their...
Genetec Beats Milestone For IHS #1 on Jun 21, 2019
For years, Milestone has touted that they are the #1 VMS. Now, Genetec has beaten them in IHS rankings. But what is this? Even other manufacturers...
Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Exacq Remote Cloud Access Tested on Jun 20, 2019
Remote cloud access has been missing from most VMSes (including Exacq and Milestone). Now, Exacq, after releasing Cloud Drive Storage earlier in...
Briefcam Buys Frost Award* on Jun 20, 2019
Frost 'awards' are well-known and widely disrespected. Now Briefcam is touting their win. The way it has worked for many years is that Frost...
IFSEC 2019 Show Report on Jun 19, 2019
The UK's largest trade show, IFSEC, is underway and IPVM has been examining what is new and happening at the show. Inside, we cover: Huawei...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...

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