Raytec Vario Illuminators Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Dec 04, 2011, 07:00pm EST

Raytec has announced a new line of both white light and infrared illuminators, named Vario, which provides novel features not normally seen in the IR illuminator space. In this update, we'll examine the features of the Vario line, and how it compares to the other two companies in the "big three" of IR illumination, Bosch and Iluminar.


The Vario line [link no longer available] consists of both infrared and white light illuminators in multiple power options, similar to their Raymax or Raylux 25, 50, and 100 models. The line has two standout features:

  • Variable dispersion: Each illuminator is equipped with a removable lens which controls the angle of illumination for the illuminator. Illuminators will ship with two lenses for a total of three posible angles (the illuminator without lens is a 10° dispersion). Additional lens packs will be available in two versions: standard (30° and 60°) and wide angle (90° and 120°). Raytec will also work with users to create custom lenses if the standard options aren't appropriate for the application.
  • Remote control: All Vario illuminators are microprocessor equipped, controllable via a handheld infrared remote control. This remote is used to control power output, make photocell adjustments, control telemetry settings, and other programming functions. Remotes are sold separately, and all Vario illuminators may be controlled via the same remote, so integrators do not need to keep multiple units at hand.

The initial versions of Vario will be available only in single-panel form factor, though there are plans to expand the line to dual and triple panel units eventually. Current models are powered via low voltage AC or DC only, though we expect PoE models will be introduced in the future.

[UPDATE January 2013: Raytec now has am IP / networked Vario version.]

The Vario line will be available for shipping in February of 2012. It effectively replaces the Fusion [link no longer available] line of illuminators, though these models will still be available as an "on demand" line, according to Raytec. This is to fulfill customer requirements for those who have standardized on the Fusion, and for projects in which they have been specified.

Competitive Analysis

Pricing for the Vario line will be the same as current Fusion pricing, which ranges from about $300-700 USD online. However, the Vario line provides changeable lenses and remote control, features and potential advantageswhich the Fusion did not. 

Raytec's pricing has typically been competitive with Bosch and Iluminar, the two other most commonly-cited providers of illuminators. This release does not change that. However, the Vario line's changeable lenses and remote control programming features are not available in competitive lines. We imagine the Vario line would be more attractive to integrators, since it ships with lenses for the most common applications, meaning fewer part numbers to know and/or order. The ability to change the angle of illumination after the illuminator is installed may also be useful if camera FOVs are changed.

Overview Video

Raytec has released the following Youtube video, a brief demo showing remote control and relensing operations:

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