Sony's 6th Gen Low Light Demo

By John Honovich, Published Apr 21, 2013, 12:00am EDT

Sony's ISC West demo of their 6th generation network camera's low light performance drew a lot of attention. Normally, we ignore show demos as they cannot be compared nor validated to properly assess actual performance. However, the number of people trumpeting this demo as proof of Sony's superior low light capabilities has compelled us to comment. 

[UPDATE 2013: Sony 6th Generation Test Report is released.]

The Demonstration

Sony showed their previous 5th generation CH140 vs the new 6th generation VB600. The demonstration video below is from IPSecurityReps and shows the same comparison we saw at the show:

What Does It Mean?

One thing is very clear: Sony's 6th generation camera is a lot better in low light than their 5th generation. But the 5th generation is a very old model. We first tested the 5th generation CH140 more than 3 years ago. Beating a camera 3 or 4 years old is not much of an accomplishment.

Moreover, the Sony CH140 got beat easily in our recent shootouts, so much so that we stopped testing it because it was so far below the standards of new entrants. Here's an excerpt from last year's Axis Q1604 shootout:

The Sony 5th generation got blown away by those cameras as well. And it would get beat just as bad or worse by Bosch's new Starlight series.

Interpreting the Demo

So Sony is showing that their low light got a lot better. However, be very careful about assuming that means Sony is breaking new ground in low light performance because it a fact that what Sony was comparing its low light performance to was a camera that has been repeatedly beaten badly over the last few years.

We do plan to test the new Sony 6th generation head to head against Axis, Bosch, etc. and can then comment about how Sony matches up overall.

[UPDATE 2013: Sony 6th Generation Test Report is released.]

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