Super Low Light HD Lens Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 26, 2015

A smaller F-number can make a big difference in how much light reaches an imager.

For example, the difference even between a f/1.2 and f/1.0, which may seem very close, can be significant, as shown by our F-Stop Calculator:

However, almost all megapixel cameras use lenses of at least f/1.2, with many at f/1.4 and even some lower cost ones at f/1.8 or higher.

We recently bought a F/0.95 6MP rated lens from Hikvision (the HV0733D-6MP). This lens is huge, shown below in the middle surrounded by 'normal' size megapixel surveillance lenses:

We tested this lens on three cameras from Axis, Arecont, and Samsung, ranging from 720p to 5MP, to see what differences, if any, existed between this super low F number lens and typical megapixel lenses.

* ******* *-****** *** **** * *** ********** ** *** much ***** ******* ** ******.

*** *******, *** ********** **** ******* * */*.* *** */*.*, which *** **** **** *****, *** ** ***********, ** ***** by ****-**** **********:

*******, ****** *** ********* ******* *** ****** ** ** ***** */*.*, with **** ** */*.* *** **** **** ***** **** **** at */*.* ** ******.

** ******** ****** * */*.** *** ***** **** **** ********* (the *******-***). **** **** ** ****, ***** ***** ** *** middle ********** ** '******' **** ********* ************ ******:

** ****** **** **** ** ***** ******* **** ****, *******, and *******, ******* **** **** ** ***, ** *** **** differences, ** ***, ******* ******* **** ***** *** * ****** lens *** ******* ********* ******.

[***************]

Key ********

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

  • *** */*.** **** ******** *** ***** *********** ** *** ******* tested, *******, *** ***** ** *********** *** ********* ******, ********** relative ** *** ***** ** *********** ********* ***** *******.
  • ** *** ***** *** *** ******* ******, ******* **** ******** at ***** ***** ****** ***** *** */*.** ******** ** ***** lenses.
  • ** *** ***** *** ***** **** ***** (**** */*.* ****), digital ***** *** *******, ********* ******* *********, ****** ***** ********** was **** ******** ********* ******* ******.
  • **** ****** ******** **** *** ** ** ***** *** ********** or ********* *********.

*******

*** *******-*** *** * ****** ***** ****** $***. **** ** significantly **** ********* **** ******* *-* ********* ***** ******, ********* in *** ***** **$***.

***************

** ******** **** *** ***** *********** ** ******** *** ****** is ** *****, *** */*.** *** ******* ******** *********** ** ****** at ***** ****** ***** * ***, ********** ** ******* ***** and **.

***** ****** ** ******* **** ********* ********** *** *** ******* using **** ****, ** *** ********* **** ******** ** ******** lenses *** ******* * ****** *******. 

Physical ****

*** ********* */*.** **** ** **** ****** **** ******* ********* rated ******, ****** ****** ** **** ******** *** ******. **** size *** ** * ********* ***** **** **** ****** ********, as *** **** *** ******** *** ****** *** ****** *** fit ** ******* **********. ************, ** **** *******, ********** *** be * *******.

Low ***** *********** ***********

** ****** *** */*.** ********* **** ** ***** ******* ** low ***** ****** ******* **** *.** ** *.* *** ** show *********** ******* ***** ****** *** *** *** ***** *****. We ****** * ***** ** *******, **** **** ** *** resolution ** *** *********** *** **** *****:

******* ****** ************

*****, ** ****** *** *******-*** **** * *** ******* ****** AV5115DNAIv1, * *********** **** *** ***** *********, **** * **** F/1.8 *-**** **** (*** *****-**). ***** *** * **** **********, ** *** *** *** ********* **** ****** *.** **** light **** *** ******* *****.

** ~*.** ***, *** ********** ******* *** *** ****** ** clear, **** *** ****** ********* ** ***** ***** *** */*.** lens, ***** ** ****** ****** *** ******** ***** *** ******* recommended *****-** **** (*/*.*). ** ~*.** ***, *********** *** **** clear, **** *** ****** **** ** ****** *** ***** ***** the */*.** ****, *** ** ******* *** ********. ** ~*.** lux, ***** ****** *** *** *** ** ******* * ****** image **** ****** ****.

**** *****

*** **** ***** ***** **** * *** ***** */*.* ****, able ** **** **** ***** **** *** ***** ** *** F/0.95.

** *** **** *****, *** ********** ** ***** ***** ** ~0.67 *** ~*.** *** ** *****, **** ****** ******* ** both ******* *** ***** ******** **** ***** *** */*.** ****. At **** *** ***** ******, *** */*.** **** ***** ******** better ***** **********, *** *** ***** ** *** **** *** noise ****** *** **** ** ******* ******* ** *** *******.

******* ***-****

*******, *** ******* ***-**** **** * ************ *********** */*.* *-**** lens.

** *** ******* ***-****, ******* *** **** ********** *** ** the ****** * ******* ** *** ******, ** **** ** the ******'* ********* *** ***** ***********. *** **** ********** **** at *** ***** ****** ** ******* ******* *****. ** ~*.** lux *** ~*.**, ******* ******* *** **** ****** ** ******* using *** */*.** ****

Comments (8)

It makes sense to evaluate it in night mode, but some cameras claim good low light performance in color (day mode) as well. Will you test these lenses in color as well?

Thanks Ethan. Could you clarify one thing? You said:

A smaller F-number can make a big difference in how low light reaches an imager.

...the difference even between a f/1.2 and f/1.0, which may seem very close, can be significant.

But this seems at odds with the information in the f-stop tutorial:

Small differences in F numbers (e.g., f/1.2 vs f/1.4) generally do not impact low light performance significantly.

Is there a subtle distinction I'm missing?

Yes, statement #1 talks about how much light reaches the imager. Statement #2 refers to how much it impacts performance. Two Different things.

Consider statement #3 inside the report, weighing both:

"The F/0.95 lens improved low light performance of all cameras tested, however, the level of improvement was typically modest, especially relative to the level of theoretical increased light passing."

Two Different things.

Let's just talk performance then.

This article says "modestly improving performance"

The tutorial says "not significantly impacting performance"

In this test, we tested F/0.95 vs lenses up to F/1.8, which is much larger than the example we gave in the tutorial, quote "f/1.2 vs f/1.4".

Would be interesting to see a depth of field comparison or calculation of the lenses as well.

John, does the fact that the Hik lens and the Computar lens have different formats have to be considered? The Computar is listed as a 1/2.7" and the Hik is listed as a larger 1 1/8" format.

This means the diameter of the image circle formed by the lenses is different. For the Computar looks to be around 6.6mm, whereas the Hik should be around 9mm. The 5004's sensor is a 1/3" or 6mm diagonal, so although using a lens with a 1 1/8" format lens is possible, it wastes much more of the light passed by the lens, than the 1/2.7" format:

I didn't look up the other sensor sizes, I just wanted to throw this out for discussion and see if it makes any sense first.

Correction: Format type should read 1/1.8", not 1 1/8".

Relative sizes and sizes in mm are unaffected.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Axis IR Multi Imager Camera Tested (P3717-PLE) on Feb 18, 2019
Axis has released their first IR multi imager, the P3717-PLE, a repositionable model listing 360° IR illumination and flexible positioning,...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
Bandwidth vs Low Light Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Geovision, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Feb 08, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance, but do all manufacturers' cameras perform the same? Are some more consistent...
Sony Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 06, 2019
Sony Favorability amongst integrators improved moderately compared to their 2017 favorability results, with a modest net positive...
Camera Course Winter 2019 - Last Chance on Jan 24, 2019
This is the last chance to register for the Winter 2019 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...
Worst Products Tested In Past Year on Jan 09, 2019
IPVM has done over 100 tests in the past year. But which products performed the worst? Which ones should users be most aware of? In this report,...
2019 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Jan 07, 2019
Each year, IPVM summarizes the main advances and changes for video surveillance cameras, based on our industry-leading testing and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...
Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...
Hanwha Tax Evasion Probe, Camera Division Implicated on Mar 19, 2019
A Hanwha group subsidiary was raided as part of a tax evasion probe. While a Korean news media report listed the raided entity as 'Hanwha...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Retired Mercury President Returns As Open Options President on Mar 18, 2019
Open Options experienced major changes in 2018, including being acquired by ACRE and losing its President and General Manager, John Berman who...

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