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

Hikvision 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (DS-2CD63C2F-IV) on Jun 14, 2018
Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F-IV is their flagship panoramic camera, with a 12MP imager, 15m integrated IR, smart codec, and more. We tested the 63C2 in...
Avigilon H4 Multi-Sensor Adds 32MP, H.265, Analytics on Jun 13, 2018
Avigilon has announced the H4 Multisensor, the successor to their repositionable multi imager line, adding features like H.265, integrated IR,...
Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
Hanwha Low-Cost 4MP Camera Tested (QNV-7010R) on Jun 11, 2018
4MP usage is increasing noticeably, as IPVM 2018 resolution statistics show. And low-cost, fixed focal cameras, are popular for budget...
Top Features For Easy Camera Installation (Statistics) on Jun 05, 2018
Camera installation is the most fundamental and common task for video security technicians. Because of this, camera manufacturers market their...
Hikvision PanoVu 20MP Flexible Camera Tested on Jun 01, 2018
Hikvision has released their first repositionable multi imager cameras with integrated IR included, atypical in competitors. We bought and tested...
Stats: Upgrading Cameras Far More Common Than Replacing Failed Cameras on May 30, 2018
The old saying "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" does not apply here. New IPVM statistics show that 60% of cameras that are replaced still work but...
Oncam 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested on May 29, 2018
Oncam has made their name since the early 2000s as a fisheye specialist, focusing only on panoramic cameras. To see how this specialist stacks up...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined on Jun 22, 2018
When it comes to low light, infrared light has become the defacto standard in surveillance. But IR is limited to monochrome images, making colors...
'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

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