The Super Low Light Shootout

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Mar 28, 2016

How good are surveillance cameras in low light? With the advances in integrated IR, image processing and larger imagers over the past few years, we wanted to find out.

We tested 12 cameras in two key scenes, a dark field, below 0.1 lux, and a parking lot with outside lighting, 1-2 lux, seen below:

Cameras Tested

We used a total of twelve cameras in this test, representing a range of cost, quality, and featuresets. 

We included low, medium, and high end IR models, including new 4MP and 4K models from Hikvision and Panasonic, as well as large imager super low light models from Axis and Hikvision. Finally, 1/3" super low light models were included, along with a standard, non-low light optimized model.

*** **** *** ************ ******* ** *** *****? **** *** advances ** ********** **, ***** ********** *** ****** ******* **** the **** *** *****, ** ****** ** **** ***.

** ****** ** ******* ** *** *** ******, * **** *****, below *.* ***, *** * ******* *** **** ******* ********, 1-2 ***, **** *****:

******* ******

** **** * ***** ** ****** ******* ** **** ****, representing * ***** ** ****, *******, *** ***********. 

** ******** ***, ******, *** **** *** ** ******, ********* new *** *** ** ****** **** ********* *** *********, ** well ** ***** ****** ***** *** ***** ****** **** **** and *********. *******, */*" ***** *** ***** ****** **** ********, along **** * ********, ***-*** ***** ********* *****.

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

Key ********

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

Integrated ** ***** ****** ** ***** *** *****

** **** **** ****** (ranges, ********** ** ********* ******** ****** *******, **** **** ******* at ***** ***** *** ********* ** ****** ******. *******, ***** generation ***** *** ***** ******, ********** */*" ***** ****** ******, have ******** **** *** ************* ** *** **** *** *****. 

*** *******, *** ***** ***** ***** * ***** ********** ** models ****** ***** ****** */*" *** ******* */*" ***** *** light ******. *** */*" ***** ******** ********* ** *** ********** IR *****, ***** *** */*" ** **** ******** *****.

** **** *****, ********** ** *** **** ****** **** ***-** low ***** ******, ** **** ******* **** *** **** **** shows. *** ***-** ***** ******** ****** ** *****, ***** *** IR ****** ******** ****** ******* ** *** *******.

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

Super *** ***** ********** ** ******** ******

** ******** ******, **** ** *** *** ******* *** (******* from *-* ***), ***** *** ***** ****** ******* ***** ******* similar ** ********** **, ****** **** *** ***** ********* ** color ******. *** *******, ** *** */*" *** */*" *** light ****** *****, *** *******'* ***** ****** *** **** ***** can ******* ** ****, ***** **** ****** ****** ****/***** ** the ** *****. *** ***** ****** ** *** *** ****** can **** ****** ** ****.

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

Super *** ***** ***** ** ** **** *****

** **** ******, ***** ****** ***** *** ***** ****** ******* moderate ********** **** ** *******, **** ****** ********* ** *** tests *** ** ********* ******** ******* ****** ******* *** *** background, ********** **** ****** **** ***** ****, **** *****. **** example ***** *********** ** *-********** ****** ****/*" ********* *********** ****, **** *** ******* ****** ******* ** *** ***** *****, but ******** **** *** ********** ** *** ** *****:

** **** *****, ** ****** ***** ******** ** **** ******:

Limited ******* ** *** **** *********** ** *** *****

* *******/** ************ ** ******* ******** *** ********* ******** **** ***** ** models, ****** *** **** ***** ******** **** *******, *** ********* no ********** ******* ** *** *******:

Low **** **: **** ***** *****/**** **** *****

*** **** ** *******, **** ** *** ********* **** ** this ****, ******** ***** ******* ******* ** ****** **** **** more ********* ********** ** *** ***** ***** ***** ****** ** close *****.

*******, ** ****** ******, ****** ***** *******' ******* ** *****, other ****** ******* ****** ********* ** *** *******, *** *** barely ** **** ** *** **** *****:

 

Average *** ***** ******

** * ******** **********, *** ***** ***** ***** "*******", ***-***** low ***** ***** ******** ** ******. ****** *** ******* ******, with **** ******** **** *** */*" *** */*" *** ***** models *** **** ********** ** *******.

Test **********

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

  • *.***, ** ***, ~**-** ************ *** ****
  • */*** ******* ******* *****

** ******* **** ****** *** ** * **** ** ******* interference ******* ******.

*** ********* ********/******** ******** **** ****:

  • ******** *.**-**-***: *.*.*.*** 
  • ******** *.**-**-***: *.*.*.*** 
  • ******** *.**-**-**: *.*.*.***
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • **** *****-***: *.**.*.*
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • ********* **-*********-*: *.*.* ***** ******
  • ********* **-**********-**: *.*.*
  • ********* **-***********-*: *.*.* ***** ******
  • ********* **-*******: *.**
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********

Comments (18)

**** * ***** ***, ****** ********* ****** ***** ***** ********* in *** *****. *** ***** *** ********* * *** ** truth ** **** ** **** ******* ********* ********* ******.

*** ***, ***** *** ********* *******, ******* **, ** **** dark ******, ********* ****** **** ***** **. **'* ******* ********.

** **** *********, **** **** **** **** *** ********** ** and *** *******? **** ********** ** ****** **** ** * cheap *** ***** ****** ***** ***** *** ***** ******* *** the **** ***, **** *** **** **** **********? **** ******* get ********* *** **** ***** ************, **** ******* **** *****?

** **** *** ****** **** ******* **** *** ***** ********* series ** ****. **** **** ** ***, **** *** *** configurations. ** ******* ** **** ** **** **** *** *** turtle ******* ******. *** ******** ***** *** ***** **** ** minimized ** *** ***** *** ***** ************ *** *********** ** non ******** ****** *** ******* ******. ** ******** *** ***** cams **** ***** **** ****** ********* *** *** ********** ** night *** *** ** *** ********. ** **** ** ***** with *** ********* **** ** ********* **** ** ****** **** sites **** ******* **** *******. *** **** ******'* *** ******* the ********* **** ****.

*****, ** **** ****** ******** ***** ********* *******:

**** *** ********* **** *** *** ****** ***** ** ********* and ***** *** **** **** ****** *** ********* **** ****** in *** **** ****.

* ****** ***** *****. ****** ****.

** ***** *** ********** ****** **** ***** ** **** ************ H3 *******? ****://********.***/****/********/***************-**-***-********-**-*********-**-*******/

******* *** ******** ** ** ******* **** ***** ****** ** our ***** *** **** **** ** *** ** *** ******** of **** ********** *******. *** ******** ** ***-** ******* **** used ** ** ******* ** ** '******* *** ***** ******'.

***** *** ** *** **** **** ******** *********, ** **** to **** **** ** *** **** ******. **** **** *** actually ******* ** *** ***** ****** *** ** *************** *** we're ***** ******* *** *** *** ** ******.

***, *** * ** *.**-*** ***** **** **** ****** ******* also.

**** ***, ****. ** **** ******** **** *** ************* *** be ***** *** ***** ******* **** ********** ******** **, ***** can ********** ******* ******* ** ********* *****, ********** *** *****?

...***** *** ***** ******* **** ********** ******** **, ***** *** outperform ******* ******* ** ********* *****, ********** *** *****?

**** *** ******* ********** **** ** ********** *** *****. ** for *********, ******** ***** ***-***** *** ******** ********** ** ******* will **** ******** ********* *****, **'* ************* ********* **** *** way ******* *******, *** *'* *** **** **** *** ******** comparable.

***** ******* ** ******* *** * **** ************, ** *** detect ****** ****** ** *** *****, ** ****** ** * car ***. ** ****** ** *** **********.

****** *******/******* ******* ** *** ***** **** *** ******* ** having *** ******* ** ********** ** *** ******* **** ***** is ******** ** *** ********, **** ******** **********.

** ***** *** ***** ******* *********** ******* ******* ** ********** and *****, *** ** **** ******** *** ******* **** (*** has **** **** ***** ******* ******* **** **********).

** *** ********* *****, ** **** ** **'** ******* ********* protection, * ** ******* **** ******* ******* **** ******** ** reign ** **** **** (**** *** ********* ** * ****** few *********) *** *** *********** ******. ******** ******* ******* *** not ****** ** **** ********** (***/****/****/*********) **** *** **** **** resilient ** **** ********** *** **** ******* **** **** ********** results *** ********* **********.

*** ***** ***** **** ** **** ***** ******* *** ******* cameras, ********* **** *** ** ** **********.

*** *** ******* ******* ******* *** ******* ******* **** ******* certainly ** *******, *** **** *********, ****** ** **** **** efficient ** *** ******* ******* *** ******/***-**** *********.

***,

**** ******. ** ** ******** ******* ** ***** *** ***** shootout, ** **** ** **** **** ***** ******* / ******* to ******* ******* ** **** ** ***** ********* ***********. ** will ** *********** ** *** *** ***** (** ***) ***** low ***** ******* ** ***** ***** ***** *** *** **** of ***** ******** ****** ***** ***********.

***** *** **** ********* *** ***** (***********) **** ********** **? i.e.**-**********-**

** ** ******* *** **** ****** ** ******* **** ******** H4 ****** ******* ** **** **** ***** ******* *** ******** IR **********. *** ** ** ***** *** ***** ****** ***

******** ** **** ****** ** ***** ******** ** ******.

****** ****

*** ******** ** **** ** *********. ** ****** *** *******, *** ** (** *** *** state ** ** ********** ** ******) *** *** (***** ******** specs ** ***** **** ***** ********* *****). ******* ****** ***** the ****** *** **, ** *** **** ****** ** *** results ** **** ****, *** ******* ******** ****** *** ****.

*******, *** *** ******** ** (****) ** ******* **** ***** sensitive **** *** ** *** (*****). **** ** **** ********** in ***-** ****** ** ***** **** ****.

*** ** ******** ** ** ********/********** ****** ** **** ****** than ***** ** ******, *** **********, ** ** *** *****, 4K's ******** ** *** ***** *** ***, ** ***, ****** 1080p/3MP.

*** *** **** **** ****.

***, ****** ****** ** *** ** ******* **** *** ****

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