Testing Avigilon Integrated IR

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 15, 2013

Integrated IR is a big trend in IP cameras. After years of major manufacturers criticizing IR illumination inside their cameras, pretty much all IP camera manufacturers offer integrated IR options.

Avigilon's integrated IR cameras claim to now only eliminate IR washout/bloom, but to extend coverage range far farther than any of their competitors. Specifically, Avigilon offers a 9 - 22mm lens option that is rated for 60 meter. Here is an overview of how those claims match up:

Because of this, we were interested to know how well the Avigilon IR bullets truly performed. So we bought 2 of their 2MP IR bullets, the 'short' focal length and the 'long' 9-22m one, and put them to the test.

Inside, we break down performance in image quality comparisons and video screencasts.

********** ** ** * big ***** ** ** cameras. ***** ***** ** major ************* *********** ** illumination ****** ***** *******, pretty **** *** ** camera ************* ***** ********** IR *******.

********'* ********** ************** ** *** **** eliminate ** *******/*****, *** to ****** ******** ***** far ******* **** *** of ***** ***********. ************, Avigilon ****** * * - **** **** ****** that ** ***** *** 60 *****. **** ** an ******** ** *** those*********** **:

******* ** ****, ** were ********** ** **** how **** *** ******** IR ******* ***** *********. So ** ****** * of ******** ** *******, *** '*****' ***** length *** *** '****' 9-22m ***, *** *** them ** *** ****.

******, ** ***** **** performance ** ***** ******* comparisons *** ***** ***********.

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

Key ********

**** *** *** *** findings **** **** ****:

  • ******** ************ ******* ********* distances (** ** ***, depending ** **** ****), rare ***** ********** ** cameras, ** **** ***********.
  • *******, ** ***** ** greatly ******** ** ******* range, ****** ***** ******* suitable *** ********* ****, a ******* ********* **** daytime ***** *******.
  • ************ *** **** ****** the ***** ** **** at ******** ****, **** no ******* ******** ** hot *****, ****** **** using **** ********** ** cameras.
  • ******** ** *** **** effective ********, **** ********** with ****** ******* ** the *****.
  • ****** ******* ** ******** IR **** ********, *** to *** ******* **** and ******* ** *****.
  • **** ***** *********** ******* to ***** ******** ******* and *********** ******.
  • ** **** *** ***** (<1 ***) ********* ********* substantially **** ** **, ~50% ********, *** ~**% indoors.

**** ******* ** *** HD ****** ****** ****** at $*** *** *** the *.* ** *-*** model (*** *-**** **** option ** $** ****). Based ** ****** *********, we ******** ****** ******* to ** ** *** mid-$600s *** *** *.* MP *-*** *****.

**** ******* ** **** expensive **** **** ***** brand ** *******, **** as ****, *******, *** Sony, ****** ** *** with *******, *** ******* than ********** **** **** and *****:

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

*** ***** **** / low ***** **********, *** Avigilon ** ******* *** worth *********** ** **** cover * **** ***** and ********* *** ******** / ************ ****** ** integrated ** *******. *** main ********** ** *********** that *** ******** **** still ***** ************* ******** to *** **** ***********.

** ** ******** ****, we **** ***** ** Avigilon ** ******* **** Axis *********** *** ***** Starlight ****** ** *** how **** ******* ** low *****.

Physical ********

** **** **********, ** review *** ******** ******** of *** ** ****** camera. ** ****:

  • **** ******** *******, *********** at ******** ****** ** adjust *** ****** ******** angle.
  • ****** ******* ******** **** for ****** ************ *** maintenance, *** ***** ** most *********** ******.
  • ***** ****** ** **** larger *** **** ******** than ******* **** ***** on **** *******.

Configuration **********

**** ***** ******* *** web ********* *** ************* of *** ** ****** camera. *** **** ** the *** ********* ** identical ** ***** ******* generation ******** *******, **** the ******** ** ******** controlling *** ******'* ******** IR.

Adaptive ** ***********

********'* ******** ** ****** two ********:

  • *** ************ ***** ** changed ** *** ******'* field ** **** ** adjusted, ****** ******** ** the *****. **** ****** via ******** **** ** IR **** **** ********* illumination ********, ***** *** switched ** *** *** as *** ****** *****.
  • ** ***** ** ******* based ** *** *****. This *** ** *** to ****** *********** ** background ******* ** ****** subjects.

** ***** **** ******** IR ******** ** **** illumination ****** *** ***** at ******** **** ******, without *********** ******** ** blooming ****** ** ***** IR ******* ***** *** illuminator **** *** ***** the ***. ************, *** IR ***** ********** ****** well ** ******** ** moving ******* ** *** scene ** *** ******* tests, ********* ***** *******. This ** ***** ** the ********* **********:

** *** ****** **** scene *** ******* ** adaptive ** ** *** subject **** **** *******. With *** ******* ******** in ***** ** *** camera, ** ***** *', there ** ******* ********** in ****** **** ******** IR ** *** ***, seen ** **** ******* below.

IR ***** ***********

** ***** ********'* ****** IR ***** ** ** closer ** *** ********* range (***/*** ** *-***/*-**** models, ************) **** **** other *******/************ **'** ******. However, ** *** ****** IR ***** ** ****, essentially ******** *** ********* only ******* ********** **** pixel *******. ** ****** this ** *** ********* screencast:

***** ****** ******* **** camera's ****** *** ********* FOV ** **** ***** daytime ****** *** *** light ****** **** ** on, ** **** **** drop ** ***** *******.

*****, ***** *** *-*** model, **** *** ******* at *** (******* ** range), *** ****** ** barely **** ** ****** our ******* ** *** light ** ***. ** 9mm, ** ** ****** detectable, *** **** ** details:

**** ****** ******** *** 9-22mm *****'* ****** *** narrowest ****. ** ***, our ******* ** ********** at *****, **** **** little ******, ****** **** classification ** ***** ** animal *********. ** ****, details *** ********, **** the *** **** ** the ***** ********* ******** in *** *****:

License ***** *******

** ****** *** ** bullet's ******* ***** ******* performance ** ******* ** to *** ********* ***** of ****, **°, ***** 30m **** *** **** car. **** *** *** moving ** ************* *****, the ******* ***** *** easily ******** (***-****, **** two ********** ******). *********** motion **** *** *********** made *********** *** **** and ***** *********.

*******, ******* ***** ******, the ******* ***** *** clear, **** ** **** image.

**** **** **** **** was *** ***** ******* shutter ******** (*/***). ****** blur *** ** **** of ** ***** ***** faster ******* ******, *** we **** *** ****** capture *********** ***** ******** other **** ********. ***** may******** * **** ** this ***** (~**.* **).

Full ***** ***********

** **** *****, *** Avigilon ****** ** ********** to *** ***-** ******** H3 ****** ******, **** slightly **** **********. *** H3 *** ***** ***-****, another ******* ********** ***** camera, *** ***** **** for **********.

Performance ** ******** ******* ******

** ** ************ ** our **** **********'* ***** ********** ********, ******** ******* ****** may ******* ****** ************ to *** ***** ***********. Due ** ***** ***********, at ******* ** ***** (60m), ********* *********** ** improved, ** *** ** seen ** *** ********** below. *******, *********** ** modest, **** ** ********** identifying ******* *********.

FOV ***********

**** ******* ***** ***** both ******* ** ***** widest ***** ** ****, 3mm *** ***, ************, with *** ******* ******* 30m **** *** ****** (click ***** *** ****** version):

**** ***** ***** **** at ***** **** *********, 9mm *** ****, **** the ******* *** **** the ******:

Bandwidth

*** ** ******'* ** illumination ************* ******* ********* both ******* *** ********. In *** ********* ***********, note **** ******** **** VBR ******** **** * cap **** * ******* value ** ** **/*.

********, ***** * ***, we ******** *** ********* averages:

  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~5.5 **/*
  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~11.5 **/*
  • ***** ***-****: ~*.* **/*

**** ******* ** ** approximately **-**% ********* ** bandwidth.

*******, ***** ***** * lux, ********* ********* *** greater, *** ** *** more ********** ****. ********* dropped ** ** **** as **% **** ** on:

  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~2.5 **/*
  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~11.5 **/*
  • ***** ***-****: ~* **/*

*******, ** ******** ********* in *** ****** ***** in **** ***** ** provide * ******** ** bandwidth. ** **** ****, bandwidth ** **** ***** to *** ******** ** box ******, ****** ****** than *****:

  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~3.7 **/*
  • ******** ** ******, *****: ~3.5 **/*
  • ***** ***-****: ~*.* **/*

Comments (23)

Try 3 Megapixel Bullet installed not more than 15 feet of height...It does wonder in even '0' light by providing License plate details very clearly against the head/tail lights...We have more than 15 satisfactory installations so far during last 3 months.

I would be very intetested to see the images as I have a an LPR requirement on a current project.

Undisclosed, how do you overcome washout and motion bliur of the license plate due to overexposure or too little light for underexposure so often found when trying to use a megapixel camera for tag reads at night, based on mine and many other's experiance? Thanks,

Using Dahua 3MP domes, we were able to get LPR readability up to 45 MPH (the max speed we tested) in a dark parking lot. You will need to add some directional illumination, we used a white LED lamp (Raytec 50 HP PoE). We sped up the shutter speed (~8ms) to reduce motion blur, as well as to minimize the impact of head/tail lights. We have only had issues reading plates that were very rusty, dirty, or had obstructive covers designed to defeat red light cams. Other than those issues, we have not found a plate we could not read.

Lighting is going to be essential. The placement, quantity, and color of light is very important. White LED seemed to be the most effective for us. Using a narrow beam targeted towards the expected area where a plate should be as a vehicle passes through your scene is also as critical.

Another quick pointer, we tried to angle our views to allow the longest time the plates stayed in frame. Usually, this will have the plate enter at one corner of the frame and exit the opposite corner. This will give you the most amount of frames to pick one with the best exposure and least amount of blur.


The above image is from 2MP camera....with 3MP bullet result is much better...unfortunatley not having the clip in my home PC currently.

Thanks, Gary. I just think anyone who states they can use a regular megapixel camera for plate reads at all hours, lighting and weather conditions really needs to disclose some techncial detail about how they do it, even just a brief summary. It's a lot more involved than just using a megapixel camera which has been way oversold as a simple solution for tag reads.

If ANYONE sharing his success with specific solution and still if someone dont want to use it; ANYONE doesn't mind.

No one saying to oversold Megapixel cameras but when two things(surveillance & LPR read) can be achiveved through one camera, We believe there is no issue to propose it.

We did not do any magic but only installed 3MP bullet camera @ 14 feet of height on customer driveway configuring camera according to available night lighting only once(during installation) and left the premise. So far no complaints.Customer is getting every LPR read(front & rear) during day & Night without an issue.

WITH TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENT; MANY BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF SECURITY SETUP IS CHANGING....SO ADOPT THE CHANGE OTHERWISE STAY WHERE YOU ARE.

I've added a section on the camera's license plate capture capabilities. We did not tweak the camera for capture at all, but left it at defaults to see how it performed. It was able to pick up rear plates consistently, but since PA is a rear plate only state, I haven't yet tested its performance getting front plates against headlights. We may test this again at different shutter speeds, with a front plate.

Undisclosed, try not to get upset and take things personnaly. There have been many instances installers have tried using regular megapixel cameras, with and without built in IR, and it fails to work unless you do additional work like using specialized lenses, light filters, pulsed IR or just plain adding enough lighting. A lot of these false expectations have been perpetuated by the manufacturers themselves.

An Avigilon camera working for an LPC application out of the box without having to do anything to the camera or add anything else is pretty impressive, and not the norm in my experiance and other people's experiance.

I have successfully used Arecont 3 & 5MP Compact cameras with Arecont Lenses to capture every plate (un-obstructed or un-damaged) with no problem (tested speeds up to 45mph). You must have IR in order to read at night, but I have not problems what so ever. I didn't use any filters. Just camera, lens, and IR. It's all about the shutter speeds, angles, FoV, and illumination. It can be done.

I choose to not hand out how I accomplished the task because it's a differentiator. While my local compeditors struggle and can't do it effeciently, I can. It required a lot of homework and testing in order to figure out the proper arrangement. I feel it's my job and duty as an Integrator to do my homework BEFORE offering a solution to clients. - Undisclosed Ninja

I agree with Luis, although I am intrigued by the claim, I would need to test the camera myself before believeing anything.

Since you all are so excited about license plates, we have a detailed license plate capture shootout that goes through various settings and their impact on performance.

btw, undisclosed, are you getting every plate with front or rear side capture?

Depending on the direction of travel, I can read which ever plate is presented. Front (high and low beams) or Rear.

Overall, I think it's pretty good that this camera can capture something usable (in terms of moving license plates) out of the box. - Undisclosed Ninja

What is the wavelenght of the IR in the Avigilon Bullet?

Wavelength is 850nm, which is typical for integrated IR cameras (see IR bullet datasheet).

Btw, in terms of 'always' capturing license plates, one of the key steps most manufacturers or solutions do is to use a fast shutter plus IR. The IR provides light to illuminate the plate while the fast shutter cuts down the bloom from the headlights. However, this frequently makes the rest of the picture dark (or at least darker) which conflicts with the CSI expectations of many users.

"I choose to not hand out how I accomplished the task because it's a differentiator. While my local compeditors struggle and can't do it effeciently, I can."

I can understand and respect trade secrets as long as you understand my skepticism, and we can leave it at that.

Ok, ninjas, let's call it a truce :)

Obviously, since you all love license plates so much, we are obviously going to accelerate a new license plate test to the top of our list. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Luis,

I totally understand your skepticism and as John demonstrates time and time again, we should always be skeptics at just about every turn. I will always show video and captures from active in-use cameras to potential clients during our meetings and Proposals to show them exactly how the setup will perform. No spec sheets and manufacture hype.

Haha, john. It's all good. It takes a lot more to get me worked up. Thank you guys and I look forward to the new IPVM LP test. - Undisclosed Ninja

Well done Ethan.

Mosquitos and other insects seem to like the IR too.

Does the the increased IR illumination mean that there is additional power needed? Or will the camera still function on POE?

Caleb, good question. It does run on PoE. We tested power load. With IR off, it was 5.7 watts. With IR on, it was 11 watts. That was one of the highest of the ~30 cameras we tested but still within classic PoE requirements.

See our IP Camera Power Use Measurements for more test results.

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