Thermal vs Day/Night Shootout

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 27, 2012

What should you do for dark outdoor scenes? Thermal cameras are getting a lot less expensive. Conventional cameras are getting better in low light. We decided to test these two categories - thermal and day/night - head to head to better understand what's better to use.

The Test

We tested in a large outdoor level field, overviewed below:

test site

Three cameras were used:

  • A DRS WatchMaster IP Elite, 320x240 imager, with a 40-degree field of view. Other cameras were matched to this field of view.
  • Axis Q1602 with Computar F1.0 lens.
  • Bosch NBN-932V with Fujinon F1.2 lens.

The DRS was selected because it is the least expensive thermal IP camera on the market while the Axis and Bosch were chosen do to their strong performances in previous low light shootouts (see the Q1602 test and the MP low light shootout).

The following scenarios were tested:

  • Daytime, between ~4500-5000 lx (a partly cloudy day).
  • ~0.1 lux with both visible cameras defaulted, 1/30s shutter speed, day/night set to auto.
  • ~0.1 lux with the Q1602 set to 1/30s shutter speed, in black and white.
  • ~0.1 lux with the Q1602 set to 1/2s shutter speed, in color.
  • All tests were performed at ranges between 150-550', the specified limit of human detection range of the DRS camera.

With this approach, we could determine not only what was 'best' in low light but what tradeoffs existed during the rest of the day.

This is the first in a series of low light shootouts. Stay tuned for Thermal vs IR Illuminators and a Thermal camera shootout (featuring Axis, Bosch, DRS, FLIR, Pelco and Sightlogix).

**** ****** *** ** *** **** ******* ******? ******* ******* are ******* * *** **** *********. ************ ******* *** ******* better ** *** *****. ** ******* ** **** ***** *** categories - ******* *** ***/***** - **** ** **** ** better ********** ****'* ****** ** ***.

The ****

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

test site

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

  • * *** *********** ** *****, ******* ******, **** * **-****** field ** ****. ***** ******* **** ******* ** **** ***** of ****.
  • **** ***** **** ******** **.* ****.
  • ***** ***-**** **** ******* **.* ****.

*** *** *** ******** ******* ** ** *** ***** ********* thermal ** ****** ** *** ****** ***** *** **** *** Bosch **** ****** ** ** ***** ****** ************ ** ******** low ***** ********* (*** ******** ******* ***** *** ***** ********).

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

  • *******, ******* ~****-**** ** (* ****** ****** ***).
  • ~*.* *** **** **** ******* ******* *********, */*** ******* *****, day/night *** ** ****.
  • ~*.* *** **** *** ***** *** ** */*** ******* *****, in ***** *** *****.
  • ~*.* *** **** *** ***** *** ** */** ******* *****, in *****.
  • *** ***** **** ********* ** ****** ******* ***-***', *** ********* limit ** ***** ********* ***** ** *** *** ******.

**** **** ********, ** ***** ********* *** **** **** *** 'best' ** *** ***** *** **** ********* ******* ****** *** rest ** *** ***.

**** ** *** ***** ** * ****** ** *** ***** shootouts. **** ***** *** ******* ** ** ************ *** * Thermal ****** ******** (********* ****, *****, ***, ****, ***** *** Sightlogix).

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

Key ********

  • ** ***** *******, *** ***** ********* ******* *** ***** ************* better ** ********* ******** **** *** ******* ** ****** **** using *** '********' */*** *******.
  • *******, ***** * */** **** ******* *** *** **, *** two ******* *********** ****, ***** *** ********** ***** *** ********* dark *** ***** **** ********** ****. ********* ***** ***** **** using **** ******* *** *** ******** ** *** ********** ** the ******.
  • ***** *** ***** ** ****** *** ************* ****** ** *** day **** **** ******* *** **, ** *** ***** ****, at */*** *******, ** ********* *** ******** **** ** *** closest **** *****.

**********: *** **** *****, **** **** **********, * *** *** light ** */* ****** *** ** ****** *** **** ** used ** **** ******* ****, *********** *** *********** ** **** shutter. *******, ***** * ******* ****** **** ******** '*****' ******, the ********** **** ** * */* **** **** ******* ** minimal.

**********: ** ********, ** **** ** * ******** ***** *** on ** ************ ** ******* ***********.

*******

** *** *******, *** ************, **** ** ***', **** ** and ** ********* ************* **** *******:

daytime 150'

*******'* ******** *********** ******** ** ***' ** *** ***** ****** get **** ********:

daytime 300'

********** *** ******** ** ***',

daytime 450'

*******, ** ***', ***** *** ******* ** **** ** *** with **** *** ******* *** *** **, *** ***** ****** shows *** ******* ****** ******* - * ******* ********* *** HD.

daytime 550'

Low ***** **** */*** *******

***** *** *** **** ****, ** ****** *** ******* ***** the **** ******* ********: */*** ******* *****, **** ********* ****** to ********** ****. **** ***** ** ************* ~*.* ***.

** *** ** ***** ******, *** ***** ****** *** *** deliver ****** ***** **** ****** *** *** **** (*****) *** the **** ********** ***** *** ***** ****** ** **** ****** so ***.

** ***', *** ******* ****** ***** *** ******* ******** *** clear ***** *** ** ********* ** **** *** ** *******.

low light 1/30s

** ***' *** ******* *********:

night 1/30s 300'

** ***', ** **** ****** ** **** *** *** ******* on ******* *** ***** ****** *******. ** **********, **** *** SD, **'* ****** **********.

night 1/30s 450'

******* ****'* ***' **** *** ***** *********:

night 1/30s 550'

Low ***** **** ***** ****

** **** ***** ** **** ***** **** ** *** *** SD *** ***** *** *** ******* *** ******* **** ******* the ****.

****'* * ****** ** ***':

night 1/30s 150'

*** ** ***':

night 1/30s color 450'

Slow ******* ** **********

*******, ** ***** ***** * **** ******* ** *** *** tradeoffs. *************, * */** **** ******* ** *** **** ***** hardly ********* *** ************ **** * */*** *******.

****'* ** ***':

night slow shutter mono 150'

*** ** ***'

night slow shutter mono 300'

Slow ******* ** *****

****** **** ******* ** ********** **** ******** ****** ***********, ******* the ****** **** ***** **** **** * */** ******** ******* brightened *** *****, ****** ** ***** ** **** **** ** were ******* ** * ******* *****. *******, *** ******* ****** extremely ****** **** ** ******, ****** *** ******* *****************, **** at ***** *****. *** *********** ** ********** *** **** ******** can ** **** ** **** *****:

Ghosting in Axis 1/2s exposure

*** ****** *********, *******, **** ******* **** **** ** ***** the ***** ** *** **** *** *** *******. ******* *** much ****** ** ***********, ** ****'** *** ***** ** ****** against *** ******* **********, ******* ** ****** *********. **** ** evident ** *** ******:

***** ** ***':

night slow shutter color 150'

**** ** ***'

night slow shutter color 300'

*** ** ***'

night slow shutter color 450'

******* ** ***'

night slow shutter color 550'

** */** *******, *** ***** ********* ** * ******** (** slow ****** ******) ** *********** * ***. *******, ***** ********* / ***** ***** **** ******* ** ** ****** ** **** a **** *******:

  • ********* **** ****** ******** ********, ****** ******* *** ** **** manually / ******** ******.
  • ****** ****** ******* **** ****** ****** ** * ****. ** the **** ****, ** ****** ** **** ** ******** ****** something ** ****** *** ** **** ** **** ** *** what ** **.

Video ***** ** ******

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

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

FLIR Acquires Drone Manufacturer For $134M on Dec 01, 2016
FLIR has acquired Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian maker of small military-grade drones, for $134M.  FLIR president Andy Teich provided additional...
Dirty Dome Camera Test on Nov 28, 2016
Dome cameras are the most widely used type professionally but many note that dirt, dust, rain, and scratches can cause image quality problems,...
100% Successful Weapon Detection Claims Digital Barriers ThruVis on Nov 08, 2016
Digital Barriers is claiming their terahertz imaging unit provides functionality similar to an airport body scanner, at a fraction of the cost and...
Samsung Wisenet Q 4MP Tested on Nov 03, 2016
The 4MP trend continues, now with Hanwha Techwin / Samsung in their latest Wisenet Q series. We bought one of these models, the QNV-7080R, to see...
FLIR Security Revenue Reviewed on Oct 31, 2016
With acquisitions of Lorex, DVTel and ISD, adding to their core thermal offerings, FLIR has been building up its presence in the security / video...
Sony 35mm Super Low Light Camera Tested on Oct 31, 2016
Sony is making a big push for their SNCVB770 camera, touting its low light capabilities that they claim can deliver true color in pitch black...
IR Camera Reflection Test on Oct 17, 2016
All that might stand between good video and bad in your IR dome is a ring of foam rubber, keeping infrared from reflecting into the lens....
Bosch First Starlight 1080p Camera Tested on Oct 13, 2016
Bosch has released their first 'Starlight' 1080p camera, the Flexidome IP starlight 7000 VR. We tested this new dome against competitive super low...
4 Biggest Low Light Problems on Oct 10, 2016
100 integrators told IPVM what their biggest problems were with low light images. The most commonly cited themes were: Limited IR Range Uneven...
Samsung 'Q' Low-Cost 1080p Dome Tested on Oct 10, 2016
The most competitive part of the market is for low-cost cameras. Hanwha Techwin / Samsung has released its new low-cost Q series to go after this...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Knightscope - $122,509 Revenue, $2.5 Million Loss Seeks $20 Million Investment on Dec 09, 2016
The robot that ran over a child, Knightscope, wants money and they need it. Investors can invest as little as $1,000 to participate and...
'Solution' Manufacturers Threaten Integrators on Dec 09, 2016
The race to the bottom has driven manufacturers to become 'solution' providers, threatening integrators. Axis shift to 'solution' sales might be...
The Russian SMP Security Robot on Dec 08, 2016
A Russian manufacturer, SMP, has a commercially available outdoor security robot, at a lower price and with much less marketing than their main...
How Hikvision Beats Its OEMs on Dec 08, 2016
Hikvision GM declared that they are not aggressive with their competitors. But some of their own OEM partners disagree. Inside, we reveal a key...
Dahua Discontinuing H.264 Only Products on Dec 08, 2016
Dahua has taken a stand for H.265 and is discontinuing its H.264 only products. We examine the shakeup inside this...
IP Networking Course January 2017 on Dec 08, 2016
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Hikvision vs Dahua Mobile Apps Tested on Dec 07, 2016
With smartphone use and low-cost video recorders surging, many user's main interface to their surveillance system is their phone. With mobile video...
Paxton Drops US Reps, Plans Major Expansion on Dec 07, 2016
Paxton is gearing up to make a big run at  US access control success. The first step they have made is to cut all US Rep Firms, in anticipation of...
Axis Partner Elder Care Video Analytics (Smartervision) on Dec 07, 2016
Can video analytics be used to improve the care of the elderly? Axis and a video analytics startup, Smartervision, are working together to do so....
Sony IP Camera Backdoor Uncovered on Dec 06, 2016
A backdoor has been uncovered in ~80 Sony IP camera models, attackers can remotely enable telnet on the camera, and then potentially login as root,...

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