WDR Megapixel Camera Shootout

Author: Antony Look, Published on Jul 30, 2011

Dealing with direct sunlight is one of video surveillance's toughest problems. Avoiding the sun is frequently impossible. Making things worse, when a scene has direct sunlight creating both dark and bright areas, image quality can suffer dramatically.

In video surveillance, the technical term used to describe a camera's ability to handle these conditions is WDR or Wide Dynamic Range. In this context, range refers to the variations of light levels that a camera can capture and deliver a quality image. The greater the range, the more likely the camera can handle both very bright and dark areas (e.g., sunlight on a person's face, shadow on the car in the corner).

Earlier this year, we did our first WDR shootout with (2) SD and (2) MP cameras. One of the clear, yet surprising, results was that cameras with more pixels (i.e., megapixel) tended to outperform (i.e., capture more image details) than standard resolution cameras, even if the SD cameras were marketed as supporting WDR.

Given those results, in this test, we wanted to learn more about the differences in megapixel camera WDR performance. To do so, we tested 6 Megapixel cameras from Arecont Vision (AV1315), Axis (P1344), Panasonic (WV-SP306 and WV-NP502), Sony (CH140) and Vivotek (IP8151P) to see who was the best and worst at handling WDR scenes.

[UPDATE 2012: We have tested the Axis Q1604 against the best performing WDR cameras in this group.]

We picked 2 common real world scene:

  • Doorway entrance facing outdoors - this is a common pain point for users who cannot properly identify individuals coming inside for hours a day as the sun faces the door
  • Sun setting in the line of sight of an outdoor camera - this is a frequent problem for parking lot and street surveillance. Accidents or thefts occurring during those times of day can be obscured by the sun.

In addition to testing core WDR performances, we did additional testing of 2 advanced features to see what benefits they provide:

  • Face WDR: Panasonic has an optional feature that can detect faces and then adjusts exposure to maximize the image quality of the detected face.
  • Exposure Regions: A number of cameras, including Arecont and Axis, support exposure regions that allow lighting to be optimized for a specific area of the scene (e.g. region specified for where faces normally appear).

Below is a preview of our test results from the doorway showing fairly dramatic differences among the 6 megapixel cameras tested:

Inside the Pro section, we share full results and rankings of each camera's doorway performance.

Below is a preview of our test results from the outdoor setting sun scene showing major performance differences among the 6 megapixel cameras tested:

Inside the Pro section, we share full results and rankings of each camera's setting sun performance.

******* **** ****** ******** ** *** ** ***** ************'* ******** problems. ******** *** *** ** ********** **********. ****** ****** *****, when * ***** *** ****** ******** ******** **** **** *** bright *****, ***** ******* *** ****** ************.

** ***** ************, *** ********* **** **** ** ******** * camera's ******* ** ****** ***** ********** ** *** ** **** Dynamic *****. ** **** *******, ***** ****** ** *** ********** of ***** ****** **** * ****** *** ******* *** ******* a ******* *****. *** ******* *** *****, *** **** ****** the ****** *** ****** **** **** ****** *** **** ***** (e.g., ******** ** * ******'* ****, ****** ** *** *** in *** ******).

******* **** ****, ** *** ******** *** ************ (*) ** *** (*) ** *******. *** ** *** clear, *** **********, ******* *** **** ******* **** **** ****** (i.e., *********) ****** ** ********** (*.*., ******* **** ***** *******) than ******** ********** *******, **** ** *** ** ******* **** marketed ** ********** ***.

***** ***** *******, ** **** ****, ** ****** ** ***** more ***** *** *********** ** ********* ****** *** ***********. ** do **, ** ****** * ********* ******* **** ******* ****** (AV1315), **** (*****), ********* (**-***** *** **-*****), **** (*****) *** Vivotek (*******) ** *** *** *** *** **** *** ***** at ******** *** ******.

[****** ****: ** ********** *** **** ***** ******* *** **** ********** *** ******* in **** *****.]

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

  • ******* ******** ****** ******** - **** ** * ****** **** point *** ***** *** ****** ******** ******** *********** ****** ****** for ***** * *** ** *** *** ***** *** ****
  • *** ******* ** *** **** ** ***** ** ** ******* camera - **** ** * ******** ******* *** ******* *** and ****** ************. ********* ** ****** ********* ****** ***** ***** of *** *** ** ******** ** *** ***.

** ******** ** ******* **** *** ************, ** *** ********** testing ** * ******** ******** ** *** **** ******** **** provide:

  • **** ***: ********* *** ** ******** ******* **** *** ****** faces *** **** ******* ******** ** ******** *** ***** ******* of *** ******** ****.
  • ******** *******: * ****** ** *******, ********* ******* *** ****, support ******** ******* **** ***** ******** ** ** ********* *** a ******** **** ** *** ***** (*.*. ****** ********* *** where ***** ******** ******).

***** ** * ******* ** *** **** ******* **** *** doorway ******* ****** ******** *********** ***** *** * ********* ******* tested:

****** *** *** *******, ** ***** **** ******* *** ******** of **** ******'* ******* ***********.

***** ** * ******* ** *** **** ******* **** *** outdoor ******* *** ***** ******* ***** *********** *********** ***** *** 6 ********* ******* ******:

****** *** *** *******, ** ***** **** ******* *** ******** of **** ******'* ******* *** ***********.

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

General ********

*** ***** ******** * ****** ********** ******* ** *********** **********. Based ** ********** *********** ** ***** ******* ********, ** **** the * ******'* *********** **** * ***** **********:

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

*****, ** ******, *** *** *** ***** ***** *** *** prepared ***** *********** ** **** *** *** ***** *** ********.

Key ******** *** ***************

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

  • *** *********** *** ********* ****** ** ******* ************ ********* ** stating *** ************/************ - ****** ********* **-*****, ********* **-*****, *** Sony *****. *** ********* *** *** ******* *******
  • ******* ************* ****/****** *** *********** (****** *******), ****** ** ****** harsh ****** ******** ********** *********** ** ****
  • ****** ***** ******** **** *** *********** ******* * ******** ************ that ** ************** ** * *** *****, *** *** ************ appear ** ******* ***** ******* ***********
  • *** **** ***** ************ ************ *** ***** ********** *** *** tests
  • *** ********* **-***** *** **-***** ********* ************ *** *****, ****** the **** *****, ********** *** *** *****
  • *** ********* **-***** ********* ********* ** *** ********* *********** *** predecessor *** **-***** ** *** ******** ** *** *****. **** is ******* ********* ****** **** **************** (**-*****) ** **** ******** than ************ (**-*****)
  • *** ********* **-***** ********* ***** '******* **' *** **** ********** changed ********
  • *** ********* ******'* **** *** ******* *** *** *********** *** practical ******** ** *** *****.
  • ******** ******* (**** ** **** *** *******) **** ********* ** overall *********** ** ***** ******* *** * ******** ** *** WDR **** *********

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

  • ******** ******* **** ****** *** ************ *** **** ************ *** scenes (*.*. ****** ******* ** ******) *** ****** **** ****** sunlight. **** ******* *** ************* ******* ***** ******* ***** ***** difficult ******** **********
  • ** *** *** *********** * **** ****** *** * *** application, **** **** *** ** **** ********* ** ***** ******* line (* ******, *.*., *** ***** *** *** *** *****)
  • ** **** *** *********** ********* ****** ******* ** ******** (*.*. door ******* ********) ******** * **** *** **** * ********* WDR ******. ** *** ******* ** ****** ******* ** ********, you *** **** ** ******** *** ********* **-***** ** ~$*** less **** *** **** ***** ******
  • ** *******, ** *** ****** ** **** ** ******** ******* to ***** ****** ** *** **** ******

Download ***** *****

** ****** *** *** *****, ******** *** ****** ***** **** each **** ***:

Indoor ******* (**** *******)

**** ** * ************ *** ******** ** * **** ******* with * ******* **** ******* ******** ** ******* ********* ******** to * ***** *** *******. *** *** ************ ***** ** roughly *** **** *** ******* ** ********** **** **** ** the *******.

****** (~**** ***)

***** ** ***** * ******** ** ********* ** *** ******* cameras ** *** ******* ***/********* ** **** *****. ** *** end ** *** *****, ***** ******* ****** ******* ****** *** backlit *******. *** **-***** *** **-***** *** **** ** ******* modest ***** ** ******* ****** *** ******* *******. ** *** other *** ** *** ******** ** *** ******, ** ***** the ***** ** ****** ********** ****** *** *** ** ** little ******* ** **** *****.

**** (~*** ***)

** **** ***** ** *** ***** *** ******** ************ ** ~10x, *** *** *** ********** *** *** **** ****** ** handle *** ********* ***** ***********. ** ******** *** **** ** the ***** ******* **** ***** ** **** ******** ** ************** white **** ******.

****** (~** ***)

**** ** * ~*** ******** ************ ** ***** *********** ****** much **** ******** ******* *******. ** *** ****** *** ****** the *******'* **** ** ******** ***** ******* - ****** * complete **********. *** ********** *** *** ***** ******* * ********** better ***** ** ******** ** *** *******. *************, *** *****'* image ** *** ******* ** ******** ****-*******.

Indoor ******* (**** ******/****)

**** ******** ** * ********* ** *** **** ******* *****, except **** *** **** ** *** ****** *** ******. *** key *********** ** **** **** *** **** *** ************ ** introduced '********' **** *** ***** **** *** ******* ***** *** door; *** ***********, ** *** **** ****** ********* ****** *** subject *** ******** ************ ********* ******* - ********** ********* ** a ***-*** *****.

****** (~**** ***)

** *** **** ** ****** *** ***** *********** ** ****** increase ** *** *********. ************* *** **-***** ******* **** ** react. **** ** ********* ** *** ******* ********* ******** **** washed *** ** **** ***** ****** *** ******** ***** ***** the **** ** ******* ****, *** **** ** *** **** that *** **** ** *** **** - '*' - ** completely ********.

**** (~*** ***)

**** *** ******* ******* ** **** ******** *** ******* ****** is ************ **** **** *** ~**** *** ** ******* *******. The *** ************ ** ********* **** ~**, *** ****** *** board ******* ****** ** ******* ****** ***** ******* ******** ** the ******** *** '****' *****.

****** (~** ***)

** **** ***** *** **** *** ********** ****** *** *** scene ** ** ****** *** **** *** ***************. ** * result **** *** ****** *** ******, ***** **** ********** *****-******* in *** ******** '*******' *********** ***** *** ******* ********** **** exposed ****** ** *** *******.

Outdoor ****** ********

** **** ***** ***** ******** ** ******** **** *** ******* and ***** * ************ *********** ******** *********. *** ***** ********* is ***** ****** *** ** *********** *** ******* ****** *** difficult ******** *** ** **** ******.

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

*** **** ******* ********** **** ** *** ****** *** ****** (namely, *** **-*****, **-***** *** *****) ****** ** ** **** in **** ******* ***** ** **** . *** ******** ******* true ** **** **** *** *****, ****** *** ****** ******* signs ** ********** **** *** ***** ********.

********* ****** ********* (**** *** ~****)

*** ***** *** ****** *** ******** ****** *** ******** ** the *****. **** **** **** * ******** ******* ***** ** haze ********** ***** ******. *** ********** *** **** *** ********** better **** *** **** ** *** *****, *** ********** *** lack ** ********* ***** ***** ****** ******* ** **** ***** FoV.

********* ****** ********* (****** *** ~****)

** **** ****** *** ******* ***** ** ****** **** *** Panasonics *** **** ******. ***** ** ****** **** ** ******** difficulties ******* ** ***** ****** ** ****. *** **-***** ******** particularly **** ******** *** ****** *******. ** ******** *** ***** and ****** ******** ** ******* **** ******* ****** ******* *** show ************ ***** ** ******* ******** *******.

Additional *** **********

**** *** (*********)

**** ********** ****** ******* * ******* ****** **** ***. ** requires **** ** ******** ******* ****** **** ********* ** *******. After * **** ** ******** ****** *** *****, *** ****** purports ** *** *** ************ ****** *** **** ** ****** resolve ****** *******.

***** ** *** **-***** **** * **** *** ***/** **********:

***** ** *** **-***** **** * **** *** ***/** **********:

*** ********* *********** ****** **** **** *** *** ****** ********* at *** ***** ** *** '**' *********. *******, ** **** event ** ********* ******* * ******** ********* (*** ******'* *** interface), ***** ************ *** ********* ** *********. ***** ** *********** testing *******, *** ******* ** ** * ****** ***** *** face ********* ****** * **** *********** ** ***** *********. ******* these ******* ***** ** *** **** ******* **** **** *********/**** WDR ****** *** *** ********** ** *** ********** ************ ** facial ****** ** *******.

**** ***** ************ ** ****, *** ****** ****** ** ***** advantages ** ***** **** *** ** **** ********** **** ********.

******** ****** (*******)

** **** ******* ** *****, ** ********* ******** ******* ** the ****** ***** ** **** *** ****** ******* ***** *** the ******* ***** ******** *****. *** ******* ******* ** **** strategy *** ********* *** *** ********* *****:

******* ** ******** ****** ****** *** **** ***** **** *** door ** ******* ****, ********* ******* ******** ** *** ******* when ** *** ****** ****. **** ***** ** ******* * better ******* ***** ** *** ******* ** **** *****. *******, the **** ** *** ***** ** *********** '*******-***', *** *** subject ** ******* ************ ********** **** ***** ** *** ******* interior.

** *** **** ******** **** *** **** ** ********* ******, the ****** ******* ****** *** ******* ** ****** *****-******* **** the **** ******** ****** ** ******. *** ******* ** ***** considerably *****-******* ** ** ***** ****** *** ** *** ****. As *** ******* **********, *** *** **** ***** ****** ***, the ***** ********* ******** (*** *****) *** **** ** *** to ** ******* *** ** ******** (**** ** *** *********) in *** ***** *** *** *** ** *** ******** ******.

** *** ******* ******** ** ******** ****** ****** **** *** bright ******* ****** *** ****** ******* ** ******. ** * result, *** ******** ** *** ***** ** ******* *****-*******, ************* obscuring ******* *** ***** ****** *******.

***********

**** *** *** *** (*) ******* **** ** *** *** Mega-Shootout:

  • ******* ********(****** $***) - *.*** */*; */*.*" ****; ****-**; *.*/* (*****/**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* ******** ; 0.05 *** (**)
  • ********* **-*****(****** $***) - *.*** */*; */*" ***; **-*****/* ****; *.*/*.** lux (*****/**)
  • ********* **-*****(****** $***) - *** */*; */*" ***; **-*****/* ****; *.*/*.** lux (*****/**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* *******; *.* Lux (**)
  • ******* ******(****** $***) - *.***; **.* ********; *.**/*.*** (*****/**)

*** ****** ****** **** ********** ** * ******* **** ***** (~45 *******) ** ***** ** **** **** ***********. ***** *** simultaneously ******** *** ******** ** ***** ******* *** ********* ***********. WDR *** ******* ** *** ******* ********** ** (**-*****, **-*****, CH140, *****). **** *** ****** ******* ** * *** ******** camera, *** ********** **** *** ******* ** ** ******* ********; also *** ****** ** *** ******** ** ****** ** ******** WDR **********.

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

  • ****** ******* (**** *******)
  • ****** ******* (**** ******/******)
  • ******* ***** ****** ********

**** ******** ******** *** (*) **********. *** ***** ******** ***** WDR ****** **, ***** *** ****** ******** ******* ** **** WDR ** *** ********* ******* *** ** ******** ****** ********** on *** ********.

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.

Other Reports on IP Cameras

IP Cameras Default Passwords Directory on May 28, 2016
Finding an IP camera's default password can be tedious or aggravating. And keeping up with changes in newer firmwares can be difficult, especially...
2016 Surveillance Camera Book Released on May 24, 2016
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Camera Course Spring 2016 on May 05, 2016
Here is what is new for the 2016 course: HD analog: Expanded coverage on non-IP HD offerings Smart CODECs: How many camera manufacturers are...
Network Ports for IP Video Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 20, 2016
Network ports are critical for remote video viewing and recording and without proper configuration, IP video will not work.  In this tutorial, we...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 19, 2016
H.265 / HEVC has been promised for many years as the next big CODEC and the successor to H.264. Now with many H.265 IP cameras starting to ship,...
IP Camera Pricing and Markups Statistics 2015 on Dec 11, 2015
100+ integrators told IPVM their average IP camera pricing and markups. In this note, we share statistics on: The average IP camera pricing for...
Camera AoV / Focal Length Comparison on Nov 24, 2015
Use the IPVM Camera Calculator to better understand the tradeoffs between different Angle of Views (AoV) / focal lengths. The video below shows...
How a Security Camera is Made on Nov 18, 2015
While in China, we toured factories, seeing how cameras were made. In the 15 minute video inside, we show step by step how a camera is made /...
IP Camera Trolling - Cybersecurity Showcase on Nov 09, 2015
If you want to convince your customers about the importance of cybersecurity and the risk of being the next Hikvision, Foscam or Trendnet, show...
Network Connectors for IP Cameras Guide on Nov 05, 2015
Fewer installation tasks are as nuanced as terminating cables and attaching connectors. Fortunately, this task is easy to manage and get right if...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Nuvico Shutting Down - The Chinese Conclusion on Jul 27, 2016
Nuvico is shutting down. And this is the end game of the Hikvision and Dahua race to the bottom. [premium_content] Who is Nuvico? Nuvico, never...
Anixter Touts Selling to End Users on Jul 27, 2016
Anixter's track record of selling to end users inspires much negativity in the industry. But Anixter's CEO has a different take on it. In this...
Access Control Does Not Want ONVIF on Jul 27, 2016
ONVIF has become a major force in video surveillance. Despite its well deserved criticisms, ONVIF is widely embraced by video surveillance...
Imaging Developer Claims Massive Low-Light Improvements on Jul 27, 2016
In the early days of megapixel, binning was a crutch used to compensate for poor low-light performance.  Low-light sensitivity improvements have...
Pivot3 Says Big Growth Despite 3 Top Execs Out on Jul 26, 2016
Pivot3's significant turnover continues, with 3 more executives out. However, Pivot3 responded to us saying this is all a normal part of their...
Panasonic Embraces Advidia OEMing of ACTi, Dahua and Hikvision on Jul 26, 2016
Clever move or surrender? When Panasonic bought Video Insight in 2015, the focus clearly was their VMS. But Video Insight also offered their...
Tip: Get Faster Tech Support Sending A Screenshot on Jul 25, 2016
Many complain about poor tech support. But many people are bad at helping tech support get them answers. There is one very simple thing you...
LTS Camera and NVR Tested on Jul 25, 2016
LTS is one of the fastest rising manufacturers / OEMs in North America.  We recently bought and tested the LTN8704-P4LTS, a 4 channel NVR, along...
Arecont and SIA Failing Cybersecurity Efforts on Jul 22, 2016
Do as we say, not as we do. The effective motto of the Security Industry Association and their cyber board member Arecont Vision. Today, the two...

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