WDR Camera Shootout 2015

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on May 04, 2015

This is the most comprehensive Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) IP camera shootout ever.

We tested 10 of the latest generation multiple-exposure true WDR cameras, including:

Even among these true WDR cameras, there were clear superior and inferior performers as this preview from out test inside shows:

In addition, we tested two non-WDR cameras to show the performance difference between cameras which use true WDR methods and those which do not:

The Test

We tested three key scenes representing common WDR use cases:

(1) Inside, with our subject entering a man door, showing how the cameras dealt with a quick and powerful burst of sunlight:

(2) Through an open overhead door in a warehouse:

(3) Finally, outside, against the setting sun:

Inside, we break down the results of who did the best and worst.

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Comments (30)

Interesting results. I have recently been looking into using Arecont Vision's 12mp multi-imagers with WDR in an area that includes both windows and halways. I hope they do better than this test camera. I also have decided on four new PTZ's and have chosen Samsung SNP-6320H. WDR was one feature that steered me that way. Happy to see the brand perform so well in tests.

James.

I have had the arecont/avigilon manufacturer rep out and set up the camera in the area where I thought we would have issues. It was hallway intersection with glare on floor and open windows end of hallway at lobby entrance. Both did reasonable well. You can always ask your local rep for this service.

V/r

Kelly

No Mobotix tests?

No, Mobotix's market position has fallen over the last few years. Also, I don't believe they support multi-exposure WDR.

Mobotix also says HDR / WDR is 'inacceptable in security applications':

"Some manufacturers are using a combination of technologies like adding frames to generate a brighter image (e. g. Lightfinder, HDR, etc.). However, with this adding and overlaying of subsequent frames, small details or objects in the scene could be suppressed­ or distorted, which is inacceptable in security­ applications."

Oh, really?

To a power guy it's all about good pictures at a nice low wattage.

The how details of the camera form, fit and function are often lost on me.

We've a Rapid Deployment SES plant that's been development bullet proof with an AvaLan and MX combo running prior to winter. Seems to always take good pictures. RSES12012110 captures good neighbor Dan

Lots of manufacturers, including low-cost ones with broad 3rd party support can take good pictures. A lot of that has to do with much better sensors that all the camera manufacturers have fairly similar access to.

As for low power consumption, here are 130+ MP IP cameras with 3 watts or less power consumption, plus more than 340 MP IP cameras with 4 watts or less. Also, you might be interested in our IP Camera Power Consumption Guide.

Yep, I've seen all three of these site resources.

It sure is nice to have real power measurements available, it's way too often a challenge establishing the customer project LDL.

I'll bite, what's LDL? :)

Load, duty cycle and location.

Info triangle for off grid power solutions.

Is this the typical Dynamic Range of Mobotix cameras?

Uh don't know, power guy.

There seems to be some decent DR info here:

image dynamic range

The snapshots were a daytime live feed desktop capture, both using MX night lenses (we'd been testing a 3w National Mfg LED light). Valley was in white out but seemed to capture Dan's plowing pretty well. There's a platform shot taken with a Sony digital here:

winter pickup truck deployment

Perhaps MX daytime color lenses would provide different results.

It'd only have taken a few minutes to change out the MX lenses but it was pretty ugly weather conditions.

Great test! Thanks!

Pattern matchers are curious to know if (J) was actually Z. Dahua?

Interesting results!

We've been using Axis P3384-Vs mainly for their LightFinder feature... it would be really nice to use WDR in the day and switch to LF at night while remaining in color, but Axis has no way to do that based on light level - switching WDR mode is dependent on ICR mode switching first.

I've been benching a Samsung beside the Axis and found it measures up very well in both WDR and low-light, with the added bonus of actually being a little sharper overall. Unfortunately it has even less ability (as far as I've been able to determine) to switch WDR on and off based on light level. Both can do it on a schedule, but any schedule I set is only suitable for a month or so.

Can you share the bandwidth consumed of the cameras as tested?

Get a better model.

A better model than what?

Get a better model.

I say no, Derek is the best!

In any event he has become a defacto reference standard for the industry.

I'm a bit unclear. Was this intended to be a comparison of WDR performance? Or is this just a large camera shoot out with the qualifier for entry being WDR? There's a lot of additional variables present in some of these cameras that aren't necessarily serving for a fair comparison if our goal was to compare WDR. Of which, low-light color technologies (Starlight, lightfinder, etc.) and IR have the largest impact in the side by side comparison pictures.

You guys generally do great head to heads, but I feel that this one will only serve to muddy expectations. This is the equivalent of Car and Driver doing a comparison of V6 vehicles. The accord, the ford pick up, the twin turbo audi, and the supercharged mustang.

Kyle,

What specifically do you want to see tested that was not done here?

Are you objecting to our test scenes? Do you want different ones? Do you want different cameras? Different settings?

Please be more specific.

Thanks for the prompt reply, John.

I'd like to see a more apples to apples comparison when the results are confined to side by side photos. I cannot fairly and accurately judge one manufacturers technology against anothers when were putting 2 MP and 3 MP in the same race, or when cameras with IR on are being compared to night shots of cameras with no IR, or cameras that are designed to do low light color against those that aren't. If IPVM was doing a general camera shoot out then I think all of these things would be fair game, but in a case where we are aiming to compare WDR, I think our results get skewed by extraneous variables.

Kyle,

"I'd like to see a more apples to apples comparison when the results are confined to side by side photos."

These are exactly side by side photos.

"cameras with IR on are being compared to night shots of cameras with no IR"

The core of this report are the three WDR test scenes. Good, bad or indifferent IR / low light has NO impact on those three WDR test scenes.

"putting 2 MP and 3 MP in the same race"

Kyle, if you believe your Avigilon cameras will perform markedly better using the 2MP version than the 3MP WDR version we tested, we will buy one immediately and do a re-test just on the 2MP. Let me know if you would like us to proceed with that.

John, if someone has decided to be "Undisclosed B Manufacturer" while posting, I think that you should either respect the desire for anonymity or simply remove the option for participants to be anonymous.

Undisclosed B Manufacturer originally made both posts disclosed.

Some minutes after John's last post Undisclosed B Manufacturer apparently edited them and checked 'Post Without Disclosing Your Name?". Nothing wrong with doing that, but John may not have even noticed, since he would have no reason to re-read them.

When I first read those posts, like you I thought it might be a gaffe, but then I checked my e-mail for notification of Und B's posts, (which I was automatically subscribed to since I had already commented), which showed the posts were originally made disclosed.

Good to hear, that explains it.

C, as A explained above, the since undisclosed poster originally posted disclosed. That's why I referred to him by name.

I can see why that's confusing. Thanks for calling attention to it so we can clear it up.

I just was looking over the firmware versions used for this test. Is there any reason your using year old firmware for the Avigilon camera and new firmware for all the other cameras?

Not sure what happened in the text up there, but the camera is current. I'll fix that typo.

Thank you

Is there a new version of this test coming. If I need to recommend a low light WDR outdoor fixed camera, would the results hold good?

Gautham, we do WDR tests with most of our ongoing camera tests.

The difference now is that almost every professional camera now has WDR built-in and the variances in performance have gone down.

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