WDR Tutorial

By: IPVM Team, Published on Jan 11, 2019

Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any manufacturer can claim WDR, and many do even if actual performance is weak, causing confusion for even experienced users.

In this tutorial, we break down these issues, explaining:

  • State of WDR
  • What is WDR?
  • Interpreting WDR Specifications
  • How Do You Measure WDR?
  • Camera WDR Challenges
  • WDR vs Resolution
  • True WDR Implementations
  • Fake WDR Concerns
  • Manufacturer Terminology Confusion

************* **** ******* ***** (WDR) ** ******** ** capturing **** ******* ****** in ********* **********. *******, with ** **** *********, any ************ *** ***** WDR, *** **** ** even ** ****** *********** is ****, ******* ********* for **** *********** *****.

** **** ********, ** break **** ***** ******, explaining:

  • ***** ** ***
  • **** ** ***?
  • ************ *** **************
  • *** ** *** ******* WDR?
  • ****** *** **********
  • *** ** **********
  • **** *** ***************
  • **** *** ********
  • ************ *********** *********

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

2019 ***** ** ***

****** **** ** **** continue ****** **** ****:

*** ** ***** *** quite * ********* ******* found ** ***** ******, but ** ** *** closer **** **** ******. We ****** **** ***** to ********.

What ** ***?

*** ****** *******************, *** ** *********** the ******* ** ******* high ******* ***** ****** a ***** ** ***** levels. *** *******, ** the ***** *****, *** center ** *** ***** is **** ****** *** to *** ******** ****** the ****** ********, ***** the ***** ** *** hallway *** **** ******, and *** **** **** (facing *** ******) ****** still ** ** **** not ******* *** ****** sunlight. ** **** ****** exactly *** ** ******* these ***** ****** *****.

brightest

*** *** **** * big ********** ** ****** with ****** ********* ***** levels. ****'* *********** * ****** ******* in * *******. *** non-WDR ****** ***** **** rough *******, *** *** facial ***********, ***** *** true *** ****** ******* shows *** *******'* ****, hairstyle, *** ****.

wdr improves effective details

Camera *** **********

****** ******* ********* ******** with **** ****** ** lighting ******* ** ***** dependency ** * ****** exposure. ******* **** ***** to ******** ** *****. However, *** **** ***** and *** ***** ** washed *** *** *** little ***** *** *** image ** *** ****.

** *** **** * scene **** **** ********, it ** ** *******. The ****** **** ****** adjust *** **** ******* size ** *** ******* speed ** *** *** right ****** ** *****. This ** *** ************* typically **** ***** ******* in **** ******** ******.

*******, ** *** ***** has * **** ***** of ********, *** ****** has * ***** *********. If ** ********* *** amount ** ***** ** takes ** ** ******** for *** ****** *****, the ***** ***** ***** will ** *** ****. However, ** ** ******* the ******** ********, ********** for *** ***** *****, the ****** **** **** be ****** ***. *** image ***** ***** **** tough ********:

wdr bright vs dark area tradeoff

*********, *********, ***** ** be **** ** ******** this.

Measuring ***

** ** ******** ** know *** **** *** range ** ***** ****** a ***** ***. *** generally ******** **** ** measure **** ** ************ is *** ******* (*.*., 58dB, *****, ***.) **** higher ****** ********** ******** WDR ***********.

*************, ***** ************ *** not ************ *** *** at *** ********** ** each ************, ** ****** not ** *******. *****, manufacturers *** ***** ********* "grades" ** ***, ****** things **** **** ********* (see ******* *****).

******************* ***** *** ****** cryptic (*.*., **** **** it **** **********?), **** are ******** ** * specific **** ********. * grayscale ***** ** **** with ******** ****** **** white ** *****. *** more ****** * ****** can *******/*******, *** ****** its******** *** *** ****** its *** *********** ****** be. ***** ** ** example ***** *********'* *** *********** **********:

greyscale wdr

*************, **** **** *** translate **** ** **** world ****** (*.*., **** can * ****** *** my ***** **** ******?) nor ** **** ******** guaranteed ** ** **** or ******** ****** ** all *************.

Interpreting *** **************

*** ****** ***** ***** manufacturer ** ************** ** they *** ****-******** *** not ********* *************. *******, there *** **** ******** to ********:

  • * *** ** ****** of **** ** **** almost ****** ***** **** the ****** **** *** support **** *** ** manufacturers **** **** ****** their ******* **** *** will ****** **** *** camera ** *** ** the *** '*****'. '*******', non *** ******* ********** are ********* ** *** range ** ** - 70dB.
  • * *** ** ****** of ***+ *******, *** not ******, ***** **** the ****** ******** **** multi-exposure ***. *****, ******, since ************* *** **** to ****** *** ***** they ****, ** ** not **********. **** **** to ****** *** **** own ***** ** ****** **** *******.
  • *******, **** ************* *** relatively ************ ** ***** WDR ** *******. *** example, **** ***** **** of ***** **** *** cameras ** '****' ****. This **** *** **** they *** ***** **** a **** ******* ************ self-assigning ***** ** *****. Actual ******* ** ******** to ******.
  • ** *** **** *** years, ** **** **** manufacturers ********** *** ** race **** ************** ** 130dB ** **** *****. However, ** *** *******, cameras **** ***** ** specifications (**** ****) *** out ******* **** ** real-world *******.

An *********** ********

** *** *******, ** have ********* ** *********** real ***** ******** ** measuring *** ***** * WDR ***** **. ***** a *** *****, ** record *** ********* *** the ******* ***** ** each *****. *** ***** of *** *** ******** a ****** ********* ** how *********** *** ***** is.

** * ******* ******* outdoors, **** * ***** opening ** ** ******** areas, *** ***** ** typically ***** ****, ** shown *****:

measuring wdr light level variance

*** *** ***** ** ~6.5x, **** *** **** doorway ** **** *** and *** ******** ****** sides ** ~*** ***.

*** ****** *** **** to * *** ***** of *, *** **** likely **** *** ********** is ******. ********, *** lower ***** *** **** powerful *** ************* *** needs.

**** **** *** ******** you **** **** ** measure *** **** *** be **** ** * field **** **** * $100-$150 *** *****. *******, do **** **** ** do **** **** *** sun ** ********* ** the *** ***** **** vary ********** *** *** as *** *** *****.

Resolution **. ***

** *******, ****** ********** improves ***, *** ***** factors ***** *****. **** is *** *** **** nor *** **** ************* approach (*** **** *****). However, ********** *** ****** of ****** ***** ******* finer ******* **** ** the ****** / ******** areas. *** ** ******* from *** *****:

5mp vs SD vs HD

*** ***** ********* ** the ** ******, **** though ** *** **** WDR. *** *** *** WDR ****** ***** ** simply ******* ** ******** more *******. *******, *** HD ****** **** **** WDR ******** *** ****.

**** **** *****-******** *** is ********* ****** ********* for ******* **** ******* scenes, ** ****** ********** increases ** *** ******* to *****'* ***. *******, all ****** *****, * higher ********** ***-*** ****** may ****** ********** * lower ********** *****.

WDR *************** - **** ** ****

***** *** **** ********* for *** ****** ** setting *** ******** ************* to ******* **** **** and ****** *****, *** most ****** ****** ******** is ** *** ******** exposures *** **** ******* them ** ******* * better ******* *****. *** short ******** ******** *** bright *****, ***** *** long ******** ******** *** dark *****. *** ************** below:

true multi-exposure wdr example

** *** *******, **** is *** **** ******** of *** *** ********** WDR *******.

***** ** ********* ******* for *** ******* ***** multiple *********, **** ** not **********. *** ****** of ********* **** *** the ***** ***** ********** techniques *********** *** **** make * **********. *******, none ** ***** *** typically ********.

Multiple ********* **** *** *****

* ****** ******** ** multi-exposure *** *************** ** worse *********** ** *** light. ***** ******** ********* typically ********* *** **** a ******* *** ** set. *******, **** ** is ****,****** ************* ** **** *****, producing * ******** ***** (though ** *** *** and *** ******* ****** ****).

**** ***** *** *******, make **** **** *** is ******** ** ***** for ******* *** ***** performance. **** ******* ** this *************, ****** ***** for ****** ************* *** a *** **** ** option. **** ** ** important ******* ** ***** if *** ***** ** a ******** *** *** location ********.

Fake *** **********

*** ***** ******-*** ********** have ***** **** ******* by ************* ** ***** alternatives ** *****-******** ***. However, *** ***** **** shown **** ***** ********** simply ** *** ******* to **** * *** performance **** *** ******:

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

***, ** ********* ************, simply ******* *** (******) exposure ** * ******. This ** ****** **** when *** **** ** capture **** *** ****** or **** ***** ** the ***** *** *** both. ** ***** ***, you **** **** *** portion ** *** ***** better ** *** ******* of *** ***** ***** worse.

blc vs true wdr

"*******" ***

******* ***, **** ***** as ****, ****, ** ********** *** is *********** * ******** adjustment ** ******** ******* of *** *****, ******* of *** ******* *****. DWDR *** ** ****** in **** ****** **** doing *******, *** ***** techniques ***** ** *** compare ** **** ***.

**** **** **** ************* offer **** ******* *** in ******** ** **** WDR, *** ***** *** easily ******* *** ***, such ******' "******* *******" **. "Dynamic ********". ****** ** ***** terms *** ***** ** our*** ***** *****(**** *****).

Same ************ - **** *** ** *** ***

**** * ************* ****** 'true' ***, **** ******* typically ****** ************* ****** performance ** ***** ******** conditions **** *** *** WDR *******. ***** ****** were ************ **** **** expensive **** ***-*** ********. However, ** ****** ***** this *** *** ******** significantly, **** **** ************* offering **** *** ****** their ****** ****. **** still ***** ***-*** ****** in ***** **** ****** cost *****, ***** ********* perform ******* ***** ** WDR ****** **** ******** low **** ******.

** * ****** *******,*********'* ***** *** **** Value ******* *********** **** ***, ***** has **** ***** ** their ***** *** **** lines (***** *******/***********) *** several *****, *** ******** much ***** ******* **** strong ********* *** ** darker ***** ** *** scenes.

************, ***** ********, **** manufacturers' ******* ******* **** WDR, *** *** ** maximum **********. **** ** found ** **** ***** models ***** ***** ** increase ** ******** ********** with *** *** (********* instead ** **********), ** well ****** *** *********** ******* * **** to **** ** ********** (2560x1440 ******* ** *********).

true wdr mode quad hd vs 4mp digital wdr

WDR ************ ***** ***** *** ****** ********

******* ************* *** ** cryptic ***** *** *******, we **** *** ******** a **** ** ************* detailing ******* **** ******* ‘true’ (*****-********) ***, ‘****’ (digital/electronic ***), ** ****. We **** ******* ***** to ********* *********, ****** conventions, ***.

*** ** ************* **** cameras **** ******* ‘****’ WDR, ***** ***** **** of **** **** **** cameras **** ******* ******* WDR.

*** ******* ******* ********* this **** *** ********** manufacturer *********, ****** **** our*** ************ ***** ***** and ****** **************.

Camera ****** ********

** **** **** ******** and ******** ***** ******* are **** *** *** have ***** **** ** our****** ******(***** *******, ****** *** = ***).

**** *** ***** **** our ****** ******:

Test **** *********

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

[****: **** ******** *** originally ********* ** **** but *** ******* ** 2016 *** **** ** relate ******** ** *** availability.]

Comments (11)

Interesting article and can't agree more on your point about standard testing methods for documented datasheet specifications. Ideally from a manufacturer's perspective, there should be standards for measurement and reporting to level the playing field and insure customers understand the bench performance of the camera(s) they are purchasing. There is an emerging standard and test method which some companies, including mine have adopted.

Opto-Electronic Conversion Function (OECF) analysis according to IEC 62676 Part 5.

The difficulty here is when only a select few companies participate and use the testing standards to report the "true" benchmark specs, customers are often misled making comparisons based on the documented specs to camera manufacturers who use "theoretical" specs for their products. As a marketer who wants to be truthful and at the same time competitive, finding a balance can be tricky. We have found that including both specs get us to this compromise.

High Dynamic Range
(HDR) Mode - 120 dB WDR
Measured under IEC 62676 Part 5 - 108 dB WDR

Only a 12dB difference between the 2 measurements but this difference could block products from participating in large project bids. Providing an honest rating based on the standard seems to be the proper direction long term and for now we include both while we wait on the rest of our industry to adopt the standard.

Thank you for the article.

One correction regarding the table at the end.

Avigilon.

You are correct that for H3 cameras only 3MP with "W" at the model name have WDR but for the newer models H4 almost all of them have WDR (1MP,2MP,3MP). They are marked with a C(meaning COMBO for both WDR and super starlight). The 5MP supports super starlight and is only marked with an L.

Thanks, we've updated that chart with the "C" model info.

it will be good to standardize WDR rating among all the manufactures of different cameras using a Luxmeter or any other instruments.

...it will be good to standardize WDR rating...

What’s good for the user isn’t good for the vendor...

List of cameras from various manufacturer supporting True WDR Digital WDR and both - great work!!

Shouldn’t the light meter point at the scene instead of pointing at the camera?

We want to know much light is falling / hitting the subject so aiming the meter in the same direction as the subject is facing (at the camera) is appropriate.

Yes but the FOV of the lightmeter is likely far bigger than the circumference of the camera’s lens.

Therefore, IMHO, it’s an average of everything reflected by the camera and everything around the camera. Which would mean it would vary greatly depending on what the reflectivity is of what is around the camera:

vs vs

Are you referring to what is behind the camera? If so, our backgrounds are generally neutral / even when it comes to reflexivity and light emission.

Btw, if you have some other technique for measuring, happy to consider but this is the typical way that manufacturers measure lux levels as well.

I was referring to anything that is reflecting light into the meter.

But it is still not clear to me how you are taking this reading:

In this picture, you seem to be measuring lux. Yet there are two measurements, 200 and 1300. Was the light meter moved to where the red dots are (but still pointed at where the camera would be) to take each of the readings?

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