White Light Vs. Super Low Light Camera Shootout - Axis, Bosch, Hanwha, Hikvision, Tiandy, UNV

By Derek Ward, Published Jun 07, 2021, 10:35am EDT

White light cameras continue to grow, especially in low-cost models. But how do these new entrants perform against super low light models without illumination?

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We bought and tested using representative cameras from our White Light Camera Shootout, along with a new low-cost NDAA complaint model from AVTech:

Those were tested against representative performers we bought for our ongoing 2021 color low light testing and a non-white light AVTech model for comparison:

In this report, we examine:

  • Performance: Where do integrated white light cameras outperform super low light models and vice versa?
  • How does light level impact performance, ranging from 5 lux to near 0 lux (~5, ~2, ~1, ~0.1, and ~0.01 lux tested)?
  • What impact do subjects close to the camera (over/under exposure) in super low light or white light cameras?
  • How do flood lights, commercial building lights, or car headlights impact performance?
  • How do cameras handle moving subjects?
  • How true are colors in each camera type in low light?
  • Can white light cameras be used as flood or area lights?

This shootout is leading up to our planned 2021 Low Light Color Shootout, an update to our 2019 Color Low Light Mega Shootout. Also see our White Light Camera Shootout for full details on white light cameras alone.

Executive *******

** *** *****, ** found **** ***** * lux (~*.* *** ~*.** lux), ***** ***** *** cameras ******** ******** ******* than ***** *** ***** models ** *** ********* (~0-80' ******), **** ***** low ***** ****** ****** to ******* ****** ******* at ~*.**. **** *** lowest **** ***** ***** camera (******, ~$*** ***) produces ******** ******* ** the ******* *********** ***** low ***** ***** (****, ~$1,500).

************, ** **** ****** with ****** ********* ******* (e.g., **** ******* *********** or **** ******), ***** light ****** ****** ************ super *** ***** ******, with ***** ********** ************ able ** ********* ** fully ****** *********, ***** super *** ***** ****** produced ***** *******, **** subjects' ***** ** *** foreground ****** ***.

*******, ***-***** ***** ****** tested ******** ****** ******* hotspots, ************ ******** ** close ***** (~**-**'), **** darker ***** ** *** FOV. ************, ***** ***** models ****** ******* ********** and ********** ******* ** the ***** **************, ********* exposure ** ********** ** the ****** ****** *** obscuring *** **********, *** an ***** ** ***** low ***** ******.

*******, *** ******* ** this **** ******** ****** blur ** *** ***** scenes, **** ** ***** trends ** ***** ***** or ***** *** ***** models ********* **** ** less ****.

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Very **** ****** (~*.* *** ~*.** ***) *********** *********** *********** **

** ~*.* ***, ***** light ******* ******* *********** advantages **** ***** *** light ******. ** **** scene, *** **** *****-** provides *** ****** *** chart *******, **** ****** noise ******* ** *** scene, ***** *** ***** starlight ****** ******* ****** totally ***********. ** ********, the ***** ***** ******* perform ******* ****** ******* of *** ******* *** test *****, ** **** as ******** ***** ********.

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***** ***** ************ ******* off **** ********, ***** below ** * ~*.* lux *****, **** ***** significantly ******* ** **' and **', *** ***** producing ****** ******* **** the ****-********** ***** *** light ******.

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**** *** ******** *** (~0.01 ***), *** **** and ***** ***** *** light ******* *** ****** to ******* **** ******, with * ***** ***** of *** **** *****, a *** ***** ********** on *****, *** * faint ********** ** *** subject's ****, ***** *** white ***** ******* ***** product ****** ******* *** chart *******.

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Slight *********** *********** ** ~* ***

** ~* ***, ****** performance *********** *** ** seen, **** ***** ***** models ********* ***** ****** and ******** ******** ******* than ***** *** ***** cameras. *******, ***** ***** cameras ********** **** **** super *** *****, **** the ****** ** *** test ***** ******* ** both ***** ***** ******.

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White *****/***** *** ***** *********** ******* ** ~*-* ***

** ******** *** *****, such ** *** ~* lux ******* *****, *** super *** ***** *** white ***** ******* *** produced ****** ****** *******, with ***** ***** ******** on *** ******, ****** some ************ ** *** test ***** ** *******.

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*******, ** ~* ***, performance *** *******, **** super *** ***** ******* able ** ******* ***** details ** *** ******* and ***** *** ***** of *** **** *****, though *** ****** *********** and ***** ***-****-** *********** the ****** ** *** test *****.

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*** **** **** **** for ******* **** ***** light ************ **** * subject ~**' ****. *** added ******* ***** **** ~5 *** ** ~* lux ******** **** ***** light ************ ****** ******** more ************, ********** ** the ****** ***********, *** details **** ******* *******.

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Motion **** ** *** *******

***** ******* ** ********** and ****-****** ******** *** solid, *** ******* ****** from ****** ** ******** motion ****, **** ** ~5 ***. *** **** Q17 *** ********** ******** than ******, *** *** cameras ******* **** *** artifacts ** *** ******* moves ******* *** *****.

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White ***** ******* ******* ** **** *******

*** *** ***** ***** cameras ****** ********* ** slow ******* ******* (*/*** or */***), ****** **** appear *********** ****** **** with ************ ********.

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*******, **************, **** ******* drastically ********* ****** ****, with ***** ******** *** artifacts ** ****** ********:

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White ***** ************

** *** *****, ** found ***** ***** *******' close ***** ************ ** be ***** ******* ************ compared ** ***** *** light, **** ******** *********** at **-**' ********.

*** *******, *********'* ******* cameras ******** *** *** approaching ******* **** ******* than ******, *** *** not ****** ******* ****** to ***** ************ ******** at **-**' ********.

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***** ** *** ****** DGM2603SVWN ***** ***** ******, the ******* ******* *********** at ~**' ********. ********** with ****** ****, ****** facial ****** *** ** seen ** ** ***** past *** ******.

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Foreground/Background ******** ******

** *******, ***** ***** cameras *** ****** ********* exposure *** ******** ******* in *** ***** (********** and **********), ********* ********* to ******** ****** *** larger ****** ** *** foreground.

*** *******, ** *** Hikvision ******* **, **** the **** ***** ****** in *** ********** ** the *****, *** ******* to *** ***** ** extremely ********* ** ***, with **** *** **** faintly *******.

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** ********, ***** *** light ******* ****** ****** the ***** *****. *** example, *** ***** *** light ***** ********* ***** the *****, *******, *** background *******.

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Super *** ***** ********* ******

***** *** ***** ****** performed **** ***** **** white ***** ******* **** dark ****** **** *******, such ** **** ******** lights ** ***********. *** example *** ***** **** the ***** ********* ***** illustrates **** *****, **** the ******* *** ***** in *** ********** ******* shadowed *** ** *** light ** *** **********.

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** ********, ***** ***** cameras **** **** ** offset **** ** *** of **** ********* *** display ****** ****** *******, with **** *** ******-**** model (******) ************* ***** low ***** *******.

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*** ********** ***** ***** the ***** *** ***** Axis *** ***** ****** compared ** ***** *****:

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White ***** ******* **** ** ******* **** ********

********** ********** ******* **** white ***** ******* *** effectively **** ******* ****** for *** **** ** a ******, ***** ******** costly **** ******* ****** to ******* ******* ********. However, ******** ** ******* residential *** ********** ********, white ***** ******* *** both ******* (******, **** a ******* *******) *** weaker (********* **** ***** overall).

*** *******, * ******** area ***** ** ***** below, ****, ********* ****** light ** ********** *** entire ~*,*** ****** **** test *****. ** ********, the ********* ******* (*** brightest ***** ***** ****** tested) ******** * ********* effect ** *** ****** of *** ***** ** view, **** *** ***** of *** ***** **** dim. ****: ***** ****** were ***** ***** ***** exposure ** **** *********** in ***** ****** ******* letting *** ****** ****** automatically.

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**** ***** *** **** the ********** ** **** harsher/narrower **** ** ***** poor ******** ** ******* lighting, ********** ***** ** close ********* ** *********, while ****** *** **** it ********.

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

******* **** ********* ***** to *******, **** * few *********** ** *********** settings **** **:

  • ******** *** *** ** a ******* ** */*** / ****.
  • *********** *** ************ ** quantization ~**-**.
  • ******* ************ ******** *** settings **** **** ****** specifically ****** *** *********.
  • ***** ***** ************ ******* were **** *** ** a **** ** ***** white ***** ************.

Firmware ****

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** *** **** camera ******:

  • ****** ***********: ****-****-****-****
  • ****** ***********: ****-****-****-****
  • **** *****-**: **.*.*
  • ***** ***** - ***-****-**: 7.80.0128
  • ****** ***-*****: *.**.****************
  • ********* **-*********-*: **.*.***
  • ****** **-*****: **.*.*.********
  • ******* *********-*****-**-**: *********-*************

Comments (34)

****** **** ****. ***** report.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

*** *** ***** ***** cameras ****** ********* ** slow ******* ******* (*/*** or */***), ****** **** appear *********** ****** **** with ************ ********.

** ************ **** ****, I ****** ******* *** industry *** ***** ** from **** **** ** deception. **** ** *** I ****** **** ** a ****** ******, *** just ****** *****. **** slow ******* ****** *** camera *** ** **** to ****** ***** ** low ***** **********.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

** #*, *'* ******* about **** ****** ****** testing. ** *** **** a ******* ***** *** field ** ****, ******* to *** ** **** motion? **, ** *** do ********* ********** *********? Curious ** ****, *** I *****, *** ******* of **** ******* ** still * ****** ***** as ******.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

********* ***** ****** * test / ******** ** tested ** * *** light *********** **** * moving ****** (******) ** the *****.

**** ** ********* ** camera ************* **** ****** use * ****** ***** to **** *** ***** wares. *************, ** *** real *****, ***** ** want ** ******** ** the ******** ******* **** almost ***** ** ** the ******** ** ******** nice & ***** ** the ****** ** *** scene & **** ** a **** ****** ****** image.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

*** **** *** ******** need ** ** **** to ******** **** ****? The ****** ***** ****** it ***** ***** ******.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

*** ********, *** *** just ****** ********* ********* as *** ***'* ** purchasing **** ******* **** makes ** * *** easier, ****** ** ****** you **** *** ***** Rights ******* ********.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

* ****** ***'* **** sense ** *** ********* selection ** ***. *'* left **** ********** ******* like **** ** ******* paid ** ** ***** some **** ** ******** with *** ***.

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 5
Funny

*** ***** ** *** getting **** ** *** or *** *** ** simultaneously ******* **** ** tests ***** ************** ******** ongoing ******* ******** **** them?

* ****** ***'* **** sense

** **** *********** ** that?

** * **** ********* and ********* ** *** approaching * ***** ***** (see:****** **** *** ******* Dahua *** ********* ******** Because ** ***** ****** Abuses?), ** *** ***** to **** ******** *** evaluate ********* ******.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

****** *** ******* *** 2019 **** *****. ***** that *** **** *** SIA **** * ****** standard **** ***. “***** for *** ******* *** of ***** ************”

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

** *** ***** ********. We *** *** ******** need ** **** *** these ******** *******. *** tests *** *** **********. It's **** *** ********** the *** *** **** covering *** ***'* ******* or ********* *******.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

**’* ***. ****’* *** crux, ** *** ************* perfectly ****. **** ***** are ******* **********, ****** fight ** *** ***** products ** *** *** even *** **** ***** with ****. *** ** people **** ***** ******* included ** *** *****? Because **’* ********. *** need ** ** ****** OR ******* **** *** can’t *** **** **’* not ********* **** ******* you ***** ** ** your ****. ** *** stop **** ***** *** John, **** ** *** core ** *** *****. Your ******* ** * showcase. ***** ******** ** a ********* *** *************, if ** ****’* **** wouldn’t **** *** ***. If ** ****’* ****** wouldn’t ***** ***** *** being ******** ******* *** bought *** ******* ** received *****. ** *** hash **** *** *** and **** ** ** you *** ******** ** use ***** ** *** your ******* ******* ***’* a ******** *** ************* and *’** ******** ** crash *** *****. **’* time ** **** *** manufacturers **** ******* ********. It’s ****** **** * have ** *** ****.

**- ******* * **** from **** ** *** a ******* *****.

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

** ** ****’* **** wouldn’t **** *** ***.

** *** ********* ********** we ****, ********* ********** from ***** *** *********.

**** ***** *** ******* highlights

*** ***** *** ********. They *** ****** *********** comparing ***********. ******* ** to ********* **** **** -********* **-********* ***** ****** Camera ****** – ******** Electronics *** ********- ***** ** ******* 'highlights' *** ***********.

** *** ***** ** continue ** ****** **** products ********* ***** *** Hikvision. ** *** **** going ** ******** ** fairly ****** ** ***** and *********'* **********.

*** *** ******* ** disagree.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

** *** *** ***** the ************** *** **** them ***** **** ***** stop *** ******* ** would *** ** *** testing ******* *** **?

* ***'* **** ****** way ** * *** value ** ******* ****. Also **'* ****** **** to **** **** ******* close *** **** ******* closer.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

****, ** **** ** plans ** **** *** products ******* *** **.

* ******* * *** version ** *** **** discussion ** ******* **** further -****** **** *** ******* Dahua *** ********* ******** Because ** ***** ****** Abuses? (****)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

******* *** **** ** or ***** **** **, a *** ** ***********, especially ******* *** **, still *** ********* * lot. ****** **** ****** on **** *** **** their ******** ** **** helpful ** ****. *** notion **** **** ******** should **** ******* ** your ***** ******* ** the ******* ** *********.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

********* ** * ******* involved ** ****** ******** is ********* - *** it.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

“**'* **** *** ********** the *** *** **** covering *** ***'* ******* or ********* *******”

**** ** ************** *********, I **** *** *** smarter **** **** *******.

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**** ** ************** *********, I **** *** *** smarter **** **** *******.

*****, *** **** *** we *** **** * productive ********** ** *** are ***** ** ******* by ****** * ** a **** *** ********* declared "**** ** ******* **** or ** ***** **** sort ** ******** **** the ***.".

***'** ******* ** ******* your ***** ** **** on **** *** *'** already, **********, ********* *** position ** **'* ************ to ***** *** **** points **** *** **** again.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

****’* **** *** * liar ** *** ****. I **** **** ***** spot **** ** ********** basically. **** ******* *** the ***** *********** ** reporting ** ********** *** featuring ******** ** **** testing. ** ***’* ***** but **’** ******** *** issues ****. ****’* ** accomplishment *** **** **** further ************ *******.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**** ******* *** *** false *********** ** ********* on ********** *** ********* products ** **** *******...****’* ** **************

*** **** **** ** accomplishment ****. *** *** falsely ******** ******** **** 'featuring' ********. *** *******, we ******* *********'* ****** fever *********, *.*.,********* *********** ********* ************* ********** ***** ********* by ******* ** ********** Optics ***** ********** *********** Screening ************. ** ***'* ********* those ****** ****** ** test ******** *** ** can't **** ********** ** we **** ******* ******* on ******** **** **** are ***.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**'** **** ****** * series/wisenet *** ******* ********* doors *** ***** ** medium ******* *** ******** with ********** *** ***** conditions **ç*********. **** *** and ***** *********** **** excellent *** ** ***** days *** ******* ****** blur ** *****. ** also ******** **** *********** with *** ******* ******-** panoramic * ****** **** and ***** ******* **** g2 ******(*** ***** ******* units **** ************ **** tweaking/setup

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

** ***** ** ******* to **** *** ********* light ***** ** *** for *** ***** ***** cameras ***** *** *******’ white ****** **** ****** on ******* ** **** listing *** ******* *****. To ******* **** **** cameras *** ********* ** 1 ***, *** *******, is * ****** ********** when *** ***** ***** camera ******** *** **** more **** **** **** the ***** **. **** is * ******* **** of ********* ****** *** oranges. *****’* * ***** for ***** ***** ******* for ****, *** **’* also ***** ****** **** of *** *************. **** create ********** **** *** maintenance *** ***** *********. Reflectivity **** ******* **** or **** *** **** create ****** *** ********* and/or ****** *********. ***, white ***** ** **** useful ** * ********* tied ** ** ***** than ** ** *** continuous ***. **** **** in **** * ********, the ******’* ****** **** still ** ******* ** operating ** *** ***** without ************ ***** *****.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

********* *******, ****** *** the *******!

*****, **** ** *** white ***** ******** ***** from *** ***** ***** Camera ********. * ***** AVTech ** ****, ***** it *** ****** ****.

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***, ***** ***** ** more ****** ** * deterrent **** ** ** alarm **** ** ** for ********** ***. **** used ** **** * capacity, *** ******’* ****** must ***** ** ******* of ********* ** *** light ******* ************ ***** light.

****'* ** *********** ******* Matthew, *** ** ****** understand **** *****, *** suggest ************ * ******* of * ****** ** "blend **" **** ******* without ***** *****? ** that's *** ****, *** not *** * ***** low ***** ****** **** monitors ** **** *********** by * ****** ********* light?

*******, ** *** **** with *** ***** ***** illuminators ***. ***** ***** cameras *** **** ** produce ******* **** ***** light ********, ** **** below ** *** ~*.* lux **********.

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*******, *** ****** ******* or ********* *****, ******* are ******* *** **** to ***** *** ***********.

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****** *** ** **** what ******-** ********* ** feedback *** *** ****. Again, ***** *** *** the *******!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

*** ** *** ********* that ******** **** **** of ********** ** **** they ******* * *** of **** ** ***** from ****** ***** ********** on. ***** **** ** see **** ******* ******* from **** ********* ***** light ** ** *** bugs. *** ********?

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

***** **#*, ***** ********!

*'** ******* * ******* (1 **, * ***** Light) ******* ** *** rear ** *** ******* bay **** **** ******** lighting. *'* ******* **** run ********** *** ***** and **** ****** **** with ********/****** ** ** which *** **** *********.

*** ******* *** ****** ~18 **** *****, *** I **** **** ******* manually ********** ** *** IR/White ***** **/*. ***** of *** ***** *****:

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****** ***** *** *** suggestion *** *******!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

** ***** *** *** the ******* **? * am ******* ***** *** results...

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

***** ***.

* *** *** ******* run **** *** *******, but *************, *** **** has **** ******* *** with **** ****** *** rain, ** ***** *** not **** ** "*******" night *** *** ********.

*'* ***** ** ***** them ** *** ** should************** * ****, ***** night **** **** *** activity, *** **** ** do, *'** **** *** findings ****.

****** *** ******** **!

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

**** ** * ***** report. * ** ********, however, *** **** ********* to ****** ********* *** Dahua ******* ***** ** the **** **** ********* on *** ***** ****** abuses, ****, ******** ******** & ************* ********, ***. of ***** ******* *** years. ** ******* *** devices, ** ********** ******** them, ***** ********* ***** use.

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

#*, ****** *** **** first *******. ********* ****:****** **** *** ******* Dahua *** ********* ******** Because ** ***** ****** Abuses? (****)**** **** ** ******* or ******* *****.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

*** ********* ******* *** security ******* ** *********/****** issues ** * ******** slope.

*** **** ***** ** from * ******** **** report ***** *****. ****** Hanwa *** *** ********?

"*******, *** ******** ********** faces *************** ****** ***** *********, ******* ******* ***** the *************** ** ****** partnering **** ****."

* ***** *** **** product ********** ******* ** spot ** *** ****** not ** ********** ** political/ethical/moral **************.

*** ***** *** **** type ** ********** ** John's ******* ** ***** issues, ***** * ********* agree **** *** ***** times ***'*.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

* **** ***** **** our ******* ****’* ****** completely **** *** ****** culture *** **’* * little ****** ** *** so **** ** “******” what’s ****** **.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

* **** * *** ColorVu ****** ***** ** driveway *** *** *** white ***** *** ************ lighting ** * ********* timer. ***** *****.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 1
Funny

*********? ******?

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Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful: 2
Funny: 2

* **** *** * one's *** **** **** picture:) (**** **** ******)

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
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