Comparison of HD CCTV Cameras for Low Light Environments


Recently, we put some of the latest in HD IP PTZ cameras to the test in low light conditions to see which model is the superior when it comes to outdoor video surveillance in this environment The 3 cameras that were put to the test in low light conditions are the Axis Q6045-Mk11, Pelco D220, and the Hikvision Darkfighter DS-2df82233I-AEl.

After much speculation by many integrators to which camera provided the best low light images, our team decided it was time to put this to the test and find out which of these three products provided the superior low light capabilities. The environment was set in a lowly light park in Port Hedland, Western Australia. The cameras were all configured accordingly and put through their paces one by one to test all functionally of the camera as well as image quality. All cameras are 2 Megapixel IP HD Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Cameras.

First the Axis Q6045 MK11 was put to the test. The PTZ functionality was excellent the control and zooming capabilities worked perfectly with no delay for the lenses to focus when zooming the camera. The Image quality was excellent in day time environment. When the lights were dimed and a low light environment was created the image quality of the 2 megapixel IP camera was poor the image quality reduced dramatically. The image was full of digital noise on the display tile. This made the image to look very fuzzy and was not ideal in this environment. When the PTZ zoomed into areas with no lighting at all the PTZ went into night mode and the image become black and white. As there is no IR illuminator the image was inoperable for operators and it was equivalent to looking at a complete black screen with no image, therefore making this camera not ideal for low light environment’s.

The Pelco D5518 was then put to the test and also performed fantastic during daytime hours. The 2 mega pixel PTZ had excellent zooming capabilities along with a fast focus time during daylight hours the camera worked well with all functionality. A low light environment was then created and the Pelco switched to night mode very quickly making the image black and white. The image quality was still very poor and digital noise was again a factor. When the PTZ was zoomed into complete darkness the image was completely black making the camera inoperable to the local CCTV users. This camera with no aid of Illumination or I illuminators has very poor low light capabilities and would not be recommended in this situation.

The Hikvision Dark-Fighter was next to be setup in the same area as part of our camera shootout. We tested the Dark-fighter and really liked the features of the on-screen display showing the PTZ positioning details this made setting presents very easy. The image quality seemed to show more detailed colour then the other two rivals. The PTZ controls where tested and worked well. The focus of the PTZ is not quite as fast as the Axis or Pelco. Where the Hik-Vision Dark-Fighter was most impressive was in low light situations. The Image quality was unreal it was still in full colour in the low lux environment and the image quality was crisp with no digital noise. The operators observing the test could not believe it was night-time when viewing the camera. The results in a low light environment were excellent and unexpected. This camera had now set the standard for this environment. The camera was then zoomed into complete darkness, the other two PTZ cameras had completely flopped as they have no IR illuminators. The Dark-fighters on board IR illuminators turned on and the camera switched to night mode even when the PTZ was zoomed up to 100 meters’ objects and people were still recognisable. The Hikvision Dark-Fighter is the best camera that our team has tested in low light environments.

Overall the test proved while the Axis and Pelco are great daytime cameras they were not even in the same league when it comes to low light conditions and keeping the camera in colour when compared to the Dark-fighter. The Dark-fighter has put Hik Vision on the enterprise CCTV map at wordlwide not only with a great low light images but with excellent pricing and a 3 years manufactures warranty. Hik Vision is now a major player in CCTV Market. It will be interesting to see what Axis and Pelco release next to compete in low light environments.

We specialise in Enterprise CCTV installations. We design, implement and maintain many enterprise CCTV networks. For more information on our CCTV Services call us on 08 9468 7575 or visit our CCTV website.

Source by Clint Boessen

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