This report is based on a 2022 asmag.com-Hikvision reader survey aimed at understanding low-light camera market use and user preferences, and identifying future trends.
This report is based on a 2022 asmag.com-Hikvision reader survey aimed at understanding low-light camera market use and user preferences and identifying future trends.
What are users basing their purchasing decisions on?
Low-light security cameras are valuable assets to outdoor security systems, but with so many choices available on the market, how are users deciding which cameras suit their needs?
Based on the survey, security professionals review the camera’s lux ratings first (25%) to determine how well images and video can be captured in challenging low-light situations. The second feature looked at is camera type (varifocal, panoramic) Why is this important? This ties into the top pain point respondents cited for low-light video security projects – viewing distance is too short (26%). Varifocal and panoramic cameras allow users to manually adjust camera parameters like the focal length, angle of view and level of zoom, enabling users to get a close-up view of ongoing events as necessary.
Sensor size (17%) and pixel counts (16%) were also rated important by respondents. These two go hand-in-hand. But generally speaking, a higher megapixel count works better on a larger camera sensor than a small one. New sensor technology (15%) and F-stop rating (9%) were rated lower in importance.
Biggest pain points for low-light security camera projects
As mentioned earlier, the top pain point/problem security professionals stated was that the viewing distance is too short (26%), followed by the cameras not performing as well as promised (24%) and poor color capture (21%).
For viewing distances, it seems the ideal maximum distance range for night vision security cameras lies between 20-40 meters (68%). In this case, it is prudent to perform a pre-installation survey to determine how large the video security coverage area is and match the distance that the camera is expected to view with the night vision rating of the camera to avoid hot spots and ensure adequate illumination for clear color images.
Extra low-light camera features and future developments users want
We also asked the survey respondents what future developments or trends they want/see for low-light security cameras, and a number of interesting things came up.
1. AI as the main trend for low-light security cameras (21% of total comments)
In this segment, respondents listed down AI advanced options and AI functionality as the top trend they would like to see for low-light security cameras in the near future.
Specific features that many of the respondents focused on can be grouped as follows:
AI analytics (39%)
This involves enabling accurate detection/identification of objects at night to minimize false alarms, event analytics and alerting operators to ongoing situations.
- “Human/animal/transport recognition.”
- “The quality of the capture must be improved along with that it's great to utilize the AI to enable auto detect unwanted events and objects, etc.”
- “False trigger and Smart motion algorithm.”
Of special note, a handful of respondents noted on-board edge AI analytics as a possible trend going forward.
AI for low light image processing/enhancement (15.7%)
- “Varifocal low-light security cameras (currently market mainly focused in fixed lens), with embedded analytics.
- “Edge AI, more options for VF”
To enable clearer images captured in environments with poor illumination.
AI for perimeter security/alarms (9.8%)
- “AI image processing”
- “AI technology to be used for processing captured image for clearer output in dark areas as well.”
Users want to better use low-light cameras as part of perimeter security systems to detect and deter intrusion along the property lines.
- “Better detection of movement whether to include PIR sensor or other means to reduce false movements.”
- “Perimeter intrusion external alarm for deterrence.”
2. Higher image quality and resolution for low-light video security (16% of total comments)
Respondents cited better pixel figures, WDR and low lux performance.
- “Taking the camera industry as an example, future development directions include pixel improvement, larger photosensitive area per pixel, array camera, etc.”
- “We expect that the image is improved so that to be as similar as possible to day light image.”
Of note, 17.5% in this group cited improvements in sensor design.
- “Better dual sensor cameras.”
- “Larger CMOS can be used.”
While 12.5% are looking for features that can reduce glare and noise.
- “Less noise with clear image view and recording.”
- “Prevents glare from motor vehicles.”
3. Low light color night vision technology (9% of total comments)
Respondents are after 24/7 color images and video footage in daytime and night.
- “Advanced developments and technologies to enhance surveillance capabilities and better protect people and assets. Low-light cameras need to be equipped with advanced low-light functionality in dark conditions and provide clear color images even when light levels are low depending on the selected camera sensor.”
- “Better color images with as less as possible of white supplementary lighting, as this light pollutes & this is why they cannot be used in some places.”
4. Longer range/distance (7% of total comments)
- “Improving detection distance in all weather and light conditions (not only low light).”
- “Higher coverage range.”
5. Affordable price/cost reduction (6.6% of total comments)
6. Lighting (4% of total comments)
Respondents cited better minimum illumination, no visible light to user options to switch from IR to white LED and back.