There is little doubt that cameras are getting better in low light conditions. All of the major camera manufacturers now have low-light models that are highly sensitive to light. These cameras are designed to maximise any available light on scene to produce images at night. But remember, these are low light cameras, not no-light cameras. All cameras need light to see, whether that’s in the security industry, photographic industry, televisual industry or integrated into your smart phone.
Good lighting and a noise free image will also lower your bandwidth and storage, whilst maintaining a higher frame rate for accurate real time video. Whilst all cameras need good lighting to see at night, the big advantage of low-light cameras is that they produce great results with significantly less light. This means, that when you use a professional low-light camera you can use a smaller LED illuminator to deliver the same distances that you would achieve with a more basic camera and a larger illuminator. Effectively, using a low-light camera lets you reduce the cost of your supplementary lighting.
What you should never do is use a low-light camera without any professional surveillance lighting. Why pay extra for a high performance camera and then limit its performance by not providing illumination for it? Even the best cameras will still produce noisy images in darkness that will seriously impact the performance of video analytics and create false alarms. No light = no video analytics.
Raytec continually test our lighting with a wide range of world leading cameras. When we carefully align the latest high power LED lighting with a high performance low light camera, the results are outstanding. Our recommendation to get the best pictures and performance at night would always be to choose a high performance camera and support it with a small amount of professional LED lighting.