OBJECTIVE camera testing. We all talk about it but it’s notoriously difficult for most of us to undertake. That’s why the HD Camera Shootout at SecTech Roadshow is a really big deal. In one room, on one day, in the capital city in your home state, installers, integrators and end users get one chance to see the industry’s leading HD cameras going head to head in low light and strong backlight. 

We’ll pit the best cameras from Bosch, Panasonic, Hikvision, Axis Communications, Mobotix, Avigilon, Arecont and the 1-inch newcomer Logipix One, distributed locally by Brisbane-based Sylo. 

What we’ll be doing at SecTech’s HD Camera Shootout is over a consistent depth of field in each location, challenging the best HD cameras in the business to show us their stuff under difficult conditions. And you installers, integrators and end users get to decide for yourselves which camera you think is doing the best. 

The HD Camera Shootout will take place at every SecTech Roadshow venue: Brisbane on May 4, Sydney on May 6, Melbourne on May 11, Adelaide on May 13 and Perth on May 18. The times for each HD Camera Shootout will be on the hour every hour between 1pm and 4pm each day of the Roadshow. 

Although conditions will inevitably vary slightly between the locations, ambient light levels will be at least 250 lux and we plan to test the cameras down to sub 5-lux. We’re not looking to test these cameras in a coal mine but to get an idea of performance in real-world levels of low light. 

We’re especially interested in performance between 5-10 lux, that’s down to about half the level of ambient street light. While we’re at it, we’ll head under 1 lux to find out which camera holds colour longest. We’ll also check out which camera gives the nicest image quality supported by an external infrared light source when it’s in night mode.  

The HD cameras we’ll be testing at SecTech Roadshow’s HD Camera Shootout are all excellent and we know each will give us an image stream between 5-10 lux and even lower. But what we all want to know is which HD camera does it best? Which camera gives us the most detail? Which camera gives us the least noise? The least motion blur? I think we’d all agree that any camera capable of getting a decent live image stream under 5 lux, gets a gold star. But which camera will that be?

In each test chamber we’ll have a manikin in a chair at a set distance  with a license plate in its lap and we’ll lower the lights progressively to get a sense of raw performance. There will also be a backlit screen we’ll use to test for resistance to backlight. A train set running inside the field of view will show motion blur as light levels fall. Other colourful and high contrast items, including lights, will be located on either side of the target area.

Variables we think we’ll see include image acuity and contrast, a general sense of edge-to-edge sharpness, colour rendition, colour shift as light levels fall, noise, noise suppression artefacts, possible signs of blooming and motion blur, lens light fall-off and vignetting, and lots more. 

Hop onto www.sectechroadshow.com.au and register right now to get free parking, free entry, a free happy hour, and your chance to answer the video surveillance industry’s biggest question from the comfort of your own home state. Which HD CCTV camera is the best? ♦