Is Hikvision Darkfighter the best lowlight HD camera on the market today? West Australians can find out on Monday May 18, at the Hyatt Regency
99 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, at 2pm and 4pm. 

According to surveillance industry observer, Norman, he's unsure which of the contenders from Panasonic, Sony, Axis, Bosch, Hikvision, DVTel, Canon, Ness and EvoNET is the best low light performer at SecTech and he wants to take a careful look Monday in Perth to make a judgement. 


Norman in front of the mounting truss at Jeff's Shed in Melbourne.

"I spoke to Hans from Hikvision in Melbourne after the first session to get a feeling for how he felt Darkfighter had performed and to be honest, I suspect he was suffering from slight confirmation bias," Norman told SEN last Wednesday at the Adelaide Playford. "Of course Hans is going to say that his is the best low light performer but it was impossible for me to tell, stuck at the far end of the test jig.

"So far I've heard techs rate the Axis Q1635, the Sony, which also has a lovely all-round performance, the Bosch Starlight – and when it comes to movement and backlight, some installers are liking the Panasonic and the Canon. There are price considerations to take into account, too. A full body camera can't be installed in external environments without the support of a housing. That brings in the likes of Ness, DVTel and EvoNET, all of which did quite well in different applications, I overheard some one say."


Hans from Hikvision, biased towards Darkfighter, according to Norman.

Norman admits he's a lens tragic and he can't help loving that about the Darkfighter. 

"That's a nice lens, the Darkeye lens, and although it's said to be made inhouse, I can't help suspecting Hikvision secretly owns a major Japanese lens manufacturer – maybe Sigma. Look at the ribbing on the focus ring – it's a dead giveaway.Only Sigma makes lenses that look like that. And the lens elements are actual glass!"

Norman also expressed doubts about the backlight test in Melbourne.

"Organisers claimed there was 280 lux coming of that shiny, grey back wall and though it looked like close to 7 EV when I glanced sideways at the light meter, the way people were talking afterwards made me wonder," he said, smiling imperceptibly. "Getting really good low light and back light performance with the same camera settings is tough and all the cameras seemed to do very well with WDR. That simply can't be right."


Norman loved the bokeh in this shot of the EvoNET camera. 

"SecTech's HD camera shootout is most of all a search for the best all-rounder – a camera that does very well throughout a 24-hour period. Installers, integrators, consultants and end users who come down to SecTech Roadshow at the Perth Hyatt Regency should bear this in mind. They should also pay very close attention to the monitor when there's movement in the target area – blur can be a major issue in low light and is a severe test of low light camera performance – it's a real balancing act and you techs should keep your operational requirements firmly in mind.

"As to whether the Hikvision Darkfighter does best in low light, they'll have to make up their own minds about that because I couldn't see the screen from where I was standing."♦