Improving 5442T-ZE Images, primarily at night

Looking Out

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I had a prowler recently that hugged the far treeline of my property. Luckily the IVS still triggered but the image and video left room for improvement. I started a thread on that event here: Did this prowler see my camera?

Based on the feedback in the above thread from @wittaj I am documenting my path to better image quality to share with others.

So far my new settings for night are as follows:

 

IAmATeaf

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In order to be able to use 8.3 at night you’ll need a lot of ambient light? I think I have mine set to 16 which is really the lowest I can getaway with.

The rest is just playing around with the settings at night and walking around like a madman to see how the settings faired.
 

wittaj

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Switch to Manual Priority - under shutter priority, it may jack the gain up to 100, which will give you a bright static image, but you will get ghost and blur with motion.

Start with gain at 10-50 for starters.

Drop the NR down - 50 will give you blur. Start at 24 and slowly work up until you are comfortable with the noise, but try not to go above 34.

Start brightness, contrast, sharpness and gamma at 40 and then work it from there. Recognize that the image might be darker than we initially like, but after a day or two we get used to it. The goal is to get a clean capture of an image.

Have the contrast about 6-8 points above brightness.
 
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Expect to spend a good 1 or 2 hours per camera for testing. Lots of walking in and out :) Could have buddy/wife/sibling with walkie talkie doing the walking by while you see the image.
This has to be done. Default settings on any camera without personal adjustments is .... foolish. Every camera has it's own lighting, shading, obstacles, and purpose that need individual configuration. Remember...test during daytime hours. And re-test at night time hours. Daytime will have different settings than night.
 

wittaj

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Expect to spend a good 1 or 2 hours per camera for testing. Lots of walking in and out :) Could have buddy/wife/sibling with walkie talkie doing the walking by while you see the image.
This has to be done. Default settings on any camera without personal adjustments is .... foolish. Every camera has it's own lighting, shading, obstacles, and purpose that need individual configuration. Remember...test during daytime hours. And re-test at night time hours. Daytime will have different settings than night.
Even the same model/same camera can have two widely different settings looking at the same thing. Different chipset or production runs can cause differences.
 

Iemand91

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Following this thread.

Been tinkering with a 5442ZE that will go to a family member in due time.
Playing with these settings also.
Funny thing is, camera was still in day mode but as soon as I changed one setting (even slightly) it went to black/white and never came back to color, and being in color mode it didn't even gave that terrible result.

May be a bit crisper than my own 5231, but also darker with settings from above.
Luckily, there's a PIR floodlight and streetlight where the camera will go, that will surely help.
 

wittaj

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Like TVs, everyone is drawn to the brightest TV showing on display at the store even though it may be the worse in overall picture quality.

Darker is ok if it allows all the details to be seen.

Further I have seen with these cameras that it is easier after the fact to take a darker image (within reason) and lighten it a bit and still keep details than it is to take a too bright image and try to darken it.
 

wittaj

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How about the "DeFog"setting...
That is a feature that will make a static image clearer, but it can result in problems during motion.

The defog is to try to do just that, make the image clearer during foggy conditions, but it does that by blending together various different frames to try to "defog" the image. The result during motion can be a catastrophe under certain conditions.
 
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That is a feature that will make a static image clearer, but it can result in problems during motion.

The defog is to try to do just that, make the image clearer during foggy conditions, but it does that by blending together various different frames to try to "defog" the image. The result during motion can be a catastrophe under certain conditions.
Ahhh---- that is VERY different than what I thought. I thought it was an auto-contrast feature evaluating sharpness/contrast frame by frame. Blending frames together is a recipe for trouble.
 

IAmATeaf

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Even the same model/same camera can have two widely different settings looking at the same thing. Different chipset or production runs can cause differences.
This, I must have spent 2 hours plus setting up a 5442 3.6mm and then when I applied the same settings to a 5442-ze the results weren’t what I thought I’d get. I then spent even more time setting up the ze which if I’m honest I’m not entirely happy with so will at some stage spend more time at some stage.
 

Alaska Country

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Ya'll just need some additional lighting out front
Yes, at 800,000,000 candle power that would light up a front yard for sure. These used 1 inch carbon rods at 78 volts at 150 amps. Maybe place that light at 4 plus miles away!!!

Here use the 5442 T-EZ turret for front porch observation. Added two 7.4 watt (50 watt equivalent) white LED 12 volt wall wash lights. The use of low voltage lamps simplifies installation and wiring requirements. These will run on either AC or DC. Presently using an ATX computer power supply rated at 18 amps at 12 VDC. The 5442 can now run at 1/250 shutter speed for night color.
 

spammenotinoz

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Although mine stay in colour, I use the profile schedule to force IR mode at night.
These have terrible IR range though, but bloody excellent picture if the object is within range of the IR (~4 meters)
 
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