Low light - what to look for?

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Just wondering if theres any concensus on what the best features/specs to look for in cameras for low light conditions? In terms of best to identify, affordability etc.

I know that the larger the sensor the better it performs in low light, but then theres other technologies like starlight and IR.

More specifically im shopping for a pair of cameras for my backyard with little to no light, though i plan on upgrading my home assistant in the future so the cameras can trigger my outdoor lights. My budget is ~100USD a camera. I see the 5442 recommended a lot but i think it exceeds my requirements + budget
 

cm.

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5442 wont exceed your requirement but may exceed your budget.
You could go 2mp camera with 1/2.8” sensor but any deviation from this ratio (mp to sensor size) will result in sub optimal conditions for night viewing. 5442 is honestly the best bang for buck. Better to buy good cameras slowly then waste money on cheaper ones only to be replaced later by the good ones
 
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Starlight, Full Color, ColorVu and all those other terms are exactly that, simply marketing terms invented by the marketing department. The key is the sensor size versus the resolution of the sensor.

Disclaimer - These sizes are what the manufacturers advertise and may, or may not, be the true size of the sensor in the camera.
720P - 1/3" = .333"
2MP - 1/2.8" = .357" (think a .38 caliber bullet)
4MP - 1/1.8" = .555" (bigger than a .50 caliber bullet or ball)
8MP - 1/1.2" = .833" (bigger than a 20mm chain gun round)

A good choice in a 2MP camera is the Dahua 3241T-ZAS. A good 4MP is the Dahua 5442T-E.
 
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Starlight, Full Color, ColorVu and all those other terms are exactly that, simply marketing terms invented by the marketing department. The key is the sensor size versus the resolution of the sensor.

Disclaimer - These sizes are what the manufacturers advertise and may, or may not, be the true size of the sensor in the camera.
720P - 1/3" = .333"
2MP - 1/2.8" = .357" (think a .38 caliber bullet)
4MP - 1/1.8" = .555" (bigger than a .50 caliber bullet or ball)
8MP - 1/1.2" = .833" (bigger than a 20mm chain gun round)

A good choice in a 2MP camera is the Dahua 3241T-ZAS. A good 4MP is the Dahua 5442T-E.
I see a lot of the 4MP comes as 1/2.8 or smaller. Is there essentially no point then?
 
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Yes, 4MP on a sensor that performs well at 2MP will result in terrible low light performance. In a 1/2.8" sensor it takes, basically, twice as much light to generate the equivalent video at 4MP than it does at 2MP. The available light is being spread over 4 million pixels versus 2 million pixels. That results in half the light reaching each pixel in the 4MP sensor.
 

CanCuba

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I know that you're asking about cameras and you're getting a lot of good information and advice.

Personally, I prefer light and have invested in solar powered flood lights but regular 110v flood lights work well, just required more wiring.

If you can illuminate your background in visible light, you can get away with a lower end camera.

Being able to record in colour with at least one camera allows better identification of the colour of the clothing of an intruder.
 

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One of my cams is a Dahua N45EFN2 (2.8mm, 1x1/8th sensor, 4mp) that looks at my side yard and "Barn" for the car. I'll send you a still at night with no illumination if you want. Dark of the moon now, so full dark here at night. Let me know, I'll do a capture tonite and post it. Moonlight image later...:).
 

CanCuba

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One of my cams is a Dahua N45EFN2 (2.8mm, 1x1/8th sensor, 4mp) that looks at my side yard and "Barn" for the car. I'll send you a still at night with no illumination if you want. Dark of the moon now, so full dark here at night. Let me know, I'll do a capture tonite and post it. Moonlight image later...:).
I'd love to see them. I have the 8MP version of the same camera with LED lighting. Great camera even at a distance of 20m. My main spotter cam.
 

wittaj

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I assume most cameras do motion events without visible light?
The camera needs either visible light or infrared light in order for motion events to trigger. They do not have PIR sensors so the camera has to be able to see an object moving.
 

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I'll post an extra pic when I get overcast skies at night (this weekend by the look of it...:-(). Quite often a low cloud base will reflect distant light and light up the scene a bit more. The first "all dark" image was a clear moonless night.
 
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Starlight, Full Color, ColorVu and all those other terms are exactly that, simply marketing terms invented by the marketing department. The key is the sensor size versus the resolution of the sensor.

Disclaimer - These sizes are what the manufacturers advertise and may, or may not, be the true size of the sensor in the camera.
720P - 1/3" = .333"
2MP - 1/2.8" = .357" (think a .38 caliber bullet)
4MP - 1/1.8" = .555" (bigger than a .50 caliber bullet or ball)
8MP - 1/1.2" = .833" (bigger than a 20mm chain gun round)

A good choice in a 2MP camera is the Dahua 3241T-ZAS. A good 4MP is the Dahua 5442T-E.
Also i find it pretty funny the size comparison is made with bullets? Im not american so it means little to me.
 

Don't Look Up

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Keep in mind that nobody would (should) run a camera at night on default/auto settings. Motion will be a complete blur.
On this particular view, I run "Gain Priority" profile 0-50 during the "day" and 0-100 at Night. Works fine for me and any Critter I detect there, isn't in a hurry usuallly. The only "Motion Blur" in this view was about 3 years ago one night about 2:30am, when a kid thought he would like to "borrow" my catalytic converter. I think he would have run a fairly good "quarter mile" time, as I was still up and opened the door to put an "auxiliary light source" on where I projected him to be. He was half way down the public road and accelerating the last glimpse I had...:)
 
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