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Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+

Arjun

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We want the new 1/1.8" 4MP sensor and with a varifocal lens, but in a turret body. That would be the best new technology in a non-spiderweb-plagued case. If they come out with that, I need about a half a dozen of them.

I already have a few of the 2231s. They're pretty good, but I need to replace some other cameras, and I'd like to get the new larger sensors. But I have come to despise bullets. I wipe spiderwebs off of my bullets twice per day and still have floating webs creating motion alerts endlessly.

I have yet to wipe any of the 2231s even once. That style case is much better for this area. To house the larger lens that will be required to serve the larger sensor, the case will need to be deeper, of course. And maybe this means a turret will be large.

And it may not be the shape of the main part of the camera body at issue for me. It's the face of the camera.

Maybe we need a bullet style case, but without the stupid overhanging "shade" that acts as a spider playground. Give it a flat face with the IR LEDs in the same plane as the lens cover just like what we see on the turrets.

I'm not worried about vandal proofing as much as I am about constant spiderweb hassle. Although I can see how the turrets may be more vandal proof by not offering such a good handle and leverage for snapping them off.

Maybe a turret the size of a soccer ball IS the thing! ;)

Or build a turret without the shade, and provide no internal IR LEDs. Instead, the camera should have a sealed cable that comes out, maybe five feet long, with a separate IR illuminator on the end. That illuminator is controlled by the Smart IR or "auto" logic in the camera. So you get the benefits of auto IR illumination, but without the many drawbacks of having the illuminator in the same case as the camera, ridiculously close to the lens.

I'd pay extra for that configuration, for sure! The extra cost, and bit of extra time to mount two items would be paid off by the much better performance and lack of endless labor to clean a normal bullet cam, and the lack of endless false motion alerts from flying bugs, snow, rain, etc.

Having the light source(s) away from your camera is basic photography lighting 101. And having auto control of the remote light sources from the camera is old school technology in the photography world. Most DSLRs have built-in IR or radio transmitters to ccontrol off-camera flash units.

And aftermarket flash control transmitters (actually, they have two-way communications) and aftermarket flash units are the norm. The two way communication allows auto set-up of the systems, making it easy for a photographer to set up remote flash guns on stands, or even carried by their assistants for shooting weddings and the like while getting diffuse, indirect lighting but having the intensities of the various flashes controlled by the camera itself as the camera's exposure sensors actually test, analyze, and then set the actual brightnesses of the remote flash units, on the fly, with every shot. The flashes are commanded to emit pre-flash bursts that the camera analyzes just before the actual exposure is taken, and then commanded to emit the desired flash intensity during the actual shot. That's why you see a double flash from modern camera flashes these days, and also why your dog or cat has its eyes closed in every shot! They blink from the pre-flash, and their eyes are closed in the actual shot!

Anyhow, this is not new technology. It's not too much to ask for an off-camera illuminator to come with a good security camera. This would be so simple to build by comparison to the technology offered in and for most DSLRs sold in the last 20 years.

Security cam designers need to talk to photographers. Useful things that have been standard practice in photography for many years haven't made it into the security camera designs yet, for some reason.

I want varifocal because the fixed lens options are never ideal. I want to be able to adjust an array of cameras to achieve a small overlap in coverage, but get as much "reach" as possible.

With fixed lenses, you either have too much wasted view from excessive overlap, or you have gaps in coverage. Varifocal allows the zooms to be adjusted to get the Goldilocks settings.

Hey. a guy can dream, right?
I'll be sending this over to my research and development team. Be right back ;)
 

J Sigmo

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And keep the price down so the average joe-smo isn't spending DSLR prices on each security cam. ;)
You sure are dreaming. :)
Spiders and the lens shade, one word: Dremel.
The new cam AI features a few of us are testing, is a huge leap forward in stopping false triggers.
As soon as Dahua gets their act together on the firmware, they are going to be awesome.
YES! It needs to be cheap! :)

The thing is, it wouldn't take any new technology at all to give us a remote LED head. Just wire up the remote to the same connector that the internal LEDs connect to right now. It's just a matter of a cable and a second enclosure. Of course, it would add to the price, but it shouldn't be too bad.

The DSLR thing was just to illustrate that 20-year old or more technology already exists to wirelessly control remote flash heads individually based on pre-flash measurements made by the camera using its through-the-lens metering sensor array to precisely determine the desired flash outputs for (often three) remote flash heads almost instantaneously, right after you press the shutter button, talking back and forth between the camera and all of the flashes and then firing the actual exposure, getting the exact flash pulse power correct from each flash.

It seems like these security cameras completely ignore the issues of proper and even lighting at night. But that would make a huge difference in how well they actually work at night when we usually need them the most. It's kind of strange that they put so much effort into everything else going on in these cameras, but blow of the #1 basic, essential aspect of any videography: Lighting. And the #2 essential aspect: Exposure control.

Give me metering based on an area (or areas) that I can draw myself. They already let you draw tripwires and the like. Why not let me set the area(s) that I want to be included in the exposure metering while ignoring areas that I don't care about? This would be a fairly easy firmware-only thing. It basically costs nothing for the manufacturer once they amortize the day or two of coding by one of their programmers.

And let us set up how much of the selected area we'll allow to be "blown out" in order to get adequate brightness over the rest of the scene, etc. Again, just firmware. No hardware changes would be needed. They're already reading the brightness everywhere via the main sensor. Just use some of that data more effectively.

Just moving the IR LEDs from inside the security camera enclosure out to a separate enclosure only takes a two conductor cable.


I personally have used a band saw to take off the shades on some bullets. That's a very good "hack", actually. But if I take down the offending ones I have up at my place, I don't even want to put them back up. So I'm hoping for a really great new camera to replace them.

Even with the anti-false-trigger software, it would still be really nice to have a remote IR head option. Getting the light source well away from the lens eliminates the brightly lit bugs, snow, blowing dust, rain, etc. And if you really wanted to get fancy, give us two remote heads per camera. They can both run off of the same drive signal and be controlled the same (they don't need to be independently adjustable like the remote camera flash units). That would let you get really nice, even lighting without shadows for better face recognition, etc. And people who suffer from bad auto exposure because the built-in LEDs are striking something near the camera can place the remote LED heads anywhere they want to get good even lighting only where they want it to be without sacrificing the prime position for the camera itself.

The problem with using extra separate LED illuminators is that they cannot be controlled by the camera the way the internal ones are. That's not a complete deal breaker, but imagine if your remote IR illuminators were controlled by the camera's auto or "smart IR" mode? That would be so sweet! :)

I want it all, and I want it cheap! ;)
 

J Sigmo

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I'll be sending this over to my research and development team. Be right back ;)
But remember: My posting this here provides proof of "prior art" when we sue over patent infringement! ;)
 

CCTVCam

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YES! It needs to be cheap! :)

The DSLR thing was just to illustrate that 20-year old or more technology already exists to wirelessly control remote flash heads individually based on pre-flash measurements made by the camera using its through-the-lens metering sensor array to precisely determine the desired flash outputs for (often three) remote flash heads almost instantaneously, right after you press the shutter button, talking back and forth between the camera and all of the flashes and then firing the actual exposure, getting the exact flash pulse power correct from each flash.
This would be legally problematic. Given video is going to be at least 10fps, it's going to require a strobe effect to properly illuminate every frame. As many people are prone to fits and seizures induced by flashing lights, it would be legally impossible to put a flash unit up in public many jurisdictions. In the UK, and presumably the EU, flash protection is so extensive that a news report has to carry a warning before video footage is shown if it contains flash photography as does any tv program containing flashing images. There have even been calls to ban flashing lights in nightclubs. You can see this reflected on Youtube: warning this programme contains flashing images uk - YouTube

It seems like these security cameras completely ignore the issues of proper and even lighting at night. But that would make a huge difference in how well they actually work at night when we usually need them the most. It's kind of strange that they put so much effort into everything else going on in these cameras, but blow of the #1 basic, essential aspect of any videography: Lighting. And the #2 essential aspect: Exposure control.
I agree proper lighting is essential but it's probably best achieved by the use of sensor activated floodlighting. One way of improving this might be if Blue Iris or NVR's had a remote light relay module that could be triggered when a zone is tripped to activate a flood light. This might provide a more reliable trigger than an PIR especially as an outer zone could be drawn to trigger the light before a suspect reached a recording zone. A PIR is just an IR heat sensor plus a mains supply relay. So why not a relay box that can be mounted next to the light that accepts an Ethernet signal from a splitter on the camera to trigger the light? All that would be require is to mount the relay by the light with mains input / output and use an Ethernet patch from camera to light (or POE to light if you chose to separate them by a long way) for the trigger signal replacing the PIR.

Quicker adaption of cameras to a change in lighting condition would lead to less lost footage as the camera adapts to the change. We have seen this in DSLR's but not CCTV so much.
I see externally triggered lighting as something that 3rd parties such as BI could implement and sell the relay the box independently. Quicker adaption is something manufacturers could implement, it's be done with "proper" cameras. Metering, probably could be done, but far more complex to achieve as it may need hardware + firmware changes. Also, evaluative / zone metering algorithms for major "proper" camera manufactures are a closely guarded secret which could pose another problem unless CCVTV manufacturers have the right people and are prepared to invest serious time and money in developing such software.
 

J Sigmo

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This would be legally problematic. Given video is going to be at least 10fps, it's going to require a strobe effect to properly illuminate every frame. As many people are prone to fits and seizures induced by flashing lights, it would be legally impossible to put a flash unit up in public many jurisdictions. In the UK, and presumably the EU, flash protection is so extensive that a news report has to carry a warning before video footage is shown if it contains flash photography as does any tv program containing flashing images. There have even been calls to ban flashing lights in nightclubs. You can see this reflected on Youtube: warning this programme contains flashing images uk - YouTube



I agree proper lighting is essential but it's probably best achieved by the use of sensor activated floodlighting. One way of improving this might be if Blue Iris or NVR's had a remote light relay module that could be triggered when a zone is tripped to activate a flood light. This might provide a more reliable trigger than an PIR especially as an outer zone could be drawn to trigger the light before a suspect reached a recording zone. A PIR is just an IR heat sensor plus a mains supply relay. So why not a relay box that can be mounted next to the light that accepts an Ethernet signal from a splitter on the camera to trigger the light? All that would be require is to mount the relay by the light with mains input / output and use an Ethernet patch from camera to light (or POE to light if you chose to separate them by a long way) for the trigger signal replacing the PIR.

Quicker adaption of cameras to a change in lighting condition would lead to less lost footage as the camera adapts to the change. We have seen this in DSLR's but not CCTV so much.
I see externally triggered lighting as something that 3rd parties such as BI could implement and sell the relay the box independently. Quicker adaption is something manufacturers could implement, it's be done with "proper" cameras. Metering, probably could be done, but far more complex to achieve as it may need hardware + firmware changes. Also, evaluative / zone metering algorithms for major "proper" camera manufactures are a closely guarded secret which could pose another problem unless CCVTV manufacturers have the right people and are prepared to invest serious time and money in developing such software.
You make some excellent points!

And I apologize for being confusing. But you've completely misunderstood my reason for using the example of how remote flash controls common to DSLRs for the past 20 years work, and how amazing that technology is compared to what exists in our current security cameras.

My point was this:

Simply moving the existing IR LEDs from INSIDE of a security camera to OUTSIDE of the main body is trivial. You just use a longer pair of wires. Nothing else is needed.

Sure, you need to use a waterproof cable, and you must seal it where it exits the camera enclosure and again seal it where it goes into the little remote IR LED box. But how hard is that?

So you end up with a camera that has two (or three, if you'd like to have two remote IR LED units) enclosures, all connected by waterproof cables. Let's say you want to be fancy, and have two remote IR illuminators for your camera. The camera enclosure has two cables coming out of it, perhaps five feet long or so, and at the ends of these cables, you have small IR illuminators with nice adjustable mounts so you can mount them and aim them as you see fit.

These LED illuminators are more or less exactly the same as the IR illuminators that would ordinarily be built into the security camera itself. And because they're exactly the same, and driven the same way, we can have the "smart IR" drive to them just the same as they'd have if they were inside of the main camera. No change to the technology or the way they operate at all.

This would cost nothing to design, really, because it's exactly the same circuitry as the cameras already use. It's only the physical configuration that's changed.

There's no flashing involved. That was simply an example of the amazingly well-thought-out photographic equipment that is commonplace these days, and shows how the demands of ordinary photographers has been met by astoundingly complex electronic design to fill these needs. Yet our security camera systems, as amazing as they are, seem to completely ignore proper control and placement of illuminators despite this being a critical requirement for any photo or video system.

The way the security cameras all work right now is that they have IR LEDs mounted inside of the main camera enclosure. That means that these LEDs are necessarily very near to the camera's lens. That sucks.

The IR LEDs need to be away from the camera lens. And it would be trivial to accomplish this. Just mount them in separate enclosures with two conductor cables feeding them. Problem solved.

The flash exposure control used for even old film SLRs was light years ahead of what we find on security cameras because SLRs were and are made for photographers who appreciate the importance of proper lighting. It's essential! Yet here we are, in 2019, with amazingly complex security cameras that have incredible data processing, artificial intelligence, etc. Yet they ignore the most rudimentary and trivial (yet incredibly important) aspects of providing lighting.

I used the remote flash example to illustrate two things:

First, most photographers understand and appreciate the importance of getting the light source away from the camera, and also the importance of having multiple light sources if possible, to even out the light and control shadows and highlights, etc. It's basic lighting design for photography.

Second, to give photographers this capability, amazingly sophisticated systems have been around to provide this remote lighting and control of it, for many years.

So you'd think that as incredibly sophisticated as these security camera are in other ways, the designers would also take the small amount of time to ask a photographer or videographer what they'd like to see implemented in a good security camera. It's far from rocket science, yet lighting and exposure control are shockingly primitive and crummy in these security cameras.

It just doesn't make much sense.

It's like a friend of mine and I always talk about with regard to Sony's digital cameras. They make fantastic sensors, get great Zeiss lenses, have amazing processors, etc. Yet their touch screens always suck! They're primitive. Yet Sony makes cell phones! Why don't the camera people talk to the phone people and put a decent touch screen on their DSLRs and mirrorless cameras? It boggles the mind!

And I see the same thing with these security cameras. It's like you've got a bunch of security camera nerds who do amazing work. But they apparently don't know anything about photography! How can that be? How can they be so talented and thoughtful in so many areas, but so ignorant when it comes to the basics of photography itself? Night time and low-light use is a very important aspect of security camera use. Yet they just slap in some IR LEDs and maybe, just maybe they adjust their brightness with "smart IR", but they even blow that off when coming out with a new camera! Wow. Just WOW!

I would think that providing IR illumination that really works well would be a HUGE selling point for any security camera manufacturer.

And the same goes for thoughtful, configurable auto exposure.

The first manufacturer to really get all of this right will kick the other manufacturers to the curb. It's shocking that none of the manufacturers seem to think this is important. But wouldn't you buy a security cam system that really truly worked well at night over one that behaves the way the current ones all do?

Maybe they're afraid that people will not want to take the time to position and mount separate illuminators, and won't want to spend extra to have this. And I get that. But at some point, the pros and the advanced amateurs will see the folly of having the IR illuminators inside the cameras, and should see the advantages of remote illuminators to be worth the extra cost and work to mount it all.

I may get one of these new cameras, chop off the overhanging shade, drill a hole in it, build a little enclosure for them, and relocate the camera's internal IR LEDs to that separate enclosure. That would not be a very difficult project, and it'd demonstrate the concept and probably be worthwhile. But the manufacturers could provide this themselves in a cheap, clean, attractive factory product so easily.
 
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Arjun

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I can sense a new global start up company in the works here, haha ;)
In for some serious competition here
 

looney2ns

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I apologize for being confusing. But you've completely misunderstood my reason for using the example of how remote flash controls common to DSLRs for the past 20 years work, and how amazing that technology is compared to what exists in our current security cameras.

My point was this:

Simply moving the existing IR LEDs from INSIDE of a security camera to OUTSIDE of the main body is trivial. You just use a longer pair of wires. Nothing else is needed.

Sure, you need to use a waterproof cable, and you must seal it where it exits the camera enclosure and again seal it where it goes into the little remote IR LED box. But how hard is that?

So you end up with a camera that has two (or three, if you'd like to have two remote IR LED units) enclosures, all connected by waterproof cables. Let's say you want to be fancy, and have two remote IR illuminators for your camera. The camera enclosure has two cables coming out of it, perhaps five feet long or so, and at the ends of these cables, you have small IR illuminators with nice adjustable mounts so you can mount them and aim them as you see fit.

These LED illuminators are more or less exactly the same as the IR illuminators that would ordinarily be built into the security camera itself. And because they're exactly the same, and driven the same way, we can have the "smart IR" drive to them just the same as they'd have if they were inside of the main camera. No change to the technology or the way they operate at all.

This would cost nothing to design, really, because it's exactly the same circuitry as the cameras already use. It's only the physical configuration that's changed.

There's no flashing involved. That was simply an example of the amazingly well-thought-out photographic equipment that is commonplace these days, and shows how the demands of ordinary photographers has been met by astoundingly complex electronic design to fill these needs. Yet our security camera systems, as amazing as they are, seem to completely ignore proper control and placement of illuminators despite this being a critical requirement for any photo or video system.

The way the security cameras all work right now is that they have IR LEDs mounted inside of the main camera enclosure. That means that these LEDs are necessarily very near to the camera's lens. That sucks.

The IR LEDs need to be away from the camera lens. And it would be trivial to accomplish this. Just mount them in separate enclosures with two conductor cables feeding them. Problem solved.

The flash exposure control used for even old film SLRs was light years ahead of what we find on security cameras because SLRs were and are made for photographers who appreciate the importance of proper lighting. It's essential! Yet here we are, in 2019, with amazingly complex security cameras that have incredible data processing, artificial intelligence, etc. Yet they ignore the most rudimentary and trivial (yet incredibly important) aspects of providing lighting.

I used the remote flash example to illustrate two things:

First, most photographers understand and appreciate the importance of getting the light source away from the camera, and also the importance of having multiple light sources if possible, to even out the light and control shadows and highlights, etc. It's basic lighting design for photography.

Second, to give photographers this capability, amazingly sophisticated systems have been around to provide this remote lighting and control of it, for many years.

So you'd think that as incredibly sophisticated as these security camera are in other ways, the designers would also take the small amount of time to ask a photographer or videographer what they'd like to see implemented in a good security camera. It's far from rocket science, yet lighting and exposure control are shockingly primitive and crummy in these security cameras.

It just doesn't make much sense.

It's like a friend of mine and I always talk about with regard to Sony's digital cameras. They make fantastic sensors, get great Zeiss lenses, have amazing processors, etc. Yet their touch screens always suck! They're primitive. Yet Sony makes cell phones! Why don't the camera people talk to the phone people and put a decent touch screen on their DSLRs and mirrorless cameras? It boggles the mind!

And I see the same thing with these security cameras. It's like you've got a bunch of security camera nerds who do amazing work. But they apparently don't know anything about photography! How can that be? How can they be so talented and thoughtful in so many areas, but so ignorant when it comes to the basics of photography itself? Night time and low-light use is a very important aspect of security camera use. Yet they just slap in some IR LEDs and maybe, just maybe they adjust their brightness with "smart IR", but they even blow that off when coming out with a new camera! Wow. Just WOW!

I would think that providing IR illumination that really works well would be a HUGE selling point for any security camera manufacturer.

And the same goes for thoughtful, configurable auto exposure.

The first manufacturer to really get all of this right will kick the other manufacturers to the curb. It's shocking that none of the manufacturers seem to think this is important. But wouldn't you buy a security cam system that really truly worked well at night over one that behaves the way the current ones all do?

Maybe they're afraid that people will not want to take the time to position and mount separate illuminators, and won't want to spend extra to have this. And I get that. But at some point, the pros and the advanced amateurs will see the folly of having the IR illuminators inside the cameras, and should see the advantages of remote illuminators to be worth the extra cost and work to mount it all.

I may get one of these new cameras, chop off the overhanging shade, drill a hole in it, build a little enclosure for them, and relocate the camera's internal IR LEDs to that separate enclosure. That would not be a very difficult project, and it'd demonstrate the concept and probably be worthwhile. But the manufacturers could provide this themselves in a cheap, clean, attractive factory product so easily.
So Professor J, ;)
With the current crop of Turret cameras, how far away from the camera would you estimate would be ideal for two separate IR eliminator?
 

J Sigmo

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So Professor J, ;)
With the current crop of Turret cameras, how far away from the camera would you estimate would be ideal for two separate IR eliminator?
It would depend on the exact situation.

I figure if they gave you two remote heads with five feet of cable on each of them, you'd have a lot of flexibility.

Let's say you're mounting the camera up under an eave, to the soffit (my current case for a number of my cams). But there is a fascia board that hangs down slightly to act as a drip edge as well as an architectural feature.

With the camera back towards the house, depending on the aim, the built-in illuminator in the camera lights up the back side of the fascia board, and if some of that is in the view (as it will be with a wide angle view, and with the camera adjusted to see the car I always park on the street), then the bits of the back of the fascia that are in view are also very brightly illuminated. Thus, these areas fool the (also lame) auto exposure in the camera.

If I could place the illuminators forward of the camera and down, so they don't light the fascia, that problem is eliminated.

OR if I could draw the areas to be included (and excluded) from consideration by the camera's auto exposure system, I could tell the camera to completely ignore the small areas containing only the back of the fascia, and they'd be allowed to "blow out" (be grossly overexposed) without affecting the overall scene exposure.

So both of these small improvements would help drastically. I'd prefer to have the LEDs mounted so they don't light up the fascia, because that helps with potential lens flare from the back-reflected light, but both of these easy-to-implement features would be helpful.

In this case, for me, I'd mount the two LED boxes about two to three feet from my camera. Forward of it, and out to the sides.

And because I have that camera set for a relatively wide view, and the cheesy built-in IR illuminator is optimized to give the manufacturer the longest possible published "IR Distance" specification, it has a narrow beam. So in normal use, I always have a bright spot in the middle of the scene, with dim areas everywhere else.

With the remote illuminators, I could angle them out slightly to purposely leave the central area less illuminated where they overlap. The center now receives light from both lights, but because that center area is off-aixis for both lights, the light can be smoother and more even over the whole field of view.

And because the light isn't coming from the camera, bugs, snow, rain, blowing dust, etc., which is very near the lights may still be brightly lit up. But those distractions aren't right up against the camera lens where they'd ordinarily appear huge and dominate the scene. Instead, you'll see far less of the "snowstorm in the headlights" effect. The majority of the scene will be undisturbed.

Finally, if spiders are attracted to build their webs near lights because lights attract bugs, and spiders eat bugs... then build away! ;) At least the webs won't be right up near the camera where they're brightly lit AND right in front of the lens. I could clean the lights when they're so covered with webs and dead bugs that their light output drops off, but pretty much live with the webs otherwise.

Every mounting situation will be different, of course. Maybe a guy has a wall that ends up partially in the scene when the camera aim is set ideally. But the built-in IR lights up the wall near the camera location and again, fools the lame, unadjustable average-pattern metering in the camera. So the important areas elsewhere in the scene end up underexposed as the averaging meter system tries to avoid over exposing the useless wall area.

That guy could mount and aim his lights to avoid lighting the close-in wall area. And/or he could draw his metering areas to ignore the offending wall area for the purposes of the automatic exposure adjustment.

I think five feet (Maybe six, call it two meters) of wire could come standard to each illuminator box. What you don't need, you coil up and use cable ties to tie off. Maybe the camera or the illuminators could have attachment points for cable ties so you could secure the extra cable neatly.
 

Arjun

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Why do I get the feeling that an external IR still does not produce the level of quality that an integrated one does?

It would depend on the exact situation.

I figure if they gave you two remote heads with five feet of cable on each of them, you'd have a lot of flexibility.

Let's say you're mounting the camera up under an eave, to the soffit (my current case for a number of my cams). But there is a fascia board that hangs down slightly to act as a drip edge as well as an architectural feature.

With the camera back towards the house, depending on the aim, the built-in illuminator in the camera lights up the back side of the fascia board, and if some of that is in the view (as it will be with a wide angle view, and with the camera adjusted to see the car I always park on the street), then the bits of the back of the fascia that are in view are also very brightly illuminated. Thus, these areas fool the (also lame) auto exposure in the camera.

If I could place the illuminators forward of the camera and down, so they don't light the fascia, that problem is eliminated.

OR if I could draw the areas to be included (and excluded) from consideration by the camera's auto exposure system, I could tell the camera to completely ignore the small areas containing only the back of the fascia, and they'd be allowed to "blow out" (be grossly overexposed) without affecting the overall scene exposure.

So both of these small improvements would help drastically. I'd prefer to have the LEDs mounted so they don't light up the fascia, because that helps with potential lens flare from the back-reflected light, but both of these easy-to-implement features would be helpful.

In this case, for me, I'd mount the two LED boxes about two to three feet from my camera. Forward of it, and out to the sides.

And because I have that camera set for a relatively wide view, and the cheesy built-in IR illuminator is optimized to give the manufacturer the longest possible published "IR Distance" specification, it has a narrow beam. So in normal use, I always have a bright spot in the middle of the scene, with dim areas everywhere else.

With the remote illuminators, I could angle them out slightly to purposely leave the central area less illuminated where they overlap. The center now receives light from both lights, but because that center area is off-aixis for both lights, the light can be smoother and more even over the whole field of view.

And because the light isn't coming from the camera, bugs, snow, rain, blowing dust, etc., which is very near the lights may still be brightly lit up. But those distractions aren't right up against the camera lens where they'd ordinarily appear huge and dominate the scene. Instead, you'll see far less of the "snowstorm in the headlights" effect. The majority of the scene will be undisturbed.

Finally, if spiders are attracted to build their webs near lights because lights attract bugs, and spiders eat bugs... then build away! ;) At least the webs won't be right up near the camera where they're brightly lit AND right in front of the lens. I could clean the lights when they're so covered with webs and dead bugs that their light output drops off, but pretty much live with the webs otherwise.

Every mounting situation will be different, of course. Maybe a guy has a wall that ends up partially in the scene when the camera aim is set ideally. But the built-in IR lights up the wall near the camera location and again, fools the lame, unadjustable average-pattern metering in the camera. So the important areas elsewhere in the scene end up underexposed as the averaging meter system tries to avoid over exposing the useless wall area.

That guy could mount and aim his lights to avoid lighting the close-in wall area. And/or he could draw his metering areas to ignore the offending wall area for the purposes of the automatic exposure adjustment.

I think five feet (Maybe six, call it two meters) of wire could come standard to each illuminator box. What you don't need, you coil up and use cable ties to tie off. Maybe the camera or the illuminators could have attachment points for cable ties so you could secure the extra cable neatly.
 

J Sigmo

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I can sense a new global start up company in the works here, haha ;)
In for some serious competition here
I think these are ideas the existing security camera makers need to think about and offer. Getting up to speed on the other 95% of security camera design would be a lot of work.

I've owned a company that did electronics design and manufacturing. I wouldn't want to go up against these established manufacturers. I'd just like to see some extra features become available in their product lines.

I've done photography for over 50 years, and done electronics for over 40. I'm awed and humbled by what I see available and implemented in cameras made for photography.

And I'm awed and humbled by what I see in the security cameras as well. But I'm stupefied by the lack of overlap between these two areas. The security camera manufacturers should hire some photographers to give them ideas about how to bring common photography camera features into their security cameras.

It's just surprising that people don't think about security camera work as being photography. Both the manufacturers and the users seem to think of every other detail. But they ignore the obvious. Security camera work IS photography. And the principals of photography cannot be ignored if we want good photographic results.

It's like watching an episode of NCIS. They don't have a dedicated crime scene photographer. Instead, the main characters blithely blast away, willy-nilly, not focusing, not aiming, not setting exposure or using any kinds of thoughtful lighting or composure. The camera is a fashion accessory for the star, and they wield it like a caveman who just found a Stradivarius on the ground, using the fake sound of the camera firing to add percussion to the soundtrack. Very few of the shots they blast would be acceptable.

We have things pretty good with a security camera setup. We have only one fixed scene for which to do the lighting design. We should have the tools to get it right.
 

Arjun

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@bigredfish looks fine for small enclosed space, but I think I'm referring something more wide open like a field or park for example. Would need to have wide-array of IR for proper dispersion of light

@J Sigmo I agree :headbang: Companies think that we shouldn't be having the best lens in this day-and-age. A lot of models suffer due to lack of acknowledge of customer feedback. At least we have Andy to thank in getting our feedback across the board :D @EMPIRETECANDY
 

J Sigmo

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Why do I get the feeling that an external IR still does not produce the level of quality that an integrated one does?
Because existing external IR illuminators are not controlled by the camera itself.

External "dumb" illuminators are a great idea and of great use. But we have to run separate power wiring to accommodate them. And they can't perform the "smart IR" functions.

If the camera came with it's own external IR blasters, it could control their brightness and the user could mount the camera and the IR illuminators without needing to run an additional power cable.

It would just be a convenient and effective feature to have available.
 

CCTVCam

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Because existing external IR illuminators are not controlled by the camera itself.

External "dumb" illuminators are a great idea and of great use. But we have to run separate power wiring to accommodate them. And they can't perform the "smart IR" functions.

If the camera came with it's own external IR blasters, it could control their brightness and the user could mount the camera and the IR illuminators without needing to run an additional power cable.

It would just be a convenient and effective feature to have available.
See what I suggested above for ordinary floodlights in post 326. Something like that could be implemented by accessory and software / nvr manufacturers using the record signal from the camera to trigger a switching signal. I'm unsure about smart ir. One of the dangers of going smart in camera is you push camera prices up. At least with light activation as an accessory / feature of software / nvr you can take it or leave it, and it costs nothing if you don't want it.
 

J Sigmo

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See what I suggested above for ordinary floodlights in post 326. Something like that could be implemented by accessory and software / nvr manufacturers using the record signal from the camera to trigger a switching signal. I'm unsure about smart ir. One of the dangers of going smart in camera is you push camera prices up. At least with light activation as an accessory / feature of software / nvr you can take it or leave it, and it costs nothing if you don't want it.
Remember that the cameras we all like, right now, such as the venerable Dahua IPC-HDW2231RP-ZS already have smart IR. In fact, people have been annoyed that smart IR was missing from some of the newer cameras, but a recent firmware update brought it back, but it's now called "auto IR" or something like that.

So I could take one of my 2231s, drill a hole in the case for a cable to come out, remove its internal IR LED, mount it in a separate box, and I have exactly what I'm asking for. An external IR illuminator that's driven by the camera's existing smart IR.

No extra cost. No extra electronic hardware. No extra programming.

Just a longer cable that reaches outside of the camera instead of the short wires that are currently within the camera housing.

The beauty of having the external LED modules driven by the camera is that it's the exact same circuitry as.the camera already uses. The PC board wouldn't even need to be laid out again. And you get the brightness control (smart IR) that can only really be done well by the camera.

But you're right. You could theoretically put a couple of waterproof connectors on the camera, and people could buy the accessory external IR lights if they wanted them. And then they could disable the internal IR LEDs if they want that. It would make for a flexible system that people can accessorize as they see fit.

My only concern with having waterproof connectors is that they're expensive. So people would pay for those even if they didn't want the external lights.

Maybe they could sell a model with no option for the external LEDs, and another model that has the external LED units with it, hardwired with no connectors.

I may be overestimating the price of a good, reliable weatherproof connector pair these days. But back when we were building fancy industrial controllers, weatherproof connectors were pricey.

Either way, offering options so you could have the external lights or not would certainly be the way to go.

I still prefer the camera to drive the LEDs. It can adjust the brightness just like they do already. The exposure information and the logic to adjust them is best done in the camera (and they're already doing it).

And people don't have to pull extra wires to have the external LEDs at locations where they already have a camera or at least already have wired for a camera. I know it would save me a lot of work. I'd pay extra for that convenience. Pulling wires between my "control room" and the camera locations is the worst part of installations for me.
 
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