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Axis Lightfinder: Improving Low-Light IP Camera Performance

The forthcoming AXIS Q1602/-E models feature Lightfinder technology.

Axis has recently introduced a new IP camera technology called Lightfinder, aimed at improving low-light performance in its range of security and surveillance products. But what exactly is it and how does it work?

Here’s how Axis describes its new Lightfinder range of cameras:

‘Axis Communications’ research and development have led to the introduction of the new and revolutionary Lightfinder technology. The Lightfinder technology is the result of a meticulous choice of the right sensor and the right lens, together with the elaboration of the image data coming from the combination of sensor and lens. The fusion of these factors – sensor, lens, in-house chip development and knowledge in image processing – provides network cameras incorporating this technology with outstanding performance.’

Axis claims the main advantage over conventional day/night cameras is that Lightfinder cameras can continue to deliver full colour video instead of the black and white and/or infrared-dependent video produced by current models on the market. This has been achieved through focussing on combining a number of existing components to create an overall enhanced low-low light image.

Axis Lightfinder cameras are equipped with a specialised CMOS sensor that is extremely light-sensitive. This has been paired with a specific lens to create an optimised setup, maintaining image sharpness and reducing noise levels to an acceptable level. The hardware setup is combined with advanced image processing techniques in the camera’s software, automatically adjusting filtering and sharpening of the image to achieve the best possible result even in fluctuating lighting conditions.

These improvements are primarily aimed at indoor and outdoor applications that require detailed colour video in poor lighting conditions to aid in identification of individuals and objects. It looks like the company is aiming this technology at a wide segment of the market, stating that Lightfinder cameras will be beneficial in, among others, ‘parking lots, city surveillance, schools and campuses, and construction sites… power plants, water treatment plants and prisons, as well as railway surveillance’.

It’s clear that Axis is aiming to improve current IP camera technology by utilising a holistic approach where incremental improvements in every aspect of the camera should (hopefully) add up to a noticeable improvement in the final result. The above video is certainly a convincing argument in favour of this approach, but until we can run some real-world tests on a Lightfinder camera, we’re going to reserve judgement. If it does turn out to be as good as Axis claims it is, this methodology might be the way forward for future developments in the IP security and surveillance market.

Published on June 20th, 2011 by Kevin Bowyer

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