Low-Light Comparison
of Several IP Camera Boards
Jan 4 2016














I've bought a number of different camera boards from China in order to try and find which board is the best to order more of as this is basically the only way with much of the information provided by sellers incorrect. In some cases I suspect false information is provided to increase sales, but from email messages with several sellers it's obvious they also often have problems finding or getting accurate information from their suppliers.
And what often makes all of this even worse and very frustrating, is that when you finally find a camera that you really like and try to order more is finding that the supplier has become sold out, can't get more and you have to start searching all over from the start again.

Anyway, for what it's worth, the following images are from some of the latest camera boards I've tried. The cameras were placed on a railing looking into the back yard over the cover on our hot tub. There was no IR illumination and just what was provided by the planter lights at the back of the yard, the moon which can be seen at the top of some images and what was being reflected off the house and garage from nearby street and house lights. (although I now see that the motion sensing light in the backyard of the neighbor behind me was also on in 3 of the images.) Some images provide a wider view than others as the lens used was whatever was on the camera. The size listed for each image is that of the original image which have all been resized to 500 pixels wide for this web page and the listed LUX values are either what the seller specified or I was later able to find listed on the manufactures web site.

The first, upper-left and darkest image is similar to what most of my existing cameras provide without any IR illumination.
The next 5 images are all much the same, from cameras listed as 0.01 Lux and close to how things appeared to the naked eye.

Image from a BLK18C-0012-38X38_S V1.01 camera board
with a 0.1 Lux 1280x720 1/4" OmniVision OV 9712 sensor
that was purchased on eBay

Image from a BLK18C-0222-38X38_S V1.03 camera board
with a 0.01 Lux 1920x1080 1/2.8" Sony Exmor IMX322 sensor
purchased from AliExpress

Image from a BLK18E-0012_0030-38X38_S V1.01 camera board
with a 0.01 Lux 1280x960 1/3" Micron Aptina AR0130 sensor
purchased from AliExpress
Before receiving the SONY Exmor IMX225 board (last one below) this was my favorite camera as it's image was as good as any plus it had audio and alarm inputs (and an audio output) and I planned to buy more, but it was sold out when I went to do that. Luckily this is the one board that I decided to initially order 3 of, rather than just one.

Image from a BLK18E-0012_0030-38X38_S V1.02 camera board
with a 0.01 Lux 1280x960 1/3" Micron Aptina AR0130 sensor
purchased from AliExpress
This camera is now being sold in place of the previous one (seen left) and appears to be identical except for being V1.02 rather than V1.01 and for perhaps being a little bit better and hoping for a bit better low-light performance I decided to try one. Luckily I only ordered one as the new version no longer provides audio and alarm inputs.

Image from a BLK18C-0030-38X38_S V1.01 camera board
with a 0.01 Lux 1280x960 1/3" Micron Aptina AR0130 sensor
purchased from AliExpress

Image from a HikVision DS-2CD2032-I Camera
with a 0.07 Lux 2048x1536 1/3" sensor.

Image from a BLK18E-0225-38X38_S V1.01 camera board
with a 0.01 Lux 1280x960 1/3" SONY Exmor IMX225 sensor
purchased from AliExpress

I find the image from this last board quite amazing and plan to order more before it becomes sold out like the last one that I wanted more of did, which I'm now glad happened after seeing this camera.

This camera will be used to replace the existing back yard camera that's like the first top-left camera that supplies a dark useless image at night without any IR sources and illumination in the back yard and using this new camera will save me having to provide any.

This camera also has the audio and alarm inputs that the sold out camera I wanted more of did.


This image from the SONY Exmor IMX225 camera is of my soldering iron on my workbench with a tip temperature of 700°F. The room was totally dark except for the light from the screen of the laptop ≈ 8 ft away that was being used to take the image.

This image is the same as the first, but with the laptop turned off and the room totally dark. Turning the laptop off and using a computer in another room was the only way to make the room dark enough to get a totally dark image like this of just the hot soldering iron tip.

The last time I tried viewing a hot soldering iron with an IR camera was after getting my first IR sensitive analog spy cam, but the temperature had to be increased to almost 900°F before a faint image of the tip could be seen.

The tip temperature was increased to 800°F for this 3rd image which shows IR from the hot iron is now starting to illuminate nearby items.

Anyway, a great little camera that I plan to use for more interesting IR photos as well as for monitoring the backyard.