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Understanding Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

Published by Ellen on April 22, 2013 9:45 AM

What's the problem? The average security camera has the tendency to produce dark images in areas with shadows or washed-out images in an environment with an inordinate amount of glare or reflections.

What is it?
Dynamic Range refers to the entire range of light values in a picture, from the darkest element to the lightest element.

Why is it important?
A surveillance camera with built-in Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology is able to control the exposure as well as process the light values of each pixel in the image. Using WDR, the camera captures a balanced image with optimal exposure for all areas within the camera's field of view. In other words, think of an adjustment dial for each pixel that controls the level of exposure. Bright spots are toned down to prevent the image from being washed out, and the dark images are augmented to expose the objects in the shadows. This, in turn, enables the camera to go in places that would normally require expensive lighting controls/equipment.


Because a picture is worth a thousand words & moving pictures provide better detail, watch the video below for a demonstration of how WDR works:

What to look for
A camera with WDR will have a typical dynamic range of 90 dB or higher and a maximum dynamic range of up to 120 dB.

We recommend using a display screen with a dynamic range that can support the capabilities of your surveillance cameras. If you don't, you might not see the best range of light and color within your video footage. Ultimately, you don't want to capture beautiful images from a high quality camera only to display them on a cheap monitor.

Challenges with the technology
Wide Dynamic Range can sometimes produce additional noise in low-light environments. This can be fixed with infrared illumination and noise reduction processing. These features may increase the cost of your camera, but will ensure that you get excellent quality video in a wide spectrum of lighting conditions.

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