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Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) in IP Cameras

October 15, 2021

You may find that the IP security camera captures images that are partly dark and partly too bright to see any detail, that's the dynamic range -- the difference lies in light. Every surveillance camera relies on ideal lighting conditions to produce high-quality images. If there is too much light, the image will be distorted. Too little light will darken the image and make it unusable. To balance in lighting for clear video images, WDR technology is a key criterion when selecting a security camera.

What Is Wide Dynamic Range?

WDR, short for Wide Dynamic Range, is a term used in the surveillance-camera industry to refer to high-dynamic-range imaging. In the camera industry, the dynamic range stands for the contrast ratio between the darkest and brightest color tones that a camera can capture in a single exposure. A WDR camera can improve the quality of freeze frames, the reason is that the special software in the WDR camera helps balance the light to get a clear image, thus recording the illuminated and dark places. Then, how does WDR technology work in a network camera?

Figure: Without WDR vs With WDR

Figure: Without WDR vs With WDR

How Does Wide Dynamic Range Work?

There are two processors for the WDR technology, one is a light image processor and the other is an image processor which captures dark areas, and by combining the two processors, you can get a clear and high-quality image.

With WDR technology, one PoE IP camera lens allows more light in some areas of the image and less light in other brighter areas through different shutter speeds. The sensor's exposure to light it receives from outside is controlled to obtain a balanced WDR image.


  • In lighter areas, the shutter speed of the camera lens is higher, so the sensor is exposed to light for less time.

  • In darker areas, the shutter speed is relatively slower, it takes longer for the sensor to capture more light.

  • By combining both images, a final higher-quality image is obtained.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Vs Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

HDR is desirable in nearly every IP surveillance application, from the home user to corporate deployment, and WDR used to dominate the video surveillance industry. They are two different processing technologies. It's necessary for you to understand the differences between them.

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) High Dynamic Range (HDR)
WDR is a hardware processing technology. HDR is a software processing technology.
WDR can be used for dynamic images or videos. HDR is mainly used for static images.
WDR can deal well with dynamic images and videos with the support of high-speed DSP. In still images and videos, HDR doesn’t work for subjects that move very fast.

By comparing HDR and WDR, we recommend WDR technology for IP cameras for the following reasons.


  • With the support of high-speed DSP, WDR can deal well with dynamic images or videos.

  • The WDR can output one set of two or four frames with different exposure times, the gain can also be set separately for each frame in addition to the exposure time.

  • WDR allows imaging systems to correct for the intense backlight surrounding subjects and thus enhances the ability to distinguish features and shapes on the subject.

  • WDR technology can capture the images in dark places as well as illuminate them hence ensuring security even with low power or no power at all.

  • Compared to HDR, the image produced by WDR technology is exceptionally sharp with more details.

  • WDR camera is cheaper in installation cost and a purchase price as compared to HDR camera.

Where to Install WDR Cameras?

It is because of the various advantages mentioned of WDR that it can solve the problem of light exposure, so WDR network camera is widely used in various video surveillance scenarios. Examples of locations where difficult high-contrast lighting conditions typically prevail include:

Entrances

The most common place for WDR cameras is monitoring building entrances or windows against intense backlight. Whether it's a store, bank, ATM, transportation facility, restaurant, or hospital—every facility must have entrance doors that bring in bright light compared to the interior space. WDR cameras can compensate for areas that are too bright or too dark and provide a sharp snapshot or video.

The garage

In a high-contrast scene where cars often enter a parking lot, a darkened garage, and a car with bright headlights heading towards the surveillance cameras, the WDR camera will be able to capture license plates more clearly.

Outdoor

The sun changes position throughout the day. Outdoor surveillance cameras often face strong sunlight, contrasting with the shadows of buildings or areas without sunlight, WDR cameras can compensate for this difference and offer a clear image.

FS offers various security cameras with WDR technology, such as HD 5MP bullet PoE IP camera, HD 2MP dome network camera and more. All the network cameras can provide a high-definition professional surveillance and security solution for indoor and outdoor environments. Not only security cameras, FS also provides network video recorders (NVRs) and video decoders, as well as corresponding video surveillance solutions for both home and business, including solution for supermarket and retailer, solution for hotel, solution for campus, solution for family villa, as well as solution for bar.  

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