• Post published:October 11, 2022
  • Post category:Video Surveillance
  • Reading time:14 mins read
You are currently viewing Uniview LightHunter vs ColorHunter: What’s the Difference?

Uniview LightHunter vs ColorHunter: What’s the Difference?

Introduction to Uniview LightHunter & ColorHunter Cameras

In 2019, Uniview released their LightHunter series cameras.[1] Their LightHunter technology significantly improves image quality in low-light scenes. Innovative technologies are used, such as TDNR noise reduction, large BSI image sensors, and circuit noise reduction. Additionally, Uniview uses a special lens that allows for 36% more light to reach the image sensor compared to a conventional camera lens.

Continuing with the theme of image quality in low-light, Uniview announced their ColorHunter cameras towards the end of 2020.[2] By taking the LightHunter technology and adding supplemental lights onto the camera, Uniview has created a product that guarantees clear, colourful imaging in every scenario. Uniview ColorHunter LEDs produce neutral white light (~3500K) which reduces light pollution and guarantees colour accuracy.

Cameras Chosen for Testing

In order to compare the performance between Uniview ColorHunter and LightHunter cameras, we decided to test two popular UNV turret cameras.

The first camera chosen was IPC3615SB-ADF28KM-I0: A LightHunter camera with a 5MP image sensor and 0.003 min lux illumination at F1.6.

For comparison, we choose Uniview’s 5MP ColorHunter IPC3615SE-ADF28KM-WL-I0. Both cameras have a 5MP image sensor, however the ColorHunter has slightly better low-light specs on paper with 0.001 min lux illumination at F1.0[*].

*In photography, a lower F-stop number results in larger lens aperture and better light gathering ability. Moving from F1.6 to F1.0 results in 2.56 times more light reaching the image sensor. This will be apparent in the results later in this article.

Uniview Camera Boxes LightHunter ColorHunter
We tested two popular Uniview cameras: IPC3615SB-ADF28KM-I0 (left) and IPC3615SE-ADF28KM-WL (right).

Testing Uniview’s LightHunter & ColorHunter Cameras

In order to compare both cameras under similar lighting conditions, we decided to run the test indoors. Lighting conditions varied between full brightness (indoor lighting) and minimal brightness from a small 2.5 lumen night light. This small light source was pointed 180° opposite our scene; only reflected light was able to reach our test setup.

2.5 lumen light testing setup dark room landscape
The testing setup is ~1.5 metres behind the 2.5 lumen light. Without this light, the room is pitch black.

Our testing setup consisted of a floor mat with various stuffed animals, covering a wide range of sizes and colours. We powered the cameras via a PoE injector and connected the injector to our laptop. Both cameras were left at default settings, and snapshots were taken in .bmp format from EZStation 3.0. The photos have been compressed using the. webp format, but no other adjustments were made.

In addition, we took photos using a Sony Xperia 5 II and iPhone XS to serve as references for low-light capabilities.

Results – Uniview 5MP LightHunter (IPC3615SB-ADF28KM-I0)

Snapshot 1 – Lights ON, Full Colour

First, we turned the lights on to see how the camera performs in bright environments. With good lighting, the 5MP LightHunter has no issues accurately capturing the scene. The colours are bright, vivid, and similar to how they appeared in real life.  Additionally, there is very minimal barrel distortion towards the center of the lens.

Uniview 5MP LightHunter Snapshot 1
Nice, clear, colourful images from the 5MP LightHunter in optimal lighting conditions!

Snapshot 2 – Lights OFF, Infrared Light ON

Next, we turned the lights off, with only our 2.5 lumen light helping to illuminate the scene. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for the camera to stay in day mode; the built-in IR turned on and the scene changed to black and white. See for yourself from the image below:

Uniview 5MP LightHunter Snapshot 2 Infrared Monochrome
With the IR turned on, all colour information was lost from the image. How grey!

Snapshot 3 – Lights OFF, Infrared Light OFF

In our last snapshot from the 5MP LightHunter, we forced the camera into day mode to see how much light it was able to gather. With only the reflected light of the 2.5 lumen source reaching the scene, there is less then 1 lux of light reaching the Uniview camera. Although we see a lot of noise in the image, there is still enough colour information to tell reds, blues, and greens apart.

Uniview 5MP LightHunter Snapshot 3 Low Light
With the Infrared lights OFF, we can see how well the UNV LightHunter camera sees at night.

Results – Uniview 5MP ColorHunter (IPC3615SE-ADF28KM-WL-I0)

Snapshot 1 – Lights ON, Full Colour

The second camera we tested was Uniview’s 5MP ColorHunter; the first snapshot was taken with the lights on. Here, we see results that are very similar to the previous camera: Colourful image, vivid details, and little to no distortion towards the center of view of the image.

Uniview 5MP ColorHunter Snapshot 1 Full Colour
Again, we see full colour when the lights are on; no surprise here.

Snapshot 2 – Lights OFF, White LED ON

In order to really see the differences between LightHunter and ColorHunter, we need a dark environment. For the second test, we turned the lights off, allowing the camera to switch into night mode. While in night mode, the camera’s white LEDs turn on to provide additional illumination. This gave us an image that was very pleasant to look at, a huge improvement compared to the LightHunter camera!

Uniview 5MP ColorHunter Snapshot 2 White LED Floodlight Colorful Image
With the built-in white LED turned on, we really see the Uniview ColorHunter shine!

Snapshot 3 – Lights OFF, White LED OFF

Finally, we turned the built-in ColorHunter LED off to see how well it captures light of its own accord. Again, only the 2.5 lumen backlight was providing any illumination in the room; surprisingly we saw a clearer and more colourful image compared to the Uniview LightHunter. We speculate this is due to a wider aperture: F1.0 for ColorHunter vs 1.6 for LightHunter.

Uniview 5MP ColorHunter Snapshot 3 Low Light
The ColorHunter performed great in low light; better than the LightHunter!

Smartphone Performance in Low Light (iPhone XS and Sony Xperia 5 II)

We’ve seen how Uniview LightHunter and ColorHunter cameras perform in dark scenes, but how about smartphones? We took pictures using an iPhone XS and Sony Xperia 5 II phone to see how they stack up against CCTV cameras specifically designed with low light performance. Both photos were taken using the default photo app from each phone, with flash set to off.

Originally, the photos came out almost completely black; we had to increase the exposure by +7 EV using Photoshop to see anything at all. The results were not great, which is to be expected. Uniview LightHunter and ColorHunter cameras are made for the recording in low light, while smartphones are not.

Sony Xperia 5 II - Low Light for Comparison

iPhone XS - Low Light for Comparison

Final Thoughts

Overall, both Uniview’s LightHunter and ColorHunter cameras perform well at night in dark environments. The 5MP ColorHunter performs better at night thanks to its built-in white LED light. Also, it has a slight advantage in low light conditions thanks to a larger aperture, resulting in a brighter image than Uniview’s 5MP LightHunter camera.

For suggestions on which camera to purchase for your project, or other related inquiries please contact XLR Security via email info@xlrsecurity.com or phone 905-794-5508. We look forward to helping you with any security related business or activities!

Jaeden Wiens

Jaeden Wiens has been working in the CCTV industry since 2018. He started with technical support, then quickly moved into sales and marketing. When he's not writing articles or optimizing the performance of his website, you can find him listening to music or practicing piano at home. You can follow him on LinkedIn.