Glare is a very common problem for security cameras. Due to the environments in which they are commonly installed, it’s a frequent occurrence to be dealing with or adjusting for glare. Regardless of the surface or source that’s causing the glare, the fix to the problem lies in a particular feature that not all security cameras have.
Wide Dynamic Range
This “anti-glare” feature that we’re hinting at is known as Wide Dynamic Range. Without getting to technical, WDR combines the images it gets from two different exposure types. It then takes those images and combines them into one. The end result is an image virtually free from any lighting issues.
WDR vs. DWDR
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) is often confused with Digital Wide Dynamic Range (DWDR). The digital version is a cheaper variation of the feature. While true/real WDR will work to eliminate any and all problems you may be having with glare, it’s very likely that while DWDR will work to reduce the complication, it will never totally solve it.
A big chunk of the market is under the impression that WDR is the solution to being able to point one’s camera into the sun. Let’s be perfectly clear; no security camera should ever be pointed at the sun no matter what features it may have, or how much it may have cost. Security cameras are not built to withstand direct sunlight being shown directly into the lens. This creates heat on the image sensor which will eventually burn out render your camera useless.
While WDR does nothing to help with pointing your camera into the sun, it will take care of any sunlight being reflected. Reflected sunlight in your cameras picture is a common occurrence. Vehicles, bodies of water, and even siding on your home are all examples of some potential reflective surfaces. These things certainly don’t cause glare 100% of the time, but depending on the time of day, angle of the object and angle of the camera, you may find yourself wishing you had the feature.
Windows & Glass Doors
This is really your biggest enemy when it comes to glare. Cameras installed indoors often find themselves with windows or glass doors within their field of view; lobbies, boutiques, and offices are all examples. During daylight hours, cameras without WDR have a very difficult time interpreting the image around these panes of glass. To these cameras, these areas just appear as big bright spots in the picture. In most cases, this glare will be bad enough that anything in front of, around, or behind this glass will be completely drowned out by the brightness of the glare. The WDR feature works to completely eliminate this glare and provides you not only with the opportunity to see not only what’s inside these doors and windows, but also what is outside of them.
This is much less infrequent than our other issues that lead to potential problem with glare, but it’s still known to happen. Fluorescent lighting in specific has been known to give CCTV cameras a hard time. Generally speaking, if you have a problem with glare that’s being caused by indoor lighting, it’s usually a simple matter of adjusting the camera’s angle at which it’s mounted. For those of you who might not have that option, or if it’s just not solvable through that method, WDR will also work for you here.
Headlights from passing vehicles can be a real annoyance for standard security cameras. Not only do they produce a bright light in the middle of your picture, but they can create a lot of “noise,” or static, in your picture as well. With WDR, the brightness of those headlights is reduced to the point of just being able to tell that they’re on, and the “noise” they produce disappears altogether. The only time WDR won’t help with headlights is if the camera is mounted at a very low height and the headlight shine directly into the camera. At this time, the Infrared board will be tricked into thinking it’s daylight, and the camera will actually try and interpret a daytime and nighttime image simultaneously; the end result is an image that looks identical to camera absent of the WDR feature.