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What does LUX actually mean?

A LUX is the International System of Units (SI) measure of the intensity of light. It can be thought of as the strength of light as determined by the human eye.

In order to put things in perspective, here some are some setting examples with their equivalent LUX rating:

  • A quarter moon-lit night produces about .01 LUX
  • A full moon on a clear night produces about27 LUX
  • A full moon on a clear night produces about5 – 1 LUX
  • An average family room produces about 50 LUX
  • An overcast, dark day produces about 100 LUX
  • Typical office lighting ranges from about 300 to 500 LUX
  • Direct sunlight can range from about 30,000 to 130,000 LUX

The LUX rating of a security camera is based on several factors, three of which are the lens, chip, and aperture.  The lower the LUX rating of a security camera, the less light is needed for the camera to produce a usable image.

When considering chip technology, there are basically two types of chips used to produce an image, CMOS and CCD.  CMOS sensors usually require a brighter intensity of light then CCD sensors.

Lens can also affect the LUX rating.  Light must pass through the lens, and some of that light is absorbed.  If the lens has any special filter technology, or if it is shaped in a unique way, it can increase the LUX rating of the camera.

The aperture is an opening or hole that the light passes through before activating the sensor. The lower the aperture the closer to the camera the image will remain in focus. If the aperture is at a higher, the objects farther away are in focus. Less light is needed for low aperture to produce a clear image.

Most security cameras operate with a LUX rating of 1.0 or less. Some cameras have LUX ratings as low as .003 LUX.  If a camera has a rating of 0.0 LUX it must be an infrared camera. No picture can be captured at 0 LUX unless it is in Infrared

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