I would like to know what would provide a better picture at night… a low lux WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) camera with an external light source, or an infrared camera with no light source?
This is a great question and one that I get all the time. The answer is, of course, “it depends”. For short range (10-30ft) and zero light it would probably be better to have an infrared camera. At that range the light would be projected directly on the area you are focused on without much chance for fading light. A single outdoor light, like a porch light, with a low light camera can tend to get either washed out close (10′) or dark further (30′) because of the multiple levels of lighting.
However, if you have multiple lights that are strong enough to light up an area at least as large as the area to be monitored then a low light camera would do well there. Infrared cameras may tend to get overpowered by the natural light or the sensor that turns the infrared LED’s on may see bright lights as no reason to engage the night mode.