Lux Light Level Chart

Lux light levels chartLux levels are quoted by all IP camera manufacturers to indicate the low light level capabilities of their cameras.

The problem is that the lux scale means nothing to most of us, and we are often asked to give an indication of just what is meant by 1.0 lux or 0.01 lux.

Somehow, us saying “quite dark” or “very dark” never seemed very satisfactory!

We checked with Wikipedia:

The lux (symbol: lx) is the SI unit of illuminance and luminous emittance. It is used in photometry as a measure of the apparent intensity of light hitting or passing through a surface. It is analogous to the radiometric unit watts per square meter, but with the power at each wavelength weighted according to the luminosity function, a standardized model of human brightness perception. In English, “lux” is used in both singular and plural.

That’s that cleared up then! 😉

We don’t really think that the information on the Wikipedia page is quite what our CCTV camera enquirers are looking for, so we’ve created our own lookup lux chart with indicative pictograms to give you a visual representation of relative lux light levels.

Click the link to view the chart as a pdf – Lux Light Level Chart.

We hope that’s helpful?

You might also be interested in our article on IRE and Lux Levels.

If there’s any other CCTV terminology that we can de-mystify for you then please feel free to get in touch and let us know. You can use the comments below or visit our IP CCTV Forum.

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9 Responses to “Lux Light Level Chart”

  1. John Says:

    Hi Phil,

    Good topic.

    A couple of other points that are helpful when dealing with lighting:

    – Vendors rate their camera in terms of minimum lux needed – 5 lux, 1 lux, .1 lux, etc
    – This number is usually only for an acceptable scene, not a sharp, clear crisp scene, you often need 5x the lux for an ‘ideal scene’
    – This number is usually based on a very high F stop for the lens – in other words, they assume you are using a high quality lens that passes an ideal amount of light (usually F1.2); However, in the field, your lens may only be F1.8 or F2.0, which means you could have 1/2 or 1/3 of the light that they made in their assumption – this means you may need triple the amount of light to compensate, 3 lux instead of the rated 1 lux etc.
    – The number also assumes a reflexivity of the object targeted – that is how well light reflects off the object (snow is super high while blacktop roads are really low); for instance, if you are trying to see a dark color car, you may need twice the amount of light the spec calls for

    It’s not uncommon that a camera rated for .1 lux actually requires 1 lux or more for proper operation given the lens you are using and the object you are trying to capture.

  2. Phil Stewkesbury Says:

    Thanks for your comments John.

    So many pitfalls in the specmanship, some manufacturers even express their low-light capability as something like 0.1 lux at 50 IRE, which to those in the know means you will get half the video signal you should get!!

    Light & lenses – plenty of scope for future Posts there …

  3. IRE and Lux Light Levels Says:

    […] gain a better understanding of relative lux light levels take a look at our free chart. Share and […]

  4. Premalal Fernando Says:

    I require to know the Lux Levels in the Apparel Industry, Textile Processing & Dying Industry, Biscuit Manufacturing Industry, Knitted Gloves Manufacturing Industry & Printing Industry

  5. Phil Stewkesbury Says:

    Hi Premalal, You’re probably looking for something from the International Commission on Illumination. They produce the original standards for lighting, such as CIE S 008/E:2001 / 8995-1:2002(E) Lighting of Work Places – Part 1: Indoor. You will probably need to purchase a formal standard document if you want to refer to the original standard information. You could try web searches based upon ‘Lighting of Work Places’.


    I would like to know how to use a Lux Meter, which I possess, to determine F stop and shutter speeds when photographing with my camera in manual mode (Pentax dslr K20D) Is there a formula I could apply to my calculator or must I purchase a very expensive digital photographic light meter to determine ‘incident’ light as my camera only measures reflected light?


    Tony Hampshire.

  7. Phil Stewkesbury Says:

    Hi Tony, Thanks for dropping by. All our expertise is in IP cameras and CCTV, can I suggest you take a look at Pentax Forums they are experts in the use of cameras such as yours and have a pretty extensive forum area where I’m sure somebody will be able to answer your question better than I 🙂

  8. Betsy Says:

    Thank you very much for the chart. It was extremely helpful and immediately answered the question I had in mind.

  9. Phil Stewkesbury Says:

    You’re very welcome, glad it helped.