Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review and Comparison of IP Cameras

Megapixel IP cameras are becoming much more popular in surveillance applications, and many manufacturers have introduced new megapixel cameras. These megapixel cameras are being offered at prices that are not much more than the older VGA cameras. This camera review compares the latest megapixel dome IP Cameras from Axis, IQinvision and Ganz (division of CBC). Cameras range in price from about $659 to over $1100. One thing we always say, you get what you pay for, so understand that there are product performance and reliability differences. Take a look at our previous article; High Resolution Megapixel Cameras are Not all the Same which describes the differences in cameras.


Axis was one of the first companies to introduce IP Cameras and has recently moved into the megapixel market. IQinvision was one of the first companies to introduce megapixel cameras and have the most experience in this technology. The new megapixel cameras from CBC, Ganz are the latest entries from a company that is well known for their high performance lenses. We compared the Axis P3344VE-12mm version, IQinvision IQM31NE and the new PixelIPro ZN-DT1MA from Ganz. The review compares some key specifications, and provides a comparison of the video quality based on the tests we did.

All the cameras have vandal resistant outdoor housing with IP-66 rating. They are all day/night type cameras and can be used indoors or outdoors, provide about the same resolution, are powered using PoE and have 2-way audio capability. They have frame rates up to 30 fps, support H.264 as well as MJPEG compression, and have input and output I/O connections. Even though these cameras appear to be alike, they have distinct features and pricing that makes each one suitable for specific applications. Be careful when selecting a camera that has two-way audio or even alarm input and output connections. The camera may have the function but the IP NVR (or VMS) software may not support these functions.

Here is a summary of the features and benefits of each camera:

Axis P3344VE
Manufacturer’s Suggested Price: $1099
The
P3344VE is one of a series of IP dome cameras. The series includes cameras with resolution from 800 x 600 pixels to 1920 x 1080 (3 MP). The specific model reviewed has a resolution of 1280 x 800. It is available with either a 2.5 – 6 mm or 3.3 - 12 mm lens remote controlled zoom P-Iris lens.

Important Features:

- Operating temperature range: -40 °C to 55 °C (-40 °F to 131 °F)
· Viewing angles using the 3.3 – 12 mm lens*, 70°-20° view (horizontal viewing angle), F1.6, DC-iris
· Uses a remote-zoom, focus lens
· Low light sensitivity: Color: 0.4 lux, F1.6, B/W: 0.06 lux, F1.6

Overview
This camera is supported by most of the IP NVR software systems, and has excellent reliability, and picture quality. This is the most expensive camera of the group reviewed, but provides the better features and functions. It includes a very nice remote zoom and auto-focus lens that makes it much easier to set up. The P-iris lens provides improved depth of field.

IQM31NE-B5
Price $699
The
IQM31NE camera is part of a series of IP cameras that range in resolution of 720 x 480, 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 resolution. We reviewed the model with 1280 x 720 resolution.

Important Features:
· Operating temperature range: -20 °C to 50 °C (-4 °F to 122 °F)
· Viewing angles using the 3.3 – 12 mm lens, 76°-27° view.
· Low light sensitivity: Color: 0.2 lux, F1.6, B/W: 0.05 lux, F1.6

Overview
This is an economical camera with great performance. It provides the best low light performance. This camera does not have the remote zoom and auto-focus lens making it more difficult to set up. It is a good camera for indoor and outdoor applications where you have low light conditions.

ZN-DT1MA
Price $659
The ZN-DT1MA is one of a series of IP dome cameras from Ganz (CBC). The series includes cameras with resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080. The specific model reviewed has a resolution of 1280 x 720. It is available with 3.3 – 12 mm remote controlled zoom P-Iris lens.

Important Features:
· Operating temperature range: 0ºF ~ 122ºF (-18ºC ~ 50ºC) when using PoE. · With the optional heater the low temperature is better: -20ºF ~ 122ºF (-29ºC ~ 50ºC).
· Viewing angles using the 3.3 – 12 mm lens*, 89.8° ~ 23.9° view (horizontal viewing angle), F1.6, DC-iris
· Uses a remote-zoom, focus lens
· Low light sensitivity: Color: 1 lux, B/W: 0.15 lux (Slow Shutter ON)

Overview
The low light performance is not as good as the other cameras, but it is the least expensive of the group reviewed. It has the widest angle lens (89.8 degrees) of the group. The camera uses the p-iris type lens and has a very nice remote zoom and auto-focus lens that makes it easier to install and set up. It is an excellent camera for indoor and outdoor applications where you have adequate lighting.



Product Comparison Chart





Specifications
Axis P3344VE-12mm
IQM31NE-B5
ZN-DT1MA
Market Pricing
$1099
$699
$659
Maximum Resolution
1280x800
1280 x 720
1280 x 720
Lens
3.3-12 mm, 20°-70° Horizontal
3 - 13 mm, 27° - 76° horizontal
3.3-12mm, 23.9° - 89.8°
Lens Type
P-Iris, Varifocal with remote zoom and focus, IR corrected, megapixel
Manual Iris
P-Iris, Varifocal with remote zoom and focus, IR corrected, megapixel
Low Light Sensitivity
Color: 0.4 lux, F1.6, B/W: 0.06 lux, F1.6
Color: 0.2 lux, B/W: <0.05 lux, F1.4
Color: 1.0 lux, B/W: 0.15 lux (Slow Shutter ON)
Enclosure Type
Vandal Resistant, outdoor IP-66
Vandal Resistant, outdoor IP-66
Vandal Resistant, Outdoor IP-66
Compression
H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC) and Motion JPEG
H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC) and Motion JPEG
H.264, MJPEG - 2nd stream only
Audio
2-WAY
2-WAY
2-WAY
Connections
Terminal block for 1 alarm input and 1 output, 3.5 mm mic/line in, 3.5 mm line out
Terminal block for 1 alarm input and 1 output, 3.5 mm mic/line in, 3.5 mm line out
Alarm In x1, Alarm Out x1, Audio In x1
Size, Height × Diameter (mm)
119 x 178
97.3 x 150.0
116.3mm (H) x 145mm Ø
Power
Class 3
Class 1, <3.8W using PoE
Triple Power12VDC 1A / 24VAC (50Hz/60Hz) 500mA PoE Class 2 (IEEE 802.3af compliant)
Operating Conditions
Temp: -40 °C to 55 °C, (-40 °F to 131 °F), humidity 15 - 100% RH (condensing)
-20˚ to +50˚ C
Temp: -18ºC ~ +50ºC (0ºF ~ 122ºF ), -29ºC ~ 50ºC (-20ºF ~ 122ºF ) with optional heater

Camera Tests

We tested the three cameras to see how the key specifications matched the actual performance. We tested the cameras by viewing a test pattern and by viewing a rather difficult real world view. Here is what we found:

Setting them up
The Axis and PixelPro cameras both have remote zoom and focus lenses, making them the easiest to set up. You simply push the focus button and the camera automatically provides the best focus. I had some issue focusing the PixelPro camera. I needed to move the focus to the right range and then it did the focusing automatically. The IQ camera has a manual zoom and focus. It wasn’t too difficult to set it up, but of course, you need to be at the camera to do the adjustments. I didn’t make any changes to the other video settings, and all the cameras provided a good image without any adjustments. The IQ camera has some advanced adjustments that allow you to maximize the picture for day and nighttime viewing.

Test Pattern
We used the following test pattern. We looked at the converging lines on the test pattern. As the lines get closer together we looked for the point at which we couldn’t see the difference between the black and white spacing between lines. This allowed us to determine the maximum resolution from each of the cameras.


We looked at the pattern in the full size view and then we digitally zoomed in. It is hard to tell from the pictures we provided below, but all the cameras provided about the same resolution capability.
Here are some examples of the resulting views:

The IQinvision IQM31NE-B5 camera performed very well. Take a look at the following test chart:




We also zoomed in digitally to see the important features. All cameras did quite well. The PixelPro camera provides a nice feature that shows where you are in the full picture in a small pop up window.



PixelPro Enlarged Test Chart

Real World View
The second test was more demanding. We set up the cameras to view a mixed view in the foreground with a bright window in the background. This tested the color quality and the dynamic range of the camera. It also tested the depth of field.

Axis Window View


IQ Window


PixelPro Window


In this test the Axis camera was best at viewing both the foreground and background. It provided excellent depth of field. The image was slightly yellow, when compared to the other cameras. Note that the truck has a yellowish tint. It is actually white.

Summary:
All the cameras tested provided excellent resolution when tested with the test pattern. The Axis camera was best at providing dynamic range and depth of field. The IQ camera provided a reasonable image of the window area, while the PixelPro camera provided slightly less dynamic range.

So what is the best camera for the job? It really depends on what you are looking at. The Axis is best when you need to view areas that have a very wide range of lighting. For example it is the best camera for viewing people against windows or glass doors. The PixelPro is a good choice for outdoor and indoor areas and where you would like to save time during installation and have good lighting. The IQ camera is an economical camera yet excellent for situations where you need very good low light sensitivity.

If you would like to learn more about these cameras or need help selecting the right one for your application, please contact us. We can be reached at +1-914-944-3425 or just use our
contact form.

3 comments:

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