Sony Camera Shootoutby Antony Look, posted on Jun 22, 2011
Sony has a strong reputation for video quality in consumer electronics. Indeed, in our ongoing shootout series, a Sony surveillance camera, the CH140, has done quite well in many tests.
However, in the last year, Sony has significantly expanded their network surveillance camera lineup. The Sony camera we tested was the 'premium' model. Now, Sony has 'mid' and 'entry' level options. The immediate plus is that the newer cameras are much less expensive - ~$900 online pricing for the premium HD version versus ~$300 for the entry level HD version.
Important question remains: What is the tradeoff in quality between the different versions? What impact does this have on real world surveillance deployments? When would I use one versus the other?
In this test, we took 3 Sony cameras for a simultaneous shootout to answer these questions. The specific cameras tested were:
We tested in several scenarios, encompassing a wide variety of real-world surveillance environments (e.g. indoors, outdoors, evenly-lit, low-light, and WDR scenes). Below are some representative snapshots of a few of the test scenes.
We tested indoors in an artificially lit 'easy' scenario:
We tested outdoor in both day and night (shown below is night):
We also tested in a 'difficult' WDR scene:
Note this is the same test plan we did for an Axis camera shootout. The final segment in this mini-series will be an Axis vs Sony shootout where we pit these two brands against each other to see who's better in what scenarios.
Analyzing Video Quality
We analyzed a series of scenes to see how performance varied across the cameras. We digitally zoomed each camera to the same level to show differences. See an example scene comparison from our parking lot test.
We conducted our analysis across 10 scenes. They are:
- Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Far)
- Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Near)
- Indoor Low-Light (Default)
- Indoor Low-Light (Normalized)
- Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Far)
- Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Near)
- Outdoor Nighttime (Far)
- Outdoor Nighttime (Near)
- WDR Scene (Bright)
- WDR Scene (Dark)
Analyzing Bandwidth Consumption
Not only do we examine which cameras provide the best quality in each scene, we now break down the bandwidth consumption, showing who's the best and worse for the amount of network bandwidth and storage consumed.
Our analysis covers 8 metrics:
- Even Artificial Lighting Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- Low-Light (Default Settings) Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- Low-Light (Normalized Settings) Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- Outdoor Even Lighting Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- Outdoor Nighttime Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- WDR Scene Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera
- Average Bandwidth Consumption Per Scene
- Average Bandwidth Consumption Per Camera Overall
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