Subscriber Discussion

Are Avigilon Cameras Worth The Higher Price Tag?

What is IPVM's opinion on Avigilon? I like their ACC, but what about their cameras. Are they really worth the higher price tag?

On a different forum, their are some people that rave about them, but I do not know how many of them are just their to promote Avigilon.

I got a hold of a 2MP camera from them, and while the electrnic adjustment of the focal length is great, so far I have not seen anything so great about it.

I admit I am new at this, so I may be missing things.

Thank you

Oh boy, you are opening up a can of worms :)

High level summary: strong products, sketchy marketing. You can scan through our various Avigilon reviews here.

In terms of your specific questions about Avigilon cameras, presumably you are comparing Avigilon vs Taiwan / China brands (like ACTi/Vivotek/Dahua/Hikvision, etc.) because Avigilon is typically lower cost than Axis, Sony, Panasonic, Bosch, etc. There's some nuances to it (like feature set differentials - Avigilon has integrated zoom on most of its cameras but does not have analytics, SD card storage, etc.). However, overall Avigilon stacks up well on price / performance compared to big names.

What specific products / manufacturers do you want to compare Avigilon to?

Until now, I have mainly used vivotek, acti and IPX. So compared to those it is much more expensive. I have never really used the other higher ends, and I have a different post asking about those.

But compared to the lower end, is it really that much better that it is worth double the price?

And while I understand their marketing has some wild claims, how does it stack compared to the other high end brands? They require an installer to sell $X minimum. I really like their ACC software, but are their cameras good enough that I should push them over other high ends and try to make the minimums? Until now, most of my customers can get away with vivtoek usually.


What VMS do you use with Vivotek's cameras? How happy are you with that?

There are 4 common drivers for Avigilon use:

  • Super high resolution - 11MP and up - which has a considerable marketing component to it
  • Avigilon's VMS - which is one of the most easiest to use and comprehensive in the market (it's not Genetec for super high end capabilities but I am presuming that would be overkill for your needs anyway)
  • Avigilon's low cost encoders and discounted licenses for them
  • An end to end solution - lots of integrators have serious problems integrating and maintaining systems with components from multiple vendors, Avigilon on both sides reduces that

I used to use Aimetis and I was very happy with the capabilites, especailly the search. The big problem with it is that it is a major resource hog. Now I started using Avigilon, It is much lighter on the system and I like the use of it, but activity search does not work on it neither does motion record. Supposedly it is supposed to.

Most of my customers as of now would not benfit from 11mp or up, so that doesnt affect me really. The VMS I like especailly the mobile client. The encoder is something I am going to start pushing to help get poeple to convert.

My experience is in IT, so I have no problem playing around with multiple vendors on a single project if it will allow me to provide better products/pricing.

As an integrator I can say the price difference is minimal if not less for the features that Avigilon offers. Throw in the fact they offer next business day advance replacement with return shipping paid for 3 years and its not even close to products purchased through distribution or online. That's my two cents.

I have a few questions for you as an integrator: 1-is there any feature that you find them lacking in? 2-in which way do you find them better (besides support) from Vivotek or another brand half the cost 3-how do you get a customer to agree to spend double the price if a cheaper brand? Thanks

Well feature for feature the Avigilon cameras are no where near twice the cost and are actually lower cost for us than comparable Vivotek cameras. Also support is as important a factor for us as anything as we provide top tier service to our customers and its great to have a mfg that helps us do it. Also looking at your comments below it would seem as though you really don't understand ONVIF or metadata associated with video streams. I would suggest you try the actual camera drivers for Acti and Vivotek that are included in Avigilon rather than the ONVIF driver. They may support the cameras implementation of motion. lf you want to mimick smart search you should also setup multiple motion regions in the cameras if they support it According to the scene... it might help. That's what we do when we use axis cams on Avigilon.

"actually lower cost for us than comparable Vivotek cameras."

Specific examples? Most Vivotek cameras are really inexpensive. I am not sure what you are considering comparables but I am betting undisclosed is primarily using Vivotek cameras that cost under $250, which makes it hard to match from any Western camera manufacturer.

That is correct. One of them is $180

Well by comparable model an example would be the autofocus day night Vivotek cameras such as FD8362, etc.

So I think that gets to the heart of it, Avigilon does not really have a budget / value line that compares to the Vivotek/ACTi/Dahua/Hikvisions of the world.

Undisclosed is evidently not interested in premium feature sets (auto focus, D/N, zoom, etc.). He most likely is OK with just a video feed in a small enclosure for $200 USD or less.

For most of my customers the budget line is good enough

Then Try HIK and Avigilon

Only the microdomes which are indoor or outdoor. They are not day night and only have 2.8mm lens and cumbersome to install at first (much easier after a few installs) but they are very low cost and do have a really nice picture for what they are. Though Im sure Vivotek and Acti both have models that fill the space between the microdome and the full feature Avigilon cams. At our pricing though it makes no sense to get an Acti or Vivotek camera and put it on Avigilon. Now if there is a camera that is just plain better or with same feature set, performance, warranty and support at a lower cost then that's another story.

Avigilon does not do server based motion recording so if the camera is not managing motion events then the camera will only record continuously in ACC.

A few things we like that sets them apart from other camera vendors we use:

  • Protection - price as well as territory
  • Widest breadth of camera line from 1mp micro dome to 29mp cameras --- ptz and bullet with integrated adaptive ir are in a class by themselves
  • Constant innovation and new products quarterly
  • We don't get calls from clients asking how to export or review video or complain that client crashes
  • Video indexing is best I've seen from any VMS/DVR in 9years in this business (fast search, 0 latency, no caching or waiting on result set)
  • Support is head and shoulders above anyone in the space and the advance next day rma is unmatched
  • Easy pricing and manageable models #s
  • 1 vendor for cameras and VMS - no more blame game between 2 vendors on why a camera doesnt stay connected, missing video, etc
  • Beta program and interactive product sessions for top integrators

I was able to do motion recording using the same cameras and an Aimsystem system. But now even recording, just doing a pixel search does not work for Vivotek cameras.

Aimetis does server based motion and I would assume the vivotek camera doesnt manage motion events - John can probably concur

The Vivotek cameras actually do do camera motion. In the configuration settings you can actually see when it is triggered. The reason given to me by avigilon is that it uses an older version of onvif. But honestly the bigger issue is that pixel search doesn't work. It finds no activity.

We have not tested Vivotek with Avigilon, but I can certainly believe that any integration using ONVIF to send motion detection metadata can have problems. See our ONVIF technical call details on this.

But why wouldthat affect ttheir pixel search?

Presumably they have no meta data since the camera can not send it back to the Avigilon VMS because of the ONVIF issue.

Avigilon is in the business of protecting and selling their camera line right so you'd expect not all cameras especially less expensive cameras to work seamlesssly with ACC

On a slight tangent, I have tried to set up acti cameras a few times with ACC5. Every time (3 different cameras) if I have the stream any higher then the lowest resolution and on h264, I have a messed up video. Tons of artifacs and asometime no image at all. According to Avigilon, it is a bandwidth issue. But on one system I have 14 other cameras working perfectly. I then go disconnect all 14 and even with only one camera it does not work. Does anyone have good experience with ACC and acti? I have it using onvif

If you predominantly do not want to use Avigilon's cameras, why use Avigilon's VMS? You are undermining Avigilon's core value proposition - both from a technical and sales perspective.

People leading with ACTi or Vivotek cameras more typically choose Exacq or Milestone, 2 VMSes that focus on working with many 3rd party cameras.

Have you tested Avgilon camera with ACC5 or only 3rd party camera?

Why using ONVIF drivers not ACTI

Yes I know partner that use ACTI and no problems.

Honestly, I hope to get more customers that are interested in Avigilon cameras, however as of now most do not have that budget. And I use it for non Avigilon cameras for a few reasons: Their interface is easy to use and my customers love it. It is very little resource intensive and I like how it adjusts the stream quality based on how many cameras you are using. Also being that Iam ggoing to try to sell more Avigilon cameras I need to meet certain minimumsales.
Unfortunately, as of now ACC does not include native drivers for Vivotek or Acti only onvif. How you found a lower end camera that is fully compatible to ACC? Thanks

Well there is an Acti driver so why don't you use that instead of ONVIF?
ACC Supported Cameras & Encoders | Avigilon

You sure to look at supported camera list?

Acti on list Vivotek not.

I have ACC5 installed that was downloaded 1 week ago, and acti is not in the drop down list. I'll download a new copy tonight

What ACC version ACTI not working?

It is the e32 and D71 and one other D. I remember now, there is acti on the list, but these models are not listed as compatible.

The other issue is the Avigilon camera support list only includes older ACTi models. I do not see any reference to the newer ones (D or E series, etc.).

Btw, here's an example where Avigilon's marketing gets ahead of technical reality:

Yes I agree. In a dream world today. Hopefully a reality soon!

We just installed their Microdome ( the tiny one) - the 2MP version - and compared it to a 1MP Axis lower end model and the better picture was clearly the AXIS camera. In addition we also installed a 5MP Buller IR with a 3-9mm lens, and the customer said, that it was not all we said it would be compared to an analog camera that we were replacing. The customer had us take it down and we installed something else. We also tried the 5MP 9-22mm lens option and although there was a huge improvement in image quality, the angle of view (or horizontal coverage) was greatly reduced. In general, AVIGILON is a good solution but these new cameras really did not impress us. The one thing that was pretty good about those Bullet fixed cameras was the IR at night - pretty decent picture. So far, we have found AXIS And SONY to be better options, but the price is also high for a good camera, but worth it.

You manufacture and install camera to end user?

Is the undisclosed manufacturer that claims to sell direct to end users that couldnt tell the difference between an analog camera and a 2mp Avigilon bullet Axis by chance? Hard to believe they'd waste our time with such a ridiculous claim. Please show us pictures backing this up


You're asking if the undisclosed manufacturer commenting above is someone from Axis? No, this is not from Axis. Indeed, that commenter does not sell cameras at all. There are a number of manufacturers who comment on IPVM who only sell specific parts of solutions and actively work with other manufacturers for complimentary components.

Moreover, you have misread what the commenter said. You claim that the end user 'couldnt tell the difference between an analog camera and a 2mp Avigilon'. That would be absurd but undisclosed did not claim that. Rather, he said, "it was not all we said it would be compared to an analog camera that we were replacing." In other words, it failed to meet the expectations set for improvement, which could have been quite significant even if it was somewhat better than the analog.

That is correct. We do not sell cameras. This was from one of our Integrators. I did see the image comparison and was in disbelief myself. But it was what it was.

To hear from a dissenting point of view is good to get all views. As a general rule do you find Avigilon cameras to be on par with the other higher end manufacturers?

What was so bad of the image? The only Avigilon camera I used so far was one of their 2mp and found it to be slightly better then the cheaper brands (because of the lens) but did not compare it to the other high end brands.

That is correct. We do not sell cameras. This was from one of our Integrators. I did see the image comparison and was in disbelief myself. But it was what it was. It appears the microdome was manufactured for lower-end applications.

Did you use ACC to demo camera or direct from web interface?

We have deployed thousands of cameras over the past 13 years. 3 years ago we started with ACTi ip cameras and an ACTi NVR solution mainly due to the features and price. Today we use Avigilon and AXIS.

Why? We've found that the lower price directly relates to higher defective rates as well as minimal tech support. Who wants to install a system for a client and then go back several times to repair, upgrade, or replace it? At our cost don't forget.

With Avigilon the ACC VMS is extremely reliable (never crashes), is packed with features, is pleasant to look at, and is simple to use for both the techs and the end user. The absolute best part is the SERVICE after the sale. They help our techs and the end user and can tell you there is a very noticeable difference with the client experience. You pay more but you get more and that's the message you deliver to clients. We rarely need to service AXIS or Avigilon.

During the past year we also began to deploy AXIS Camera Companion because of the edge recording feature. A great solution for small installs.

Between Avigilon and AXIS we have just about every application covered and our clients are VERY pleased.

"During the past year we also began to deploy AXIS Camera Companion because of the edge recording feature. A great solution for small installs."


Paul, correction. It is not that the Integrator could not tell the difference between the 2MP and the Analog camera, there is clearly a difference in the image between the two. The end-user was not very impressed in comparison to the coverage with the 2MP. But the lens in this case obviously plays a role. But in general the end-user was not very impressed. In any event, i just want to say that I am at ASIS and simply showed the comment to my Integrator and he could not resist responding. Big mistake! Won't happen again! :)

I know I am a little late on this one but I wanted to toss in my opinion here. In another post I was trying to find a VMS That led me to the opinion that I am in the process of writing currently. However I would like to give you a little highlight here. Strictly speaking about the camera at one time Avigilons cameras only worked with their ACC. Not anymore. I am currently testing a 5MP camera with the shorter range lens in a very large area. I started using ACC and now I can say I am comparing all other VMS's suggested from people on this site to ACC. Granted I am newer to this industry as well but I can say I am blown away at what I got with the camera itself. The potential to go bigger if I wanted was a selling point but the price was interestingly cheaper in some cases than other cameras from lesser known names whose resolutions were also smaller. Integration of some key functions only on the Avigilon cam was also nice like archived video data aging. That right there in my opinion was reason enough to buy the camera. I wanted to see everything the VMS offered so I paired it with their own camera and the results have been worth it.

well whoever buys them will hopefully keep the products.

they function well and the encoders are just great

Have been hearing many rumors they are looking to sell!

I've heard those rumors but I have no idea how credible they are.

That said, their market capitalization is ~$730 million now. So if they are going to agree to sell, you would think they would hold out for at least $1 billion (as they obviously would push for a premium). The question becomes: Who can afford and would want to buy Avigilon for $1 billion?

Bill Gates...... Jay-Z...... among others......LOL

Amazon..... seems tons of people these days need to expaind thier earnings portfolio.

Google could buy them.... but it's far more likely for a company who's vms is trash to buy them but again like you aid who has that cash.... besides the list above.

but I hope the rumors are not credible...... I like the products and the encoders alone are a huge savings. Have you tested them inhouse yet?

Neither Amazon nor Google make any sense, unless you think that want to own a video surveillance manufacturer, which would be peculiar, to say the least.

As for a company whose 'VMS is trash', Exacq was acquired for $150 million so it's hard to imagine a security company paying 6x what Tyco paid for Exacq.

We have lots of tests on Avigilon, both on the camera side and in our recent VMS shootout series.

In my experience Avigilon has a good VMS and cameras that range from sub-par to excellent. But having to deal with their customer service and broken promises made us realize that if you're not moving $1M+ per year they don't care about you. Period.

In 2010, we installed an Avigilon system for a high profile client (TransAmerica, San Francisco). We had Avigilon involved with the system design, which used Avigilon 5MP JPEG domes. The picture quality was not acceptable. After 10 phone calls, remote access to the system and having the local rep on site--everyone agreed the picture was sub par. Avigilon's solution was for us to wait for the H.264 auto focus domes that were launching and replace them at out cost. I don't know about you, but that's unacceptable. We dropped new Avigilon projects after that project.

Avigilon came to us in January 2013 and solicited our business again. I explained to the new sales rep the past issue and he promised they would take care of us. I had an active 24 camera Pelco project that I switched to Avigilon. Avigilon answered the 1st series of tech questions, then strung us along for 60+ days because they didn't want to answer the questions. One I specifically remember was about integrating Pelco D PTZ cameras through Avigilon encoders. Now I know why they wouldn't answer, it came up later on IPVM that there was a 25 second delay on PTZ response. The professional thing to do would have been to not string along and tell us of the issue.

By that point it was June and Avigilon was still not responding to us. I elevated the issue to their VP of Sales. Their response was you moved $0 in business in 2011 so we're terminating your partnership agreement. I moved $0 in 2011 because you failed to service us. I never would have gone back, but you solicted me. When I asked for a response to reasonable questions you left me hanging.

I had such a bad experience with Avigilon, not only would I never install Avigilon again...every time I get asked about them I stop what I'm doing and tell people why I won't use them.