Member Discussion

Alternatives To Axis? - Reliable But Low Cost

Are there any reliable alternatives to Axis available? Reliability is of utmost importance but my client is also cost sensitive. How is Sony nowadays? What about some of the less "name brand" names like Acti, Vivotek, etc. We would be looking for something that is not tied to a specific VMS (e.g. Avigilon) that we would need to use ONVIF drivers for.

From the reports we hear, Sony is reliable though tech support gets mixed reviews (see Worst Manufacturer Support 2014). The bigger issue is that Sony is about the same price, level for level, as Axis.

In terms of reliability, ACTi has gotten a lot of complaints (see Worst IP Camera Manufacturers 2014). Vivotek less so.

yet, another "biased" injection for ACTi !!!

What is a biased injection? Can you elaborate / clarify?

We haven't faced any issues with Sony tech support till date.

We have been using Hikvision for the past year in applications ranging from small convenience stores, transportation facilities to pharmacies. We had one issue last November; Hikvision sent us a replacement camera in two days. Our regional Tech support guy from Hikvision is awesome, he came out on a few jobs to help us out in the beginning, no cost and preformed well. The sales reps are great.

Samsung's Wisenet III series is really great, for a cheap price, although they certainly don't have as many models as Axis does. No one has as many models as Axis does, though, so that's understandable. They got bullets, domes, boxes, and a PTZ, for indoor and out (except the PTZ).

Samsung is a pretty strong lower cost mainstream alternative to Axis (see Our Samsung Wisenet III Camera Shootout results), though not as super low cost as Hikvision or Dahua.

No, but the build quality seems better, the documentation is better, and the support is better (or so it seems to me, your milage may vary).

Do any of these companies offer a utility similiar to Axis Camera Manager? Specifically I would be speaking of Hikvision and Samsung which everyone has pointed to as respectable options.

Samsung has the iPOLiSDevice Manager.

Hikvision has Hikvision Tools.

We have used Dahua, HikVision and Samsung in the last two years and probably favor HikVision overall. Samsung still has some wierd glitches with their UI. Dahua seems to be a little higher cost than HikVision for similar specs and they don't (yet) have US based support. HikVision seems to be a better balance of value and quality. It's just our experience and we will continue to use the other brands when called for.

What kind of weird glitches?

The one that stood out the most was that once you log in to the camera via Chrome, it keeps the authenticated session open permanently. There was no way to log out either. Huge security issue.

Did you clear cookies?

Price, Price, Price....? Cant wait until everything is plug and play, and then no need for integrators. I know of 4 larger electrical contractors that are ready when it happens. Thier labor rate is really cheap. They have guys on site and are very responsive to our demands. Thier mark ups are resonable. MSRP only.

Those electrical contractors waiting for plug and play IP cameras seem... let's go with "optimistic".

Quality low cost cameras aren't really the problem. Its the onvif support thats the hold up - all the mainstream manufacturers are botching the onvif integration purposely because they know it changes the game.

Low end VMS products - like Blue Iris etc are the wave of the future ... but tech service/support is going out the window with it. I just spent a lot of time with Exacq recently and it all came up short - they've purposely coded their integration so you can't add non participant cameras easily. sigh. My codeing work has been debugging onvif so I can break the grip of the manufacturers - its not been easy!


Do you have any evidence for this bombshell, almost slanderous, allegation:

"All the mainstream manufacturers are botching the onvif integration purposely because they know it changes the game."

To the contrary, see our ONVIF 2014 tests. The major manufacturers work quite well.

bleh. No proof. But do like I do... and tear open the code on your own.

Programatically show me one customizable onvif command controllable vendor. Basically they''re hardcoding manufacturer strings like onvif auth strings without full support - I would love to see one vendor who's used an open model on their API. Basically they take the specs and cherry pick the interface.

I just read through your onvif test... and frankly (and forgive me John for not buying it) your testing doesn't reflect my own. I just deleted about 6 paragraphs of my writing so as not to upset things here but this is a sore spot with me. I'm gonna take the high road here and hold my tongue.

During the development of ethernet specifications back in the 80's ... this feels just like that. Vendors keeping it proprietary. Remember the days of 3Com, ArcNet, Novell? Its my opinion and I'm sticking to it. While it may be an unpopular one, I dont use review websites to form my opinions, I do my own work. And before you call me to the mat on this, I'm not giving up my whitepaper.

Jim Shimota

edit - also your comment this was a slanderous (almost) alegation:

I was under the impression this was a discussion board. And for members only. Your response seems protective. To be slapped down as hard as it feels I was seems out of proportion to my comment.


You said they were botching it on purpose and you said all.

That's why I 'slapped down as hard' as I did.

You really think every major manufacturer has decided to purposely botch (i.e. sabotage) their ONVIF implementations? It's over the top to make that claim, especially when you refuse to back it up.

After you accuse companies of such serious schemes, it's hard to take the high road.

Botched was the wrong word to use. For that I apologize. The implementations are not complete, and thats on the developers. Their effort to work with the industry to develop a strong standard as opposed to interpretting one, is on the developers. Their lack of performance in speed to roll out the implementations is on the developers. If I was head of the development groups of any of the firms I tested, I'd fire myself. (don't all these VMS's look so much like they did 3 years ago? pre-ONVif? They sure do to me. Just a new skin on an old dog imho.)

Sabatoge implies a direct and willful effort to break thier products. That I'd argue we're at a borderline for. One guy is basically responsible for all of ODM, the other 4 are secondary - and he pumped his code out in weeks from the time the standard was ratified and accepted. Just open the XML.

I'll walk back my statement of 'All'. It was unjust since your list had a number of vendors I've not tested my api against. For that I will apologize again. I promise to get back to you if I find any vendor thats done a job worth noting.

I would like to say that most of my work is in the interface portion. Take a look at the detection function of the Blue Iris, $50 product. Oddly, his autodetect and ability to customize the stream interface is interesting in that 4 cameras undetected with expensive solutions I was able to code the strings in and get working. Its truly an interesting gap between solutions.

Sorry I've started this flame. I'm just passionate about this subject.