Sneak Preview Major New Feature

We are not formally announcing this yet but the feature is available and I want to preview it with you, our regular discussion readers.

Often you are considering a specific camera or have one proposed to you. It can be hard to tell how good or bad that one is compared to the thousands of cameras out there, especially since there are so many variations across cameras.

Most Similar Cameras (And Less Expensive)

What IPVM has done is found the most similar cameras to every other camera. Now, you can look up a camera and see the cameras with the most similar features. Equally importantly, it immediately shows you price differences, so you can find lower cost options that deliver the same specs.

These comparables are now displayed on every camera's profile page on IPVM. For example, consider the Axis M3005-V. Profile pages now have a section called 'Closet Comparable Cameras' like so:

Here's another example with an Avigilon camera (3MP IR bullet):

Comparison Process

We have an algorithm that inputs weights for key camera features (e.g., resolution, form factor, indoor/outdoor, frame rate, IR, WDR and another dozen ones). We then tabulate scores for every camera against every other camera in the IPVM database, ranking the top matches.

What Do You Think? / Try It Now

We'd like you to try it out. From the Camera Finder, click on any camera model's link in the results to pull up their details page or simply type in a camera model into our search field at the top right of every page.

Any problems? Any suggestions? Post them now.


Perhaps add a weight or star rating on how well specs match? Also, if tested acknowledge that and give a rating on overall performance/quality. A "$400 price difference" could be misleading if the specs match but the performance/quality doesn't. In addition to quality/performance I could also see a rating on "installation difficulty".

"Perhaps add a weight or star rating on how well specs match?"

Thanks for mentioning that.

When you click on the link of the compared camera, it opens up a new page that shows the specs matched up. For example, here is the Axis M3005-V vs the top comparison, the ACTi E95, excerpt:

We even bold what key specs are better / worse: e.g., above the Axis is slightly smaller and weighs less, but the ACTi is moderately less expensive, has a longer warranty and a slightly larger imager.

As for installation difficulty, I'd be happy to include it if we can identify a clearly objective function / feature that we can compare.

That's a nice tool! I really like the comparison feature.

Are you still entering camera models? I ask this because as luck has it the one camera I was searching for wasn't listed: Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I. It's little brother, the DS-2CD2012-I (1.3MP) is listed , but not the 2CD2032-I (3MP version).

Thanks for all your efforts in putting this together.

***Nevermind, just tried again and it's there****

Jerome, thanks. Yes, we are continuously adding in new cameras.

Hikvision and Dahua are a little bit of challenge because literally have a gazillion models!

That said, please let us know if any are missing. Derek is adding in that model and will post a follow up comment when it is added.

Actually, I just figured out why it didn't show up the first time. Since there is no price listed for that model, it doesn't show up if you specifiy a price range. It seems that it assumes a price of $0 if nothing is entered.

I added a price in. If we don't have a price it means when we added it in, we could not find a price from an online store through google.

Btw, we don't assume price is $0 when a price is not indexed, we assume price is unknown and therefore omit it from any search that specifies a price range.

Not to make even more work for you guys, but is it possible to have the Camera Finder allow you to choose more than one camera to compare? I made a quick mock-up below.

IPVM Multiple Compare

Right now, we compare 2 cameras head to head. This is the form to enter in cameras:

This is the output:

What we can do is extend this to compare / show more in multiple columns.

I think we could fit 4 cameras total side by side. A number of people have asked for this and i see the value, so we are strongly considering it.

This is a great help to help determine if a product meets the "...or approved equal" specification; or when evaluating an RFP response, to see who is proposing the best camera solution for a given situation; or in a spec to actually help figure out which cameras can be specified as alternates. Very nice. Will be using this. Would be useful to have at least 3 comparisons since that is the minimum number of manufacturers that a public bid often requires .

For each camera model, there are 12 cameras listed, from at least 4 manufacturers.

Here is a partial excerpt for the Axis M3005-V:

John,

You and your team are coming out with some truly awesome tools for our profession. Most of the items i wanted to asked for are already mentioned by other members. I just wanted to say to keep up the good work. I see where our members money is invested in. Great work! and keep it up. Congratulations on some awesome work, by you and you team!

Thanks, Richard, thanks everyone!

Let us know if you see any problems with the comparable recommendations. We have spent a lot of time trying to get the weights adjusted appropriately but there are most likely some models where the comparables are not strong. If you find them, let us know and we will review/adjust.

Hi John, this new preview feature is very helpful and cuts down on a lot of homework.

If a camera has been tested or reviewed by IPVM, it would be helpful to include the link through to the relevant test(s). For example, if I was to compare two cameras with similar specs but quite differerent prices, I would like to review IPVM tests of those two cameras to see how well they performed in different lighting conditions and at a range of distances. The links would quickly take me there and make that task easy.

Would it be possible to add maximum aperture to the specs listed for all cameras as I regard it as an important specification to help determine whether a camera is similar or different.

For the minimum lux rating, all IR cameras report "0". Might it be more useful to list "minimum lux rating with IR off" as it's already a given that IR cameras can see in 0 lux.

One feature that I'd like to see in the camera finder, but which might be tricky to implement, would be an aesthetic rating as some cameras are fairly neat but others are really ugly. The problem I can forsee with this idea is that it is a matter of perception and opinion rather than a concrete specification. I wonder if one could implement a voting system so that members could rate the cameras when they looked at them? Obviously more votes would lead to greater accuracy of opinion.

Thank you for this great comparison feature.

Luke,

Thanks for the feedback.

So we do track which cameras we have tested in the finder. It's actually listed as an option under the main tab (any / yes / no) of the Finder. We can also include that on the camera detail page and comparison as well.

We do plan to add in f number. Its not a top priority since so many cameras have integrated IR but we will get to it.

For minimum lux rating, all IR cameras list 0 because all manufacturers list it as 0. It's a little tricky. One, people really really shouldn't use lux ratings anyway. We'll think about whether to list IR but no camera is 0 lux unless it has its own IR.

For aesthetics, we just released size search, which is definitely a key element for most in aesthetics (in terms of smaller being better). We also now show images of every camera in the Finder listings and the comparisons. That is meant to let people see and evaluate how it looks. Beyond that, an aesthetic scale based on personal preferences would likely be very confusing as people would not know what it meant, how it came about, whether it was right or wrong, etc.

Hi John,

Thank you for considering my comments and for your detailed response to each one. I greatly appreciate all the time, thought and effort you put into to making IPVM so beneficial to members.

John, where are you getting those prices? I looked at one camera that we routinely install. You have online price at $850 (and their prices are not online as far as I know). MSRP is $1325.

RJ, why don't tell me the specific model so we can review.

That said, we get our prices primarily from results in Google shopping. Also, the price listed in the Camera Finder is typically linked to the Google result so you can see for yourself. Just click on it.

What is the specific model?

John, I did not want to disclose model publically

John,

Nice tool! It seems to be bolding the smaller imager size (indicating the better spec), shouldn't that be reversed.

You're right! Good eye!

We'll flip that. Thanks.

And it's fixed now.