Why Does IPVM Not Test More PTZ Cameras?

The tests performed by IPVM seem to focus completely on fixed cameras. My customers are mostly cities and here typically mostly Dome-PTZ cameras are installed. Recently, various new cameras with improved performance in low light have come available, e.g. The Bosch 7000 Starlight and the Axis Q6044. Would it be possible to arrange a shoot-out between various Dome-PTZ models?


Jurgen,

Yes, we do not test PTZ cameras often.

There are 2 reasons: (1) They tend to get very low reads, as the market as a whole is moving away from them and (2) They are expensive for us to buy. The combination makes them impractical to test.

My apologies for that but that is your reasons / limitations.

Although I understand your motivation, I think it is a pity. In my case (European city surveillance with active operators) the option of multiple MP cameras is not an option most of the time. 1) The effective range is simply not good enough. 2) Because cameras often have to be up and running in a short time frame, we mostly use wireless connections. When installing multiple MP cameras at the same location you simply cannot transport the data (e.g. 4x5 Mbps = 20 Mbps) via wireless connections without running in all kinds of other problems.

Although a minority now, I think PTZs are still and will be significant for quite a while. Although perhaps of less importance than fixed cameras, some IPVM attention (say in 5-10% of the cases) would be nice and relevant.

Jurgen,

We may cover PTZs in the future but we'd have to spend $6,000+ just for the equipment and then do the test (costs ~$3,000+ in our labor). In return, we would struggle to get 1/2 if not 1/3rd of the traffic we get for fixed camera tests.

If an integrator wants to loan us PTZs, we'll do the test. Just let us know - john@ipvm.com

And don't take usual free loan ones from maker because of

a) could be rigged up specially good for testing?

b) dont want maker pressure for good review payback?

c) im guessing

We rarely take free loaners from manufacturers as we are cautious about them having pressure / power over us.

This consultant still specifies PTZs on a regular basis and I would sure benefit from having IPVM review at least some of the more popular brands of PTZs.

A few weeks ago, I heard a presentation from an end-user at a major sporting arena who designed a 600+ camera system using only fixed-cameras. They were lead to believe that having well-placed MP cameras in place would eliminate the need for the PTZs that they had in place at their previous facility. After the new facility was in operation for just a short while, they realized the limitations of using fixed cameras only and came back in and added PTZs to supplement them.

The issue is that far fewer people will benefit from it than from our fixed camera tests, but the costs would be far higher to do it. That's the tradeoffs of being a membership service where each member pays a low price than a consulting service where you pay a very high price for customized work.

We do have ~10 PTZ tests including a PTZ vs Fixed MP test, the later of which directly addresses that problem.

My business model is based on charging a high fee for my consulting services and then obtaining the information I need for little or nothing from others. :) Seriously though, your business reasons for limiting what you review based on cost/benefit make perfect sense.

I'm curious why PTZs cost so much in the first place. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of component costs.

Btw, someone brought this up offline.

The next PTZ test we do is likely to be Dahua or Hikvision. For one basic reason - they are inexpensive, which means more people are interested in them (our reads in the past year are very high for both manufacturers) and cheaper for us to buy, which makes it easier to justify than a Western brand $4,000 PTZ.

So we are gearing up to do a few PTZ tests.

Here are the 2 PTZs I am strongly considering buying (and reasons why):

  • Samsung SNP-6320, it has the longest max focal length of any camera we track (142.6mm), it is 1080p, true WDR and ~$2,000. Theoretically it should be able to see quite far. Worth testing to see if it delivers.
  • FLIR DNZ30TL2R, it has integrated IR, claims 150m range (longest we have seen), 1080p and just $1,500. It is a Dahua partner/OEM/ODM but with NA availability. Worth testing to see if it can deliver such long IR range.

This does not preclude us buying (or getting) other PTZs in the future but I think this provides us with 2 PTZs that claim to be innovative and are therefore worth testing.

Thoughts / feedback?

I think your suggestion of allowing the integrators interested in the results supply the device should work. Any manufacturer should be willing to loan a camera to an integrator or consultant for 30 to 60 days and not know where it is going. I would.

I agree with the integrator loan idea. As new high end cameras come on the market, it would really be nice to see what they really do. Some of the high end devices that are specified are difficult to recommend when we can't verify the manufacturer claims.

I completely agree with not getting the device directly from the manufacturer - you never know what they may modify before giving it to you. You need to stay at arms length for a proper review.

While looking at the lower models, it still would be helpful to look at US domestic types that are specified - Pelco, Bosch and Axis. While I agree that they are expensive, and the jobs where they are specified are getting more scarce, picking the proper device is very important. Those jobs are high end and can't go wrong.

Right now I'm faced with picking one to demo for a customer. He is looking to me for the best option. I've used Pelco Spectra as the standard in the analog world, but I'm not necessarily impressed with their IP offerings. In the past I've installed an indoor Axis PTZ inside a Pelco housing. It worked, but not really the proper solution.

If these high end integrators are getting such big projects, then surely they can afford to own a sampling of cameras themselves. If they cannot evaluate them on their own, they can ship them to John's crew for testing.

I am probably on the edge of the smaller integrator side of the scale and still own a sampling of cameras. I have an Axis box cam, a sampling of Dahua and Hik cams, and some lower end cams, like Ubiquiti and no name Chinese junk. If I can afford to have these various cameras to evaluate, then I'm sure, by the grade of scale, these whale integrators can surely afford a demo unit or two for evals.

I have yet to sell or install my first PTZ cam. The closest I have worked on was a pan tilt can that came in a kit a client bought from Sams that he asked me to install for him.

John

I might have a Q6044-E at a great price. Contact me directly.

I recently tested outdoors a Dahua IR PTZ 2MP, same type as IPVM recently tested and the big problem was focus, just like was found by IPVM. When zooming in about 100 ft away at the side of a building during the day it took roughly 5 - 7 seconds to autofocus on what it zoomed in on. At night it took roughly about 30 seconds.

I'm very interested to know if that was just a problem with that latest version PTZ. I've read about and seen videos of other previous model Dahua PTZes which didn't appear to have any focusing problem.

Dahua SD40 would be great to test. It is 2MP 12x Optical Zoom with weatherproof housing. Inexpensive (US$400 - $500). No IR. Would be great to know how it goes outdoors at day and at night within its area of zoom capability.

Dahua SD59120S-HN 1.3MP PTZ with IR, 20x Optical Zoom, weatherproof housing, is also inexpensive (US$600 approx) and would be great to test likewise.

Testing comparative Hikvision PTZes would be great too.

By the way, just also tested the latest Sony WR632 30x PTZ indoors and outdoors onsite and it was truly amazing. Its lowlight ability was brilliant. (Note: I have no affiliation with Sony). It has no IR - it doesn't need them - it did better than the Dahua IR PTZ. And certainly no focusing problem. It is about the US$3300 price or more. So wouldn't ask you to buy one to test but thought I'd pass on the good word, as it deserved praise.

C, excellent feedback! Thanks!

"I'm very interested to know if that was just a problem with that latest version PTZ. I've read about and seen videos of other previous model Dahua PTZes which didn't appear to have any focusing problem."

Our understanding is that it is a common problem for the IR PTZ models. For example, we tested the FLIR / Dahua one recently and it had the same problem.

I do believe it's possible for a firmware upgrade to solve or at least improve it. However, I have not heard of one being released. I just emailed Dahua asking if there was anything planned. I will update if / when I hear.

I am not sure when we will test PTZs next, but we'll definitely keep those Dahua, Hikvision and Sony models in mind. Thanks again.