IPVMU Certified | 06/19/14 09:34pm
This is a good question. Two years ago, the answer was different, because anything less than ~$300 was 'low cost' to me. I think I still use that as the benchmark, even through costs are dropping.
For example, we tested a $29 ONVIF camera a few months ago, and recently a whole 8 camera HD kit for $499.
I think you look at this in at least two tiers of "low cost."
There's the branded low cost cameras which would be from a reputable brand and available through channels or on-line between $100-$300. There you're paying for not only the camera but some degree of QA, warranty & support. I would consider cameras from Ubiqiti, Pelco, Sony, etc. to be in this class.
Then there's the no-brand parts straight from Asia that may go as low as $30-$40. Which is about the minimum theoretical floor on today's component cost for a simple IP camera consisting of a sensor, SoC, PHY and power circuitry.
I concur with Steve's segmentation.
However, even among the branded manufacturers, there is variation of what their lowest cost offerings are.
For example, Ubiquiti and Dahua are two of the lowest with IP cameras at /or below $100 but the former offers no phone support ever while the later is difficult with going through re-labelers / OEMs.
Btw, here's some stats from our average IP camera cost survey, breaking down average cost per integrator:
So, ~$200s is a fair ballpark for low cost cameras, though, again the lowest cost branded ones have now fallen into the low $100s, including integrated IR.
This is honestly the art of salesmanship. Low cost, acceptable cost, all cost are determined by the customer. It is our job to convince them. Cost, like perception, is almost always reality-to the customer.
Cant we say "good value". Low cost does not say whether or not the camera performs acceptably for the money.
I didn't ask about good value, I asked about low cost. I am assuming there are low cost cameras that are good value. Also, I'm having trouble explaining why a $400 encoder is better than a $100 encoder (is TLS worth 4x the cost? Is the privilege of being supported by Milestone instead of Blue Iris worth 4x the cost?)
As that famous cryptographer Ronald Reagan once said, "trust but verify". I'd rather see an eval than just listen to billybob the same sales rep you've been dealing with for the last 20 years. "Trust" is an exceptionally sketchy concept in this marketplace.