Sentry360's 14MP Camera
While best known for panoramic cameras, Sentry360 also offers a line of multi-megapixel fixed cameras with up to 14MP resolution. This is rare in the industry, with Arecont and Avigilon being the most notable products currently in this space. In this note, we look at the InSight Series and how it compares to these competitors.
The InSight series [link no longer available] consists of cameras in box, dome, and bullet form factors, in resolutions from 720p to 14-megapixel, with day/night, wide dynamic, and zoom lens options. Perhaps most unique in the line, however, are the 10MP IS-IP 10K and 14MP IS-IP 14K, due to their high resolution.
The 10MP and 14MP are small form factor box cameras, with the following features:
- Color or True Day/Night with mechanical IR cut filter
- 1/2" CMOS Sensor
- MJPEG and H.264 streaming (Main Profile)
- Maximum frame rate of 6FPS at 14MP (4376x3280)
- On-camera motion detection
- ONVIF compliant, in addition to dedicated partner integrations
The 10MP and 14MP are currently available through Sentry360 distributors and integrators. Sentry360 offers typical security industry dealer discounts. The 14MP has an MSRP of of $1,800 USD, not including lens. This is actually lower than the IS-IP 10K ($2,000) though Sentry360 says that the 10MP's price will dropping in the near future. They also report that the 14MP is their latest-generation camera, with some efficiences gained in manufacturering, lowering price.
Lens selection and cost are a major factor in super high resolution cameras. Unfortunately, manufacturers differ widely in their recommendations with manufacturers like Sentry360 and Avigilon calling for high end lens while Arecont allowing much lower cost lenses.
Unlike some megapixel cameras, Sentry360 recommends machine vision lenses be used for their multi-megapixel line. These lenses are intended to be more optically pure, with less distortion, which are key factors when using cameras at these resolutions. Unlike traditional security lenses, machine vision lenses are typically manual iris and fixed focal length. Sentry360 resells a series of Kowa 10MP-rated machine vision lenses, available in 5mm through 50mm focal lengths, ranging in price from $1,675 to $1,850, effectively doubling the cost of a camera.
Avigilon's approach is similar. Avigilon uses EF-mount 35mm lenses, which are typically priced in the same range as machine vision lenses, or higher, and commonly used with professional digital photography equipment.
Arecont, on the other hand, lists Tamron and Spacecom surveillance lenses. In particular, they suggest the Tamron M118FM08 [link no longer available], simply listed as "megapixel", and the Spacecom JHF35M [link no longer available], which is rated for 3MP. These lenses (price range - $150-$350) are far less expensive than the recommended lenses from their competitors.
We cannot offer an opinion as we have not tested machine vision vs traditional megapixel lenses. However, many industry professionals feel strongly that higher end lenses make a material difference at these resolution levels. Second, if out of three manufacturers, if the only manufacturer taking the cheap way out is Arecont that should cause some justifiable concern.
At this resolution level, the Arecont AV10115DN and Avigilon Professional series cameras are the two most common options. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Most notably, Avigilon's Professional cameras are supported only by Avigilon Control Center, with no third-party support, are capable of JPEG2000 streaming only, and available in color or monochrome versions, with no day/night option. However, Avigilon's image sensor are by far the largest of the 3 manufacturers.
- Arecont does not suffer from these drawbacks, as they support H.264 and MJPEG streaming, and are widely supported by third-party VMS platforms. However, quality concerns have been raised about Arecont on many occasions, leading many integrators to be wary of deploying them, and their handling of low-light and wide dynamic scenes is lower than average.
These two competitors compare in price to Sentry360 as follows. None of these cameras ship with lens:
- Sentry360 IS-IP 14K: ~$1,500 estimated street price
- Arecont AV10115DN: ~$620 online
- Avigilon 11MP Pro HD: ~$6,500 estimated street price
- Avigilon 29MP Pro HD: ~$10,000 estimated street price
Obviously, the Sentry360 IS-IP 14K is much lower in price than the Avigilon Professional HD series. Even adding the most expensive lens offered by Sentry360, adding another ~$1,500, the 14K is still less than half the price of Avigilon. It also has advantages of third-party support and H.264 streaming.
Comparison to Arecont is more challenging, due to lensing comparison. Arecont's camera pricing is less than half the price of Sentry360. Adding in each of their recommended lenses, the gap widens, due to the much lower cost of Arecont's recommended options. This results in Sentry360 being 3x the price of Arecont (Arecont total of ~$950 assuming their recommended Spacecom lens vs Sentry360 at ~$3,000).
However, due to the suspect quality of Arecont's lens options, you may want to standardized on a single hiher end lens - e.g., 10MP Kowa lens. This brings Arecont to a total of about $2,100, compared to Sentry360's $3,000, about 30% less. It should be noted that Sentry360 has a resolution advantage, as well, which may be preferred by some.