Sony X Series Camera Overview
Sony's latest addition to its network camera portfolio, the X series, provides HD 720p and HD 1080p models at lower price points, smaller form factors, and less features than Sony's premium V-series and the mid-tier E-series.
The X-series consists of 6 unique models including box, dome and vandal dome form factors. Like the V- and E-series models, the X-series provides a maximum resolution of 1.3MP (4:3) for its 720p models and 3.0MP for 1080p models. No X series models support IR cut-filters nor WDR functionality. Additionally, no built in IR nor IP66 options are offered.
X series cameras have fixed focal length non-interchangeable lenses (2.34mm for 720p and 3.3mm for 1080p versions). Similar to the E series, the X series does not provide an auxiliary AC or DC power input, and supports only PoE powering options. V and E series domes provide motorized vari-focal lenses that can be zoomed in and out remotely - the X series, having only a fixed lens does not provide this feature.
The first X series camera released is the Sony SNC-CH210 - a 1080p box camera. The camera has an MSRP of $698 and an online price of $422.00. The next level 'up' in Sony's line is the SNC-CH220 which has an online price of about $615 an MSRP of $1048. Basically, you save $200 with the X series model but you give up a mechanical cut filter, auto back focus and a varifocal / interchangeable lens.
Other X series models will be released through January 2010.
The Sony X-series is similar to the Axis M11 series. These Axis models are limited to maximum 720p resolutions, while the Sony X-series includes both 720p and 1080p models. The Axis M1104 (manual-iris) and M1114 (DC-iris), like the Sony X-series, support power by PoE only, and have no audio, IR cut-filter, WDR or auto back-focus capability. One key advantage of the Axis M1104/1114 models is that they allow interchangeable standard CS-mount lenses; Sony X-series cameras ship with fixed non-interchangeable wide-angle lenses.
Comparing the corresponding Sony X series and Axis M series box cameras, online pricing is fairly close with both in the $400 range. Major plus of Sony will be the higher resolution (1080p max vs 720p). Major plus of Axis will be interchangeable lens support. A second interesting difference is that the Sony X series will offer 3 years warranty while Axis M series is only a 1 year warranty (Axis does 3 years on its higher end and 1 year on the lower end - see Axis warranty page [link no longer available]).
For the other X series cameras scheduled to be released later this year, the 720p box (CH110) and the 720p domes (CD110) are notable. Both are scheduled for an MSRP under $500 which means that online pricing will be in the $325-$375 range. As we examine in our HD dome review, we think the CD110 will be especially attractive.