Testing Avigilon's H.264 HD Camera

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Jul 12, 2011

Avigilon is one of the better known and respected recent entrants in the video surveillance market. While they have received significant praise for their quality and usability, historically they had two important constraints:

  • The company's cameras were only supported by Avigilon's own VMS. If you wanted to use their cameras, you had to migrate to their VMS.
  • Their cameras supported only JPEG2000. While JPEG2000 offers some important benefits, the bandwidth consumption is much higher than H.264, the de facto standard in today's IP camera market.

In the last year, Avigilon released a line of H.264 camera with support for ONVIF, addressing both issues. Now that you can use Avigilon cameras with 3rd party VMS systems, it does raise the question of how well Avigilon's quality matches up against other IP cameras used more commonly in 'open' VMS deployments.

To that end, we bought an Avigilon 1.0MP-HD-H264-B1 box camera and conducted a series of shootouts between Avigilon, Axis and Sony cameras in a variety of real world surveillance scenarios. In this report, we share our test findings.

Here are a few of the test scenes used including indoor, outdoor, day, night and WDR:

We analyzed each of the scenes to see how the Avigilon camera performed relative to the other cameras. We exported the simultaneous recordings and then digitally zoomed each camera to the same level to show differences. The sample comparison below from this test shows an example of the analysis (camera names/models revealed inside the Pro section):

We conducted our analysis across 10 scenes. They are:

  • Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Narrow FoV)
  • Indoor Low-Light (Default)
  • Indoor Low-Light (Normalized)
  • Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Nighttime (Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Nighttime (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • WDR Scene (Bright)
  • WDR Scene (Dark)

Additionally, we examined bandwidth differences across the cameras and scenes to see any tradeoffs in bandwidth vs quality.

******** ** *** ** *** ****** ***** *** ********* ****** entrants ** *** ***** ************ ******. ***** **** **** ******** significant ****** *** ***** ******* *** *********, ************ **** *** two ********* ***********:

  • *** *******'* ******* **** **** ********* ** ********'* *** ***. If *** ****** ** *** ***** *******, *** *** ** migrate ** ***** ***.
  • ***** ******* ********* ************. ***** ******** ****** **** ********* ********, *** ********* *********** is **** ****** **** *.***, *** ** ***** ******** ** today's ** ****** ******.

** *** **** ****, ******** ******** * **** ** *.*** camera **** ******* *** *****, ********** **** ******. *** **** you *** *** ******** ******* **** *** ***** *** *******, it **** ***** *** ******** ** *** **** ********'* ******* matches ** ******* ***** ** ******* **** **** ******** ** 'open' *** ***********.

** **** ***, ** ****** ** *********.***-**-****-***** ****** *** ********* * ****** ** ********* ******* ********, Axis *** **** ******* ** * ******* ** **** ***** surveillance *********. ** **** ******, ** ***** *** **** ********.

**** *** * *** ** *** **** ****** **** ********* indoor, *******, ***, ***** *** ***:

** ******** **** ** *** ****** ** *** *** *** Avigilon ****** ********* ******** ** *** ***** *******. ** ******** the ************ ********** *** **** ********* ****** **** ****** ** the **** ***** ** **** ***********. *** ****** ********** ***** from **** **** ***** ** ******* ** *** ******** (****** names/models ******** ****** *** *** *******):

** ********* *** ******** ****** ** ******. **** ***:

  • ****** **** ********** ******** (********** **** ***)
  • ****** **** ********** ******** (****** ***)
  • ****** ***-***** (*******)
  • ****** ***-***** (**********)
  • ******* ******* **** ******** (**** ***)
  • ******* ******* **** ******** (********** **** ***)
  • ******* ********* (**** ***)
  • ******* ********* (********** **** ***)
  • *** ***** (******)
  • *** ***** (****)

************, ** ******** ********* *********** ****** *** ******* *** ****** to *** *** ********* ** ********* ** *******.

[***************]

Key ******** *** ***************

*** ********* *** *** ******** **** *** ******** ****:

  • ***** ********* ******** ********** *** ******** *.***-**-****-** ******** ***** ********* on *** ** ******** ****** **** *** *****.
  • *** *****: * ********** ** */*** ******* ******** **** *** *** Avigilon *.*** ******* ** ********'* ****** ***** ****** **** *********** supporting ****** ******* ********. [******: *** ******** ****** *** ******** to ** ** */**. *******, *** ***** *********** ** ************* ******** ** ***** ** *******.]
  • ********* *********** *** ********* ** *** **** *** ***** ***** favorable ********, *** ****** ************ ***** ***-*****/********* **********.
  • ****-***** ************ *** ******** ******** ********** **** ***** ****** ** changed *** ** **** ********.
  • *******: *** ******** *.***-**-****-** ** **** $*** ** ****** ***** competitive ******** ** ***** ******* **** **** *******, *.*. **** P1344 (****** $***) *** **** ***** (****** $***). ****, *** integrated **** ** * ******* ******* **** ***** ****** * significant ***** ******* ** *********** *********.
  • ******** ***********:*** ******** *.***-**-****-** **** *** ***** **-***** ******* ** ********* unlike **** **********'* ******* *********. ***** ***** *** ************* **** infrequently, ************ **** ******* **** ****** **** **** ***** ** mind.
  • *** ***********: *********** **** * *** ***** *** (******, ***********) *** ONVIF ******** ******** ***** ************ (**** **** *******, **** ****, and *********/********). *********** **** ********'* ******* ****** ******** ****** ** advanced ****** **************

** ***** ** ***** ******** ** ********* *** *********:

  • ***** *** ********** *** *****, ********* ***** *********** ******* *********** and *** *********** ** ** ********** ****, *** ******** *.*** box ****** ** ***** ********* *********** ******* *** ****** ** camera ****** *** *********** **** *** ***** *** *******. *******, Avigilon ******* ******** ************ *** *********** ****** ****** *****, **** more ** **** ***** ** ****** *************. **** *** ** a *** ******** ** ******** ********* ** **** ******** ** the ***********.
  • *** ***-***** ************, ******** ****** ********** ******** ** * **********'* camera ******** * ****** ******* *****.
  • ****** ******* **** ** ***-***** ************, ********** **** ******** ************ in *** ***** ******* ********.
  • **** ***** ** *** *******, *** *** ****** ***** ** improve ***** *********/*******
  • ********* *** *** *** ******* **** ******** ** **** ****** network/storage ***********
  • ** ******** ** ********* ** *** ***** *** *** *****, do * **** ****** ********** ** *** ************* *** ************ of **** ***** *********** *******.

Physical ********

** **** ***** ** ******* * ******** ******** ** *** Avigilon *.*** ******. ** ******** ** *** ****** **** ****. A *** ******* ******** **** ** ******** ** *** **** along **** **** ******** ******** ********, **** ** ** */* jack, */* ******** *****, *** ********* ***** *****.

Administration *** *************

** **** ***** ** ***** ************* *** ************* *** *** Avigilon ******'* *** *********. *** ***** **** ** ****** **** into ******* ********** (*.*. *******, ***** *** *******, ****** *********, system ***.). *** **** ******* ** *** ****** ** ****** to ******* ******** ****** ** * ***-**** ***** ** ****** basis. ** ***** *** ************* ***** **** ** ********/**** ******** and ***********/********* ********. * *** ********** ** * ******* ******** length ** */*** **** ***** ***-*****/********* *********** ***********.

Indoor **** *** (***)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ******** *** ** ****** *********** (~200 ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

**** *** ********* ** *** *****, *** ******* ******* ******* for **************. *** ***** ******** *** ******* ***** ** *******, clarity *** *********. ***** *** ***** *** ******** *.*** ******* second **** ********** ******** **** ****** *** ******* ******* **** the *****.

Indoor **** *** (****)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ******** *** ** ****** *********** (~200 ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

******** *********** **** *** ****** ** ****** ** **** ******** FoV. ***** *** ***** ******** *** **** ******* ***** ** detail *** ***** *******. *** ******** *.*** ******* * *** over-saturated, *** *********** ******** **** ****** *** ******* *******. ****** for *** *****, ******** ****** ** ************** *** ********* ****** the *****.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

** ********* ** ******* *** ****** ******** ******. *** ******** operates **** ***** *** ****** ********* ***, ** **** ********** simple *****. *** **** ******* ******* ********* ********* ********* ******, as ****.

Indoor ***-***** (*******)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** '****' **** *********** ** ******** (~*.* ***). *** cameras *** *** ** ******* ********. **** **** *** ***** is ***** ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

** **** ****** ***-***** (~*.* ***) ***********, *** ******** ** essentially '*******-***'. **** *** **** *****, *** ******** ******** * default *** ******* ** */***; *** *** ***** ******* ** deliver ****** **** **** ********* *******. *** ********** ****** ***** qualities ******** ** *** *** **** ******* ** ** ******** given ***** ******* */** *** ********.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

*** ******** ********* ****** ** ~*.*****. ****** * *** ******* length ** **** */***, *** ***-***** ******* ************ ****/*****. ******* this ******* ** ******** ******** ************ *** ******* ******* ******** little ** ** ******* *** * ************ **** *********. ** contrast *** ***** ******** * **** ***** ** ******* ** a *** '****' ** *********.

Indoor ***-***** (**********)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** '****' **** *********** ** ******** (~*.* ***). ******* have **** ********** ** * */*** ******* *****. **** **** the ***** ** ***** ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

**** *** ******* *** ** * */*** *** ********, **** cameras **** **** *********** '*******-***', *** ****** ******* ** ********* as * ******. **** *** ******** *** **** ***** ******** have *** ******* ****-*************, *** ** ******** ***** ******* *********** exist ******* *** ******** '*******' *** **** '**********' ********.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

** ****** ** *** **** ********* *********** ** *** ******** camera, ** ** ******** **** *******. *******, *********** *** **** cameras ** * */*** ******* ******* ** * **** ******** loss ** *******, ** *** **** ******* *** *** ****** 'blacked-out'.

Outdoor ******* (***)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ******* *** ***** *** ** ****** distributed (~**,*** ** **,*** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** ******** ***** *** *** ***** ** **** ************ *********** FoV, ******** ** ******* * **** ****** ** ****** *******. In ********** *** *****, *****, *** ***** ****** *** **** crisp **** **** ** *** ********. **** ** ************** *** slightly ****** ** *** ******** ****** *** *****, *****, *** M1114.

Outdoor ******* (****)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ******* *** ***** *** ** ****** distributed (~**,*** ** **,*** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** ******** ******** *** **** ******* ***** ******* ***** *** field. ******, ********* *** ******* *** ************ ****** ** ********** to *** ***** *** *****. *** ***** ***** ***** *** the ******** ** *** ****** ***** **** ********* ********, ***** to *** ******-*** ** **** ******* *****.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

****** *** *****, ********** *** ** ********** ******, ** ******** in **** ****** ***-******* ***********. ******, ** *** *****, ************ are **** ******** ****** **** *** '****** ****-***' ********, ********** a ****** ******** ** ********** (*.*. **** ******, ******** *******, vegetation ***.) ** **** ******* *****.

Outdoor ********* (***)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ****** (~*.* ** ** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

** *** ******* *** ********, *** **** ******* ******* ** advantage ** ***-***** ** ********* ****. *** **** ***** ******** provides *** ******** ******* *******, *** ** ***** ******** ** color (******, *********** ** ******** ***** *** **********). *** ******** with * ******* ** */*** *** ******* ** ************ *****, despite * *** *** ****** ***-***** *********** (~* ** ** lux).

Outdoor ********* (****)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ****** (~*.* ** ** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

****** **** *** *****, *****, *** ***** *** ******* ********** utility **** *** ******** **** ** **** ******** ***. ******, while **** ****** ******* ****** * ******* ******* * ******* plate, ** *** ******** **'* *** ***** **** *** ******* is *******.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

* ****** **** ********* *********** ** ******** ** *** ******** camera (*.******). ********, *** ***** ******* ** *** ******* ** the ***, ** ** ******** ************ *****. *** ***** */** (P1344 *** *****) ******* *** **** * **** ********* ********* profile *** **** ****** ** ********** ****** *******, ** ****.

WDR ***** (******)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene's *** ********* ** ******** ** * ~**** *** ****** area *** * ~*** *** ******** '****' ****. *** ******* is ********** ** *** ****** ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

******* **** ** *** ******* *** **** ** ******* ******* within *** ****-*** ****** ** *** *****, ** ** ** competely ******-***. *******, *** ******** ******* ** ******* *** **** level ** ******* ****** ***** *** ***** ** **** **** challenging *** *****. ** ***** ******* ** ** ************ *** much **** ******** *** ******** **** ** ***** **** ************** is ***** ****** ********.

WDR ***** (****)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene's *** ********* ** ******** ** * ~**** *** ****** area *** * ~*** *** ******** '****' ****. *** ******* is ********** ** *** '****' ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

***** ** ** ***** '******' **** *** ** ******** ** this ********. *** ******* ******* ****** **** *** ******* ******* and *********. ************** ** *** ****** ********, *** *********** ** subject *****, ****-*****, ******, *** ********** *** ******** ****** *** board.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

*************, **********, ** *******, *** **** ***** **** *** ****** 'Indoor ****-***' ********. **** **** *** ******** ********* ********** ***** images ** * ********** **** ** ********* ***** **** ********* difficult *** ********.

Motion ********

*** ******** ****** *** * ********** ***** ********* ******* ******** lengths ******* **** */***. **** ********** **** *** **** ****** well ** ******** ***-*****/********* ***********. ** * ******, *******, **** of ****** **** ** *********** **********. ** ***** *** ****** side-effect **** ** ***-***** ************ ** ********* ****/*****, *** ********* spikes.

Bandwidth ********

******* ********* ** *****

** ****** **** ********* ******** (****** ****-***, ******* *******, *** WDR *****) *** ******** ****** ********* ******* ********* ************ ** the ***** *** */* ******* ****** (***** *** *****). *******, in ***-*****/********* ****** *** ******** ****** ** ********** ************ ****** than *** */**, ******* '** *****' ******** *******.

******* ******* ** ******

** *.** **** *** ********'* ******* ******* ********* ** ******** higher **** *** ***** *** */**. ** ********** ** *** ~500% ****** **** ***** *** ~***% ****** **** *****. ******** to *****-**** ***** ** *** ~**% ******. *** ****** *** Avigilon's ********* ****** ** *** ***-*****/********* *********.

***********

**** *** *** **** (*) ******* **** ** *********** **** the ******** ***:

  • ******** *.***-**-****-**(**** $***) -**** */*; */*.*" ****; **.*; *.*/*.** *** (*****/**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* ******** ; 0.05 *** (**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* *******; *.* Lux (*****)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; ; *.* *** (BW)

**** ** *** **** (*) ******* **** ************** ******** ** an *********** *** ****** **** (*) *** *********. *** ******* were *** ** ***** ******** ****** *******, ****** ****** *** low-light *****. ****** ***-***** ***** */* ******* **** '******' **** B/W ** ****** *********** ** **********. ***********, ******* **** ********** to */*** ******* ***** *** *** ** *** *****. *** camera ****** **** ******** ** * ******* **** ***** (~** degrees) *** ********/******** ** ***** - *** ********* - ******* resolutions.

**** *** *** *** ******* ******** *** ******** ******** *** each ******:

  • ******** *.***-**-****-** - */*** ******* ********; ** *.*.*.*(****)
  • **** ***** - */** *** ******** */ ***; ** *.**
  • **** ***** - */** *** ******** */ ***; ** *.**.*
  • **** ***** - */*** *******; *** '****'; ***.**.**

**** *** *** **** (*) *** *********:

  • ****** **** ********** ******** - ~*** ***
  • ****** ***-***** - ~*.* ***
  • ******* **** ****** ******** - ~ **,*** ** **,*** ***
  • ******* ********* - ~*.* ** ~** ***
  • *** ***** - ~**** *** (****** ****) *** ~*** *** (dark ****)
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