Avigilon H3 Series Reviewed

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 26, 2012

Improved low light and WDR performance are two of the year's biggest megapixel camera trends. Avigilon's H3 series continues this trend with the company's new 'platform' supporting H.264 3MP and 5MP cameras. In this note, we examine the key feature and pricing of this release compared to Axis, Sony and Arecont multi-megapixel offerings.

Overview of H3

Here are key features and claims of the H3 series:

  • Claimed improved low light performance and reduced low light bandwidth consumption
  • Wide Dynamic Range for the 3MP model
  • Offered in dome and box form factors
  • All cameras have integrated lenses
  • 3rd Party Support via ONVIF
  • MSRP:  Avigilon 3MP box: $835 MSRP; 5MP box $955 MSRP
  • Shipping: May 2012

Key Improvements

Relative to their existing H.264 line, a number of key improvement are claimed:

Lower Bandwidth consumption: Avigilon claims that the new cameras require 'four times less bandwidth in challenging light conditions than previous H.264 cameras' by more efficently filtering raw image noise at low light levels, reducing bandwidth needed to compress noise. However, the bandwidth reduction claim is relative to their own cameras. Our test results of their existing H.264 HD cameras were among the worst low light bandwidth consumers. As such, reduced consumption in the new series should certainly reduce a competitive disadvantage, it may not necessarily make them market leaders in this dynamic.

WDR for 3MP model: The 3MP, but not the 5MP, supports Wide Dynamic Range. The new sensor incorporates a multi-scan WDR process that exposes the sensor to two images at different levels and combines them. Avigilon refers to this as a 'true' WDR process. However, we will need to test this as WDR claims relative to performance are all over the place.

Improved HDSM: Avigilon's H.264 HDSM allows dynamically switching from a high or full quality stream to a low or reduced quality one. While the previous generation H.264 cameras supported this for live viewing only, the H3 series supports for both live and recorded video. This feature can reduce bandwidth consumption when watching multiple video streams simultaneously (e.g. a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 matrix playback).

Competitive Comparison

As typical for Avgilon, the pricing is attractive for the feature sets. Both cameras MSRP is under a $1,000 including lens.

  • That's close to or less than many major vendors 720p cameras (Axis P1344, Q1604, etc.). 
  • The H3 cameras are significantly less expensive than comparable 3MP from Sony (e.g., the WDR Sony CH240 street price is ~$1,100 and the new 5MP Axis P3367 is ~$1,300.
  • Arecont offers the closest price 3MP and 5MP offerings. After lenses are purchased, pricing between Avigilon H3 and Arecont models (AV3115, AV5115) should be close with perhaps a modest price advantage to Arecont.

Ultimately, the key factors for the H3's positioning is (1) how good is WDR? and (2) how much has low light performance improved? Avigilon cameras will definitely cost less than the big brands and likely slightly more than the Areconts of the world. The key question is whether H3 can match the improved performance of the newer series from Axis, Bosch, Pelco, etc. We look forward to shooting out the H3 in the near future.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
Digital Watchdog Low Cost 4MP Camera Tested on Jul 02, 2018
Based on member 4MP testing requests, we bought and tested Digital Watchdog's low-cost 4MP DWC-MTT4Wi to see how it performs in real world scenes,...
Panoramic Fisheye Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek on Jun 27, 2018
IPVM tested Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek 12MP panoramic fisheye cameras head to head, as shown in the test setup...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Hikvision 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (DS-2CD63C2F-IV) on Jun 14, 2018
Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F-IV is their flagship panoramic camera, with a 12MP imager, 15m integrated IR, smart codec, and more. We tested the 63C2 in...
Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
Hanwha Low-Cost 4MP Camera Tested (QNV-7010R) on Jun 11, 2018
4MP usage is increasing noticeably, as IPVM 2018 resolution statistics show. And low-cost, fixed focal cameras, are popular for budget...
Powerline Networking For Video Surveillance Advocated By Comtrend on Jun 08, 2018
Powerline networking, using existing electrical wiring, has been around for many years. Indeed, over the years, some video surveillance providers...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Ladder Lockdown and Ladder Levelizer Tested on Jul 18, 2018
Ladders are a daily necessity for surveillance and security installers, but working on an unstable surface can be extremely dangerous. In addition...
FST Fails on Jul 17, 2018
FST was one of the hottest startups of the decade, selected as the best new product at ISC West 2011 and backed with tens of millions in...
Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact