Axis Chinese Competitor Companion Dome V Tested

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 29, 2016

A $169 1080p dome from Axis?

The Companion Dome V is, by far, Axis' lowest cost 1080p dome, a full $100 less than even their new M3045-V.

Every manufacturer has been hit by rapid Chinese expansion over the last few years. Axis is clearly trying to do something about it. 

We bought and tested the Companion Dome V against Axis' revamped M30 cameras as well as Hikvision's low cost IR dome to see how it stacks up in image quality, VMS integration, bandwidth, and more. 

* $*** ***** **** from ****?

************ **** ***, ** ***, ****' lowest **** ***** ****, a **** $*** **** than **** ******** *****-*.

***** ************ *** **** hit ** ***** ******* expansion **** *** **** few *****. **** ** clearly ****** ** ** something ***** **. 

** ****** *** ****** the ********* **** * against ****'******** *** ********* **** ** *********'* low **** ** **** to *** *** ** stacks ** ** ***** quality, *** ***********, *********, and ****. 

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

*******

*** **** ********* **** V ********* ********* ** the $*** **** **** expensive *****-* ** *** tests, ** *** ***** and *** ******, **** similar ******** (********* *********) and ******** ************. *******, ** has *** *** *********** ******** ** other **** *******:

  • *** ********* **** ***** party *****:*** ********* **** ** officially ********** **** **** Axis ********* ********. ***** VMSes ***** *** ******* to ** *** **** drivers ** *****.
  • ** **** ************:*** ********* **** **** not ******* **** ************ possible **** ******* **** cameras. **** ***** **** add ** *********, ***, people ********, ***., *** not ** ****.

** ***** * ******* RTSP ******, *** ** is ******* ********** *** supported, **** ****, ** definition, ******** ** ****** **** configuration *** ****** **** VMD.

Third ***** ******** *******

*** ********* **** * was ********** ** ******** VMSes ** ****** (********, Exacq, *******, *********), *** none ***** ******* *** ****** directly.

RTSP *********

*******, ** ********** ** **** stream *** ***** ********** properly **** ***** ***** VMSes:

****://*******/****-*****/*****.***?****-****-**=****

**** ****** ** ***** here ** *****:

*******, **** **** **** stream ******* *** ******* to ********* ***** ******** (FPS, **********, ***.) **** the ***, *** **** not ******* *** ******'* VMD. 

************, **** **** **** stream ** *********** *** may ** ******* ** any ****.

Outward ************ *** **** ** *** *****-*

*** ************ ** *** Companion **** *** *** M30 ******* ** ****** identical, **** *** **** cover, ** ****, ** port *********. *** **** distinguishing ******** *** ***** on *** **** ** the ****, ***** *** part ****** *** ************* marks *** *******.

****: ***** ********* ***** be ******** ******* (*.*., different ****** ** ******* / ***), ****** *** net *********** ****** *** not ******** ***** ********* in ******** ******** ********** were ****.

What *** **** ****?

**** *******, ** ***** like **** **** *** M3045-V, ******** **** ********, relabeled ** *** *** the **** ** $***. We ***** ** ********* and ***** **** ***** will ** ****, ********** since **** **** ** the **** ********** **** well ***** **** ** save ***** ** ******* a '*****' / ******** limited *****-*.

Potential vs. *********/*****

*** **** ********* **** is ****** ** **** limited ****** ** **** positioning ****** *** **** leaders ********* *** *****. While **** ** * new *** ***** *** Axis (*** * ********** well ********** ******), **** Dahua *** ********* ***** similarly ********* ******* ** ***** prices, **** ** ***** include ********** **, *** essentially *** ** ***** include ***** *******. 

** *** ******** ****, those ******* **** **** get *** ***** *******, bandwidth ******* *** ******** construction ** * ****** that ********* ***** $*** MSRP **** ** **** elect ** *** **** version.

Impact ** *** ****

*** ********* ****'* *********** compared ** *** ******* puts ****' *** *** in ** *** ********.

  • ***** *** **** ************ used *** *** ****** may ** ********** **** * $100 ***** **** ****** offers **** ******* *********** (true ***, *********, ***.), making *** *****-* * tougher ****.
  • ***** ******* *** *** very ****** **** ****** may **** *** ********* line *********, *** *********** on ***** ***** *** and ****** ************ (**** as ********* ********** *** *.*) *** **** *** line ********.

*** $***/******, **** ***** may ******* ** *** the ********* **** **** third ***** ********* ***** RTSP, ******** ***** ****** somewhat, *** **** ********* users ****** **** ***.

*******

*** ********* **** * has ** **** ** $169 ***, $*** **** than *** ***** *****-*. This ******* ** ******** ****** than low **** **** ****** **** as *** ********* **-******** (~$***), ****** ******* ****** to ***** ****** **** historic **** ******.

****** ******* *** *** Companion **** * ****** widely, **** ~$***-$***, **** its ****. **** *** is ********, ** **** cameras ********* **** *** less **** ***** **** online. ** ** *** know *** ***** *** Axis *** ******* * separate ****** ******* *** Companion **** **** ******** Axis ******* **** ** apply *** **********.

New **** *** *********

*** ********* **** ******** Axis' ***** ********** *** interface, **** ***** ******* improvements:

  • ** ****** *.***: *** new *** ********* **** HTML * ** ******* H.264 *****, ********* ** ActiveX ** ***** ******* plugins ****** ** *** past **** *** ********* as **** ** ******. This ****** ***** ** be ******** ***** ** Chrome, *******, ******, *** other ******** ***** ** not ******* *******.
  • ********** ******: *** ****** of *** *** ********* is **********, ******** ** to ****** ** *** various ***********, ********* ******* and ***** ******. **** that *.*** ***** **** not **** ** *** due ** ** ***********, but ***** ***** ********* normally.
  • **** ***** ****** *************: Where *** **** **** interface (*** **** ******) did *** ******* **** video ***** ************* ******* were ****, ** ** always *********** ********* ** the *** *********. **** makes ** ******/******* ** see ******* ** ******, image *******, ********, ***., as **** *** ****, without ***** * ****** window.

** ****** *** *** **** web ********* ** **** video:

Image *******

*** ********* **** * produced ***** ******* ******* to *** *****-* ** all ****** ****** **** light. *** *********** ***** show *********** ******** ** Axis' *** *** ****** (M3045-V *** *****-*), ***** previous ****** **** *******, as **** ** * low **** ***** ******* IR **** (** *** same ***** *****). 

*****, ~*****

** **** *****, *** Companion **** * ******** moderately **** ****** ** our ******* **** *** M3045-V, **** **** ************ of *** **** *****. 

*** *****, ~***

** *** *****, *********** between *** ********* **** and *****-* ** **** similar, **** ****** *********** in ******* ***** ******, but ******* *******. *** integrated ** **** ******** the **** ******* ** all ******* ** **** scene.

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

***** ** ** ***** of *** ***** ** view **** ** *** WDR ****.

** ***, *** ********* dome ***** ******** ********* to *** *****-*, ** not ******** ******, **** more **** ******** ** bright *** **** *****.

**** **** *** ********* Dome ** ******** ** "***", but *** *** ********* of *** ****** ***** controls **** *** "******* Capture",* **** **** *** historically **** *** ******* WDR.

Bandwidth **********

*** ********* **** * includes *********, **** ******* performance (*** ************) **** similar ** *** *****-*:

 

Axis ********* ***

**** *** *** **** major ******* ** ***** Axis ****** ********* *** with *** ******* ** these *** *******, **** notably ********** *** **** simply ** "*********" *** adding ******* *** **** new ****** ****. 

*** ***** ***** ***** a ***** ******** ** the **** ********* ** Companion, **** *** **** monitoring:

**** ***** ****** ** still ******** ** ****, with *** ********* ******* as **** ** **** models, *** ** *** key ******** ** ***** 3.0 *******:

******* ******* *** *** full ****** ****** *** our **** ****** ********* *** V3 ****

Test **********

*** ******* **** ****** using ******* ******** ****** otherwise *********, **** *** following ******* ** *** cameras:

  • *.***, ** ***, ~** quantization *** ****
  • */*** ******* ******* *****

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** *** **** test:

  • **** ********* **** *: 6.15.1
  • **** *****-*: *.**.*
  • **** *****-*: *.**.*
  • ********* **-*******: *.*.*

Comments (22)

"The new web interface uses HTML 5 to display H.264 video, requiring no ActiveX or other browser plugins common in the past Axis web interface as well as others. "

That in itself should be gold. It's way past due to get rid of Active X controls.

Will the new interface be available only with new cameras off the line? Or will it be available via a firmware upgrade?

Firmware upgrade as well.

I noticed you didn't mention the Companion NVR. It's a compact 8 channel NVR with a built in PoE switch and WiFi hotspot, and comes in 2TB and 4TB, and is built to support Companion series domes. It seems likely to me that this is yet another attempt by Axis to appeal to the mom-and-pop-shop market.

Ari, yes, we focused on the camera since camera performance was the main unknown. The Companion NVR is the main recording option, though since the Companion software runs on the Axis camera and is free, this is more of a NAS plus PoE switch. At $500-$600, it is probably fine though still a premium to Chinese NVR alternatives.

Not to be a Debbie doubter, but are we 100% sure that this is a pure HTML 5 interface with no plug-ins, or even built-in flash?

For example this interface might appear as such, but relied on built-in flash plugins.

If it proves to be HTML 5 only, Axis deserves massive kudos, as it is possibly the first.

Well, Debbie, I disabled Flash for you:

And it still streams:

If there's somewhere else I should disable things that I'm missing, I'm open to trying that again.

This is really great news, since unlike a plugin, the html5 code can't be hidden, and so it shouldn't take long for everyone else to figure it out!!!

the html5 code can't be hidden, and so it shouldn't take long for everyone else to figure it out!!!

Axis will be sending you a tray of the finest Swedish meatballs...

Yes, and then I upgraded online.

If there's somewhere else I should disable things that I'm missing, I'm open to trying that again.

Do you have this plug-in enabled?

I don't seem to have that plugin in Chrome. Is that a Firefox thing? It's possible that something may simply be built into Chrome which isn't exposed to the user.

I'll try Firefox when I get to my other computer.

It works in Firefox with that plugin disabled.

Cool. Do you see any other likely suspects there?

I think it is somewhat sad that they stoop to this level. Sending out crippled cameras just to try and compete on price. Honestly, they should be above these types of desperate moves. I would rather see Axis concentrate on what they excel at. Middle to high end cameras. Either that, or just ship a low end camera without crippling it.

Hello, very intersting, thanks. What exatly Hikvision camera do you use in this test? DS-2CD2522F-IS or DS-2CD2522FWD-IS (new platform with true WDR 120db)

The latter, DS-2CD2522FWD-IS. I'll fix that in the report.

What makes the difference that Hikvision 2522 has higher bit rate in day time but lower in the night ? Did you turn on the Smart H.264+ or?

H.264+ is on in both scenes. Bandwidth goes down in this scene because details are reduced but the scene stays relatively bright due to integrated IR.

For example you can't see the fine speckled pattern on the carpet at night, or other patterns like that which increase the bitrate during the day. This is pretty common in integrated IR cameras in our tests.

Update: online pricing remains at or above its MSRP of $169, which is atypical for Axis products.

However, ADI is listing an 18% discount for 'companion specialists' which is a separate Axis dealer category, described by ADI below:

Even at the special dealer price of $190 to $205 for the IR versions, it is still a significant premium over the continuing fall of Chinese alternatives, especially considering the Companion line is officially closed to 3rd party VMS support.

What is the username for the RTSP URL? I tried already "admin" and "root" with the administrator password but none of them seem to work.

Companion cameras do not officially support RTSP as they are meant to be used with their recorders only.

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