Axis Goes 4K Ultra HDBy John Honovich, Published on Apr 01, 2014
Reflecting an emerging trend, Axis is announcing their first Ultra HD / 4K camera, offering 4x the pixel count of 'Full' HD / 1080p cameras.
For Axis, their 4K camera is part of an entirely new series, the P14, consisting of 7 cameras, ranging from 1080p to 4K, with options for integrated IR.
In this note, we examine the features, pricing and positioning of Axis' new 4K offering.
P14 Key Elements
Unlike the existing P13 series, which offers interchangeable lens and indoor options, the P14 is an all in one unit and outdoor only. This limits lens choice but decreases price relative to the P13 external models. However, one advantage of the new P14s is that they all have integrated remote zoom.
P14 offers 1080p, 5MP and 4K resolution options. Unlike a number of 4K options coming on the market who are offering 12MP / 4:3 'super' modes, the maximum resolution for the Axis P1428-E is 8.3MP at a 16:9 aspect ratio.
4K Poor Low Light
Axis minimum illumination specification for the 4K P1428-E is an extremely high 2 lux. While lux ratings across manufacturers are incomparable, this is far higher than other Axis professional cameras, signifying poor low light performance.
Within the P14 series, both the 1080p and 5MP models have integrated IR options. However, the 4K (model P1428-E) does not as Axis anticipates / recommends external IR illuminators for larger low lit scenes.
Note - Axis has not yet disclosed the F stop nor sensor size of the imager.
Axis 4K Video Marketing Sample
Axis has released a YouTube video showing a short clip of 4K. Select 4K from the resolution option to play it at full resolution:
While Sweeden may not see the sun all winter, showing an even day time scene, with no sun, is a best case scenario for any surveillance camera. As such, the demo does not really do much to convey advantages.
Pricing for the 4K P1428-E is $995, which, for Axis pricing is fairly reasonable, given its resolution and external form factor. Of course, if this is used in an area with poor low light, one will have to factor in additional external IR illuminator cost ($500+ common).
Reflecting Axis' overall positioning of the importance of WDR and low light performance (e.g., Lightfinder), this offering is not a huge step forward or shift for Axis.
However, since many companies are coming out with 4K this year, it is likely needed to avoid perception of falling behind for those who judge quality simply by pixel count.
IPVM will be doing more coverage on the 4K trend and other 4K announcements over the next week.