Axis Multi-Imager Panoramic / PTZ Q6000-EBy John Honovich, Published Sep 29, 2014, 12:00am EDT
Axis has launched its first multi-imager panoramic, entering in to a promising market with limited suppliers, most notably Arecont.
However, Axis has taken a unique approach to this camera.
In this note, we examine the features, pricing, strengths and weaknesses of it.
The multi-imager 360 camera (the Q6000-E [link no longer available]) is an accessory and compliment to Axis Q60-E PTZ series [link no longer available]. It can not be used stand-alone. Rather, it is designed to be tightly integrated with the PTZ, like so:
The multi-imager Q6000-E camera is powered and networked through the PTZ so there is no need for new cabling or construction.
The Q6000-E uses (4) 2MP imagers covering 90° each. The video streamed, however, is 1.3MP each.
Clicking within the multi-imager streams controls the PTZ camera. An operator can, therefore, view the entire 360 area with the multi-imager. As they see specific suspects, threats, objects, can immediately slave the PTZ to pan / tilt / zoom into that specific area.
The MSRP of the Q6000-E multi-imager is $1599 USD. Combined with the cost of the Q60-E, the total price is in the ~$4000s.
Related Axis Products
Some may recall the Axis P5544 Panoramic PTZ Camera. Axis says this model is a complement to the new Q6000-E with the P5544 being indoor only and not providing simultaneously video of both (fisheye) panoramic and PTZ.
This is a sophisticated implementation of slaving PTZs to fixed cameras. While this approach has been tried for years, typically it is involves integrating two cameras. More recently, some have done this with fisheye cameras and PTZs.
The key benefits here are:
- Simpler installation (just one 'combo' camera rather than 2 separate ones to be deployed and integrated) and better aesthetics
- Greater details of a multi-imager over a fisheye.
For PTZ users (typically large deployments with on staff operators) looking for an improved solution, this is an appealing option.
The big limitation is that it is only available as a PTZ accessory. Anyone who wants a real, stand-alone multi-imager panoramic has to buy a PTZ to get it, which is unrealistic.
Related, of course, is the ongoing decline in PTZ camera usage, which makes this increasingly a niche.
This is a shame, because multi-imager panoramics are a very promising growth area for the market. If, and when, Axis does offer one, it will spur adoption and legitimacy.
There is some hope. Axis released the P5544 fisheye PTZ before releasing their own regular fisheye cameras. Perhaps something similar will follow here. For today, though, this is the world's most sophisticated PTZ accessory.
Axis Demo Video
Update Feb 2015: Axis has released a demo video that shows the camera in use:
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