Axis Lightfinder / Q1602 Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 24, 2011

In this note, we examine the features, competitive positioning and pricing of the Axis Q1602. This camera's announcement has generated a significant amount of interest because of Axis's new Lightfinder technology. With this, Axis claims that this camera can maintain details and colors even in very dark conditions.

First, let's look at the key features and then contrast it to Day/Night cameras, integrated IR cameras, EMCCD and IR illuminators.

The most notable specifications include:

  • Standard Definition / D1 camera - not megapixel
  • Progressive scan CMOS sensor - not CCD nor EMCCD
  • Day / Night camera supports black and white 
  • Minimum illumination specifications are not finalized; However, Axis projects dramatic advantages in color mode and significant advances in b&w mode relative to traditional surveillance cameras
  • Axis is basing its low light projections based on 1/30s exposure - not dependent on digital slow shutter
  • Similar general feature sets as a P-line camera: audio, on board storage, analytics, vari-focal lens, etc.
  • Q1602 MSRP is $999, estimated shipping date: August 2011
  • Most similar Axis camera (without Lightfinder): the P1343, an SVGA Day/Night camera with a $749 MSRP

For Axis's pitch / overview, review their Lightfinder whitepaper and the embedded video below:

As with any newly announced camera claiming low light performance benefits, it is impossible to appropriately guess how much better the performance will be until we test. Below are samples from Axis's own testing:

Potential Positioning

The value of the Q1602 depends primarily on a few factors:

  • Need for low light color imaging: Almost all other low light optimized products focus on providing high quality images in black and white mode (D/N cameras, integrated IR cameras, added IR illumination, thermal, etc.). The only two exceptions are white light LEDs and EMCCD cameras. EMCCD cameras are extremely expensive ($5,000 - $10,000 minimum). While they claim to provide outstanding color images in very dark conditions, given the vast price differences and likely superior performance of EMCCD, we see the products being in different categories. However, white light LEDs are an interesting option. For a few hundred dollars, spot lighting can be added. We suspect this would likely provide a better image in short range scene but would cost more overall (adding in installation and energy costs) and may create undesirable light pollution in some scenes. That noted, we see the Q1602 and cameras with added white light LED illumination as the two closest options.
  • Value of low light color: A lot of users are willing to forgo color at night. It is not clear to us what night time applications are a 'must have' for color. Potentially, this could help identify an unknown suspect by capturing the color of their hair, clothing, car, etc. To the extent that users do not require color, many other more existing options exist (D/N cameras, cameras with integrated IR illuminators, etc.).
  • Digital Slow Shutter as Substitute: Many cameras can provide high quality color images in very low light scenes by slowing the shutter. The downside is that this can create motion blur. However, in some scenes, it is not a practical risk. For instance, the Bosch Dinion defaults to 1/7s max exposure and is likely to provide similar detail/quality as the Q1602 in scenes with slow motion (like the above sample closet / storage room scene). Indeed, even the Axis P1343 with its default slow shutter might provide a suitable alternative.
  • The Q1602 Absolute Low Light Performance: To the extent that the Q1602 can provide materially better low light performance in its black and white in more extreme low light scenarios than competitors, the camera could find broader use. This would be especially true if the Q1602 could do this without the motion blur problematic in using digital slow shutters.

4 reports cite this report:

Winners and Losers Fall 2011 on Sep 25, 2011
Now that the dust has settled from the new announcements of the last month, we can better understand the impact on the overall video surveillance...
New Surveillance Products Directory Fall 2011 on Sep 21, 2011
This report provides a summary of key announcements and news being made related to or around the ASIS 2011 show.For each product or change, where...
Axis Q1604 WDR Camera Reviewed on Sep 18, 2011
In September 2011, Axis announced a new HD camera, the Q1604, optimized for Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) performance. This camera joins the low light...
2011 Mid Year Video Surveillance Review on Jun 11, 2011
The first half of 2011 featured a number of important shifts within the video surveillance industry. In this report, we provide an overview of the...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Last Day Save $50 - May 2018 Camera Course on Apr 26, 2018
Today is the last day to save $50 on early registration. Register now (save $50) for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only independent...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Best and Worst ISC West 2018 on Apr 16, 2018
ISC West 2018 had strong attendance, modest overall new products, and a surge in Artificial Intelligence marketing. First, here are 20+...
Axis Launches Mini Concealed IR PTZ on Apr 11, 2018
Axis has been a laggard in releasing IR PTZs. While the company released a laser focus PTZ (the Q6155-E tested) until now Axis has had no PTZs with...
Axis Launches ~$100 HD Camera on Apr 11, 2018
Chinese manufacturers, led by Hikvision, have come to dominate the low end of the Western market, driven by ~$100 cameras. While Axis has...
Axis Launches First Stereographic Panoramic Camera on Apr 05, 2018
Fisheye panoramics have not had much innovation in the past few years, with their multi-imager cousins getting most of the advances, e.g.,...
Dahua 4K Micro 4/3 Camera Tested (IPC-HF8835F) on Apr 03, 2018
Dahua is going big. Their new 4K HF8835F Micro Four Thirds sensor is one of the largest now on the market. Dahua is claming: Starlight...
Axis Z-Wave IP Camera Tested Poorly on Mar 20, 2018
Z-Wave is drawing notable interest for video surveillance use. In IPVM's initial coverage, 84% expressed interest in it, with nearly half being...
Camera Form Factor Guide on Mar 16, 2018
When selecting surveillance cameras, users may choose from a number of different form factors, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses,...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Mar 09, 2018
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator. The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos demonstrating and explaining the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2018 on Apr 26, 2018
150+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why? Unlike the 2016 access favorites where a group...
Last Day Save $50 - May 2018 Camera Course on Apr 26, 2018
Today is the last day to save $50 on early registration. Register now (save $50) for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only independent...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Digifort VMS Profile on Apr 25, 2018
Digifort, a Brazilian company, has a strong presense in their home country. In a crowded and mature Enterprise VMS market, will they be able to...
Death Of A Dummy Camera Manufacturer on Apr 25, 2018
5 years ago, IPVM gathered insights from a dummy camera manufacturer, who was then the top selling dummy camera provider on Amazon and 3rd in all...
Hikvision Critical Cloud Vulnerability Disclosed on Apr 25, 2018
Security researchers Vangelis Stykas and George Lavdanis discovered a vulnerability in Hikvision's HikConnect cloud service that: just by...
The Yolo Bro And The Death of Journalism on Apr 24, 2018
There's an old quote: The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable Unfortunately, the opposite is more...
DMP Adds Ring Video Doorbell Integration on Apr 24, 2018
Video doorbells have become one of the hottest items for security systems. After several years with no doorbell, DMP has announced integration with...
Milestone 2017 Financials Examined on Apr 24, 2018
For ISC West 2018, Milestone released ... their financials, touting "strong revenue growth in 2017". However, there were discrepancies with the...
Chinese Manufacturer Kickstarter Campaign Huge Success (EverCam) on Apr 23, 2018
In a week, a Chinese manufacturer's expertly done Kickstarter campaign has received $1.4 million in pledges, an incredible amount for a video...

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