Axis WDR Zipstream Low-Cost M1125 Tested

By Ethan Ace, Published Aug 26, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Axis has been busy promoting speciality devices like IP horns and video intercoms.

However, they have quietly released a new series of low-cost HD cameras with true WDR and Zipstream support, specifically the 720p M1124 and the 1080p M1125.

We bought an M1125 and tested it against Axis' own high-end Q1615 as well as Samsung WiseNet III camera and Hikvision to see how it performed.

Recommendations

For ~$400, the Axis M1125 is a competitively strong camera and the first relatively inexpensive impressive camera from Axis in a few years. With solid true WDR, low bandwidth with Zipstream enabled, decent non-IR low light and a small form factor, it is worth considering for indoor applications.

The most notable elements missing are integrated IR and auto focus.

Though this does not address the lowest cost, fixed focal segment of the market where Axis remains weak, in the 'mid market' where buyers want varifocal lenses, better image quality and reduced storage costs, this will be attractive.

Key Findings

Here are our key findings from the test of the Axis M1125:

  • WDR: The M1125's WDR performance was similar to the high-end Q1615, one of the top performers in our tests, especially against strong backlight. Both lagged somewhat in darker areas of the scene compared to Hikvision (which was significantly worse against backlight).
  • Low light: Performance was slightly worse than the Axis Q1615 and noticeably worse than Samsung SNB-6004. Note that the M1125 is not classified as Lightfinder by Axis. The camera does not have IR so that is an issue in very low light.
  • Bandwidth consumption: Bitrates were similar to or lower than the Q1615, among the lowest of cameras tested in all scenes (except ~0.1 lux, where the integrated IR Hikvision 4132 was lowest).
  • Zipstream performance: Zipstream reduced bitrate by up to 75% in still scenes, though gains were smaller in dark/outdoor scenes, about 40% due to the increased movement in the scene. Zipstream performance was similar in the Q1615, as well.

Pricing

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The M1125 sells online for ~$400 USD. An outdoor model, the M1125-E, is also available, for ~$500 online. This is priced similarly to 1080p true WDR models from historic lower cost leaders Hikvision and Samsung.

Compared to the high end Q1615, the M1125 is less than half the cost ($400 vs. ~$1,000). However, it lacks auto back focus and audio and advanced features such as shock detection, auto-flip, and image stabilization found in the Q1615.

Physical Overview

The M1125 is smaller than most box models, only about 4" long, not including lens.

We review the physical features of the camera in this video:

Configuration

Configuration of the M1125 is very similar to other Axis models, with the main differences being its inclusion of Forensic Capture and Zipstream, found on few Axis models.

Users should refer to our full test of Axis Zipstream for full configuration information.

Image Comparisons

We tested the Axis M1125 in our conference room scene and WDR scenes, and below users can see the FOV used for our WDR scene:

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With WDR ON, we see that the Axis M1125 and Q1615 perform almost identically in both the light and dark sections of the scene.

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Conference Room

Finally, we shot the cameras out in our conference room scene for baseline image quality. Below is the FOV used:

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Full Light

In full light (~160 lux), the Axis M1125 and Axis Q1615 are very similar, with only slight white balance differences and the same details in our subject and test chart visible.

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Dark

In the dark (~0.01 lux), the Axis M1125 is slightly less effective than the Q1615, though no practical details are available in either camera. The Samsung SNB-6004 is able to capture a few lines of the test chart and license plate, but no details of the subject, while the Hikvision camera clearly shows the subject and chart, but washes out the license plate.

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Bandwidth

The M1125 is one of the first Axis models to support their Zipstream bitrate reduction features, which we first tested in the Q1615.

Like the Q1615, significant bitrate reductions were possible using Zipstream. The M1125 followed the same patterns as the Q1615, with dynamic ROI reducing bandwidth significantly in dark or busy scenes (30-40%), while the dynamic GOP reduced bitrate by ~75% in still scenes.

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Because of these Zipstream savings, the M1125 has some of the lowest bandwidth consumption in this test, lowest in all scenes aside from ~0.1 lux, where the Hikvision 4132's integrated IR accounts for its lower bitrate.

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Methodology

Cameras were tested using these firmware versions:

  • Axis M1125: 5.75.3
  • Axis Q1615: 5.80.1
  • Hikvision DS-2CD4132FWD-IZ: V5.3.0
  • Samsung SNB-6004: 3.01_140804

Exacqvision version 7.0.3.82314 was also used for testing.

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