Axis Lowest Cost 1080p Camera (M3045-V) Tested
We bought the new 1080p Axis M3045-V and tested it against Hikvision and Samsung to see how it compared.
This is the second in our series (starting with the Axis M3044-V Test and concluding with the M3046 4MP test).
Below is a preview of the comparative low light performance:
The Axis M3045-V delivered a huge bandwidth reduction, significant improvements in low light, and moderate gains in WDR over the M3004-V in our tests, as well as installation improvements (more freely movable gimbal and no cable whip), all at a lower price than the previous model."
Low light and WDR performance were similar to or better than even more expensive super low light/WDR models like the Samsung SNB-6004. However, the less expensive integrated IR Hikvision 2022 still performed better in low light (at ~1 lux and below).
As with the 720p M3044, the M3045 is a good camera compared to what is available in 2016 in its price range, ~$250 and under, with strong low light for a non-IR camera, solid WDR, and very low bandwidth.
However, on the negative side, 4MP cameras with integrated IR are now commonly selling for $50+ less than the M3045-V, with 1080p models $100 less.
For those who want to stick with a premium Western brand, this new Axis generation's significantly improved performance will definitely be attractive and reduce further defections. However, the relative price premium is still quite large, so most who have already switched to Chinese manufacturers will likely not be motivated to switch back.
The M3045-V sells for ~$240 USD online, slightly less than the previous 1080p model, the M3005-V (~$260 online).
This is substantially more expensive than many low cost IR models, such as the Hikvision DS-2CD2022WD-I (~$150 online) and Dahua DH-IPC-HFW42A1SN (~$190 online)
Further, non-IR domes, such as Hikvision's DS-2CDE20F [link no longer available] (~$130 online) and the Samsung SND-L6013 (~$110 online) sell for substantially less.
Huge Low Light Performance Increase
The M3045's low light performance is drastically better than the previous generation M3005, shown below. The M3005 produces no usable image of the scene at all. The M3045 clearly displays the subject and surroundings, though with few details.
Shown in the comparison below, the M3045-V performed slightly better than the more expensive (~$500 USD) super low light Samsung SNB-6004, though neither produce usable details of the subject or test chart. However, Hikvision's low cost integrated IR 2022 produces far better details than others, with lines 1-3 of the test chart legible and rough subject details.
Better WDR Performance
WDR performance was tested against an open warehouse door and the dark area beside it, seen here:
The M3045-V was one of the best performers in this scene, with solid details of the subject in both the bright and dark areas of the scene. Only the Hikvision 2022WD-I produces better details in the dark area beside the door, but washes out the subject when strongly backlit.
Full Light Image Quality
Finally, we tested full light image quality against others in this interior test scene:
Both Axis cameras provided slightly less clear images than Hikvision and Samsung in this scene, with a slight reduction in facial details.
M3045 vs. M3044
Despite its higher resolution, the 1080p M3045 shows details of the subject similar to the 720p M3044 in full light, with worse details in low light. The M3045 shows more legible lines of the test chart than the M3044 (4 vs. 3), however.
There are two key physical changes to the M3045-V compared to older M30 models:
No Cable Whip
Most notably, the cable whip found in the M3004/3005 has been replaced with an Ethernet jack. This whip was a point of contention, with many integrators strongly opposed, but some preferring it.
Greater Tilt Adjustment
Past M3004 and M3005 models were limited to 54° tilt, requiring that they be wall mounted in many cases, as the camera could simply not look "up" far enough to capture long hallways or other areas (covered in our original M30 shootout). The new M3044/45/46 do not have this limitation, with the gimbal able to tilt up further, near horizontal.
M30 series configuration is nearly identical to past cameras. However, these cameras include true WDR (simply named "wide dynamic range" in the web interface) as well as Zipstream, not found in past models.
WDR controls consist of a single dropdown for on/off, seen below. Other camera settings options have remained essentially unchanged.
For full details on Zipstream configuration, see our Axis Zipstream Test.
The M3045-V had the lowest full light bitrates of cameras tested, less than half that of the Hikvision 2022WD-I. However, the Hikvision camera (due to its integrated IR) had much lower low light bitrates. Note that both of these cameras use Smart CODECs, while the old Axis M3005 and Samsung SNB-6004 do not.
All cameras were tested using default settings unless otherwise specified, with the following applied to all cameras:
- H.264, 10 FPS, ~28 quantization was used
- 1/30s maximum shutter speed
The following firmware versions were used for this test:
- Axis M3045-V: 6.15.1
- Axis M3005-V: 188.8.131.52
- Hikvision DS-2CD2022WD-I: V5.3.0 build 150513
- Samsung SNB-6004: 3.03_150918