Axis M50 Low Cost HD PTZ Examined

By John Honovich, Published Mar 11, 2011, 07:00pm EST

In this note, we examine the features, pricing and positioning of the newly announced Axis M50 small form factor PTZ / HD PTZ line. We think this series (particularly the HD model) will be very attractive given its low price point, lack of competitive options in its niche and more desirable aesthetic properties.

Let's start with a review of the key details of the line:

  • Two models: M5014 [link no longer available] - 720p HD, MSRP $599 USD and M5013 - SVGA, MSRP $499 USD
  • Relatively tiny form factor (see sample M50 picture) - looks more like a fixed dome camera than the turret form factor common with low cost PTZs
  • No optical zoom - it's more of an 'ePTZ' than a true PTZ
  • Pan Range: +- 180 degrees with a mechanical stop - the PTZ can see in any horizontal direction but cannot keep rotating endlessly
  • Tilt Range: 90 degrees - the PTZ can tilt straight down but not back across the other side
  • Supports on-board storage and microphone only audio (listening but no talk back)

Key competitive differences to note:

  • The form factor will be much more attractive than traditional low cost PTZs. The M50 is significantly more discreet as its is far smaller and less obvious where the camera is aimed.
  • Low cost HD PTZs are still quite rare. While there are dozens of low cost PTZs, almost all of them are SD and with the bulkier turret form factor.
  • The premium over HD fixed cameras is fairly modest. For instance, it is $200 more than the Axis M1054, an HD cube camera and only $100 more than the Axis M3014, a small form factor HD fixed dome.

The main practical risk we see is overextending the use of the camera. Since it has no optical zoom and is color only (i.e. no mechanical cut filter), users should be careful about trying to monitor large or dark areas.

Below is Axis's promotional video for the line. While it does show the product, it is light on details and heavy on story telling:

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