Testing Axis' 1/2" Q1635 Camera

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 23, 2015

Low light performance continues to improve, first driven by advances in image processing and now increasing number of 1/2" imagers in 1080p HD cameras.

IPVM has recently tested new super low light, super low cost offerings from Hikvision and Dahua, and in this report we see how Axis' 1/2" Lightfinder model, the Q1635, stacks up.

We tested it against other large imager super low light models from Dahua, Hikvision, and Samsung, and past 1/3" low light leaders from Axis and Samsung in multiple scenes, including outdoor low light scenes including a dark field area (left) and a moderately lit parking lot (left):

Along with these scenes, we checked bandwidth, configuration, and other factors to see how it compares to these low cost leaders and others.

*** ***** *********** ********* ** *******, ***** ****** ** ******** in ***** ********** *** *** ********** ****** ** */*" ******* in ***** ** *******.

**** *** ******** ****** *** ***** *** *****, ***** *** cost ********* *********************, *** ** **** ****** ** *** *** ****' */*" Lightfinder *****, *** *****, ****** **.

** ****** ** ******* ***** ***** ****** ***** *** ***** models **** *****, *********, *** *******, *** **** */*" *** light ******* **** **** *** ******* ** ******** ******, ********* outdoor *** ***** ****** ********* * **** ***** **** (****) and * ********** *** ******* *** (****):

***** **** ***** ******, ** ******* *********, *************, *** ***** factors ** *** *** ** ******** ** ***** *** **** leaders *** ******.

[***************]

*******

*** ***** ******** ******* ******* ** ***** */*" ***** *** light ****** ** ***** **** *********** ********** ** ******* ** these ****** (*** ** *********), ***** ************* **** ********* **** ***** ***** *** ***** models.

*******, ** ******** ****** ****** **** ***** */*" ****** ******, which *** **** ** **** ******** ** **** *** ***** (below *.* ***), ***** ******* *** *** ********, **** *********. Those ******* *** **** ********* ******* ** ***** ****** *** likely ****** ****** ** ********* ** ***** */*" ******.

*** ***** ******* ** **** ** *** **** **** *** requiring *** ******** **** *** ***** (***-**) ***********, *** ***** offers ****** ******* **** *** ***** **** ***** ** **** tested.

*************, *** ********* **** ** ******** **** ***** *** ***** performance, ****** ********* *** ************* ****** ******* ** *** **** to *****, ********* *** *******.

Notable ***** ********

*** ********* *********** **** ******** *** ******* ********* ******, ****** introduced ********** ******** ** *** ***** **** ***** *** **.** Hikvision ******* ****, ******** ******* ** *** ****** ** ***** cameras.

*** */*" ***** ********* ************* ****** **** *** */*" *********** model, *** *****, ** *** ***** ****** ***** **** **** dark (

*** *****, *** ** ********* ********, *** ** *** *** lowest ******** ** *** */*" ***** *** ***** ******, ***** 1 **/* ** ~*.** ***. ********* *** ***** ******** *-** the *********.

*******

*** **** ***** ***** ***~$*,*** *** ******, ********* * ***** **.* ****.

**** ******* ** ************* ****** **** **** */*" ******, **** as *****, *********, *** *******, **** ** **** **** ****** such ** *** ***-*****, ****'* */*" **********.

Physical ********

**** ***** ******* *** ******** ************ ** *** *****. **** that ********/******** ******** *** ****** ********* ** *** *****, **** the ***** *********** ***** *** ****** ****** *** ************* **** (F1.6 *-***** **** ******* ****). **** **** ** ****** ** large ** *********'* **.** ******* ****, **** ****** **** ******** lenses.

*** ***** *** ***** **** ******* ******** ********** ********, **** as ***** *************, ***** *********, ******** **********, ***.,******** ** *** **** ** *** *****.

*** ***** ***** ***** *** ******** **** ** *** *****'* image ****** (*/*") ******** ** *** *****, ********** *******.

Hikvision **.** **** *******

******* *** ****** ** *** *********** ***** **** ***** ** noticeable ******** ** *** ***** *** ****** ***** ** *** Hikvision *********** ****** **** *** **.** ****. ** ****** **** lens ** *** **** ***** ** *** ** **** ******** was *******, *** **** *****, ******* *** **** **** ** the ********* **** ** *** ** ****** **** *******.

** *** ***** (~*.* ***), ** ***** **** ******* ** our **** *****, ** **** ** *** ***** ** *** chart ****** **** **** ******* **** ***** *** ********* ****. Using *** **** **.* **** ** *** ********* ******, *** scene *******, *** ***** *** *******. **** ******* ** ** overall ******** ***** ***** *** ********* ******/****, *** ****** ** no ******** ** ****** *******, ** **** *** ****** *** no **** ***********.

Open ***** *******

** ****** *** ******* ** *** **** ***** ******* ******, first ******* ****** *** **** ** * ********/**** *****, ***** ~0.01 **. ** ******* ****** **** *** ******** **** ****** on.

** **** *****, *** ***** *** ****** **** ***** */*" imager ****** ******, ****** ******* ********* *** ******* ******* *** to *** ********* ***** ** ***** ******* *** ******** ** the ********* ****. ** ** ******* ******** **** *** */*" Q1615, ***** ******** ** ***** ** *** *******.

******** ***, *** ***** ** ~**. ******* *** ******* ****, with **** ******, ********* *********, *** ****** ******* *********** *******.

***** *** *****

******* ******* **** ***** **** ** *****, *********** ********* ** all ******* *** *** ********* *********** *****. ** **** ******, the ********* ***** ********** ***** *** *******'* ******* ******* ******* the ***** ***** **********.

Parking *** *******

**** ** ****** *** ******* ** * *** ******* ***, ~0.3lx ** ******, ********** ******, **** ****:

*** ** *** ********** ****** ******** ** **** *****, *********** of *** ******* ** ******, **** *** ******* *** ***** easily ************ ** *** ******* ** * ~**' ****.

****** *********** ****** **** ********** **** *** *** ** ******* to ~**', ****** ******** *********** ** ***** **** ****** **** in ***** ***** ******. ** **** *****, **** *** **** cameras ** *** **** *** *** *****, ***** *** ***** cameras ****** ***, ** ******* ******, **** *** */*" ******* SNB-6005 ***** *****.

***** *** *****

******* *** ******* **** ***** ****, *********** ** ******* ** monochrome. ****** ** **** ***** **** *** ** ********** ** in *** ***** *****, **** *** ***** ***** **********. **** objects **** *****, *****, *****, ***., ** **** ***.

Indoor ***********

*******, ** ~*.** ***, ******* *** *******. ********* *********** ******** the ******** ****** ** **** *****, ******** ** *** ***** starlight *****. **** ** *** ***** ******* ******** ****** ******* of *** **** *******.

** **** *** *****, ***** ~*.** ***, **** *** ********* and ***** ******* ******* ****** ** ***.

Bandwidth ***********

*** ***** *** *** ****** *** ***** ******** ** *** camera ** **** ****, *** ** *********, ********* **** **** 1 **/* ** **** ~*.* *** *** ~*.** ***. *** next ****** */*" ***** *** ***** ***** *** *** ********* DarkFighter ****, ***** ******** ***** *.***+ ***** ***** (******* ** Zipstream). **** **** **** ******* ****** ****** ************ ** **** low *****, ****** *** ******* ** ***** **** (~** **/* and ** **/* ** *** **** *** ****, ************).

Test **********

******* **** ****** ***** ******* ********, **** *** ********* ******** applied ** *** *******:

  • ******* ***** *** *** ** * ******* ** */***
  • *.*** **** *******, ** ***, ~** ************ *** ****

*** ********* ********/******** ******** **** ****:

  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • ***** ***-*******: *.***.******* **.*.*, *****: ****-**-**
  • ********* **-***********-*: **.*.*
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********
  • ***********: *.*.*.*****

Comments (19)

[Note: Poster is from Raytec Canada, an external illuminator manufacturer]

all the images suck, this clearly defines the fact that outdoors in a very low light scene every camera requires light, be it IR or White light! no one should accept these images, even in the context of price as a driver.

"all the images suck"

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

That said, a few years ago, even in moderately dark conditions, most surveillance cameras where pitch black. It's gone from that to an image showing quite a bit of details.

Paolo, you wouldn't happen to be the same Paolo Polano from RAYTEC Canada by any chance?

If so, now I can see where you're coming from when you say

this clearly defines the fact that outdoors in a very low light scene every camera requires light, be it IR or White light!

and

no one should accept these images

and of course

all the images suck

Next time, maybe mention it up front or try a little subtlety at least?

I did not hide my name like you. at the end of the day I stand by what I said. quality images need light, plain and simple.

if you do not agree that is fine also.

Paolo, IPVM requires disclosing relevant affiliations when criticizing or advocating products. I've added that to your original comment.

I also think the tone of your comment and failure to disclose up front is a blemish on Raytec and I'd advise you to review this tactic with David Lambert.

I'd advise you to review this tactic with David Lambert.

Good call. He's got quite lot of experience with it himself. ;)

Let's let bygones be bygones, ok? :)

Anyway, there's a new discussion needing your input:

Does Your IR Illumination Advertise Your Blind Spots To Criminals?

IR is OK but lack of color information, where the low light cameras could help a lot expecially in moderately dark conditions with low speed objects. For most CCTV Customers, color information is always valuable.

This image, taken at 0.05 lux does not suck. Nor is it washed out like IR can do.

BTW, No one is accepting these cameras because of price, they are the more expensive models from every manufacturer.

Its odd that you would be so disappointed in these images anyway since, as John pointed out they were far worse just recently.

Maybe another f-stop or two will help you see the light? ;)

On second look, I have to agree; these images wouldn't be hurt by a little external illumination.

And, come to think of it my Axton Smart-AT has never let me down, illuminating my courtyard in a way an integrated IR camera would be jealous of.

Just a tip also, you might automatically think that IR illumination = RAYTEC, but there are other choices and possibly better values out there, especially when your customer can't stomach spending more on LEDS than the camera!

I have had terrific success with Sony cameras in low light scenarios, and given that the SNC-VB635 compares identically to Axis' 1635 MSRP-wise, I'd love to see how it compares.

Thank you, this was very interesting!

In very low light, below ~0.01 lux, only the Hikvision and Dahua cameras produce images at all.

Well, there you have it!

With the latest and greatest low-light technology available on the market, ~0.01 lux images are at the very edge of usability.

Shame on all the manufacturers touting .001 and .0001 lux, what are they smoking?

It would be interesting to see a test of low light cameras on moving vehicles to see if license plates can be read both approaching a camera and leaving a camera. We have 4 Axis 1765LE cameras and we had to narrow down the FoV quite a bit and adjust other settings to be able to read a license plate at night. We had issues with washout and blurring but after some adjustment we can read probably about 70% of plates although the image is very dark. It would be good so see what other cameras can do. Once the light goes below a certain level night mode kicks in and it zooms into a predefined area. The image gets pretty dark, but the plates can be read. If we did not do that we had a very good color image of the overall scene, but had zero chance of reading plates.

Larry,

For sure, the shutter speed would need to be shorter / faster in that scenario. We test with 1/30s shutter but with a moving vehicle, getting a clear plate would require 1/100s or 1/200s, etc. (depending on just how fast it is). And with the faster shutter speed, that means less light and a darker image.

To that end, at night, you really need IR for getting license plates on moving vehicles. Related: License Plate Shootout

John,

Yeah, we are using IR and we adjusted the shutter speed faster which would cause less light. I will look at the shoot out.

Paulo, not every scene/situation permits active illumination. In some real-world situations, active illumination is tactically unsound and may be lethal. Please do not assume that your perspective, experience, or professional self-interest encompasses everyone else's needs.

IPVM is one of the few groups performing objective camera comparison tests, especially those at the fringe of usability. Their work has been tremendously helpful in characterizing total system performance, insuring graceful video system degradation, establishing worst-case performance, and documenting relative performance differences between camera generations/performance evolution.

How does the Axis Q-Series':

-Lightfinder

-WDR

-bandwidth/Zipstream findings

Match up against Sony's EM/VM series?

We haven't tested the 1/2" Sony VB model, so I'm not sure how it compares to the Axis Q1635, but:

The Sony VB630 was moderately better in low light than the Axis Q1615, both 1/3" 1080p models.

Sony's WDR was similar to Axis' Forensic Capture (their latest WDR variant).

Bandwidth isn't a competition anymore. Axis wins with Zipstream. As would a lot of smart CODEC cameras vs. cameras without. Sony introduced what they call "Intelligent Coding" in their 4K model but I don't think that's filtered to the rest of the line yet.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Axis IR Multi Imager Camera Tested (P3717-PLE) on Feb 18, 2019
Axis has released their first IR multi imager, the P3717-PLE, a repositionable model listing 360┬░ IR illumination and flexible positioning,...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
Bandwidth vs Low Light Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Geovision, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Feb 08, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance, but do all manufacturers' cameras perform the same? Are some more consistent...
Sony Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 06, 2019
Sony Favorability amongst integrators improved moderately compared to their 2017 favorability results, with a modest net positive...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Jan 28, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Camera Course Winter 2019 - Last Chance on Jan 24, 2019
This is the last chance to register for the Winter 2019 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Testing Bandwidth vs. Frame Rate on Jan 23, 2019
Selecting frame rate has a major impact on surveillance bandwidth and storage consumption. But with smart codecs now common and cameras more...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...

Most Recent Industry Reports

UTC Interlogix Series 6 Tested on Mar 25, 2019
UTC Interlogix has long been deceptively OEMing Hikvision as our 2017 results show. Now, Interlogix is back with their newest IP camera series,...
Outdoor Camera Installation Guide on Mar 25, 2019
Outdoor camera installation can be fraught with problems. Creating a sturdy and weather tight mount is key for camera performance and longevity,...
Favorite Video Storage / Server Manufacturers 2019 on Mar 25, 2019
189 integrators answered this question: "What is your favorite storage device / server manufacturer for recording video? Why?" In general...
IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...
Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...

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