Axis 33MP Camera Tested (Q3709)

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 30, 2015

In 2012, Axis declared the megapixel race over.

Now, Axis has released a 33MP camera, the Q3709-PVE, one of the highest resolution cameras in the entire industry.

This release also is a major marker in the new race for multi-imager cameras, a high growth segment of the industry.

We bought a Q3709 and put it up against Arecont's SurroundVideo and Pelco Optera to see how it performs in full light and low light in the wide outdoor FOV shown below, along with VMS integration, bandwidth performance, and more.

Inside, we see how Axis stacks up and what impact this new camera will have on Arecont's historic dominance of the multi-imager space.

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Key ********

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Physical ********

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Configuration ********

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VMS ***********

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Test **********

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Comments (30)

Since it uses 3 different IP addresses, does the Axis camera require 3 separate camera connection licenses in Exacq?

Yes, Ethan demonstrates that at ~1:15 of the configuration video, copied below:

I couldn't get that video to load on the main page for some reason. Wow, that will add significant cost to using the Axis camera as compared to the Arecont which usually only requires a single license.

Besides adding as individual streams/channels, what type of special VMS integration/stitching/dewarping is available for this camera?

This Q3709 is not intended to stitch or dewarp. It's just 3 separate video streams coming from the same camera housing/unit. Theoretically, a VMS could stitch it on its own, if it supported such functionality, but that's not part of the camera.

Yes, would be a nice feature on the VMS side.

I currently have one of these and am using it with Genetec. While it does come in as 3 different cameras, it only uses ONE license, which is nice. We have been very happy with it so far in testing. We are going to hang it on a football stadium in the next little while.

Casey, thanks for pointing that out. I just checked again and it does indeed use only one camera license in Genetec. It must be added three separate times (once for each imager), but shows only one channel license in use for those three. I've made a note of it in the report.

It's good to see that at least Axis' marketing dept has caught up with Pelco's:

Promised:

Delivered:

It actually can look like the top picture. Exposure is set separately for each sensor. If you were to put the exposure zone on the parking lot and eliminate the sky from the zone they would all mesh together really well. We had the same problem with some over head lights.

NOTE** I'm not an axis salesman ;) That is just something I observed while setting ours up.

This is true. Generally on multi imager cameras I would not recommended changing exposure per imager, though. Unless you have a really, really clear idea of what your scene will look like at various times, which probably means observing it for days, setting exposure could end up unexpectedly making one imager bright or dark when it's not desired.

The hockey rink looks pretty, but it's not representative of a lot of scenes.

That's a good point. I didn't really think of this since it was indoor with set overhead lights.

Hi Ethan,

Any testing done with the Q3709 in a near field application? I'm particularly curious about loss of focus in the 10 ft range, I see these lenses are fixed focus.

Thanks!

If I received this camera it would be rma'd before the day was over.

Why? Two main reasons.

  1. The asymmetrical angle difference. I might overlook the odd angle of the left and right imagers compared to the center, but why are they not at least symmetric? The one on the left seems considerably more off-kilter than the right? Is that the way it should be?
  2. The left and right imagers are at least a full click (if not more) darker than the center. Is that really the type of manufacturing tolerance we are supposed to be paying top dollar for? Why should I care what the f/stop of the lens is if the sensitivity between imagers is so great?

I'd put the lemon back in its crate.

The left and right imagers are showing sky, which is why their auto exposure adjusted differently and they ended up darker. It was a cloudy day, but the sun was still there behind the clouds.

Like Casey pointed out above, an exposure zone could be set to exclude those areas. We generally (and by generally I mean almost never) do not set exposure zones outside of default, which is typically the full screen.

Thanks for the explanation, I had the sound down in the video. :(

So there is no way to just set all sensors to use the same gain/ss based on the levels across the FOV taken as a whole? Like a single sensor panoramic?

So do the imagers go in and come out of day/night one by one?

Why does the angle in left imager, in the picture I reposted, look much steeper than the right one?

There's no way to set a global AE that I know of. Arecont allows you to use one sensor as a reference, but Axis doesn't have that setting.

As for day/night, when one imager switches, they all do. Regardless of which one it is.

As far as the angle, I don't see much of a difference in angle. I actually got out my protractor for a second and the lines on the parking lot are roughly 30 degrees on both sides and the horizon is about 15 on both sides.

I've added a section on VMS licensing to the report. Genetec requires only one. Milestone and Exacq both show three licenses required on their supported devices page, which we confirmed. Avigilon doesn't list it as supported.

Wow, I have never see the Arecont product being tested at night before. Aside from the usual jokes about flipped images, stuck IR filters and such that is a very compressed, noisy image. Is this product an older one?

No, it is an Omni, which is their newest 12MP multi-imager. That's actually improved over past generations which was horrific.

Arecont does have a new 'super low light' multi-imager but its only 5MP total, with (4) 1.3MP imagers in a single housing. Surely that is going to be better in low light but 5MP is fairly low resolution in 2015. Related: Arecont G5 Multi-Imager Release Issues

I agree... Wow. I spec'd this Arecont for a project next year. It will not work for the application. I'll have to rethink it when the project is released and see where the technology sits. The license issue doesn't bother me in this application. Did you get an answer why they decided on three IP's? Something marketing?

I have to imagine they are functioning as separate cameras with separate processing. 33 MP is a heck of a lot to process and still allow for additional head room.

I'm sure that's true, but I don't think that has anything to do with why they need three separate IPs. If other people are doing it, considering it one IP on four imagers with four streams, why can't they?

As much as Arecont is maligned around here, they have the right idea when it comes to sensor adjustability.

I can't imagine shelling out this kind of money for a multi-imager with fixed positioning of sensors.

In Pelco's case it is more understandable since they are doing stitching and have to know the relative positioning in order to do it successfully.

Arecont's 180 models continue to outsell the Omni and 360 models, from what we're told. There are a lot of cases where you know you want to cover 180 and don't need to adjust sensors. Getting a repositionable model and setting it up for 180 is a step you don't need to take. Setting FOV on an Arecont Omni is at least a 10-15 minute process by the time you get done fixing the imager you just bumped setting the next one, refocusing M12 lenses because they got bumped when trying to set the angle, etc.

There are a lot of cases where you know you want to cover 180 and don't need to adjust sensors.

Sounds like the same argument used for fixed vs. varifocal lenses. If you know what you need, why pay more, right?

Though in general, I like to hedge my bets since people change their minds, or they buy new cameras etc, and the flexibility will be helpful.

In this case, I would say that goes double for two reason

  1. The higher price
  2. The difficulty in envisioning the actual FOVs before having one on-site because of the geometry

What is the AOV exactly anyway of this camera?

Feedback from Axis:

  • Upcoming firmware to be released ~Jan 1, 2016 will improve image quality. We will add an update when that is available. Axis has not explained how much or what improvement they expect.
  • Many Axis customers have requested larger vertical FoVs.
  • To deliver that resolution and frame rate combination (33MP/15fps) requires 3 CPUs. To achieve one IP address is then a challenge that typically involves one more CPU component and complex firmware development. For this release we decided to go with the same solution as we have in our high-performing multi-channel encoders, that is, multiple IP addresses (CPU’s). However, we are working on simpler licensing in the future.

Also, Axis mentioned one new firmware release in the last few days with an improvement for 3x5MP capture mode. However, since that relatively low resolution mode was not part of our test, it does not impact our analysis. As noted above, the next firmware release includes image quality improvements for all resolutions.

What is the vertical FoV exactly? I'm not seeing it anywhere. Am I just missing it?

45° VFoV I believe, calculating it from data given, i.e., 60° horizontal, 3840 x 2880 resolution (60/x = 3840/2880, x=45).

Along with the 3x 4K streams, what additional secondary streams can be generated?

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