Axis Releases 9 New PTZsBy: John Honovich, Published on Dec 17, 2013
Axis has announced 9 new PTZ models. Nine is a lot, but what's new and what's the impact? In this note, we break down the specifics.
While there are 9 models total, there are 3 resolution options ('extended' D1, 720p, and 1080p) with 3 form factor options each (indoor, external and active cooling). Neither the resolution nor form factor options are new. However, a number of features have been added.
New / Improved Features
- Low Light: The new 720p and 1080p versions have improved low light performance. The release claims the 720p model is "nearly three times better than the industry norm for HDTV cameras" though this is vague. Axis clarified to us that these models use similar electronics to Lightfinder cameras but would not be marked as "Lightfinder' because the "F-value in a zoom lens will always make the zoom camera less sensitive than a fixed lens" (note: where fixed cameras routinely have f/1.2 lenses, PTZs more commonly have f/1.6 or higher).
- Built In Analytics: The 1080p model (only) has new built-in analytics including "highlight compensation (which masks bright lights for ease of viewing), object removed, fence detector, object counter and enter/exit detection." This is, in addition to the VMD, autotracking and active gatekeeper in other Q60 PTZes. Axis described the fence detector to us as "a virtual line, if something passes that line, there will be a trigger. This trigger can send an alarm or make the camera pan, tilt and zoom in to the line." Axis says that the plan is to only have these analytics in top of the line models while using ACAP for the rest.
Here is an Axis demonstration of the impact of highlight compensation:
- Extended D1: The new SD models are 'extended D1' Axis notes that, "Normal D1 is 720x480 at 60 Hz or 720x576 at 50 Hz. Axis has succeeded in increasing it to 752x480 at 60 Hz or 736x576 at 50 Hz." It's a minimal increase in pixel count but it could be used as a spec in RFPs to blocks out 'regular' D1.
- Increased Zoom Range: The 720p model (only) has increased zoom range from 20x to 30x. The new version offers both a wider and more telephoto field of view (old - f=4.7-84.6 mm, new - f=4.4-132 mm).
- Other New Features: The new models include electronic digital stabilization, defog, shock detection and H.264 main profile.
Pricing: The price of the new models is the same as the old ones, basically these new features are available at no additional cost.
Overall, the new features are incremental and not terribly novel. Improved low light performance has the most potential. The new built-in analytics are interesting from an Axis positioning perspective as this is the first time they are adding those types of analytics. However, lots of competitors have them already yet do not appear to do well or have much practical use.
Given that it comes with no price increase, those who like Axis, will certainly find value in this release.
The challenge is that this continues Axis recent string of high end incremental advances (e.g., the long range IR camera, the new Q1614 'bells and whistles' camera) that does little to address how much more competitive the low to mid end of the market has become with numerous inexpensive, solid offerings being released this year.