Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout

By Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 20, 2018

Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE.

Which is better?

We bought both and tested them head-to-head.

ir ptz shootout3

Our shootout compared them, answering the following questions:

  • Which provides better low light details?
  • How does range impact image quality?
  • How do low light (~5 lux) and dark scenes (<1 lux) compare?
  • Which tracks focus better in low light?
  • How do bitrates compare?
  • How do they compare in size and weight?
  • Is one easier to install?
  • How does pricing compare?

Readers should also see our detailed individual reports of the Axis Q6125-LE and Hikvision DarkfighterX

*******

*** ********* ************ ***** quality *** ******** ** the **** *****-** ****** with ***** *******:

  • *********** * ****** ** very *** ***** (lux), ***'+:** **** ***** ** very **** ******, *** DarkfighterX *** ******** ******* better ******* ** *** subject *** **** ***** than *** **** *****-** due ** ****** ****** contrast ******** ** ****** objects ******* ***** ***********.
  • **** ****** ** **** low ***** (<200':** ****** *****, *** Q6125-LE ******** ******** ******* with ****** ******** *** clearer **** **** *** DarkfighterX ********* ********** ******, a **** ****** ** combining ***** *** ** images.
  • ********* ** ******** *** light (~* ***):** ******** ******, *** DarkfighterX ****** ******* ******** colors, *** ** ********** overexposed. ** ********, *** Q6125-LE ******** ******* *******, with **** ********, *** is ********** ****, **** no ***** ***********.
  • ********* ****** ******* ******:*** ************ *** ******** clearer ******* ******* ** the ******* ** *** ranges ** **** ********, with *** *****-** ********** soft *** ******** *****, with ************ ** *** test *****.

*******, *** **** *****-** has ***** ********** **** the ************ *** ** other *****:

  • ** ***** ******** ******:*** *****-** ******* ***** better **** ******** ********* subjects, ****** **** *-* seconds ** *****, ***** the ************ ******** **** significant ***** ******, ****** up ** ** ******* or **** ** *** tests.
  • *******, *******, ****** ** install:*******, *** *****-** ** about ** ****** (~***) lighter **** *** ************, and **** *******, **** a ***** **** ******* method ***** ***** ** much ****** *** * single **** ** *******.

Pricing **********

*** **** *****-** ** moderately **** ********* **** the ************ *** ******:

  • **** *****-**: ~$*,*** *** online
  • **-*********-****: ~$*,*** ******

**** **** ******* ****** ships **** * *****, but **** ******* *** injectors.

Hikvision *******

** **** ****, ****-***** scenes (~***' *****), *** DarkfighterX ******** ***** ******* of *** *******, **** 3-4 ***** ** **** legible, ******* ** ***** is ******** ** *** Q6125-LE.

hikvision clearer 1 lux details at long range

Axis *******

** *** **** ***** but ** ********** ***** range (~***' ***** *****), the *****-** ******** ******* images ** *** ******* and **** *****, **** better ******** *** ******* edges **** *** ************ PTZ. *** ******* ** clear **** *-* ******* lines ** **** ** the **** ****** *****, but ********** **** **** only * ******* ******* lines ** **** ** Hikvision.

axis better 1 lux details at near range

Low ***** (~* ***) *********

** ******** *** *****, ~5 *** ***** *****, the ********* ******* *** two ******* *** *****:

  • *** **** *****-** ****** exposes *** ******* *** test *****, **** ***** details ** ****, *** no ***** ***********.
  • ** ********, *** ************ displays ****** ******, *** suffers **** ******** ************, reducing ******* ******** *** washing *** **** ***** text.

*******, **** **** *** subject ** ******* ************ in **** ******.

low light - hikvision color but overexposed - axis even exposure but monochrome

Hikvision ***** ******** ******

****** *******, *** ************ camera *********** *********** ***** issues ******* ** ***** IR **** ******. ** the ******* *****, *** camera ***** ** ***** during *** ****** **** ~15 *******.

** ********, *** *****-** did *** ****** **** severe ***** ****** ***** in ***** ****** ***** tracking ********. ** **** cases *** ****** ******* in **** *-* ******* while ********, **** **** zooming ** **** **** wide.

Hikvision ******* ******* *******

** ******* ******, *** DarkfighterX ****** ******** ******* details **** *** **** Q6125, ***** ********** *********** the ***** *** ******* slightly ****.

hikvision clearer details better exposure at close range

** ****** *****, ********* details ****** ******** (****** notably ******* ******** ** close *****), **** *** Q6125-LE's ******** ********** *** the ***** ********* ******** overexposed.

hikvision clearer details at long range

Axis ***** ******* ******

** ****** **** ***** green ***********, **** ** fields ** ***** **** heavy *******, *** *****-** displayed ******* ****-****** ******, not ******* ** ***** areas **** ** ******* lots (**** *** ******* comparisons *****).

**** ***** ** **** issue ** *** ** a ***** ******* ***** in ******* ******** *** plans ** *** ** in ** ******** *******. In *** ********, ***** balance *** ** ******** significantly ** ******** **** the ******* "*********" **** to "********* *******", ***** improves ***** ********, ****** is ***** ******** ******. "Fixed *******" **** *** also ******* ******, ****** maybe ****** ********, ***** below.

Axis *******/*******

*** *****-** ** ************* smaller **** *** ************ PTZ, ***** *****, *** almost */* *** ****** (6.6 *** **. ~**.*):

Axis ****** *******

******* ** **** ********** in **** *** ******, as **** ** * twist-on ******** *****, *** Q6125 *** ** ********* easily ** *** **** on * ******. ** contrast, *** **** *** weight ** *** ********* model *** **** ************ difficult **** * ****** for *** **********. ** look ** **** ********** in ******** ** **** video:

Axis ***** *** ******* ********

*** **** *****-** ******** a *** ******* **** built-in *** ******, ******* of *** ******** *** only ******** ******** **** most ******* (********* *** DarkfighterX ***).

** ************ ********* ***** optic *****, **** ******* eliminates *** **** ** provide * ******** ***** converter, ~$***-***. *******, ***** not ********, **** ****** a****/**** ***************** ******** ** ******* this *******, *********** *** need *** * ******** weatherproof ********* (**** ***** below).

********* **** *** ***** these *******, ********* ***** to ********** ******** *** find ** ******* ******** for * ***** *********.

axis includes media converter poe injector

Similar *.*** ********

** *** *****, *.*** smart ***** ******** ** the *** ******* **** similar, **** ********* ******** lower, **** *** *** night. ***** ************ **** taken ****** ****** ******** to ******* ****-***** *** movement. ***** ***** ******* driven ** ****** ** on **** *** ****** to *** ******** ********* in ********.

Comments (22)

Whoa whoa whoa!  This doesn't fit the narrative!  Nelly's mind will be blown. 

Seriously though, great detailed report

Great shootout, and thanks for going into install comparison.  Ease of install is always a plus when mounting these heavy PTZ's on the sides of buildings.  

Nice report, but one feature not mentioned of the Axis camera is that you can sell it to government entities in the USA.

feature not mentioned of the Axis camera is that you can sell it to government entities in the USA

(1) You're killing me...

(2) #2 is not from Axis, just for the record.

The design is quite different with the Hikvision unit using a wiper function and the Axis has the bubble. Could you expand on the test with rain or simulated rain on the units? It would be interesting to see if the wiper actually adds some value in rainy or damp conditions.

A question on "Low Light (~5 Lux) Tradeoffs". The T-shirt color on the Axis is inverted. T-shirt looks white and the IPVM logo is black. But other dark details remain dark?

 

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "other dark details remain dark?", can you explain? The Axis camera is in monochrome mode with IR on (it switched automatically even at 2-3 lux), and the DarkfighterX is in day mode, displaying color, which is its default setting.

I'm sorry that my question is not clear.

The subjects black T-shirt turns white and the logo turns black.

The subjects beard and eyebrows stays dark an his face stays white.

Why does not the T-shirt stay black also in monochrome/IR mode?

IR reflectiveness of the clothing vs absorptive properties of his facial hair. A lot of clothing is IR reflective which manifests as bright white under IR light, regardless of it's color under white light.

This is the main reason I no longer advocate IR at night and push for things like Hik Darkfighter or ColorVu; if you need to positively identify a subject at night, IR can lie about the real colors of their clothing. The technology has finally arrived and Hik is leading the pack with ColorVu, which is somewhat unfortunate given all their corporate/political problems but fortunate from a price vs performance perspective, assuming you can and/or will use them.

Looking forward to the rapid focus test! We are very happy with these so far.

Congrats to Hackvision on their entry into the "ugliest camera I have ever seen" sweepstakes. 

Too bad I can only click unhelpful once. This adds nothing but subjectivity.

Wow the size of that .... Surely you have to look at how much power each units drawings and do the maths over the installation life cycle I would the savings on the Axis model is considerable ?

Power consumption is one of the things Axis has marketed about the Q6125-LE. It has a max consumption spec of 25W and can run on standard 802.3at. By contrast, the DarkfighterX ships with a 60W PoE midspan and is specified for a max consumption of 60W. 

We didn't measure consumption in our tests. We could easily measure power in normal conditions, but until it gets cold and heaters start to kick on it won't have very accurate "maximum" measurements.

Does no one in the office have a refrigerator? The Hik probably won't fit in an office-sized personal fridge, but the Axis will.

Speaking of real-world situations, how about testing both with hazy/dusty domes/lenses at night to see if the Axis has IR "ghosting" problems.

From my perspective, this is a non-starter.  The PTZ market has, for the most part, and with minor exceptions, been whittled down to major accounts with major properties and who have full time guards on staff and........government. (Government applications being the majority when comparing the two).  As nice as it was to see the comparison, at the end of the day, Hikvision loses on a good chunk of the PTZ market by default, no?

As nice as it was to see the comparison, at the end of the day, Hikvision loses on a good chunk of the PTZ market by default, no?

People read IPVM from around the world so yes for the US but no in many other countries.

Looks like Axis needs to get with it. There is no way they can claim superiority if they continue to allow low-cost manufacturers to produce products with aspects of better performance at lower price points. Yes, it's easy to install. That's a plus...once. 

I agree with much of your comment but I'd disagree that it's only a plus once. The Axis camera is 6.6 pounds. The DarkfighterX is 17.7. It's simply easier to bring up a ladder and get into position. Once there, the Axis mounts take the weight of the camera once you twist the three posts into position, and you can screw it down without having to support its weight. On Hikvision models you have to hinge them onto the cap of the mount, which can be a little tricky due to the angle and the weight of the camera, then hold the camera up while you screw it on. 

The Hikvision install process will get a little easier with time, but the Axis process is just plain simpler and the camera is dramatically lighter.

its worth mentioning, another + axis markets on this PTZ- is that it can Tilt/look up more than other PTZs due to its sphere "dome" shape (ie it can almost look at the sky when mounted via a parapet mount, for example) - bad example, but hopefully my point gets across.

Great report as usual (i love the time/work IPVM puts into their graphics/animated GIFs / videos!).

Also would like to see tests of moving subjects, when the ptz is stationary (ie to see any motion blur / low light issues) as that is a real-world scenario

How often do you need to monitor the sky??

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