Axis vs. Sony HD Shootout

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Jul 02, 2011

When deciding on camera selection, one of the toughest decisions is determining which camera has better image quality. You can try to guess based on certain image features but it is an inexact science as 'good' marketing can cause confusion. You might choose on the strength of the brand name but that is becoming more difficult as major surveillance brands are offering multiple tiers or quality levels of products (e.g., how good is the big brand's entry level camera?)

In this report, we share our findings from a shootout of two of the biggest brands in the surveillance camera market: Axis and Sony. The focus was to see what image quality differences truly existed across a variety of real world scenes.

We used the following five cameras (listed in order from lowest to highest price):

Note: all cameras ship with varifocal lens and were tested with the lens included as part of the camera package. For both manufacturers, we included both their 'lower' and 'higher' end series as well as Axis's 5MP - the highest resolution offering of either brand.

We tested all of these cameras simultaneously in several scenarios, encompassing a wide variety of real-world surveillance environments (e.g. indoors, outdoors, evenly-lit, low-light, and WDR scenes).

Analyzing Video Quality

We analyzed a series of scenes to see how performance varied across the cameras. We exported the simultaneous recordings and then digitally zoomed each camera to the same level to show differences. The sample comparison below from this test shows an example of the analysis (camera names/models revealed inside the Pro section):

We conducted our analysis across 10 scenes. They are:

  • Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • Indoor Even Artificial Lighting (Narrow FoV)
  • Indoor Low-Light (Default)
  • Indoor Low-Light (Normalized)
  • Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Daytime Even Lighting (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Nighttime (Wide FoV)
  • Outdoor Nighttime (Moderately Wide FoV)
  • WDR Scene (Bright)
  • WDR Scene (Dark)

Additionally, we examined bandwidth differences across the cameras and scenes to see any tradeoffs in bandwidth vs quality.

This is the first manufacturer vs manufacturer shootout. Based on reader interest, we will consider doing others. Topics that we are considering include: Axis vs Arecont, Sony vs Panasonic, ACTi vs Vivotek, etc.

**** ******** ** ****** *********, *** ** *** ******** ********* is *********** ***** ****** *** ****** ***** *******. *** *** try ** ***** ***** ** ******* ***** ******** *** ** is ** ******* ******* ** '****' ********* *** ***** *********. You ***** ****** ** *** ******** ** *** ***** **** but **** ** ******** **** ********* ** ***** ************ ****** are ******** ******** ***** ** ******* ****** ** ******** (*.*., how **** ** *** *** *****'* ***** ***** ******?)

** **** ******, ** ***** *** ******** **** * ******** of *** ** *** ******* ****** ** *** ************ ****** market: **** *** ****. *** ***** *** ** *** **** image ******* *********** ***** ******* ****** * ******* ** **** world ******.

** **** *** ********* **** ******* (****** ** ***** **** lowest ** ******* *****):

****: *** ******* **** **** ********* **** *** **** ****** with *** **** ******** ** **** ** *** ****** *******. For **** *************, ** ******** **** ***** '*****' *** '******' end ****** ** **** ** ****'* *** - *** ******* resolution ******** ** ****** *****.

** ****** *** ** ***** ******* ************** ** ******* *********, encompassing * **** ******* ** ****-***** ************ ************ (*.*. *******, outdoors, ******-***, ***-*****, *** *** ******).

Analyzing ***** *******

** ******** * ****** ** ****** ** *** *** *********** varied ****** *** *******. ** ******** *** ************ ********** *** then ********* ****** **** ****** ** *** **** ***** ** show ***********. *** ****** ********** ***** **** **** **** ***** an ******* ** *** ******** (****** *****/****** ******** ****** *** Pro *******):

** ********* *** ******** ****** ** ******. **** ***:

  • ****** **** ********** ******** (********** **** ***)
  • ****** **** ********** ******** (****** ***)
  • ****** ***-***** (*******)
  • ****** ***-***** (**********)
  • ******* ******* **** ******** (**** ***)
  • ******* ******* **** ******** (********** **** ***)
  • ******* ********* (**** ***)
  • ******* ********* (********** **** ***)
  • *** ***** (******)
  • *** ***** (****)

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

**** ** *** ***** ************ ** ************ ********. ***** ** reader ********, ** **** ******** ***** ******. ****** **** ** are *********** *******: **** ** *******, **** ** *********, **** vs *******, ***.

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

*******

**** ****** ******* ** ***** ******* *********. ***** *** ******* other ********* ******* - *************, ******* ****, ******* *********, *** - ** ******** ** ** ******. ***** *** ****** ** discern ******* ******* *** *** ****** *** ** **** ******* the ****** ** ***** *******.

* *** ********** *********** ** **** ** ****:

  • *** *************: **** **** *** ********'* ******** ******* ***** **** is **** *** *** ** *********
  • ******** ******* ****: **** *** * ******* ****** ** ******** software ******* **** **** ****
  • ******** ******* ****: ******* ******* ****** *** ******
  • *******: **** **** * *********** ******** ******* ***** **** **** a **** ** *******

**** **** *****, *** ** ***** ** *** ***** ******* tradeoffs.

Key ******** *** ***************

**** *** *** *** ***** ******* *** ********* ********:

  • **** *******: *** *** **** ***** *** *** **** **** ***** provided *** **** ******* ***** ******* ****** *** ******, ******* similar ** *** ******* *** ******** ** *** ***** * cameras ******. ***** *** ************* ***** ***** ** *** **** CH140, *** ***** *********** ** **********.
  • *** ***** ****: *** **** *****'* ***** ******* ******** ********** **** ******* than *** **** ***** ****** *** ****** ******. ***** *** similar *****, *** **** *****'* ***** ******* ******** * ******** advantage.
  • ****** ****: ** ****** ******, *** ********** ** ***** ******* ******* the ***** *** ****** *** ******* *** ******. ** *****, the **** ***** ********* ********** ****** **** *** **** *****.
  • ******* ****: *** **** ***** ******** ****** ********* ** ***** ******* at ***** **** ********. *** **** ***** *** * ***** second. ***** *** *********** ***** *********, ********* ****** ** ***** on *** ***** ** ****** ********* ** ********.
  • **** ****: ***** *** ********, **** * ****** ******* ************ **** Sony's. *******, ****'* ******* *** ******* ***** ** ***% ****** than ****'*. **** ********** (** */***), **** ***** ******* *** moderately ******.
  • *** ******: *** **** ***** ******** *** **** *********** ******* ****** strong ******** ****** ******** ** *** ******* (**** *** **** P1347 ********** *** **** ******* ******).
  • ********* ****: **** ********* *********** *** ********** ***** **** **** ********* due ** ****'* ******* ** *** ****** ****'* *** *********.

*******, **** ****** ***** ******* *** ****** **** **** *******, even ********* ** ********* ** *******. ** *** ***** ****, in **** ******, ** ***** ********** *** *********** ** ******.

**********, ******** ****** ****** ****** ** **** ***** ******* ******** and ********** ********* (*************, ******* ****, ******* *********, ***.)

Indoor **** ********** ******** (********** **** ***)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ** * **** ** ~****. *** ***** ** *********** via ********** ******** *** ** ****** *********** (~*** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** ******* ******* ****** ****** ****** ** ****** ****** *** a ********** **** ********** ** **************. *** ***** ** *** weakest ********* ** *** ***, **** ******* **** *******. ** general *** **** ******* ****** ** ******* ********** ********* *** contrast ****** *** **** *******. *** *** **** ***** **** not **** ** ******* *** **** ********** **** *** ******** performing **** ******* (***** *** *****) ***** ***** **********.

Indoor **** ********** ******** (******)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ** * **** ** ~****. *** ***** ** *********** via ********** ******** *** ** ****** *********** (~*** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*********** ** ******* ******** *** *******, ********** ***** *** ******** narrow ***. **** *** ***** *** ***** ******* ******** ******* images ****** ***** ****** **** ************, *** ***** *** *****, respectively. *** **** *****, ********* ** *** *** **** ** the *****. ******* ****** ******* ******* *********** ******* **** *** Sony, ******* ******* *********** ***** **** **** *********** ** ************** being ********* ****** *** *****.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

***** **** ***** ******** **********, ****'* *** ********* ******** **** bandwidth **** ****'* ***.

Indoor ***-***** (*******)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** ** * ***** subject ** * **** ** ~****. *** ***** ** '****' with *********** ** ******** (~*.* ***). *** ******* *** *** to ******* ******** (**** *** */** ********, **** *** */*** exposure). **** **** *** ***** ** ***** ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

***** * */** *** ******** *******, *** **** ******* ******* moderately ****** ******* ***** *******. *** **** ******* ******* ** 1/30s *** ******** ***** *** ****** ** ********** ****** ******. Indeed, **** **** ******* ******* ****** ****** ******* ** * silhouette. ** ********, **** ******** * ******* ** **** ***** details **** *** ******** ******, *****, **** ** ***** ***.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

*** ******** ***-***** '***********' ** *** ***** ******* ** * large ***** ** ********* (~******), ************ ****** **** *** ** the ***** ******* (***. ~*.*****). **** ****** ** **** ** the ********** ** ******* ****-******** *** * ********** *** ******** across *** **** *******. ** ********, *** **** ******* **** max ******* ******* ** */*** ****** ***** *** ** **** do *** ******* *** **** **** *** ****** **** ** do *** **** *******.

Indoor ***-***** (**********)

** **** ********, ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ** * **** ** ~****. *** ***** ** '****' with *********** ** ******** (~*.* ***). ******* **** **** ********** to * */*** ******* *****. **** **** *** ***** ** color ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** **** ************* ** * */*** ******* ******** ****** ** in ******, **** ******** ****** **** **** ******* **** **** in **** ***********. *** ****** ***** ** **** ****** **** become ************ ****, *** ***** ****** ******* ** **** *****. It *** ** ****** ******** ******** **** ***** ******* **** the **** ******* ******* * ****** **** ***-***** ***********.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

***** *********** ** */*** *** ******* *****, ****' ***** ******* 'collapsed' ** *********** '*********' ******. *** ****** ** **** ********* does *** ***** ** ** ********* *** **** **** ***** cameras (*.*., *******) ** ******* **********. **** **** *** **** shutter ***** **** *** **** ** ** *** '*******' ****, so ** ******* **** ******** ** ****** ********* ** ******* quality ****-**************.

Outdoor ******* (**** ***)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ******* *** ***** *** ** ****** distributed (~**,*** ** **,*** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** *** **** ***** ******** **** ****** **** *** ** the ***** *******. ** ****, *** *** *************** ***** ******* to ** *** ****** ********** ** *** **** ** *** field *** *** **** *******. ********, ***** **** ****** *********** the **** ******* *** ******* ** *********** ********** ***** ** utility.

Outdoor ******* (********** **** ***)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ** * **** ** ~****. *** ***** ** *********** via ******* *** ***** *** ** ****** *********** (~**,*** ** 20,000 ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

****** *** *****, **** *********** ** ************** ** **** ***** and ******* ***** ********** *** *******. ***** ******* ****** *** essentially *****, ****** *********** ** ******* ******* ***** *** *** P1347 *** **** *****, ** **** **** ******* ****** ******* clarity *** *********.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

********** ********* ******** ********** ****** ** ****** ********** ********* ************ across *** **** *** *******, ********* ******** **** **** *** 2Mbps ******** **** ****'* ***. *** **** ********** *** ******** higher **** **** ** *** ******* '****** ****-***' ********, ********** slightly **** ********** (*.*. ******, **********, *** ******** *******) ******* in *** ******* ***********.

Outdoor ********* (***)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ****** (~*.* ** ** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

** **** ***** ***, ***** ***-***** **********, **** ****** ** detail *** *** ******** **** *** *** *****-********* *** *****. Indeed, *********** *** ****** *** ** ********** ******* (*.*. *********** of *****, ****** *** ******* ***** ****). *** *** ********** to **** ******* ** *** ****** ***** ***** **** ** the **** ******* *** ***** ******** ****** ********** *****.

Outdoor ********* (****)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene ** *********** *** ********** ****** (~*.* ** ** ***).

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

******** ******, *** *** **** ***** ***** *** *** *****, delivering ******** **** ****** ******* *** ******* ** *** ******* plate. *** ******* ***** ******** *** **** ************ ******** ** the ****** ***** *******, ** ** ****** *** **** ***** in *** ********* ***** ******* ** **** ********. *******, *** entry ***** ***** (*****-****) ******** ***** **** *** ****** * richness (*.*. ********** *** ******** *****) *********** **** *** */** (in */* ****). *** **** ***** ** *** *******, ** contrast ** *** *** ****** ****-******** ** *******.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

** *** ****** *********** **** *** ******* ********* ********** *** the **** *** ******* (********* *** ***** **** *****) *** actually ***** **** ***** ******* ******* **********. *******, ******** ********** are *** *** ****** ***** **** ********** ******** ******** ******* 5 ** ** ***. *********** *** ***** *** ******* *** its ******* ****-*******, *** ** * ****** ******* ****/***** ** relatively ***. ****** ** *** ***-***** (*******) ******** (~*.* ***), Axis ********** **** ****** **** **** ****** *** ***** *** even * ***** ***** ** ~****** *** ******** *** *** P1347.

WDR ***** (******)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene's *** ********* ** ******** ** * ~**** *** ****** area *** * ~*** *** ******** '****' ****. *** ******* is ********** ** *** ****** ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

*** ***** ************* ****** ******* **** *** ***** ** **** WDR ********. *** ***** ******** ****** ****** ****** *** **** details/contours ******* *** ******* **** ********, ***** **** ********** ** provide ********* ** * ********** *****. ** ********, *** ****** produce * ****** *** ********** **** ******* **** **** *** subject's ****/****. *** *** ***** ** ******* *** ********* ** the '*******' ******** ******** **** ****** *******.

WDR ***** (****)

** **** ******** ******* *** ********* ****** **** * ***** subject ~**** ***, ************* ** * **** ** ~****. *** scene's *** ********* ** ******** ** * ~**** *** ****** area *** * ~*** *** ******** '****' ****. *** ******* is ********** ** *** '****' ****.

***** ** *** ********* ******** (******** **** ***** ****):

** ***** ** ****** *******/******* *** ***** ** ******** ******* by *** ***** ** ******** ****** ** *** ****** ****** of *** *** *****. *******, *** ***** ********* ** ******* a *** ********* ** ********* ******* ** *** ****-*** ****** of *** *****. *** ****** ******** ** **** ** **** regard.

***** ** *** ********* *********** *****:

****** * ********* *********** ******** *** ***** **********, ** ***** of ********* *** *** ***** ** ******** ********* ** *** 'Even-Lit' *****. ******, *** **** *** ******* ******* ********** ************ at ******* ~***** ****** *** **** *** ******* ** ~*****.

Motion ********

*** ** ****' ******** ****** ******** ** */** *******, **** Axis ******* ******** ***** ********** ****** **** ** ******* ***-*****/********* scenarios. ** *** **** ******* *** ***** *** ** *** lower ***** *********** *** ***** *** *****-**** ** *****, ****** to ** *** **** *********** ** ****** ****.

** ********, ****'* ******* */*** *** ******** **** ******** ** a **** ***** ********** *** *********. ** ****** *** '********' light *********** *** ***** **** **** ** *** *.* *** environment, *** *** ***** ** ******** ** ********** **** ********* to ***** **** *** **** ******* **** ********** ** */***.

Bandwidth ********

******* ********* ** ***** (**** **. ****)

*******, ****'* *** ********* ******** **** ********* ****** *** ******** of ****** ******** ** ****'* *** *********. ** ********* ** the ***-***** (*******) ***** ***** ***** ********* ****** ** ~******, increasing ****** ** ********** **** **** ** ***** *** ***-***** upwards ** ******** *********** ******.

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

*** ************ *** **** ***** ********* *** ******* ******* ******* bit-rate ** ~*.*****. *******, ** ** *** * ************ ********** number *** ** * ********** ******** ***-**** ***** *** ***********/********** level. **** *******, ******* ** *** ********** ********* ********** ********* by *** **** *****, ***** ******** ******* ~*.***** ********** *** low-light/nighttime ***** *** ***** ***** ****** * **** ** *****.

***********

*** ********* *** *** **** (*) ******* **** ** *** 'Axis **. **** ********':

  • **** *****(****** $****) - *** */*; */*.*" ****; **.* ****;*.** *** (BW)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* ******** ; 0.05 *** (**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** *****; */*" ****; **.* *******; *.* Lux (*****)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; **.* *******; *.* Lux (**)
  • **** *****(****** $***) - **** */*; */*" ****; ; *.* *** (BW)

**** ** *** **** (*) ******* **** ************** ******** ** an *********** *** ****** **** (*) *** *********. *** ******* were *** ** ***** ******** ****** *******, ****** ****** *** low-light *****. ****** ***-***** ***** */* ******* **** '******' **** B/W ** ****** *********** ** **********. ***********, ******* **** ********** to */*** ******* ***** *** *** ** *** *****. *** camera ****** **** ******** ** * ******* **** ***** (~** degrees) *** ********/******** ** ***** - *** ********* - ******* resolutions.

**** *** *** *** ******* ******** *** ******** ******** *** each ******:

  • **** ***** - */** *** ******** */ ***; ** *.**
  • **** ***** - */** *** ******** */ ***; ** *.**
  • **** ***** - */** *** ******** */ ***; ** *.**
  • **** ***** - */*** *******; ****-**/** **; *** '******'; ** 1.26.01
  • **** ***** - */*** *******; *** '****'; ***.**.**

**** *** *** **** (*) *** *********:

  • ****** **** ********** ******** - ~*** ***
  • ****** ***-***** - ~*.* ***
  • ******* **** ****** ******** - ~ **,*** ** **,*** ***
  • ******* ********* - ~*.* ** ~** ***
  • *** ***** - ~**** *** (****** ****) *** ~*** *** (dark ****)
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

VMS UI - Light vs Dark Preferences on Jun 16, 2017
Several VMS manufacturers have the ability to choose a user interface with either a light or dark color theme. 150+ integrators told us which they...
Axis 20MP Q1659 Camera Tested on Jun 13, 2017
Axis has joined the super high resolution camera trend with their Q1659, a 20MP model equipped with Canon's APS-C sensor. We tested the Q1659...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on Jun 08, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Milestone New "+" Claims To "Conquer The Mid-Market" on Jun 07, 2017
Milestone has declared they are going to "Conquer The Mid-Market" with new "+" releases. Will they? In this report, we examine Milestone's "+"...
Avigilon Announces New Lowest Cost Camera (Mini Domes) on Jun 06, 2017
Avigilon's first Micro Dome (see IPVM's test) is now 4 years old. Since that time, low-cost fixed focal Chinese manufacturer dome usage has...
Samsung SmartCam A1 Totally Wireless System on Jun 06, 2017
Hanwha is keeping the Samsung brand alive in consumer cameras with the SmartCam A1, a new offering combining an autotracking 1080p camera with base...
Manufacturer Revenue Directory on Jun 05, 2017
This report contains data on the revenue of 32 security manufacturers, trend analysis of whether they are gaining or losing ground and commentary...
Most Disrespected Manufacturer Competitors on Jun 01, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most disrespected. There was one overwhelming selection that manufacturers felt was harming the...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon Announces RADAR-Based Presence Detector on Jun 22, 2017
RADAR is gaining momentum within physical security. Two months after Axis announced a network radar detector, Avigilon has announced a RADAR-Based...
Covert Cloud Camera Service Launching (KJB) on Jun 22, 2017
Cloud IP cameras, for consumers, has become increasingly commonplace. However, covert cameras, lag there, with few options. Now, North America's...
Manufacturers Shipping Unlicensed H.265 Products on Jun 22, 2017
While H.265 support in video surveillance is growing, IPVM's research shows that most surveillance manufacturers are shipping H.265 products with...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...
45 Drives 'Lowest Cost' Enterprise Storage Company Profile on Jun 21, 2017
45 Drives claims the "lowest cost per Hard Drive Slot in the industry." But who or what is '45 Drives'? What started as a product design to...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...
Axis P3225 Mk II Tested Vs. Original on Jun 20, 2017
Axis has released a number of 'Mk II' versions of their cameras, which are the same fundamental camera but with specific improvements. We tested...
Directory of 40 IP Camera Manufacturer Discovery Tools on Jun 19, 2017
Locating the IP address of a DHCP client or factory defaulted device on a network is often a difficult task.  In another report, we discussed...

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