Axis's IR Add-On (T90C) Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 17, 2011

In this note, we provide a detailed examination of Axis's newly announced T90C, an IR illuminator add on to their P33 dome series. We explore how this solution differs from traditional approaches and how it further signifies the growing adoption of 'easy' IR illumination.

Traditionally, IR illuminators were either built in to the camera (usually a ring of LEDs around the lens) or as a completely external, usually box device, mounted near the camera. Axis's T90C fits in between these two. While the T90C is not integrated into the camera, it is designed to on slide onto the bottom of the dome. The pictures below show the T90C connected to a P33 (on the left) and by itself (on the right).

One of the most significant design differences is that Axis is not putting the LEDs near the imager. While this is common for integrated IR offerings, it is controversial as many claim doing so causes imaging problems. For instance, Axis cites that their solution eliminates performance issues caused by heat generation and reflections of IR LEDs next to the imager. We have not tested this but it is worth considering as we have heard these concerns from a variety of unrelated industry people.

Let's dig into some of the specific features / performance claims of the solution:

  • The T90C is both outdoor rated (IP66) and vandal resistant (IK10)
  • The T90C supports PoE and DC power. For PoE, the IR illuminator requires its own PoE port (in addition to the PoE port required for the camera).
  • The default viewing angle is 120 degrees. This can be adjusted to shift left or right via an internal screw within the illuminator body. The viewing angle cannot be adjusted.
  • The illuminator has its own visible light sensor and, therefore, does not need to be wired to the P33.
  • Axis reports 20 to 25 meter maximum distance in outdoor testing. As with all manufacturer IR specifications, you should test yourself. There is little consistency nor standards about IR distance measurements. See our IR illuminator test report for an example.
  • The unit only has 8 IR LEDs. However, Axis says these are high intensity SMT IR LEDs similar to the T90A / Raytec units.
  • The T90C is designed for wall mounting. Ceiling or pendant mounting will provide substantially reduced performance.
  • The T90C is only compatible with the P33 series but not the lower cost, color only M series domes.
  • The MSRP of the T90C is $349 USD. Given P33 are premium price cameras (around $1,000 online depending on model/resolution, the total cost of a P33 + T90C will be in the range of $1,100 to $1,600.

Compared to cameras with built in IR illuminators, the key challenge will be the additional expense. For instance, our Camera Finder shows about 30 IR domes with an average online price of just over $700. Relative to cameras from similar 'brands' and with similar feature sets, the pricing is closer. For instance, Sony has 4 domes with integrated IR, 2 of those in their high end V series (with WDR, audio, storage, auto back focus, etc.) and 2 in the mid line E series. The Axis P33 / T90C is similar in price to Sony's high end / integrated IR cameras. However, Axis is far more expensive than Sony's mid tier offerings as well as most every other dome with integrated IR.

While the T90C will clearly be attractive for those already using or considering the P33 series, we will need to see more test results / real world use to determine if the premium for the Axis solution over existing IR offering makes sense for switching over from other offerings.

General Trend

Just a few years ago, the consensus was that integrated IR was a low end feature that you would only expect from 'budget' brands.

However, since then, a number of larger brands have expanded IR offerings including the aforementioned Sony, Arecont, Avigilon and now Axis. We are seeing a new outlook on using IR that we expect will continue as other manufacturers see the momentum and add their own offerings.

We see this as a good evolution. While integrated IR has clear distance limits, it does help with low light problems that are common in real world surveillance deployments.

2 reports cite this report:

New Surveillance Products Directory Fall 2011 on Sep 21, 2011
This report provides a summary of key announcements and news being made related to or around the ASIS 2011 show.For each product or change, where...
New Surveillance Products Spring 2011 Final on Apr 06, 2011
In this report, we provide a single source listing new video surveillance products announced in Spring 2011 and in conjunction with ISC West.For...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on IR

Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...
Hikvision 4MP Camera Tested (DS-2CD2345FWD-I) on Sep 27, 2018
Hikvision's latest Performance Series / EasyIP 3.0 4MP model, the DS-2CD2345FWD-I, was the top performer in our 4MP shootout, besting rivals from...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout 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...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
Vivotek 4MP Camera Tested (FD8379-HV) on Sep 13, 2018
Next in our series of updated 4MP testing, we bought and tested Vivotek's FD8379-HV, and entry level 4MP model claiming "top-notch quality video in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Chinese Government Increases Hikvision Ownership on Nov 12, 2018
The Chinese government - Hikvision's controlling shareholder - is increasing its ownership of the video surveillance giant amid sharp stock price...
Axis: "No One Wants To Buy A Camera" on Nov 09, 2018
Axis has, in its own description, made a bold declaration: The industry is changing so rapidly that the following statement might seem bold but...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Size Statistics 2018 on Nov 08, 2018
What is the most common hard drive size for video surveillance? 150+ integrators answered: What size hard drive do you most commonly use? What...
Axis 2N Intercom Tested on Nov 08, 2018
Axis expanded its video intercom business buying Czech-based 2N in 2016. Despite competing against owner Axis' intercoms, 2N recently registered as...
Haven Targets School Security with Lockdown Lineup on Nov 08, 2018
Haven, a US startup founded in 2014 as a residential-focused company, has now raised funding and is offering a lineup of commercial grade locks for...

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