Compro IP Surveillance Line OverviewBy John Honovich, Published on Aug 22, 2011
In this update, we examine Taiwanese manufacturer Compro's network cameras. While not widely known, we think they are worth considering for their low cost lines, including one of the lowest-cost megapixel cameras on the market, and a cost-effective line aimed at enterprise installations.
Compro's IP cameras are sectioned into two lines, the first for use in SOHO/SMB applications, and the latter for professional systems. Note that none of these cameras are currently ONVIF-compliant, though this is expected in the Q3/Q4 of this year, according to our discussions with Compro.
The SOHO/SMB line consists of: The standard definition IP60 ($90 online) and megapixel IP70 ($160) cube cameras and the IP540 and IP570 PTZ cameras. This range of cameras is one of the lowest-cost IP camera lines we know of, especially the IP70 megapixel camera. The IP540 and 570 are in two ways: 1.3MP resolution and IR illumination, features not typically found on cameras in this range. Additionally, the day/night models (all but the IP60) contain mechanical IR cut filters, which are not typical in cameras at this price point, as most use electrical day/night. This could provide a nighttime image quality improvement over competitive cameras.
The SOHO/SMB line competes very favorably on price with competitive cameras. The IP60 and IP70, for example fall somewhere between 35% and 50% below the cost of Axis M10XX cameras, commonly used cube cameras. Similarly specified Vivotek cameras, such as the IP7133 and IP8132, are either similarly priced or slightly more expensive, making Compro a clear choice on price. Compared to Vivotek's low-end PTZ cameras, the IP540 and IP570 are $100-200 more expensive. However, they are also 1.3MP resolution, and given the lack of a zoom lens on many low-end PTZ cameras, this definitely adds to the usability. Even 2x digital zoom on a standard definition image quickly becomes useless.
The professional line consists of eight models in the standard form factors: fixed box, bullet, dome, and PTZ. This line is, for the most part, unremarkable compared to competitor's cameras. The NC500 PTZ is an interesting product. Not truly a PTZ, but simply a pan/tilt with digital zoom, it contains two features that aren't often seen on any PTZ cameras: IR illumination (20m range) and auto-tracking. Like other PTZ's featuring auto-tracking, without testing, we have our doubts as to the feature's performance, however. Also, with no outdoor housing, users will be turning elsewhere if they require exterior PTZ's.
The NC line is a dealer-only line and is, for the most part, unavailable online. Compro informs us that they use a traditional security dealer discount structure, with deep discounts from MSRP. As such, all pricing below is our estimate of what users should expect street pricing to be.
The NC150 has an MSRP of $470 (lens not included). We estimate that street price based on this would be about $350. Compared to a Vivotek IP7161 (a 2.0 megapixel day/night fixed camera; Vivotek doesn't carry a 1.3 MP model at this time), this is about the same price. However, the 7161 comes with a lens, which the Compro model does not. This puts the NC150 about $100-150 above Vivotek. Compared to the $650 Axis P1344, however, it is approximately $150-250 less.
Comparing the NC450 (estimated street price $675), a megapixel bullet camera with IR illumination to competitive cameras, we find that it falls in between the Vivotek IP8332 ($350 online) and Sony's SNCCH160 ($775 online), an HD bullet camera. While it's not quite an exact comparison to either, it does give us an idea of where Compro falls in this range.
While pricing on these cameras is attractive, the current lack of ONVIF compliance or integration to major VMS is a major stumbling block for widespread adoption. Users must use Compro's own VMS, or a very small list of NVR's and VMS providers. Digifort and Synology being the most well-known of the list. Digifort has limited adoption outside of South America. However, users of Synology's DiskStation may find Compro's SOHO/SMB line attractive for small offices or home use.
Once ONVIF support is complete, or more third-party VMS integrations are performed, the professional line may become much more attractive to users who typically seek lower-cost IP cameras such as ACTi or Vivotek. Compro's line offers some advantages. We especially believe eschewing electrical day/night in favor of mechanical cut filters will help their image quality compared to some other lower-cost cameras.
Finally, one future feature worth mentioning is recently-announced support for a 3G dongle. This will be compatible with the NC150 and NC450 cameras, and allow direction connection to 3G networks without external modems. While we don't expect that this would be hugely popular for all applications, some users may find it handy for remotely located cameras.