Cricket IP Camera Claims "Exceptional Imaging, Unbeatable Price"By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 04, 2013
While OEMs and rebrands regularly enter the surveillance market, there are very few new 'real' manufacturers, especially coming from North America. However, a 15 year old Canadian camera manufacturer, Point Grey, historically specializing in machine vision / industrial applications, is entering surveillance with Cricket, a line they claim delivers exceptional imaging performance at an unbeatable price. In this note, we examine the line's positioning.
Point Grey is claiming WDR and low light performance comparable to top MP cameras (like the Axis Q1604) at 1/3rd the price (MSRP of $299 for the 720p box and $349 for the 1080p). See the manufacturer's own comparison videos (low light and WDR).
The camera is being offered in two versions:
- An indoor box camera without lens, available for direct deployment (see datasheet)
- A board level form factor that can be integrated / used by approved OEMs
The camera lacks many features common in professional cameras: No auto back focusing, no SD card / edge storage, no audio, etc. Also, it does not have a mechanical cut filter, which will prevent it from being used with IR (though the company is claiming excellent color low light performance). From a bells and whistles standpoint, it is fairly bare bone, more similar to an Arecont Vision compact camera.
Point Grey plans to sell the camera directly through its web store (not available yet) with 'cumulative volume pricing' for those who order larger numbers (e.g., dealers).
Given the lack of features, even if the image quality is top tier, Cricket is more likely comparable to Arecont or Avigilon, who both have recent WDR releases at much lower prices than Axis WDR cameras (see tests: Arecont WDR and Avigilon WDR). However, this will likely be moderately less expensive than those offerings (at $349 MSRP for the WDR model, without lens). On the other hand, the lack of form factors, especially a dome version, is a key comparable limitation.
Point Grey's approach differs from other machine vision manufacturers, like Basler and Lumenera, who have offered surveillance cameras. Those companies' surveillance cameras were extremely expensive, making it far harder to break in to surveillance. Point Grey will not have that problem.
For a first release in surveillance, the positioning seems to be solid, especially for those looking for a low cost alternative to incumbents. However, the real world performance needs to be tested and Point Grey will need to expand its form factor options.