Why Integrators Hate Cube Cameras

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 16, 2014

Though cube cameras may be common in online retail stores, they are the least popular for professionals.

In this note, we breakdown unique IPVM statistics on cube camera usage and why they are so disliked.

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Comments (22)

HI,

I would agree, Cube cameras have never been an option.

Meanwhile, I came across Block cameras from Sony the other day, and I was wondering where are these kind of cameras used?

Those are probably for OEM, machine vision and various custom applications. If you notice, they don't list spec's on connectivity like Ethernet or even USB ports we are used to. They're the basic imaging components for whoever else to attach their own housing and connectivity hardware options.

Hi Nidal,

Usually such cameras are used in Speed Domes and Pan-Tilt platforms to create a PTZ camera.

I suppose that also industrial applications might be a use too.

Regards,

C

It depends on what you mean by the term "cube camera". While the vast majority fit into your description, there are/were some that don't. Two examples: the dicontinued Sanyo cubes, which were very popular with casinos, and the Ikegami ICD-505 and ICD-525, which we used in low light areas because their AGC didn't introduce as much distortion in the video as other cameras.

The strongest selling point of those cameras was their ability to fit inside Pelco DF5 back boxes. Recently, we have found better alternatives such as the inMotion and Vitek mini box cameras.

The Sony camera blocks, as well as their Hitachi sisters, are actually camera modules from consumer camcorders. For CCTV, they are used in many PTZs, including Pelco Spectras, AD and others. They can be found as repair parts at TLS Electronics / Time Lapse Supply.

I tend to think of the Ikegami as 'mini box' rather than cube, primarily because they support real varifocal lenses. Picture, as reference for others:

Gotta love the white lens. That was one of my complaints about the Ikegamis - lack of color options. We took pains to order smoked domes for the DF5s we installed in lower ceilings, then Ikegami makes their cameras stand out like sore thumbs, even with smoked domes.

I'm surprised this didn't show up on the survey as a major negative of cube cameras - the fixed field of view of most of them. Even in a low-end SOHO environment that limitation keeps them crossed off my list in nearly all cases.

I am sure it's a negative. For instance, that was a key stated negative for minidomes.

I suspect that cube cameras are so fundamentally discounted, most do not even get that far in their reasons not to use them.

By the way, Panasonic and JVC also used to make camera modules but discontinued them years ago. We had a number of AD Cobra Domes when I started here that used Panasonic modules. I've also heard rumours that Hitachi is discontinuing or has discontinued their modules, leaving Sony the sole supplier.

Interesting tidbit: the original Pelco color/monochrome day-night Spectra II BCBW used a Sony camera module. These had major problems in casino environments - the flashing lights of slot machines caused them to lose focus; which could sometimes be cured by cycling power but other times required camera module replacement.

I was talking to a Pelco engineer (something they used to allow if L1 and L2 Tech Support couldn't resolve an issue) who told me Sony admitted there was an unrepairable problem with the modules' "fuzzy logic auto-focus circuit" but that Sony refused to replace the defective modules. Around that time, Pelco switched module suppliers to Hitachi for at least their day-night dome drives.

I believe Pelco has switched back to Sony for the vast majority of their PTZ domes. Possibly due to them being the only manufacturer left?

And yes, the modules are not suitable for normal CCTV use. They require a lot of external circuitry, including power supplies and computerized control interfaces.

Typo toward the end of the article...

"Finally, the most common reason to use minidomes cubes is their frequent inclusion of wireless networking, a feature generally absent in all other form factors. As integrators noted:"

Andrew, thanks, fixed!

Is there any article comparing this kind of cameras? I wont use it in professional installations but I would think on them for personal use...

Hernan,

What do you want to compare cube cameras to? What do you want to know?

We cover / contrast all form factors in our IP Camera Form Factor Selection Guide.

John,

I want to pick this kind of cameras because of aesthetics and the easy way you can install them...

You can compare:

  • SD Slot
  • ONVIF
  • Wifi
  • Poe
  • PIR
  • Direct storage (to a NAS)
  • Duplex Audio
  • White Light
  • IR

All these, without thinking in the image itself (resolution, wdr, lens, day/night, fps, etc etc etc)

See IP Camera Form Factor Selection Guide.

For a quick recap of cubes:

  • SD Slot - sometimes available
  • ONVIF - uncommon overall but available in some bigger brands
  • Wifi - very common, better than any other form factor
  • PoE - uncommon because typically positioned at home users that are not expected to have PoE injectors / switches.
  • PIR - common and better than any other form factor
  • Direct storage (to a NAS) - uncommon
  • Duplex audio - common because these cameras are frequently used as poor man's intercoms
  • White light - a few have this
  • IR - sometimes available though less common than domes and bullets

Is there more options? is there a camera that have all these features?

I saw the article, but maybe there is an specific product to recommend.

I was thinking in something like the Lorex LNC216, but not sure...

I remember you made a test over the Lorex lne1001

Hernan, do you literally need a cube cameras with all of those features?

P.S. - That Lorex model is not PoE and does not appear to support ONVIF. I didn't check every feature but those two jumped out at me.

They are really similar...and I dont know how are manufacturers a how dont...Just to name a few:

Lorex LNC216

Dlink dcs-2332l

Zmodo ZH-IXD15-WAC

Belkin F7D7606

Zavio F3215

Aver SF1311H-C

3svision N8032

more familiar brands:

Axis M1034w

Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-I(W)

Dahua ipc-kw1012w

Vivotek ip8336w

Geovision IPCAMCAW220

"I dont know how are manufacturers a how dont"

I don't understand what you are saying / asking. Please rephrase. What would you like us to do with that list?

I am trying to understand more concretely what you are looking for.

Sorry for my bad "English".

I was looking for a recommendation for my home. I live in an aparment and I want to see: two entrances, two rooms and the living room.

The router is a Tp-link WDR3600.

I have 3 options for recording:

- local storage

- NAS, a usb hardrive attached to the router

- VMS in the office

Because of the lack of network cables and the aesthetic i was thinking in this kind of cameras (cube).

thanks

hernan

Hernan, please post this as a discussion as it is too specific and off topic to cube camera statistics.

When you post it, please mention any other requirements (like PIR, white light, PIR, etc.).

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