Examining Basler's Market Acceptance

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 01, 2010

Recently, SecurityInfoWatch ran a 'fluff' piece on Basler, regurgitating their marketing claims with no analysis.

Key claims made:

  • The small size of the cameras are a differentiator.
  • They have experience from the machine vision industry (cameras that do 200 fps at 4 MP).
  • They say their cameras are very reliable
  • Their low light image quality is superior

Let's contrast this to our experience from our hands-on test of Basler:
  • A number of MP cameras are almost as small (like Arecont and the IQ 4 series). 
  • Their surveillance products do not seem to benefit from machine vision. The resolution is average (2MP or less) and the frame rate is below average (the 2MP camera has a max frame rate of 4fps using H.264)
  • We cannot test the reliability claim. However, users should note that these cameras run extremely hot. To the touch, these are the hottest cameras we have worked with. This may or may impact reliability (see the debate) but it's a usability problem.
  • We tested and re-tested their low light performance. The key advantage is that they have a default maximum exposure setting of 1 second (where most manufacturers have 1/30s). However, the maximum exposure setting is absurd and dangerously misleading (see our examination of the risks of exposure setting tricks). After our test and discussions with them, they notified us that in a future release, the default will be lowered to a more reasonable 1/8s.
  • Given all this, the pricing is still fairly expensive, at about $1,000 or more for a camera with no auto-focus, analog out and limited advanced software features.

Do keep these issues in mind and be careful about trade magazine fluff pieces.
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