IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 27, 2017

Despite the use of standards-based video compression (H.264/H.265), our tests show that default image quality settings for different manufacturers vary widely, with no standards for terminology or scale used. This can result in two cameras with the same resolution produced by two different manufacturers producing widely different out-of-the-box results.

To help clear this confusion, IPVM has analyzed cameras from 10 manufacturers and answered these key questions:

  • What is the real H.264 and/or H265 quantization level for each camera manufacturer's default settings? How do they vary? Who defaults the lowest and highest?
  • To normalize the H.264/H.265 quantization levels so that each manufacturer had the same compression, what camera settings should be used?
  • What is the impact of bandwidth as H.264/H.265 quantization/compression levels are varied for different manufacturers?
  • What impact do smart codecs have on these settings?

Here is what we found for default settings from these manufacturers, showing manufacturer with the highest default compression (Bosch), 50% higher than the manufacturer with the lowest default compression (Arecont):

If you really care about image quality and optimizing bandwidth / storage use, this is a critical report.

******* *** *** ** standards-based ***** *********** (*.***/*.***), our ***** **** **** default ***** ******* ******** for ********* ************* **** widely, **** ** ********* for *********** ** ***** used. **** *** ****** in *** ******* **** the **** ********** ******** by *** ********* ************* producing ****** ********* ***-**-***-*** results.

** **** ***** **** confusion, **** *** ******** cameras **** ** ************* and ******** ***** *** questions:

  • **** ** *** **** H.264 ***/** **** ************ level *** **** ****** manufacturer's ******* ********? *** do **** ****? *** defaults *** ****** *** highest?
  • ** ********* *** *.***/*.*** quantization ****** ** **** each ************ *** *** same ***********, **** ****** settings ****** ** ****?
  • **** ** *** ****** of ********* ** *.***/*.*** quantization/compression ****** *** ****** for ********* *************?
  • **** ****** ******* ********** ** ***** ********?

**** ** **** ** found *** ******* ******** from ***** *************, ******* manufacturer **** *** ******* default *********** (*****), **% higher **** *** ************ with *** ****** ******* compression (*******):

** *** ****** **** about ***** ******* *** optimizing ********* / ******* use, **** ** * critical ******.

[***************]

Key ********

**** *** *** *** findings **** **** ****:

  • ******* ******* ************:***** ** *** *****, average ******* ************ ** ~25, **** ******* ******* widely, **** ~** ** 30.
  • *.*** ************ ****** ******* to *.***:******* ******** *************' *.*** cameras, ** ***** **** quantization *** ************* ******* when ***** *.*** *** H.264, ****** ********* *** notably ***** ***** *.***.
  • ****** ********* ******:** * **** ** thumb, ***** **** ****** compressed *** ** **** average *** ******** ** a **-** ********* ********, varying ** ************. *** to *** *** * roughly **-*** ********.
  • ** *********** ******* *************:** *** ** ************* tested, **** **** *** same ****** *********** *** scale, *** *** ******* terms (**** ** "******") result ** ******* ************ levels.

Video *********** ********

************* ***********, *** *** manufacturers *** ** **** actual ************ ***** ********, is **** *********. ******************* *** *********, *********** is ******** *** *** be * ****** ****** -**** *** ******* *** bandwidth.

*** ************ ***** ** compressed, ********** ** **********. And, **** ** *** cameras **** *** **** resolution, ***** *********** ****** can ** **** ********* (see ******** ******* / *********** Tutorial*** **** **********).

**********, *********** ** *.*** and *.*** ** ************ on * ***** ** 0 ** **, ****** quantization, ** ***** ** the ***** *****:

*******, ****** ************* ****** never ******** **** ************ levels ***** ******* ***. Instead, **** *** * variety ** ****** *** naming *******. *** *******, here ** **** ** manufacturers ***** ** ***** compression ******** **:

** * ******, *** manufacturers' ******* ***** **** the **** ********** *** significantly ********* *********** ******, and ********* ******* ***** quality *** ********* ***********.

Average ******* ************: ~**

***** ** ****** ******** of **+ ******* **** these ** *************, ** found ******** ***** ** the ***** *****.

  • ******* ******* ************ ***** was ** **** * range ** ** ** 30.
  • ******* ******* ********* ** the ****** ************ ** all ******* ****** ** Q20, **** ********* *** Uniview ***** ** **.
  • *** ******* ******* ************ was *****, ************* *** by *******.

Terminology ***********

**** ** *** ************* tested **** *********** ** scales ***** ****** *** directly ********** ** ***** manufacturers. **** *** ***** confusion **** ****** ** standardize ******** ******* ** one ************ *****.

*******, ****** *** **** different ****** ********* ** the ************, ****** ******** even **** *********. *** example, ******* *** ***** a ********* *****, ***** and **** **** **** Q ******/***** ******* **** compression ** *** ** "1", ***** ********, ****, and *****, **** *** Q ******/****** ******* **** compression *** ****** ** "1".

Normalizing ***********

** **** ********** **** camera's *********** ******** ** achieve * ************ ** ~28. **** *** ** useful *** ***** ******* to ********* *********** ******** on ***** *** *******, acting ** * ***** for ******* ****** **** the **** ************.

**** **** ***** *** vast ******** ** ******* allow ***** ** ******** adjust *********** ********, ***** are **** **********. *** example, *** ********** ****** and **** ******* **** include * ***-******** *** implementation ***** **** *** fix *********** *** ******* uses **** * ******* target ***/** ***, **** compression *** ******* **** varying. *** *** ********** *** ******* ******** VBR.

Quantization ************* ******* ***** *.***

***** ** *** ***** of ******** *************' *******, default *** ************ ************ levels **** ************* ******* when ***** **** *.*** and *.***, ******** ******** were ******* ***** ** H.265 *******, ********* **-**%. Readers ****** *** ****.*** / **** ***** Tutorial ******* **** ***********.

Compression ****** ** *********

********* ** ******** ******** by ************ *****. ** demonstrate ****, **** ******** quantization **** * ******** of *** (****** **********) to * **** ******* Q28, ******** ** * lower *********** ***.

***** ** ***** *****, we *****:

  • Q35 ** ***: Changing quantization from Q34 to Q28 resulted in a 3x-5x bandwidth increase on cameras tested (Axis, Dahua, Hikvision, Panasonic).
  • Q36 ** ***: Changing from Q35 to Q22 resulted in drastic increases, ranging from about 5x to 11x, depending on manufacturer.

Smart ***** ******

*** **************** ********* ***** apply **** **** ***** codecs *** ****** *** or *** *********. ** nature, ***** **** ****** quantization *********** ***** ** objects ** *** ***** instead ** ********* ** on *** ****** *****, smart ****** *** **** difficult, ** *** **********, to ***********.

************, ************ ****** ** smart ***** ******* *** typically **** ****, **+, since **** ** **** scenes ** ******** ** static ********** *** ********* more ****** **********, **** only ****** ******* ********* average ** ***** ***********.

*** *******, ****, *****, and ******* ********* ** smart ****** ******* ** our *****, *** *** three ******** ** ** higher ************:

******* ****** *** ******** ***** ******** **** ******* ** these ******** *** ******* issues.

Setting *********** *** ********* *******

***** ** **** *********** settings *** **** *************' cameras, **** ***** ********* defaults *** *************.

*******

******* ** *** ** few ************* ** ******** use *** ************ ***** in ***** *** *********. Quantization ** ********** **** 16 ** **, ********** to **.

********

********'* *********** ******** *** be ******* ***** *** compression *** ***** **** tab ** ***** *** UI, *** ** **** a ******* ****** ** "1" (****** ***********) ** "20" (******* ***********). ******* defaults ** "*", ***** 24 ************.

****

**** ********* **** *** different *** **********, ** many ** ***** ******* have *** *** ************ to ******** ***** ***** **. **** *** *** old *** *** ******* to *** **** ********: 30 ***********. *** *** web ********* **** * slider/manual *****:

***** *** *** ********* simply ****** **** *****:

*****

*****'* ***** ***** ***** quantization ** *-******, **** I-frames ******* ** **** by * ******** ****** ("I/P-frame ***** **" *****). To *********** ** ******* 28Q, ***** ****** *** "Min. *-***** **" ** 26, *** *** */*-***** delta ** *.

*****

*****'* *********** ******** *** found ** *** ***** tab, *** *** "*******" can ** *** ******* "1" (**** ***********) ** "6" (***** ***********), **** 2 ******** ** ~** quantization ** **** ****** tested.

*********

*********'* *********** ******** *** under *** *****/***** ***, on * ***** ** "lowest" (**** ***********) ** "highest" (***** ***********), ********** to "******." ***** ** our ***** ** ******** Hikvision ******, "******" ******* to ~***.

******/*******

*** ***** ****** ******* do *** ******* *** way ** *** *********** of *** ******, **** both ******* *** ************ varying. *** **** *******, see *** ********** *** ******* ******** VBR.

***** ****** (******* ***/****) include *********** ** * scale **** "**** (*)" (least **********) ** "***** (20)" (**** **********), ********** to *. ***** ****** should ** *** ** ~12 ** **** ***** for ******* ** ************.

*********

** ***** ** ****** image ******* ** ********* models, ***** ****** *** transmission ******** ** *** (defaults ** ***** ****). Image ******* ** ******** on * ***** ** 0-9 (***** **** ** Low), ********** ** * (Normal), **** * ******* quantization **.

**** **** ** ******* tested, *********'* *** ******* series **** *** **** models ***** ********* ** H.265, ***** *****.

****

** **** ***/*** *** video*************, *********** ** *** in *** "***** ******* 1: ******** ****, ***** ranges **** "*" (**** compressed) ** "**" (**** compressed), ********** ** * (roughly ***).

**** **** ******* ** Hanwha, ****'* *** *** cameras ** *** ***** compression ** ** ***** to * *** *****. See**** *** ******* ******** VBR*** **** *******.

*******

******* ******* **** ***** quality ** * ****** ranging **** ****** "*******" to "*** ****", **** no ****** ** ******** enter * *****. *** slider ****** ** *** to ~*/* ** *** way ****** *** **** for ~***.

*******

*******'* *********** ******* ** named "****** *******", ***** below, **** * ***** of "******" (*****) ** "Excellent" (****). "****" ****** be **** *** ************ ~28.

Test ********

***** ******* **** ******, you ****** ** **** to****** *** * ********* on **** ****.

[****: **** ****** *** originally ********* ** **** and ************* ******* ** 2017]

Comments (14)

***** ******! *** *** ********* ** *** ****** ** ******** P ***** ******** (** **** ***, * ***** ******** ** keyframe ********)? ** ***** *** *********** ************ ******* ******** ******** and ************? ******* *** ******* *** **** ******* * ******, the ****** *** ********* *** **** *** *** ***** ******* on *** *****? **'* ******* *********** *** ********* ** ***** way *** ***** **** *** *** ****** ** ******* *** bandwidth. ******!

** **** * ****** ** *-*****/*-***** ****** ****.

** *******, * *** * ****** ***'* ******** ****** ************ levels. **** **** ****** *** ****** ********* ** *****, ******. So **** *-***** ******** ** ****, ***'** *** ****** **** behind ****** *******, *** ********** ***** ********** *** ***** ***** the **** *-*****. **********, **** *-****** *** *****, ***'** *** less ** **** *****, *** ***** ** ********* *** **** of * ********* *********** **** ********* ******* **** * ******.

********* **** *** ********* *-***** ********* ******* **** **** ** *****.

** ****

***'** **** *** **** "***********" - *** ** ***** **** like ****** ****. *** *** **** *** ******* ***** ** default (******* */** ** */** ***)? **** ** ******** *** a **** ****** ******* ***** ** **** ****** **** - even ** **** ********.

** *** *** - ****** ***** ******* **** *******, ********** on *** ********, ***. - **** ** *** **** ****.

******

***** ** ********** **** **** ******* ** ***** ******, ***, but ** ************ *** ******* *** ****** **** *********.

** **** *** ****** ** *********** ********* ****** *** *****, e.g.:

******* ************ ******, ***** ***** ******* ***** ****** **:
- ******* ******
- ******** ******
- ****** ******* ******( * **** ** ***********)

- ****** ******* ******( ********: *****, **** * *****, ******* pixel *** )

- *********** **** *********

- **** ** *****

- ******* *******( *** **** **** ** ****** *******)

- ***

************ ********** ** * ***** **** ** *** ******* ********, and ****** **** *********** ***** ** ** ** ****** **********.

** * ***** ******* *** ******** ****** *** **** ********* vendors, * ***** ******* ***** ********** ** ****: ** *** can *** **** **** ****** **** *********** ** **** ****, motion ******* ** **** ******** ***... * **** ****** ***** be ********** ** *******:-)

*** **** **** ******** ** ***** *******/******* ** ********** "* like ** ****" ** "* **** ** ****", *** ************ by ******.

***** ******, *** ******* ** **** *** ******** ******** ****** of **** ******.

******

******* ****** *** ***-**** **** ****** **** ***** *** ********* and ******* *****. *** ******* **** *********** ****** ****** **** issue ** *** ***-****.

***** ***, ****.

*** ******* **** *********** ****** ****** **** ***** ** *** end-user.

**** ***** ****?

** *** ***** **** ** ****, *** ** *** **** REAL ********. * ***'* **** **** ********...:-*

...*** ** *** **** **** ********. * ***'* **** **** stranger...

** *******, * ******’* **** *** ** ********** **** **********, “Franky”.

****, * ***'* **** ***, *** * *** *** ******* I **** ***, "**. *********** #*"

***** *** *** ******* ***** ****** ****. ********, *** *** you************ *******? *** *** *** **** **** ** **** ** did *** **** ******** ****** *** *****? **** **** **** did *** *** ** ***** *** *****? *** ****** ****** the ******, ******* ***** ***** **** (**- ***)? ***** ******* can ****** *** ********* *******, ***** *'* ******. ******!!!

** *** **** "***** *******" ** ** ******* ***** *******? Or ** ** ***********?

*********** *** ******** **************, ** **** ********* ************ *.*** *******.

** *** **** ***** ******* ** ** ******* ***** *******, we ******** ******* *******. ***** *** ******** ***** **** ******* "image *******", *** * ***** *** ***** ******** ************ ** determine **** ** ** ** *** * ****** *****.

** **** ***** ******** ****. *********** ***** ******* ** **** test *** ****** ***** *****, *** ******, *** *** ******'* web *********. ** ***'* **** ** **** ***, *** **** being ****, ****** *** ***** ********* *********** ******* *** *** and ******* ** ******* *** *** ********* *** * ***, etc.

**** **** ** *****.

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