IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison

Author: 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.

******* *** *** ** *********-***** ***** *********** (*.***/*.***), *** ***** show **** ******* ***** ******* ******** *** ********* ************* **** widely, **** ** ********* *** *********** ** ***** ****. **** can ****** ** *** ******* **** *** **** ********** ******** by *** ********* ************* ********* ****** ********* ***-**-***-*** *******.

** **** ***** **** *********, **** *** ******** ******* **** 10 ************* *** ******** ***** *** *********:

  • **** ** *** **** *.*** ***/** **** ************ ***** *** each ****** ************'* ******* ********? *** ** **** ****? *** defaults *** ****** *** *******?
  • ** ********* *** *.***/*.*** ************ ****** ** **** **** ************ had *** **** ***********, **** ****** ******** ****** ** ****?
  • **** ** *** ****** ** ********* ** *.***/*.*** ************/*********** ****** are ****** *** ********* *************?
  • **** ****** ******* ********** ** ***** ********?

**** ** **** ** ***** *** ******* ******** **** ***** manufacturers, ******* ************ **** *** ******* ******* *********** (*****), **% higher **** *** ************ **** *** ****** ******* *********** (*******):

** *** ****** **** ***** ***** ******* *** ********** ********* / ******* ***, **** ** * ******** ******.

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

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ******** **** **** ****:

  • ******* ******* ************:***** ** *** *****, ******* ******* ************ ** ~**, **** cameras ******* ******, **** ~** ** **.
  • *.*** ************ ****** ******* ** *.***:******* ******** *************' *.*** *******, ** ***** **** ************ *** approximately ******* **** ***** *.*** *** *.***, ****** ********* *** notably ***** ***** *.***.
  • ****** ********* ******:** * **** ** *****, ***** **** ****** ********** *** to **** ******* *** ******** ** * **-** ********* ********, varying ** ************. *** ** *** *** * ******* **-*** increase.
  • ** *********** ******* *************:** *** ** ************* ******, **** **** *** **** ****** conventions *** *****, *** *** ******* ***** (**** ** "******") result ** ******* ************ ******.

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

************* ***********, *** *** ************* *** ** **** ****** ************ level ********, ** **** *********. ******************* *** *********, *********** ** ******** *** *** ** * silent ****** -**** *** ******* *** *********.

*** ************ ***** ** **********, ********** ** **********. ***, **** if *** ******* **** *** **** **********, ***** *********** ****** can ** **** ********* (*** ******** ******* / *********** *********** **** **********).

**********, *********** ** *.*** *** *.*** ** ************ ** * scale ** * ** **, ****** ************, ** ***** ** the ***** *****:

*******, ****** ************* ****** ***** ******** **** ************ ****** ***** cameras ***. *******, **** *** * ******* ** ****** *** naming *******. *** *******, **** ** **** ** ************* ***** to ***** *********** ******** **:

** * ******, *** *************' ******* ***** **** *** **** resolution *** ************* ********* *********** ******, *** ********* ******* ***** quality *** ********* ***********.

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

***** ** ****** ******** ** **+ ******* **** ***** ** manufacturers, ** ***** ******** ***** ** *** ***** *****.

  • ******* ******* ************ ***** *** ** **** * ***** ** 20 ** **.
  • ******* ******* ********* ** *** ****** ************ ** *** ******* tested ** ***, **** ********* *** ******* ***** ** **.
  • *** ******* ******* ************ *** *****, ************* *** ** *******.

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

**** ** *** ************* ****** **** *********** ** ****** ***** easily *** ******** ********** ** ***** *************. **** *** ***** confusion **** ****** ** *********** ******** ******* ** *** ************ level.

*******, ****** *** **** ********* ****** ********* ** *** ************, making ******** **** **** *********. *** *******, ******* *** ***** a ********* *****, ***** *** **** **** **** * ******/***** quality **** *********** ** *** ** "*", ***** ********, ****, and *****, **** *** * ******/****** ******* **** *********** *** closer ** "*".

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

** **** ********** **** ******'* *********** ******** ** ******* * quantization ** ~**. **** *** ** ****** *** ***** ******* to ********* *********** ******** ** ***** *** *******, ****** ** a ***** *** ******* ****** **** *** **** ************.

**** **** ***** *** **** ******** ** ******* ***** ***** to ******** ****** *********** ********, ***** *** **** **********. *** example, *** ********** ****** *** **** ******* **** ******* * non-standard *** ************** ***** **** *** *** *********** *** ******* uses **** * ******* ****** ***/** ***, **** *********** *** bitrate **** *******. *** *** ********** *** ******* ******** ***.

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

***** ** *** ***** ** ******** *************' *******, ******* *** standardized ************ ****** **** ************* ******* **** ***** **** *.*** and *.***, ******** ******** **** ******* ***** ** *.*** *******, generally **-**%. ******* ****** *** ****.*** / **** ***** ******** ******* **** ***********.

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

********* ** ******** ******** ** ************ *****. ** *********** ****, with ******** ************ **** * ******** ** *** (****** **********) to * **** ******* ***, ******** ** * ***** *********** Q22.

***** ** ***** *****, ** *****:

  • 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 ***** ******

*** **************** ********* ***** ***** **** **** ***** ****** *** turned *** ** *** *********. ** ******, ***** **** ****** quantization *********** ***** ** ******* ** *** ***** ******* ** adjusting ** ** *** ****** *****, ***** ****** *** **** difficult, ** *** **********, ** ***********.

************, ************ ****** ** ***** ***** ******* *** ********* **** high, **+, ***** **** ** **** ****** ** ******** ** static ********** *** ********* **** ****** **********, **** **** ****** objects ********* ******* ** ***** ***********.

*** *******, ****, *****, *** ******* ********* ** ***** ****** enabled ** *** *****, *** *** ***** ******** ** ** higher ************:

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

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

***** ** **** *********** ******** *** **** *************' *******, **** notes ********* ******** *** *************.

*******

******* ** *** ** *** ************* ** ******** *** *** quantization ***** ** ***** *** *********. ************ ** ********** **** 16 ** **, ********** ** **.

********

********'* *********** ******** *** ** ******* ***** *** *********** *** image **** *** ** ***** *** **, *** ** **** a ******* ****** ** "*" (****** ***********) ** "**" (******* compression). ******* ******** ** "*", ***** ** ************.

****

**** ********* **** *** ********* *** **********, ** **** ** their ******* **** *** *** ************ ** ******** ***** ***** **. **** *** *** *** *** *** ******* ** *** same ********: ** ***********. *** *** *** ********* **** * slider/manual *****:

***** *** *** ********* ****** ****** **** *****:

*****

*****'* ***** ***** ***** ************ ** *-******, **** *-****** ******* to **** ** * ******** ****** ("*/*-***** ***** **" *****). To *********** ** ******* ***, ***** ****** *** "***. *-***** QP" ** **, *** *** */*-***** ***** ** *.

*****

*****'* *********** ******** *** ***** ** *** ***** ***, *** the "*******" *** ** *** ******* "*" (**** ***********) ** "6" (***** ***********), **** * ******** ** ~** ************ ** most ****** ******.

*********

*********'* *********** ******** *** ***** *** *****/***** ***, ** * scale ** "******" (**** ***********) ** "*******" (***** ***********), ********** to "******." ***** ** *** ***** ** ******** ********* ******, "Medium" ******* ** ~***.

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

*** ***** ****** ******* ** *** ******* *** *** ** fix *********** ** *** ******, **** **** ******* *** ************ varying. *** **** *******, *** *** ********** *** ******* ******** ***.

***** ****** (******* ***/****) ******* *********** ** * ***** **** "best (*)" (***** **********) ** "***** (**)" (**** **********), ********** to *. ***** ****** ****** ** *** ** ~** ** this ***** *** ******* ** ************.

*********

** ***** ** ****** ***** ******* ** ********* ******, ***** should *** ************ ******** ** *** (******** ** ***** ****). Image ******* ** ******** ** * ***** ** *-* (***** Fine ** ***), ********** ** * (******), **** * ******* quantization **.

**** **** ** ******* ******, *********'* *** ******* ****** **** the **** ****** ***** ********* ** *.***, ***** *****.

****

** **** ***/*** *** ******************, *********** ** *** ** *** "***** ******* *: ******** menu, ***** ****** **** "*" (**** **********) ** "**" (**** compressed), ********** ** * (******* ***).

**** **** ******* ** ******, ****'* *** *** ******* ** not ***** *********** ** ** ***** ** * *** *****. See**** *** ******* ******** ****** **** *******.

*******

******* ******* **** ***** ******* ** * ****** ******* **** simply "*******" ** "*** ****", **** ** ****** ** ******** enter * *****. *** ****** ****** ** *** ** ~*/* of *** *** ****** *** **** *** ~***.

*******

*******'* *********** ******* ** ***** "****** *******", ***** *****, **** a ***** ** "******" (*****) ** "*********" (****). "****" ****** be **** *** ************ ~**.

Test ********

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

[****: **** ****** *** ********** ********* ** **** *** ************* updated ** ****]

Comments (13)

***** ******! *** *** ********* ** *** ****** ** ******** 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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