Lens Selection Standards for Camera Testing

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 15, 2011

With surveillance cameras, deciding what lenses to use for testing can be a difficult decision. We see two basic yet fundamentally opposing approaches:

  • Use the same lens on every camera tested: This approach ensures that no camera has an unfair lens advantage, allowing the test to focus on the camera's own performance.
  • Use the manufacturer recommended lens for each camera: This approach ensures that each camera uses the typical production lens, allowing the test to show real world use.

We use and recommend the second approach - testing with the manufacturer recommended lens for each camera. Here's why:

  • Many cameras have integrated lens: most domes, cube and bullet cameras as well as box cameras with built in optical zoom. For cameras with integrated lenses, it is simply impossible to use the same lens on every camera.
  • Many box cameras that allow for interchangeable lenses ship with a standard lens (e.g., Axis, Sony, IQ, IndigoVision, Mobotix, etc.). These manufacturers treat lenses as a core component of their camera system. If we used a different lens, this would be unrepresentative of the experience (good or bad) of regular users.
  • Even manufacturers that do not ship box cameras with lenses (e.g., Arecont Vision, Pelco Sarix), generally have recommended lenses that they sell and that many, if not most, of their users choose. In this scenario, we use the lens that the manufacturer recommend / sells.
  • If we did use the same lens on every camera (for cameras where this is possible), criticism would still exist as industry people would differ on the quality of the 'standard' lens chosen in our test (e.g. we used Lens Brand X but they prefer Lens Brand Y).

Our philosophy is to mirror real world use as closely as possible. To that end, using lens provided and/or recommended by the manufacturer is the best way to do this.

Indeed, it would actually be easier and cheaper to simply buy 10 lenses of the same brand/model and use them for every test. However, we are confident that this would result in increased criticism and concerns over the validity of the tests.

Given the differing approaches of manufacturers for lens provision, we do not think it is possible to reconcile or appease proponents of both approaches. On balance, we believe using the manufacturer recommended lens is the best approach for providing realistic comparisons.

1 report cite this report:

IPVM Seminar Poll Results on Sep 24, 2011
At our first ever IPVM seminar, we held a number of real time polls asking attendees what they thought on a variety of important surveillance...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Access Control AHJ Nightmares on Jun 01, 2017
For access control jobs, a single person can be the difference between finishing a job, costing thousands in extra dollars, and being profitable...
Technician Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guide on May 12, 2017
Technicians encounter multiple hazards when running wires and installing security devices. Wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE, helps...
Varifocal Vs Fixed Lens Statistics 2017 on May 04, 2017
Varifocal camera lenses provide more flexibility at installation time, but come at a higher cost. Fixed lens cameras reduce hardware costs, but can...
Hikvision PanoVu Multi Imager Tested on Feb 08, 2017
Hikvision has entered the multi-imager market with their 180° PanoVu DS-2CD6986F-H, an 8MP, 4-imager model equipped with ~1/1.8" imagers and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Introduction To Burglar Alarm Systems on Jan 04, 2017
While alarm systems are popular, balancing between the right level of protection, the appropriate components and an acceptable price can be very...
Avigilon Pro 4K Camera Tested on Jan 03, 2017
Avigilon is best known for their large sensor, high megapixel cameras. But with new offerings from Sony and soon Axis, the questions is how well...
ONVIF Tutorial 2017 on Dec 19, 2016
ONVIF is well known within the surveillance industry as an interface to connect IP cameras and VMS systems but: Is ONVIF a 'Standard'? Why...
Lens Iris Tutorial on Dec 19, 2016
Cameras, like humans, have irises. However, cameras have five types of iris options - fixed, manual, auto, P iris. In this tutorial, we explain the...
API / SDK Tutorial on Dec 18, 2016
While Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are key to 'open' platforms, they are frequently misunderstood and over-hyped in physical security....

Most Recent Industry Reports

Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...
Axis Door Station Tested (A8105-E) on Jul 19, 2017
Axis continues their push into niche markets, especially audio, with network speakers, an IP horn, and video door stations. We bought and tested...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide on Jul 19, 2017
This 120 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our 20 manufacturer favorability rankings and 20 manufacturer...
$8 Billion Utility Georgia Power Enters Surveillance Business Offering Avigilon And Genetec on Jul 19, 2017
Utilities are typically considered major customers of surveillance integrators but one utility, Georgia Power, with $8+ billion in annual revenue...
Knightscope Laughs off Robot Drowning on Jul 18, 2017
A day after a Knightscope robot drowned, Knightscope has issued an 'official statement' making fun of the issue: The implied message is that...
Microsoft Video AI Cloud Services Examined on Jul 18, 2017
Microsoft has released one of the most amazing video analytics marketing videos ever. In it, they detect oil spills, track individual people giving...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact