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

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...
2Gig Intrusion Megatest (GC2 & GC3 Panels Tested) on Mar 28, 2017
2Gig is one of the most widely used intrusion systems, with two product lines that are the main offering of many alarm companies, huge national...
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

H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on May 25, 2017
Since 2013, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
CyPhy 'Unlimited' Flight Time Security Drone Examined on May 25, 2017
Drones face several issues as commercial security platforms - legal restrictions (e.g., in the US, the FAA), costs, and limited flight durations...
Milestone Entry Level Mobile Password Vulnerability Disclosed on May 24, 2017
While many manufacturers have only addressed cybersecurity vulnerabilities after public disclosures were made (or threatened), Milestone has...
How Integrators Use IPVM on May 24, 2017
150 integrators explained how they use IPVM and how it helps them stay informed and improve their business.  The 4 main uses integrators cited for...
Alarm Supervision Guide on May 24, 2017
Burglar alarms can constantly monitor the health of attached circuits, sensors, and devices to ensure that they remain operational. This is known...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...
Hikvision Marketer Caught Spamming, Fails at Coverup, Fired on May 23, 2017
A Hikvision marketing employee was caught by IPCamTalk trying to surreptitiously disparage IPVM and IPCamTalk. This is an outgrowth of Hikvision's...

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