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

PTZ Camera Guide 2016 on Sep 15, 2016
Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras remain critical parts of many surveillance systems, especially in large security operations. Because of this it is important...
Axis / Canon Launch 20MP Avigilon Rival on Sep 12, 2016
For years, Avigilon has essentially owned the 'super high resolution' single imager market. And Axis has resisted, most famously in 2012, when...
Panoramic Camera (Fisheye / Multi-Imager) Guide on Aug 31, 2016
Panoramic cameras, including fisheyes and multi-imagers, have become increasingly widespread, with most manufacturers offering fisheyes and an...
IP Camera Long Distance Ethernet Test on Aug 12, 2016
Many often ask about running Ethernet beyond its standard distance of 100 meters for UTP, especially when cameras are 400', 500' or more...
21 Scenes Lux Readings For Video Surveillance on Aug 11, 2016
IPVM went to numerous locations and measured the lux readings / light levels at each one. Here is an example of the approach we took and output...
Selling Super High Resolution Cameras on Jul 11, 2016
Is bigger better? In the past decade, the surveillance industry has moved from 0.3MP to 1MP to 2MP to 3MP to 5MP to 4K (8.3MP), etc. But there...
Selling Low Cost Kits on Jun 29, 2016
Low-cost kits have become a direct threat to security integrators. These kits offer a drastically discounted alternative to professional brands,...
Axis New Industry Standard i-CS Lens on Jun 22, 2016
Is this the next big thing in lensing? 7 years ago, Axis launched P-iris. Now, Axis has announced i-CS, which is even more 'intelligent'. But how...
ONVIF Tutorial 2016 on May 11, 2016
ONVIF is well known within the surveillance industry as an interface to connect IP cameras and VMS systems but: Is ONVIF a 'Standard'? What's...
Access Control IBC International Rules on Apr 28, 2016
Dealing with fragmented local codes is one of the most frustrating parts of electronic access control design. However, the 'International Code...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Nest Cam Outdoor Tested on Sep 23, 2016
After years of claiming an outdoor model was "coming", addressing their biggest user demand, Nest has finally released their Outdoor Camera, an...
ACTi Refuses Race To The Bottom, Shifts To Solutions on Sep 23, 2016
The original low cost IP camera disruptor was ACTi. Back in the 2008 - 2010 time frame, Taiwanese manufacturer ACTi challenged the Western and...
You Get Robbed, Canary Will Pay You Up To $1,000 on Sep 22, 2016
Canary is trying to break the status quo in DIY security, first by raising over $40 million, and now a revamp of their monthly services package...
Milestone Ends Development of "Enterprise" VMS on Sep 22, 2016
Milestone 'Enterprise' was one of the first enterprise video management software offerings, selected by many early adopters of IP video. However,...
History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Access Control Course Fall 2016 on Sep 22, 2016
IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer training that focuses only on a small part of the...
Totally Wireless IP Camera (IPVideo Corp NomadHD) on Sep 21, 2016
Wireless battery powered cameras have been a surveillance pipe dream for years, limited by camera power consumption, battery technology, and...
Axis Launches IP Speakers on Sep 21, 2016
First, Axis introduced an IP horn, then it was video intercoms, and now it is Networked Speakers? While IP-based Public Address systems are not...
Tagged RFID Object Search Recorded Video on Sep 20, 2016
Video analytics has gotten fairly good at tagging people in video, but it does not solve the problem of finding items like specific merchandise or...
FLIR and Geovision Join the Hikvision Price Cut Race on Sep 20, 2016
Hikvision's price cuts are clearly a trend setter. After numerous and increasingly large cuts, the destructive cycle is accelerating. Last month,...

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