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

Deceptive ASIS Attendance on Oct 06, 2017
ASIS is being deceptive with its conference reporting, effectively inflating the event's real actual attendance. What they try, but struggle to...
Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
IR Surveillance Guide on Jul 31, 2017
Infrared (IR) has become an increasing core component to video surveillance systems. In particular, the expansion of integrated IR cameras that...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

False Advertising: Hikvision USA Deep Learning on Feb 23, 2018
Hikvision USA is conducting a false advertising marketing campaign for their deep learning system. Hikvision USA's claim violates US FTC Truth In...
Favorite Integrator Sales Quote Software (Statistics) on Feb 23, 2018
What application do integrators use the most to issue sales quotes? Nothing? Spreadsheet? MS Project? Online software? Of the many offerings out...
Aruba Networks Profile on Feb 22, 2018
Aruba Networks' presence in the video surveillance market has historically been limited. With a company focus on Wi-Fi first and switching...
US Army Base Specifies 70+ Outdated Hikvision Cameras on Feb 22, 2018
A US Army base has specified 70+ Hikvision IP cameras, a month after the WSJ reported a different Army base removed Hikvision IP cameras. While...
Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Visio For Video Surveillance Design on Feb 20, 2018
Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio...
Health Care Insurance Integrator Benefits Statistics on Feb 20, 2018
How common and how much healthcare coverage is typically provided by security companies? 150+ integrators explained how their companies provide the...
Hikvision Deletes Genetec Support on Feb 20, 2018
There will be no peace between Hikvision and Genetec. A year after Genetec expelled Hikvision (and Huawei, citing Chinese government control...

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