Low Cost Professional IP Cameras Comparison

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Oct 23, 2011

"Too expensive" is probably the most frequent complaint about IP cameras. While IP cameras have clearly come down in price in the last few years, they are still, on average, notably more expensive than analog cameras. Though it is becoming easier to justify MP cameras, price remains a barrier for many. Add in economic problems around the globe and real pressure exists to minimize spending on surveillance.

You can get really cheap IP cameras for about $100 but these are typically consumer level products that are rarely acceptable for professional deployments. We did a series of tests on these cameras last year and while some were impressive for their price, none of them were truly a professional option.

Professional Features at Lower Prices

We wanted to focus on finding IP cameras that provided professional features at lower prices than available from the big brands (e.g., Axis, Sony, Panasonic, Pelco, etc.).

To qualify these cameras, would need to meet a number of fundamental criteria:

  • Box cameras that supported varifocal or exchangeable lenses. While cube cameras are cheap, they generally do not provide sufficient deployment flexibility to be used professionally.
  • Dome cameras: Professional users like domes for their aesthetic low profile.
  • Outdoor use option: If the cameras can only be used indoors, it is a big constraint.
  • H.264: MPEG-4 and especially MJPEG have fallen out of favor among professionals.
  • Megapixel: SD only is no longer acceptable for professionals.
  • Day/Night support: Low light imaging is important and color only cameras are generally not enough.

Our Comparison

In this report, we review low-cost or lesser-known manufacturers. Over the past few months, we have reviewed in detail the pricing and key feature sets of a dozen suppliers.

Manufacturers Included

Here are the dozen manufacturers included with a link to our detailed review of each one:

There are many lower cost, less well known Asian manufacturers. We selected the ones we did based on integrator feedback and availability for direct branded sale in the US. We only analyzed manufacturers whose products were available for sale under their own brand and therefore excluded pure OEM providers.

We have included common low-cost manufacturers ACTi, Arecont, and Vivotek in the comparison as a comparison against other less known manufacturers can be judged. We have also included pricing comparisons to market giant Axis as a reference for mainstream pricing.

Inside the Pro section, we provide recommendations for interesting products in these lines and overall low-cost leaders.

"*** *********" ** ******** *** **** ******** ********* ***** ** cameras. ***** ** ******* **** ******* **** **** ** ***** in *** **** *** *****, **** *** *****, ** *******, notably **** ********* **** ****** *******. ****** ** ** ************** ** ******* ** *******, ***** ******* * ******* *** ****. *** ** ******** problems ****** *** ***** *** **** ******** ****** ** ******** spending ** ************.

*** *** *** ****** ***** ** ******* *** ***** $*** but ***** *** ********* ******** ***** ******** **** *** ****** acceptable *** ************ ***********. ** *** ******* ** ***** ** ***** ******* **** ******* ***** **** **** ********** *** ***** *****, **** ** them **** ***** * ************ ******.

************ ******** ** ***** ******

** ****** ** ***** ** ******* ** ******* **** ******** professional ******** ** ***** ****** **** ********* **** *** *** brands (*.*., ****, ****, *********, *****, ***.).

** ******* ***** *******, ***** **** ** **** * ****** of *********** ********:

  • *** ******* **** ********* ********* ** ************ ******. ***** **** cameras *** *****, **** ********* ** *** ******* ********** ********** flexibility ** ** **** **************.
  • **** *******: ************ ***** **** ***** *** ***** ********* *** profile.
  • ******* *** ******: ** *** ******* *** **** ** **** indoors, ** ** * *** **********.
  • *.***: ****-* *** ********** ***** **** ****** *** ** ***** among *************.
  • *********: ** **** ** ** ****** ********** *** *************.
  • ***/***** *******: *** ***** ******* ** ********* *** ***** **** cameras *** ********* *** ******.

*** **********

** **** ******, ** ****** ***-**** ** ******-***** *************. **** the **** *** ******, ** **** ******** ** ****** *** pricing *** *** ******* **** ** * ***** *********.

************* ********

**** *** *** ***** ************* ******** **** * **** ** our ******** ****** ** **** ***:

***** *** **** ***** ****, **** **** ***** ***** *************. We ******** *** **** ** *** ***** ** ********** ******** and ************ *** ****** ******* **** ** *** **. ** only ******** ************* ***** ******** **** ********* *** **** ***** their *** ***** *** ********* ******** **** *** *********.

** **** ******** ****** ***-**** ************* ****, *******, *** ******* in *** ********** ** * ********** ******* ***** **** ***** manufacturers *** ** ******. ** **** **** ******** ******* *********** to ****** ***** **** ** * ********* *** ********** *******.

****** *** *** *******, ** ******* *************** *** *********** ******** in ***** ***** *** ******* ***-**** *******.

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

******* ***************

** ****** ** *** ********** ******* ** **** ** ***** cameras, **** ****** **** ** *** ******, ******* *** ** a *********** *******. ****: ** **** *** ****** *** ***** quality ** *** ****** ***** ****** ************* *********** ******. ** believe, **** * *** ** *** ******-***** ***** **** *** worth ******** ***.

  • ******: ** ***** *****, ****** ****** ***. *******, ***** ****** beware **** ***** ****** *** ******** **** **-***** ***** ******, as ******* ** **** ****** ** **** **********. ** *** lens ******** ** *** **********, ***** ******* ********* ** ******* lessened. ****, ** ** *** *****, ***** ***** ***** ************ are *** ** ****** ** ******, *** **** **** ***** support.
  • ***, *-****,***********: ***** ** ****** *** ** ***** ********* ****** *** as ******* ********, ** ***** **** ******** *** *** *******. First, ***** *******, ***** *** ** *** ** ******, ***** to ** ***** **** ******* ** *** ******** *** ********* spec'd *******, *** **** ***** **** ***** *************. ******, ** have ***** ***** ********* ***** ******* ** ***** ***** **** end *****, *** ****, *** **********, **** **** *** ***** by ****.

****** *********** ***** ********* ** *** ******** ****, *** ******** stand *** ** ***** **** ***** ****** **** ****** **** away ****. ***** ************* *** ****** *** ******. *** ********** surveillance, ** ***'* ******* **** *** *********, **** *** ******** exception ** ********* ***** ******** ********* *-* *******. ***** **** of ***** ***** ** ***** *******, ****** **** **** *******, and ***** ***** ****** ***** ** *** *** ** ** being * **** ****** *** ************ ***.

***** *********

*** *** **** ****, ***** ** ****** ************* ** ****** about *** ***** ** ***** ***********. ***** *** *** ************* that *** ********* ***** *** ***** ****** ******* ** **********. There *** * ******* ** ******** ***** ***** *** ** worth * ****, *******:

  • *** ********* **** **: ****** ***-******** * *.*** *********** ******* ****** **** *-**** **** *** dual ** ************. ***** ************ *** ***** ** ***** ** to ***, ****** ***** ************** *** ********* **********. *****, **** model ***** ** ***** *** ***** ******* * ****** **** greater *****, ***** **** **.
  • ******** ******** **********: ***** ******* ******* **** *****-** ******** ********** may ** ********** ** ********'* **********. **** ****** ** ***** line *** ********* **** ***** ** ***.** ******** **********. **** coupled **** ***** ******** ****** *****, ************ ** ******** ** be ******, ******* *** *** ** **-** ********* ***** ******* on *** *** ******. ******** **** *** ******** ****** **** biult-in ** ***-** ** **********, ***** *** ** ****** *** remote ***** **** * *** ****** ****** ** * ****** camera.
  • *********** *** ********: ***** ****** ** *** *********** **** ** capable ** **-*********** *** *****. **** **** ** ** ******* interest ** *** ******** ** *******. *** ***** ******* * camera ** ********* ** * *** ***** ****** *** *** as ** ***** *****, ** **** ** ******, *******.

******* **** *********

**** ** ***** ************* *** ******* *******, **********, *** **** in ***** ****. ** *****, *** ******** ** **** ****:

  • ****: *** **** ** ****** **** ** *****, **** *** the ****** **** ******* ***** ***** **** *** ******, ** multiple ***********, ** ** *** (** ********** *** ****** ** resolution).
  • *******: ******* *** ****** ***** ** *** ********* ****** ** cost *****, **** *** ** *** ****** ******-***-***** ***** ******. Their **** ** ***** ******* ****, **** ** ****, ** resolutions ** ** ****. **** **** **** ***** ******* **** their ************ **** ** ***° *** ***° *******, ***** ******* of **** *** ** *** ******* ** * ****** *******.
  • ********: ******** ****** * ***** **** ** ** *******, ********* video ******* *** ****, **** *********** ** ** ***. *** most ******* ******* ** ***** **** ** *****-** ******** ********** in * ****** ** ******, **** ******** ******** *** **.
  • ***: *** *** ** ****** **** ****** *** *****, **** multiple ****** ** **** **** ******. *** ** ******* ***** users ****** ** * ******** ******, **** **** *** **********.
  • ******: ****** ******* *** ** *** ******** ***** ** *** the ************* ** **** ******, **** ** ** **** *** models, *** ******* **** *******. ******* **** *** ************* ******. However, ****** *** *** ** *** ***** ********* ********* ******* we **** ****, *** $*** *.*** **** **** ******.
  • *-****: ***** * ****** ** ***** **** ** **** ****, D-Link's **** ** **** **** ********** ** *********** *******, *** they **** ******* *** *****, **** ******** ******* ** **** form ******, ********* ** ** *.*** **********.
  • ******: *** ****** **** ** **** *****, *********** **** ****** with **** ******* ****, **** ** ****, ****** ***, *** bullet **** *******. ********** **** *** ** *.***.
  • ******: **** ******** * ***** ****, ****** **** ******* *** dubious *********** ** ****** *** **** **** ******* * ********* camera ** **** ******. **** ** *** **** ** *****-****, as ****.
  • ***********: *** *********** **** ** ********* **** ** ***** *** cameras, * ****** **** *****, *** ****** *** ******* *****. Most ** *** **** ** ******** **********, **** * ***** box ****** *** *** **** ******.
  • *********: ********* ******* * **** **** ** ** *******, **** multiple ******* ** *** **** *******, *** *********** ** ** 5MP. *** **** ** ************ ********* ******* ** *** *******, since ***** *** **** ****** ** *** **** **** *** same **** ******, **********, *** ***** *****, **** *** **** difference ***** *** ****** ** **** ** *** ******.
  • ******: ******'* **** ** ********** *******, **** ******* ** ***** dome, ***** ***, ****, *** ****. **** **** **** ***** panoramic ******* **** ****. *********** *** ********* ********* ** ** 2MP.
  • *******: ***** *** ***** *** ** *** ***-**** *******, ******* has ******* *** ******** **** ** **** ******, **** **** options *** *** **** *******, ** * ******* ** ***********, as **** ** ********* *******.

***** ***** ******* ********

*** ******* ********* **** ***** ******-***** ****** ** ******* ** often *** **** **** ********* **** ***'* ****** *** ********, if ** ***. ***** *** ***** ** **** **** ***** somewhat, *** *** *** ** ***** ******* ******* *****, ******. A ***** ******** ** **** ************'* *****-***** *******:

  • ****: **** *** **** ****** ********* ** ***** ******* *** a *** *****, ***. **** ** * ****** ** ***** and *** *** ****** *** ****** ** ***** *********.
  • *******: ******* ** **** ****** ********* ** *** *********. ********* their ********* *********, ****** **** ******** ******* ** **** *******, only ******* *** *** *******. ** ******* ****** *** ********* ONVIF-compliant.
  • ********: ******** *** ****** ***** *****-***** *******, ********* ****** ********* and *****, ** **** ** ******-***** *** *** *** ******, such ** **** *** ********. *** ****** **** ** *****-*********.
  • ***: *** *** ******** ******* **** *****-***** ****. ********* *** Genetec **** **** ******* ****** ******* *** ***** *******, ***** with * **** ** ***** *** *********. *** ** * strong ********* ** *****, *** *** ****** **** ** *****-*********.
  • ******: ****** *** ******* *****-***** ***********, **** ******** *** ******** being *** **** *** ******** ** ****. *********, *** **** is *** *****-*********, *** ****** *** ******* **** ***** ** added ** *** *** ** ****.
  • *-****: ******* *** *-**** ******* ** ******* ** * ****** number ** ***/*** ********. ******* *** ****** ****** *** *****-*********.
  • ******: ******* *** ****** ******* ** ***** ******* ** ********* limited, *** **** ***** ** **** ***** ******** *** ****. Edimax ****** ** *****-********* ***** ** ****** ** *** *** of ****, *** ** ******* ****** ******* **.
  • ******: ****** *** ******* *****-***** *******, ** ****. ******-***** ** lower-cost **** **** ** ********, **** ****, *** **** ******* them, *** *********** ** ***** ******* ** *******. ***** ** currently *** *********.
  • ***********: *********** *** ************ **** ***** *** ********* *******, *********, and ********, *** *** ******** ** *** **** ** *****-*********.
  • *********: ********* *** **** *****-***** ******* **** *** *******, **** major *** *****, ****** ***** ***** **** ** *** ****** firmware. *** ******* *** ****** ****** *** *****-*********.
  • ******: *** ****** **** *** **** ********** **** * ******** number ** ****, ****** *****, *** ********* *********, ****, *** Synology. ***** ** ********* *** *********.
  • *******: *** ******* **** ** ******* ********* ** * **** list ** *** ************. ***** ** **** *********.

*** ****** **********

*** *** ******** **********, ** **** ******** * ***** *** camera *** ** ******* **** ****** ** **** ** *.*** resolution **** **** ************, ***** ** **** ***** *** *** most ****** ******* *** ***** *** ********** ** *****. ***** box ******* **** **** ************ ******* ** ****:

  • *******-****:~$*** ******, ********* *.*** **-***** ****
  • ***************:~$*** ******, ** **** ********
  • **********-*****: ~$*** ********* ****** *******, ** **** ********
  • ***********: ~$*** ********* ****** *******, ** **** ********
  • ***********: ~*** ********* ****** *******, ** **** ********
  • *-*******-****: ~$*** ********* ****** *******, ********* *.*-*** **-***** ****
  • *********** ***********: ~$*** ******, *.*-**** **-***** **** ********
  • ***********-*******-*: ~$*** ********* ****** *****, ** **** ********
  • ***********: ~$*** ********* ****** *****, *** ***** **-***** **** ********
  • *************:~$*** ******, *.*-**** **-***** **** ********
  • *********:~$*** ******, ********* *-*** **-***** ****

******** **** * **** (*** ***** ***** ** *** ******* one) **** **** ** **********, ~$***, ***** ** *** ******* above, *** ****** ** ***** ** ******, **** ****** * 20% ***** ********* **** *-****, *** **** ****** **********. **'** included *** **** ***** *** **********. ****** ***** ** ** less **** **** *** ***** ** ****, **** *-**** ****** in ** ***** **% *****.

**** **** ****** *** ****** ** *** ***** *** *******. Inclusion ** **** *******, *** ******* ******** ** ***** **** to * ***** ***, ***** **** ***** ******* ******* ** they **** **** ******* *** ***** $***.

******* ****** **********

**** ** ***** ************* ******* * **** ******** *** ******* use, ****** **** ** **** *****. ** *** ***** ***** this *** *** *******, ** **** **** ** ******* ****** camera, ***** ********* ** ** *** **** ***** *****, **** a ******* ******* *** ** * ********* **** ******.

**** *****, ** **** **** *** ****** *** ******, ** their ******* *** ***-****, *** ************* **** *********, *** * fair **********. ****** ********* ** ******* *****, ****** *********** *** Brickcom *** ********** ****-******.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Pelco Favorability Results on Dec 02, 2016
This is the first in a series of studies of manufacturer favorability. 100+ integrators rated and explained their views of each manufacturer. We...
CODEC Guide 2016 on Nov 30, 2016
CODECs are core to surveillance, with names like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG commonly cited. How do they work? Why should you use them? What issues may...
Dirty Dome Camera Test on Nov 28, 2016
Dome cameras are the most widely used type professionally but many note that dirt, dust, rain, and scratches can cause image quality problems,...
Exacq M Series Gets Aggressive Against Hikvision on Nov 22, 2016
The most common complaint against Western NVRs is too high prices. With Chinese recorders, such as Hikvision and Dahua, running sub $500 and...
Hanwha Wisenet P 4K Bullet Tested on Nov 21, 2016
Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsung) continues their push into H.265 cameras, now with the high-end P series, including 4K resolution and smart...
Longse vs Dahua and Hikvision Tested on Nov 16, 2016
For many, even $100 cameras are too expensive. That is where spam king Longse comes in with their relentless offer of ~$20 cameras. In our past...
$38+ Million Funding Powers VMS Challenger IronYun on Nov 09, 2016
VMS and video analytics have received little funding this decade. However, one Taiwan startup, IronYun, has bucked this trend, with a relatively...
Genetec Expels Hikvision on Nov 08, 2016
Genetec has removed support for Hikvision devices, deeming them 'untrustworthy', citing customer concerns about Chinese government ownership /...
Samsung Wisenet Q 4MP Tested on Nov 03, 2016
The 4MP trend continues, now with Hanwha Techwin / Samsung in their latest Wisenet Q series. We bought one of these models, the QNV-7080R, to see...
'Legal Protection' From Eagle Eye Contract Vault Examined on Nov 02, 2016
"I was promised the high-end model for the entry level price." "Nobody said there would be a monthly service fee when I signed...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Pelco Favorability Results on Dec 02, 2016
This is the first in a series of studies of manufacturer favorability. 100+ integrators rated and explained their views of each manufacturer. We...
Hikvision CEO Declares 'We Do Not Cut Rates" on Dec 02, 2016
Hikvision has led another press trip to China, and this time Hikvision's CEO is sharing insights into their competitive strategy, including...
Network Security Audit App (March Networks) Examined on Dec 01, 2016
Verifying one's video surveillance devices are locked down against common cybersecurity vulnerabilities is increasing important, as hacks using...
FLIR Acquires Drone Manufacturer For $134M on Dec 01, 2016
FLIR has acquired Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian maker of small military-grade drones, for $134M.  FLIR president Andy Teich provided additional...
Down to $50 IP Cameras From Honeywell on Dec 01, 2016
$100 IP cameras are literally old news. And you do not need to buy from spam email vendors anymore to get $50 ones. [premium_content] You can...
Distributor Offers Local Job Site Delivery on Nov 30, 2016
Local distribution branches are a big differentiator for many integrators, as they facilitate quickly picking up supplies locally without having to...
Dump Axis and Hikvision, Arecont Will Pay You on Nov 30, 2016
Do you want to get rid of your Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Hanwha Samsung, Hikvision, Pelco or Sony cameras? Now, Arecont will pay you to dump them for...
CODEC Guide 2016 on Nov 30, 2016
CODECs are core to surveillance, with names like H.264, H.265, and MJPEG commonly cited. How do they work? Why should you use them? What issues may...
Free Online NFPA, IBC, and ADA Codes and Standards on Nov 29, 2016
Finding applicable codes for security work can be a costly task, with printed books and pdf downloads costing hundreds or thousands. However, a...
Selecting Wood Drill Bits For Installers on Nov 29, 2016
Running cables through studs is common for roughing in residential and some older commercial installs. To do this, you will need to drill holes in...

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