Lowest Priced Auto Focus Cameras

By Ethan Ace, Published Aug 06, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Auto-focus has historically been regarded as a high-end feature, found on expensive cameras. But with prices trending ever lower, is this still the case?

In this note, we look at pricing trends for auto focus/auto back focus cameras using the IPVM Camera Finder to analyze and rank auto-focus cameras from Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, FLIR, Hikvision, Panasonic, Pelco, Samsung, Sony, Vivotek and more.

Auto Focus/Auto Back Focus Basics

For those unfamiliar, there are two methods used in auto focus cameras, with some differences, but functionally the same to users. They are:

  • Auto Focus/AF: Auto-focus is typically found in dome and bullet cameras with motorized lenses. The camera moves the lens during the autofocus process.
  • Auto Back Focus/ABF: Auto back focus moves the imager back and forth to focus the camera, while the lens remains stationary. This is usually found in box cameras which use standard CS mount non-motorized lenses, though it may be found in other form factors, as well.

Readers may see our Focusing Tutorial for more information and Auto Focus Preference Statistics for integrator survey results.

Budget Models Now Available

Historically, AF/ABF was typically found in high end models, typically $800+, such as the Axis Q series, Sony V series, or Bosch's high end models.

However, auto-focus can now be found on a handful of "budget" priced models, such as:

Hikvision and FLIR both have multiple bullet and dome models at this price point, in addition to the very lowest cost models listed above.

Others Moderately More Expensive

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Though it has moved into low end models for many manufacturers, it is still a mid-range feature for some IP incumbents, such as Axis, Sony, Panasonic, etc., whose lowest cost AF cameras are nearly 50% more expensive than the lowest cost optionsL

Note that these models constitute "mid tier" options for these manufacturers. While still significantly more expensive than others, these models are less expensive than the top tier cameras AF/ABF were previously limited to.

HD Analog Reducing Prices Further

The impact of HD analog can be seen in the auto focus segment, as well. Models such as the Dahua HAC-HFW2220RN-Z (~$120 online) and FLIR C237ED (~$170 online) bullet cameras, as well as their dome counterparts, both include remote focus and zoom, at least ~$100 less than the price of IP options.

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