Axis New Generation P33 Domes (P3363/P3364)

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 27, 2012

Axis has released a new generaton of their P33 dome camera line, incorporating hardware improvements and price changes. In this note, we examine features and pricing comparing to existing P33 models and similar ones from Sony.

Overview

Here are key features of the new P33 domes:

  • SVGA and 720p resolution options only, no higher resolution (though a new generation 5MP is already shipping - the P3367)
  • ARTPEC-4 chip vs. ARTPEC-3 in old
  • Lightfinder - improved low light performance
  • Main profile H.264 vs baseline profile in old
  • Option for integrated IR for both resolutions (those models have a -L in their naming) specified for a maximum of 50 feet
  • Pricing reduction from previous P33 domes

Key Differences

We see a number of key differentiators:

  • Improved low light performance: Axis is rolling out the same low light technology, Lightfinder that they have delivered in the Q1602 and Q1604 cameras. This is an important shift as previous generation P series low light performance was average while the Lightfinder cameras we have tested have been competitively outstanding.
  • Larger sensor: The older P series had 1/4" sensors but the new ones have 1/3" sensors. While 1/3" is fairly common, 1/4" is not and below average for professional HD cameras. Moving to 1/3" is not a competitive advantage but does rectify a deficiency.
  • ARTPEC-4 performance: Provides more computational power to enhance image processing and running 3rd party apps (such as Exacq Edge or ipConfigure LPR)
  • Main Profile: This profile delivers improved compression and bandwidth savings of 10 to 30% over standard base profiles.
  • Integrated illuminators: The 720p HD vandal models have an option for integrated IR, increasing cost by $100 USD. While Axis uses only a few LEDs, these are higher end SMT LEDs typically found in external IR illuminators. Also, the LED 'bulbs' are not visible. A future post will review Axis's approach to integrated IR.
  • Reduced Pricing: The new models are $100 - $150 USD less than existing equivalent models. For instance, the MSRP of the new 720p vandal outdoor AXIS P3364-VE is $959 while the older equivalent P3344-VE was $1099. The lowest cost HD option is the P3354, the indoor non-vandal version with an MSRP of $699.

 Competitive Comparison

Axis's new domes will be notably less expensive than Sony's current premium offerings but still more than their mid range ones. Sony offers the SNC-DH140 vandal indoor model at a street price of ~$950 and the DH180 indoor model with integrated IR at ~$1,100. By contrast, Axis's vandal indoor HD model has an MSRP of $799 and the model with integrated IR has an MSRP of $899. This gives Axis a $100 - $150 price advantage over Sony premium cameras. However, Sony's mid level SNC-DH120 HD indoor non vandal dome has a street price of $550 USD, still notably less than the new Axis comparable P3354 with an likely street price of ~$650 USD.

Image quality is likely to be a split decision. Sony's premium models offer strong WDR, an area Axis remains weak with the notable exception of the box only Q1604. On the other hand, Axis Lightfinder likely provides a significant low light performance advantage over Sony who has average to below average low light imaging.

Ultimately, comparative testing will be needed to determine fine differences in performances. However, Axis's new generation cameras are clearly an important competitive advance in cost effectiveness and low light capability.

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