Optimized Camera Shootout - Upcoming and Released

By John Honovich, Published May 16, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

The response to our camera shootout series has been phenomenal with more than 10,000 reads in the last month and growing.

The main question or concern raised is our use of camera setting defaults. A number of members raised the point that results could be better (potentially significantly) better if the settings were tweaked for the environment.

[UPDATE: The Optimized Camera Shootout results are released.]

On the one hand, we want tests to be fair and representative of common real world use. Starting with the defaults shows what every camera delivers 'out of the box'. On the other hand, some deployments and some cameras may provide better results with a change of settings specific for the environment.

To test such a scenario, we are launching an 'Optimized Camera Shootout' for our Parking Garage scene. Here's how it is going to work:

  • We will email technical representatives of each manufacturer included in the Parking Garage shootout. They can review the complete video clips from the original test. Each manufacturer can then submit what software or hardware settings they would recommend for that scene.
  • By May 26th, all manufacturers must respond with their recommendations.
  • On May 31st, we will re-do the Parking Garage scene using the recommended settings for each manufacturer.
  • On June 6th, we will release the 'Optimized Camera Shootout' results (1)  demonstrating the differences between default and optimized settings for each manufacturer and (2) the relative performance of optimized settings across all manufacturers.

We are choosing the Parking Garage scene as the first 'optimization' test because the scene has significant lighting challenges that may respond well to optimization.

One important rule for this test is that the settings choosen cannot be changed during the course of the test. For instance, we will not adjust the aperture on a manual iris camera to adjust for day vs night conditions nor manually change exposure zones for different times of the day. All settings will be applied at the start of the test and will be used throughout. This is important to ensure that we are not 'gaming' the test. While such 'tricks' are common in sales demos, in the read world, settings are not changed manually during the day. Nor will it be in our tests.

Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

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