Samsung Wisenet III Camera Shootout

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 18, 2013

Samsung has never been a serious player in IP cameras, despite their success in other markets. Now, Samsung is pushing their Wisenet III [link no longer available] release as their breakthrough offering.

Is it really?

We bought the Samsung 720p SNB-5004 [link no longer available] and 1080p SNB-6004 [link no longer available] and ran a simultaneous shootout against top performers from Axis, Bosch and Sony to see how they could compare.

We did low light, WDR and bright light comparisons, like the one below:

Inside, we answer:

  • Low Light: How do Samsung WiseNet III models match up in low light against 'super low light' cameras?
  • WDR: How do Samsung WiseNet III models match up in WDR against true WDR cameras?
  • Price / Performance: Weighing price to performance, how does Samsung WiseNet III models match up?
  • Here are our key findings from this test:

    • The SNB-5004's low light performance was excellent, delivering significantly more details of our test chart and subject than all other cameras in our tests including leading 720p low light cameras from Axis, Bosch, and Sony.
    • The SNB-6004's performance was average, with subject details more difficult to discern than other models.
    • WDR performance of both cameras was solid, on par with other top performers against strong backlight. However, performance in darker areas of WDR scenes lagged.
    • Digital noise reduction (referred to as SSNR) created motion blur when turned on, reducing image quality on moving objects. However, turning this off increased bandwidth consumption significantly.
    • Digital image stabilization was functional, substantially reducing movement in the image when the camera was shaken or struck, but at a loss of some resolution.
    • Cameras feature MicroSD slots which may be used for edge recording, with archives accessible via Samsung's SmartViewer software.

    Pricing

    The following is the cameras tested and their online pricing:

    Recommendations

    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
    Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

    Given the SNB-5004's excellent low light performance, combined with a much lower price than competitive models, it is a competitive choice for these applications, though lagging behind other models in WDR. For those seeking a 1080p WDR camera, the SNB-6004 is a good choice, as well, though its low light performance lags. Users of both should beware of blur created by SSNR and carefully weigh the tradeoffs between image quality and bandwidth when reducing or turning off this feature.

    Physical Overview

    This video reviews the physical construction of the SNB series box cameras:

    Configuration

    In this screencast we review the Samsung web interface and key configuration settings. Key points include:

    • Cameras default to VBR encoding with a 2 Mb/s cap, which may be low in many scenes, especially in low light.
    • Minimum shutter speed is set to 1/5s by default. Users should change this to 1/30s to avoid motion blur.
    • SSNR settings should be carefully selected to balance both motion blur and bandwidth.
    • Both models include autofocus, which can be triggered via the web interface or a button on the camera's back.
    • Both models include RS-485 capability for integration to external pan/tilt positioners and zoom lenses, a niche feature not found in many cameras, especially lower cost models.

    SSNR Noise Reduction Impact

    Samsung's digital noise reduction, called SSNR, created motion blur on moving objects, as seen in the image comparison below. This setting is turned on by default. Users may download clips of this scene with SSNR On and Off to view this effect for themselves.

    Bandwidth Impact

    Turning SSNR off resulted in about a 500 Kbps increase in bandwidth (from ~1.2 Mb/s to ~1.7 Mb/s) in this scene for the SNB-5004, about a 40% increase. This tradeoff between image quality (reduced blur) and bandwidth must be carefully considered when using the SNB-5004/6004 in low light scenes.

    Indoor Comparisons

    In full light, ~160 lux, both Samsung cameras perform without issue. Colors are fairly true, with a faint bluish tint visible on the chart, but not impacting recognition.

    Dark, <1 lux

    With all lights off, below 1 lux, the SNB-5004 outperforms all other cameras in our test. Our test chart can be read to line 3/4, while other cameras barely resolve line 2. The SNB-6004 does not fair as well, with a darker image and more noise, which nearly obscures even the first line of the chart. Only the Bosch NBN-932V provides useful images of our subject's face among the 1080p cameras. In these scenes, shutter speed was normalized to 1/30s across all cameras, and the Samsung cameras' SSNR noise reduction was turned off.

    WDR Comparisons

    We set up the cameras in a garage with the overhead door rolled up to test WDR. Included is an FOV image displaying the scene.

    With our subject against a brightly lit open overhead door, both Samsung cameras perform well. The SNB-5004 is on par with the Bosch 733 and Sony VB600, and outperforms the Axis Q1604. The SNB-6004 lags slightly behind the Bosch 932 and Sony VB630, with details of our subject's face slightly more difficult to discern.

    In the dark area beside the overhead door, both Samsung cameras are the lowest performers at their respective resolutions. Details of our subject's face are much more difficult to make out, though the chart remains legible.

    Digital Image Stabilization

    Both the SNB-5004 and SNB-6004 include digital image stabilization as a standard feature, which is not commonly found in IP cameras. When this is turned on, the camera crops some of the edges of the image in order to compensate for movement, reducing effective resolution by ~20%.

    We tested this feature by shaking and striking the camera's tripod, seen in the clip below. While it did not completely eliminate movement, the feature was a marked improvement over cameras which did not include image stabilization. 

    Bandwidth

    The SNB-5004 had some of the lowest bandwidth consumption in both full light and dark scenes, as seen in the chart below. These measurements were taken using 720p resolution, 30 FPS, with SSNR turned on. Using Samsung's default compression setting ("10") resulted in quantization of 27 in full light, increasing to 32 in low light. This is in line with other cameras in the test which averaged about 30 on the quantization scale.

    Test Parameters

    All cameras were left at default settings for this test, with the exception of shutter speed, which was normalized at 1/30s.

    The following firmware versions were used:

    • Samsung SNB-5004 - 1.11_131011
    • Samsung SNB-6004 - 2.21_131008
    • Axis Q1604 - 5.40.3.3 
    • Bosch NBN-733V - 16500585
    • Bosch NBN-932V - 16500585
    • Sony SNC-VB600 - 1.5.1
    • Sony SNC-VB630 - 1.5.0

20 reports cite this report:

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...
WDR Shootout 2017: Low vs High Cost Cameras on Jan 24, 2017
Multi-exposure WDR was once only available in expensive cameras but in the past few years, this capability has become available even in sub $200...
Lux Rating / Minimum Illumination Guide on Dec 23, 2016
Lux ratings are one of the poorest specifications to use in selecting cameras. Now, with the rise of integrated IR, they are increasingly...
Arecont Stellar Camera Tested on May 25, 2016
Arecont offers:  STELLAR (Spatio TEmporal Low Light ARchitecture) technology that dramatically increases low light performance to capture color...
Samsung Losing Its Name and Integrity on Mar 04, 2016
Samsung's video surveillance division told everyone that nothing was going to change. They were wrong, if not lying. They are losing the Samsung...
Testing Samsung 1/2" Wisenet III Camera on Dec 01, 2015
Continuing our series of 1/2" super low light tests, in this report we look at Samsung's 1/2" Wisenet III model, the SNB-6005.  We tested it...
Samsung Covert WDR Camera Tested on Oct 07, 2015
IPVM member Steve Beck asked us in IPVM chat to test the Samsung covert WDR camera (the SNB-6011) so we did it. Covert cameras are often used in...
Hikvision Darkfighter 1/2" Imager Camera Tested on Aug 31, 2015
Can Hikvision beat Axis and Samsung in pure low light? The Chinese mega-manufacturer has made a name for itself as a low-cost leader, popularizing...
Samsung Wisenet Lite Cameras Tested on May 11, 2015
Far lower-cost MP cameras are a major trend now. So far, the 'Chinese' have been leading the way here. Samsung's Wisenet III series hit the...
WDR Camera Shootout 2015 on May 04, 2015
This is the most comprehensive Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) IP camera shootout ever. We tested 10 of the latest generation multiple-exposure true WDR...
Uniview Starlight Camera Tested on Apr 28, 2015
The company claims $263 million in 2013 revenue and to be the third largest Chinese surveillance manufacturer (after Hikvision and Dahua). Despite...
Samsung WiseNet Lite Challenges Hikvision Low Cost on Apr 10, 2015
It has been the 'Chinese' pushing down IP cameras at a feverish pace. Now, Samsung is joining. In this note, we review the features and pricing...
Axis 4K Tested (P1428E) on Oct 29, 2014
[UPDATE August 2015: We recently updated firmware on this camera for an upcoming test, from 5.55.5.1 to the new 5.80.1. In doing so, WDR increased...
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing Ground 2014 on Oct 27, 2014
IPVM survey results of 100 integrators show what manufacturers are gaining and losing ground in 2014. Integrators answered 2 questions: "Added:...
The Worst HD Quality Camera Ever (Samsung 1280H) on Oct 15, 2014
Samsung, what are you doing? Their new 1280H offering significantly stretches video and is one of the most bizarre offerings we have ever...
Winners Losers Fall 2014 on Oct 13, 2014
We are all losers, IPVM included. The historically poor new releases for ASIS / Essen make 2014 the worst year for surveillance innovation in, at...
Testing Axis High End HD Camera Q1615 on Sep 15, 2014
Axis core focus is the high end of the market. Their newest high end camera, the Q1615, aims to continue that, with claims of industry leading...
Testing Samsung vs Google/Dropcam on Jul 14, 2014
Samsung is charging hard into IP cameras. Last year, they attacked the professional market with their WiseNet III launch. Now, they are going...
IP Camera Costs Comparison and Trends 2010 - 2014 on Jun 25, 2014
Over the past 4 years, the average price of 100+ IP cameras surveyed has decreased ~25%, at an annual decline of ~5%. In this report, we break...
Axis Advances Its Best Overall Camera on Jun 17, 2014
While Chinese competitors rush to sell HD cameras at 1/5th to 1/10th the price of Axis, Axis continues to push up market. Axis has announced the...
Comments (24) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G [link no longer available], with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the...
ISS VMS / Video Analytics Company Profile on Aug 16, 2018
Who is ISS? In the past few months, they had one of the craziest ISC West promo items in years. Then, they hired industry veteran and ex-Dahua...
Camera Course Summer 2020 on Jun 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training...
Canon Launches World's Most Expensive IP Camera (ME20F-SHN) on Jan 09, 2018
Canon has launched the ME20F-SHN , likely the world's most expensive single imager, non-thermal, IP camera at ~$20,000. And Canon subsidiary...
Geovision GV-EDR2100 Tested Vs Hikvision on Oct 16, 2017
A number of ADI's top selling IP cameras are, at least surprisingly to us, from Geovision. We recently bought and tested the Geovision EDR2100...
UTC Interlogix Series 6 Tested on Mar 25, 2019
UTC Interlogix has long been deceptively OEMing Hikvision as our 2017 results show. Now, Interlogix is back with their newest IP camera series,...
Color Low Light Mega Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Speco, Sony, Vivotek on Nov 12, 2019
This is the biggest color low light shootout ever, testing 20+ super low light models from 10 manufacturers: Increasingly, each manufacturer...
Axis vs Sony Super Size Shootout (Q1659 vs SNC-VB770) on Sep 11, 2017
Super low light, super sized sensor cameras are a growing trend. In the past year, 2 of the most notable entrants for these IP cameras have been...
Next Gen 5MP / 6MP Camera Shootout - Axis vs Dahua vs Hanwha vs Hikvision on Feb 28, 2018
Many manufacturers have released new generation 5MP / 6MP cameras that tout super low light, WDR and other features historically typical in 1080p...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Sperry West / Alibaba Tablet Temperature Measurement Tested on Jul 07, 2020
In April, we ordered a ~$500 temperature tablet from Alibaba. We set it to the side while doing 18 other temperature screening tests but, after...
Video Surveillance 101 Book Released on Jul 07, 2020
IPVM's unique introduction to video surveillance series is now available as a 145-page eBook. Designed for managers, salespeople, and engineers new...
Startup Duranc Presents AI VSaaS on Jul 06, 2020
Duranc presented its system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Duranc including IPVM Q&amp;A Background on the...
Low Voltage Nation Wants to "Help You Carve Out A Fulfilling Career" Interviewed on Jul 06, 2020
It is difficult to make your way in this industry as there is little formal schooling. However, one person, Blake Urmos, the Founder of Low Voltage...
The Next Hot Fever Detection Trend - $100 Wall-Mounted Units on Jul 06, 2020
The first wave of the booming fever detecting market was $10,000+ cameras, now interest for ~$2,000 tablets is high and the next big thing may be...
Cisco Meraki Unlocks IP Cameras With RTSP Tested on Jul 06, 2020
Meraki opened up its cameras to 3rd party NVRs/VMSes by offering RTSP streaming because of "the need to solve a business problem". We tested...
Hikvision Illicitly Uses Back To The Future In Marketing on Jul 03, 2020
NBCUniversal told IPVM that Hikvision UK's ongoing coronavirus marketing campaign using NBCUniversal's assets was not allowed. Hikvision mass...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI object recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...