Testing Sony's 6th Gen IP Cameras

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 03, 2013

Sony's long awaited 6th generation IP cameras are now available. In our 2010-2011 tests, Sony's 5th generation cameras were one of the top offerings of that era. However, the market has advanced in the past few years.

In this report, we share our test results of Sony's 6th generation premium series, specifically the SNC-VB600B. We matched it up against recent entrants from Bosch and Axis that offer some of the best low light and WDR performance on their lines (see our recent Bosch vs Axis low light test).

Indeed, Sony has been making its own waves, talking about how the 6th generation cameras were a major advance in low light imaging.

Here is a preview of the side by side simultaneous shootouts we did:

****'* **** ******* *** generation ** ******* *** now *********. ** *** 2010-2011 *****, ****'* *** generation ******* **** *** of *** *** ********* of **** ***. *******, the ****** *** ******** in *** **** *** years.

** **** ******, ** share *** **** ******* of ****'* *** ********** premium ******, ************ *** ***-******. ** ******* ** up ******* ****** ******** from ***** *** **** that ***** **** ** the **** *** ***** and *** *********** ** their ***** (*** *** recent***** ** **** *** light ****).

******, **** *** ********** *** *** *****, ******* ***** *** the *** ********** ******* were * ***** ******* in *** ***** *******.

**** ** * ******* of *** **** ** side ************ ********* ** did:

**** *********** **** **** in **** ***, *** and **** ****** ******.

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

Key ******** 

**** *** *** *** findings:

  • ********* ******** *** ***** performance ******** ** *** 5th **********, *** ******** lags ****** *********** *** light ****** **** ***** and ****.
  • *** *********** ** *** or ****** **** ***** top **** *** ******* and ********** **** ******** generation * ****** ******.
  • *** ** ***** ** the *** ****** ********* ***** ** extremely **** ****** ** low ***** ** **** motion ******. *******,******* *** ****** ********* was *******, ** *** with ****, ****** ****** than *****. *** ******* ** CBR ** * **/*.[[****: **** ***** * VBR *** ** ******** update *.*]]

[****: ******* **** ******* may ****** **** *** Bosch ****** **** ****** than *** ******** **** with ****. **** ** not ** *****. ***** our **** ****, ***** released *** ******** **** significantly ******** *** ******'* performance. **** ********** ***** ********* **** report*** ****.]

Other *** *******

  • *** ****/***** ****** ** in **** **** **********'* pricing, ******* *** *****$***-*,*** ******, ********* ****. ***** and ************* **~$*** (~$*** + ****) ***~$*,***, ************.
  • ****** **** **** ******* on *** ** *** VB600B, *** ***** ** also *********, ********** ** to ** ***. * 1080p60 *****, *** *****, is **** *********, ******** below. *******, **** ****** are *** **** ********* than ** ************ *******.

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

******-******** * *********** ****** for * **** *** light/WDR ******, ************* *** Axis ***** ** **** scenes. *** **** ******** point ** ****'* ************** of ***, ***** **** be *********** ** *** light *** **** ****** scenes. ***** *** **** that *** ******** * lower ******* ******* ******* of ****. ***** ********** Sony ***** ** **** selecting **** ****** ******* of *** ********* ****** CH140, ** ****.

Physical ********

**********, *** *** * cameras *** ****** *** same ** *** *, with **** *********** ****** being *** ******** ** rear **********. ***** *** two ***** **** ***********:

  • ******* ** *** ******* Flash **** ***** **** Gen *, *** ****** include ** ** ****. SD, ****, *** **** cards *** *** *********.
  • ******* ** *** ******* 2.8-8mm ********* **** **** shipped **** *** *, Sony *** ***** *** a ****** *****.

Configuration / ****** *** *********

*** *** ********** *********** the *** * *** interface. ***** ****** **** the ********* *** ******:

  • ***** **** **** *********** since *** * ** improve **********, **** ***** menu ******** **** ******** tabs. 
  • **** ****** ************* *******, including ***** *******, ***, CODEC ********, ***/*****, *** more, *** *** ***** in * ****** **** section, ****** **** ****** to ****.
  • **** *** ***** **** and **** ******* *.*** encoding, ** **** ** VBR, **** *** *. 

Market ******

****'* ***** ********** **** much **** ****'* ***********, as ***** ***** ********** cameras, *** *-* ***** old, ****** ****** *********** in *** ***** ***********. The ****** * ******, which **** ******* ** will ******** *** *** low ***** ***********, ****** with * ***** ***** point, *** ******* ********** their ****. ** **** to **** *** * series **** *******.

Indoor ***********

*****, **** *** ******* forced **** ***** ****, at ***** ****** ***** one ***, ** *** see *** ****** ** noisier **** **** *** especially *****, **** **** of *** ***** ******** by *****. *** ******* is ************** ** **** the ****** *** *****, while ***** ******** **** level ** ******, ** well ** **** ******* lines ** *** *****. This **** ***** *** most ******** *********** ******* Sony's ***** *** ***** generations, ** *** ***** is ****** ********** ***** at **** *****.

 ** ********** ****, ******* are *******, **** ***** levels ******* *** ****.

 

** **** *****, ~*** lx, ** *** *** that ****** *** ****** similar ****** *******. *** VB600B *** ***** *** most ******* ** **** and **********, **** *** 733 *** ***** **** washed ***. ***************** ******* ****** *** edges ** *** *******, but **** **** *** affect ***********.

Wide ******* *****

** *** ******** ******* overhead **** *****, *** VB600B ******** ********** ** the **** ********** **** CH140 *** *** ***** 733V. *** ***** **** in **** ******* ** the *****.

 **** *** ******* ** the **** **** ** the **** ** *** overhead ****, *** **** cameras *** **********, ***** the ***** ********, *** the ***-**** ******** ******** worse.

Motion *****

** ****** *** *******' motion *********** ** **** interior *** ******** ****** to **** *** ****** artifacts *** ********.

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

*****, ** *** ** the ******* **** ** active *******, **** ******** passing ** **-** ***** per ****. **** ******* shot *** ***** ** an **** ***** ***** was ** ****** ********, in ***** ** ******** issues **** *****. **** Sony ******* ******* **** ghosting ** *** *******, especially *** ******, *** worse ** *** *****. Axis *** ***** *** not **** **** *******, though *** ***** ******** from ************ ** *** brighter ***** ** *** car.(******** **** ** ****)

[******: **** **** *** reason *** *** **** is ******* ***** ****** defaults ** '****' *** using * *********. **** recommends ******* *** ** medium/mid ** **** ****** that **** **** *** 2 ********, *********** * longer ******** *** ********* the ****.]

** *****, ** ***** .5 **, *** ******* exhibit **** ** ********** and*********, **** **** *** Bosch ******** ***** ****** about *******, **** ****** than *** **** *****. Note **** *** ******* were ************ ** * maximum */*** ********. (******** **** ** ****)

Bandwidth ***********

** *** ***** **********, Sony ***** *** ********, addressing ********** **** **** were *** ** *** major ************* ** ***** only ***. ** ******** update *.*, **** ***** a *** ** ***** VBR **************. **** ** key ******* ** *** light ****** ** ***** bandwidth ****** ** **** high ******.

** *** ***** ****** daytime *****, **** *** slightly ***** **** *** Axis *****, *** ****** than *** ***** ***-****. Note **** ** **** only *********** *** *** SNC-VB600B, *** ***** *** VB600 ** ** ******* equal.

  • **** ***-******: ~*.* **/* average
  • **** *****: ~*.* **/* average
  • ***** ***-****: ~*** **/* average

** *** *** ***** scene, *** *****'* *** bitrate ***** ***********, *** highest ** ******** ** our *****. ********* *** approximately *** **** ********** of ***** ** ********** mode:

  • **** ***-******: ~**.* **/* average
  • **** *****: ~**.* **/* average
  • ***** ***-****: ~*.* **/* average

*******, ********** ******* ******* of ****** **** * laser ***** * ***, Sony ******* ************* *** same, ***** **** *** Bosch **** ****:

  • **** ***-******: ~**.* **/* average
  • **** *****: ~**.* **/* average
  • ***** ***-****: ~*.* **/* average

Other ***** *** ******* 

** ******** ** *** 30fps ****** ****** ****, Sony ****** ****** (*****) and ******* (*****) ******. This ******** ** ***** rate ***** ** * premium, *******, ** *** VB600 ***** *** $*,***-*,***, and *** ***** *** $1,500-1,600. ******** ** ***** models **** ** *** NBN-733V (~$***-) *** *** 1080p *** ***-**** (~$*,***-*,***), they *** ****** *** higher. ** **** **** the ***** ***** **. other *** *** ** low ***** ******* **********.

** ****** *** *****'* low ***** *********** ******* Bosch's ***-****. ** ~.* lux, *** ******* ** difficult ** ****** ** the ****, **** ** details ********, *** *** chart ****** *******. *******, the ***** ******* **** letters ** *** *****, with *** ******* ****** visible ** *** *****:

**** ******* ** **** they **** ** ********* 6th ********** * ****** of ******* ** * lower ***** ***** ***** this ****, ***** ******* low ***** *** *** performance *** ******* ** FPS **********, *****, ** storage, ***. ***** ******* and ******* *** *** not *** *********.

Comments (13)

John,

Thanks for a good test. Surprising to see how much lower bandwidth Bosch is using compared to Sony and Axis. I guess this translates to storage savings and better quality video in loaded networks. Can be esp. useful for cloudbased systems.

Did your test conclude why? What video chip does Bosch use? Can you open up their camera and post a picture...?

Maybe the subject of a separate test of video compression.

/Vgeek

Shouldn't you be comparing Sony's 6th Generation with Axis latest model such as the P3384?

I'm under the impression that Axis is concentrating a lot less on the Q1604 form factor these days and a lot more on the P33.

We are doing box vs box to keep it consistent (that's the reason for the Q1604).

I understand the box vs box consistancy.

That being said, domes are popular and we are going to test more of them. For instance, we recently bought all the Axis M30 dome models and are going to test them as well as other manufacturer's domes.

Would love to see a test of the P3384 and P3364-LVE. I find the image very impressive on them so it would be nice to have a more professional comparaison.

I am wondering whether you are using noise reduction functions while doing testing as they are available ex. in Sony 6th Gen. I found it helps much Sony 6th Gen. cams in low-light conditions and does not make image blurring.

In the Exterior Roadway test tells nothiing as shutter speed is not know. Shutter setting is the most important in such testing. Additionally turning on WDR in Sony camera causes leak of manual control on shutter speed. How it looks like in Bosh and Axis?

Dawid,

Sony's ghosting artifacts in the Exterior Roadway scene may come from, as you say WDR, due to the blending of multiple frames from multiple exposures. I have seen the same motion issues on Sony cameras when in WDR mode. When WDR is turned off, the ghosting disappears.

However, Axis and Bosch also has WDR, but uses other algorithms of blending that results in less motion artifacts.

One would suspect that Sony will come with an upgrade of their WDR to support motion compensation.

Always good to test WDR cameras with moving objects, or moving camera.
Keep up the good work.

Dawid, we did state in the report that in the outdoor scene, shutter speed was standardized at 1/30s, which is typical in all our tests.

Regarding your point about WDR and not being able to control the shutter speed, my understanding (and what it seems from our tests) is that you still set maximum and minimum shutter speeds as normal, but the shutter cannot be slowed as much with WDR turned on as it can be with it off. I'm double checking this.

Finally, we left Sony's noise reduction defaulted ("medium") for the test. I didn't see tremendous difference from medium to high or low.

Sony provided feedback on the motion blur for the vehicle / driving scene. Their recommendation is to decrease WDR to medium/mid, instead of the default high. They explained that high uses 4 exposures, including presumably a fairly long one. By contrast, medium/mid uses 2 exposures.

That it would decrease motion blur in the vehicle / driving scene, therefore, makes sense. However, it also could reduce Sony's WDR performance. We will have to test this setting in a future update.

Do you think that problem would only apply to Sony's WDR, though? Would another manufacturer's method not be as susceptible?

My understanding is that most manufacturers only use two exposures for WDR, not four. To the extent that is correct, that would reduce motion blur.

Yes John, 2 or 3 exposures are the most common. There is usually no visible difference between 3 and 4.

What you see on the Sony cameras may not necessarily be motion blur, it may be ghost images as a result when blending multiple exposures into one image.

Since the Axis and Bosch were also at 1/30s shutter, they should show the same effect, if it was just motion blur?

Without going into technical detail, there exist WDR exposure blending technology that produces less amounts of motion ghost images. Something Axis and Bosch may be utilizing.

Regardless, it is a good test for future WDR shootouts!

/Bengt

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