Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested

By Ethan Ace and Rob Kilpatrick, Published Apr 22, 2019, 10:37am EDT

While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from significant, obvious problems.

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We bought and tested the Ultra Intensifier dome (O2iD8) against super low light and IR models from Axis, Hanwha, and Hikvision to examine these issues and see how it really competes against competitive super low light and IR models.

Slow ******* / ******** ******** ********

******* ** *** ******, slow ******* *** * common, *** ***********, ********* to **** ****** ******** (see ****** **** ******* / Ghosting ******). ** *** **** few *****, ************* **** moved **** **** **** as ****** ******* ********** and **** ********** ***** blurring ****. *******, ***** continues ** **** ****. They *** ** ** their******** '***********' (*** ****'* 2014 ****) *** ******** ** do ** *****.

Key ********

**** ***** ******* ********, the ***** ***** *********** camera ********* **** ** moving *******, ******* **** slight ** ******, ********* on ***** *****, *** reducing ** ******* ********* details ** ****** ******* in *** *** ***** scenes, ~* *** *** below.

**** ***** ** ******* or ********** ** ******* down *********** ******** (**-***, defaulting ** ***) ** fixing ******* ***** ** 1/30s, *** ******* *** 2D/3D ***, *** **** reduced ***** ********** *** increased ******* *****, *********** negating ***********'* **********.

**** *********** ******** *** 2D/3D *** ********, *** Ultra *********** ********* ********** to **** ********* ***** low ***** *******, ******* ************ ******* ** *** *****/**** scenes (~****/~*.****).

*******, ** **** **** scenes (~*.****), ********** ** cameras ********** *** ***** Intensifier, **** ******* ******* at *** ****** ******** to *** ***** ****** with ***********/*** ********, *** without *** ****** **** issues ** *****'* ******* settings.

*******, ***** *********** ********* was **** ****** **** competitive *** ***** ***** models, ********** ** ********, about ** *** ******* of **** *** ****** models ** *** *****, and *-** ****** *** day.

Troubleshooting ******

*** ***** *********** ** likely ** ***** *********** troubleshooting ****** *** ************* installers. ***** *** ********** between *****'* ********* ****** and ****** ***********, **** are ****** ** ** frustrated ** **** ** low ***** ****** *** may *** **** *** skills ** ******** ***** settings *** ******* **.

Results ********

** ****** ***** ***** showing **** ****** *** noise ********* ** **** video:

*******

*** ***** *********** ***** sells *** ~$*** ******, moderately ****** **** ******* fixed **** ******* **** cameras (~$***-*** *** ******). However, **** ******* ** notably **** **** **** super *** ***** ******, typically $***, ** * minimum, **** ****** *** super *** ***** *********** usually ***** ** ******* $700+.

Physical ********

*** ***** ***********'* ************ is ****** ******* ** other ***** **** ******* domes, **** * *-**** gimbal, *** ******* ******** features (** ***** ** I/O). ** ** ******** larger **** ***** *****-**** models, **** *** ********* Performance ****** *** ****** XNV-6010 ***** ****:

Dome Size Comparison

Visible ****** **** ** *** *****, ******* ********* ******

******* ******** ********* ****** of "***** *** *****" video ** *** ****, using ******* ******** *** Ultra *********** ****** ******** blur ** ****** ******** in *** ***** ** our ***** (***** ** ~1 *** *****):

******* **** ***** ** lower *****. *** *******, at ~*.* ***, ** details ** *** ******* can ** **** ** all, **** *** ********** visible ******* *** ******* as ** ***** ******* the *****. ** **** placed *** ****** ** the ***** ********** **** in **** ******* *** better **********.

Blur ******* *** ********: *** **** ****** *****

**** ***** ** ******* or ********** ** ********* multiple ******** ** *** Ultra ***********:

  • *********** ***:******* *********** *** ******* blur *** ****, **** the **** ******** ****** greatly *********, *** **** issues ***** *******. ******* effects **** **** **** fixing ******* ***** ** 1/30s, *** **** *********, see *****.
  • *** ***:** ***** ** ********** remove ****, **** ** and ** *** **** be ***** ********. ** uses * ******* ******* of **, ***** ****** noticeable *********/******** ****** ****** objects, ***** ** *** a ******, *** ***** visible, ******.

**** **** ****** ******* speed ** */*** ******** effects **** ******* ** disabling **********. *******, *** Speco ****** **** *** use *******/******* ******* ***** settings, ** ******* ******** fixed ** */*** **** during *** ***, ******* drastic ************. ******* ** this, ********* *********** ** the ****** ******.

Scene ****** *** ** ***** *******

** ******** ** **** issues, ***** ******* ****** washed *** *** ***** of *** ***** *********** when ***** ******* ********. For *******, ******* ** an ****** ********** ********** blinded *** ****** *** ~2 *******, *** ****** out ******* ** **** as ** *** ****** on.

Lights Wash Out Scene At Default Settings

Low ***** *********** (~* ***)

** * ~* *** scene, *** ***** *********** camera ********* ******** ****** when ********** ** ****** non-blurring ******** **** **** the **** *********** *****-*** Mk ** *** ******'* XNV-6021R, **** ** ***** suffered **** ********* ***** and ********.

Low Light Performance Comparison

***** *** ***** *********** shows ***** ****** ** the ********** ***** *** subject *****, ** ******** worst **** **** ** default ********, **** ***** and ********* *** **** in ***** *******. **** using ************ ********, ** performs ********* ** ***** models, **** **** ****** of ******* ***** *** little ******* ****** ****.

Low Light Blur Noise Comparison

Dark *********** (~*.* ***)

*******, ** * **** dark ~*.* *** *****, the ****** ******** ** detail **** ********** ** settings ******* ** ******, with *** ****** ********* detection ** *** ******* against *** ******** **********. In **** *****, *** Intensifier ******** ****** ****** of *** ********** **** chart, ***** *** *** blur, *** *** ****** movement ** *** ******* blurred *** ****.

Dark Performance Comparison

Vs. ********** **

*******, **** ***** ***** low ***** ****** ** our *****, *** ***** Intensifier ****** ** ****** outperformed ** ********** ** models **** *** ** non-blurring ********, ********* ** usable ***** *******. ***** the **** *****-*** ** II ******* ********** **** in **** *****, ** still ******** ****** ******, with *** ****** ******* X ****** ********* ***** recognizable ******* ** *** subject *** *****.

Vs  Integrated IR

Similar ******* ***** *******

****** *** ***, ** saw ** *********** ***** quality ****** ** *** Ultra ***********, **** ***** quality ******* ******* ** other ***** ****** ** a ************ ***** ** view.

Daytime Details Similar To Others

Increased *********

***** *********** ********* *** high ** *** *****, ~8 **/*, ***** ** the ******* ** ***********, and **** ***** *-** the ********* ****** *** day (~*** ***). **** Axis *** ****** ****** include ***** ******, ***** Speco **** ***.

Bitrate comparison

**********

*** *********** ***** ***** ****** ******************, ******** ** ****:

Sony Xarina CXD4145GG SoC

***** *** ****** ****** is *** ******* ******* desoldering ** **** *** board, *** ***** ** clearly ****** **********, * ****** */*.*" sensor *****, ******** ** 2014.

Sony IMX291 Imager

Test **********

******* **** ****** ***** default ******** **** **** changes:

  • ***** *********** ******** **** adjusted ** ***** ** sections *****
  • **** *** ****** ****** were *** ** *** 1/30s *** *******
  • ****** **** *** ** VBR, ***** *** ******* cap *** ****** ***** allow (*****, ******) ** uncapped (****) ** ***** bitrates ** ********* ******
  • ***** ****** **** ******* in **** *** ****** models

*** ********* ******** ******** were ****, *** ****** available ** *** **** of *******:

  • ***** *****:*.*.*.* ********

Country ** ******

*** ***** *** **** in *****:

Comments (9)

So this is the single best new IP camera at ISC West? I've read through SIA's award materials and it seems to be a revenue generator for those that play. Embarrassing.

Agree: 2
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Funny: 1

You had a Hikvision 2125 on hand but didn’t test it?

Agree
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We did some preliminary testing with it vs. the Speco, but not the more extensive tests in the report. It wasn't intended to be a low light shootout, but a one off test of the Speco Ultra Intensifier and its issues.

Agree
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Funny

And to be clear, at ~1 lux, the 2125 performed similarly to the Ultra Intensifier (when set to non-blurring settings). At lower lux levels (~0.1 lux), it was dimmer, nearly black, though Speco provides only minimal detection at that light level, also.

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Funny

I was lucky enough to given a test sample of Hikvision DS-2CD2T47G1-L which they market as "ColorVu". Hikvision demoed this model at ISC West 2019 as well.

Like Speco Intensifier, it stays Color all the time using slow shutter (1/15), and Hikvision must be using special low F-Stop lens because it's only offered in 4mm and 6mm.

My results?, pleasantly surprised. I was very disappointing with Speco Intensifier in the past and thought this must be another marketing gimmick but I am wrong this time.

It's not perfect but not bad, really. IPVM might want to test this when it comes to US Market. It's already being sold in EMEA regions.

LTS is heavily marketing them as Color 24/7, 99% sure it's the same ColorVu. There's a nice youtube marketing video if anyone is interested.

P.S. I am NOT affiliated with Hivksion or LTS, just an integrator who likes to test new stuff. 

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

We have been waiting for the ColorVu IP versions to ship in North America. See our coverage: Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined. They are using an F1.0 lens on those models, which is pretty low, especially in lower-cost models. 

We plan to test when they're available. We saw the LTS models as well, but would rather wait for Hikvision to ship under their own brand.

One question: they use white light illuminators, don't they, instead of IR? In your tests, did you have any issues with the white light glare?

 

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Funny

Do we know of any other models of cameras with that large of an aperture (f/1.0)? Should one expect a very shallow depth of field? Are we trading light sensitivity for lack of depth of field, which may end up causing its own issues?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
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Funny

The Speco Ultra Intensifier actually uses an F0.94 lens, and we did not observe any practical depth of field issues. I believe that since these cameras use wide AoVs (90°+), you'll see decrease in details from PPF dropping at distances well before you'd see issues from depth of field, in most cases. That's been our experience.

Agree
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Funny

There is White LED Illuminator on the camera. By factory default, it is turned OFF. I had to manually turn it ON, but never comes ON when I feel that it's too dark and should illuminate. I wasn't given a manual and I figure calling into Hikvision USA would be useless since they never launched it yet.

Agree
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Funny
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