Speco's IP Intensifier Examined

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 09, 2012

Color images in no light... impossible claim? Not according to Speco, who recently announced an IP version of their Intensifier series [link no longer available]. In this update, we analyze how closely the new network version of this product matches the analog mainstay and compare it to other low light options.

Overview

Speco Intensifier series cameras are best known for their aggressive low-light color performance claims. The marketing video below demonstrates 'Intensifier' technology:

Specifications

Key technical details of the IP Intensifier 3 series include:

  • Repackaged: The IP version of Intensifier is an analog model with an integrated encoder module
  • External 12VDC power only: no PoE support
  • Color-only, no B/W nor WDR: Intensifier features color images in low light situation, and has no B/W mode, has no IR cut filter.
  • No Megapixel, SD Only
  • 3rd Party VMS support via ONVIF v1.02
  • Analog Out: Includes 1 composite video output
  • Price: Two models are currently available, online pricing is ~$500 USD for the Turret and ~$550 for the Bullet version

The IP version is currently available through standard distribution channels like ADI, Anixter, TriEd/Northern, and Scansource.

Analysis

Speco Is Widely Known: Speco is a widely distributed brand with no barrier to purchase or install, and Intensifier technology is recognized by many installers (typically lower end ones). Due to existing market awareness, the IP version will draw the immediate interest of a portion of the market.

Image Problem: While Speco claims their Intensifier remove noise and stops blur common with cameras that use slow shutter / sens up, we are skeptical of the nightime performance claims. Intensifier's most common complaint is blurry motion images and that incidental sources of light (ie: vehicle headlights, reflections) result in overexposed, useless images. Intensifier also generates significant amount of image noise, which can trigger false recording and consume high amounts of bandwidth. The image below, is taken from a recent CCTVforum.com thread, details this common noise issue and installer feedback on it.

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

Analytics Incompatibility: Excessive motion blur and image noise in low light impacts applying video analytics to Intensifier cameras. For example, while VideoIQ generally supports day/night cameras, VideoIQ's Brian Karas discourages use of Speco Intensifiers with the company's analytic encoders, due to Intensifier image quality issues in low light.

Comparison

Compare to these cameras offering low light optimization:

Axis Q1602/Q1604: Axis's Q1602 provides excellent low light images with minimal noise, also at SD. The main downside is that it is twice the price of the Speco IP Intensifier. Additionally, the Axis Q1604, a MP camera, offers fairly strong low light performance (with WDR disabled at night). It too it is twice the price of the Speco but it provides WDR and megapixel, two notable benefits.

Bosch Dinon SD: Unlike the Intensifier, the SD features makes similar low-light claims, but includes WDR and Auto-Back Focus. Pricing for the Bosch is about 30% higher, with a street price of ~$700. For more details, see our full review of Bosch Dinion series.

Pixim Nightwolf: Earlier in 2012, Pixim announced Nightwolf, a low cost SD offering that combines enhanced IR imaging and WDR. As these camera start to ship, we expect them to be equal to or less expensive than Speco Intensifier.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Bosch Budget 3000i Cameras Tested on Dec 05, 2019
Bosch has long had a hole in its lineup for, as it describes, "competitively-priced cameras". Now, Bosch has released its 3000i series cameras...
AVTech ~$70 IP Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 04, 2019
Taiwanese manufacturer Avtech is taking direct aim at low cost leaders Dahua and Hikvision with ~$70 starlight and white light illuminator...
Budget Covert Cameras Tested on Nov 26, 2019
Covert cameras under $100 are widely available online but are they any good? To see how these models really work in the real world, we bought...
Axis "Best Of The Best" 4K Camera Tested (Q1798-LE) on Nov 21, 2019
Axis has released their "best of the best" Q1798-LE bullet camera, touting "4K without compromise" with a large Micro 4/3" image sensor, custom...
Hikvision Dual Lens Face Recognition Camera Tested on Nov 19, 2019
Hikvision's Dual Lens Facial Recognition camera, claims that it "adopts advanced deep learning algorithm and powerful GPU to realize instant face...
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...
Biggest Low Light Problems 2019 on Nov 08, 2019
Over 150 integrators responded to our survey question: "What are the biggest problems you face getting good low-light images?" Inside, we share...
Rhombus Cameras, VMS and Analytics Tested on Nov 06, 2019
Rhombus boasts they have created "the new standard in Enterprise, cloud-managed video security" and told IPVM in January 2019 they offer twice the...
Avigilon Appearance Search Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Avigilon Appearance Search claims that it "sorts through hours of video with ease, to quickly locate a specific person or vehicle of interest...
Illustra Pro Gen3 4K Camera Tested on Oct 23, 2019
Johnson Controls has released the latest generation in their Illustra Pro line, the Pro Mini-Dome Gen 3, a non-OEM model claiming to "optimize...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IP Camera Browser Support: Who's Broken / Who Works on Dec 10, 2019
For many years, IP cameras depended on ActiveX control, whose secure flaws have been known for more than a decade. The good news is that this is...
Acquisitions - Winner and Losers on Dec 10, 2019
Most major manufacturers have been acquired over the last decade. But which have been good deals or not? In this report, we analyze the...
IP Camera Installability Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Dec 09, 2019
What are the best and worst cameras to install? Which manufacturers make it the hardest or easiest to install their cameras? We tested 35 total...
Viisights Raises $10 Million, Behavior Analytics Company Profile on Dec 09, 2019
Viisights, an Israeli AI analytics startup marketing "Behavioral Understanding Systems", announced $10 million Series A funding. We spoke to...
Disruptor Wyze Releases Undisruptive Smartlock on Dec 06, 2019
While Wyze has disrupted the consumer IP camera market with ~$20 cameras, its entrance into smart locks is entirely undisruptive. We have...
Bosch Budget 3000i Cameras Tested on Dec 05, 2019
Bosch has long had a hole in its lineup for, as it describes, "competitively-priced cameras". Now, Bosch has released its 3000i series cameras...
Anixter Resisting Takeover From Competitor on Dec 05, 2019
Mega distributor Anixter is going to be acquired but by whom? Initially, Anixter planned to go private, being bought by a private equity firm....
Security Sales Course 2020 - Last Chance Save $50 on Dec 05, 2019
This sales course is customized for the current needs and challenges specific to professionals selling video surveillance and access control...
Ireland National Children's Hospital Chooses Hikvision End-to-End With Facial Recognition on Dec 05, 2019
The world's most expensive hospital project ever, the New Children's Hospital in Ireland, has chosen an all-Hikvision surveillance system including...
AVTech ~$70 IP Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 04, 2019
Taiwanese manufacturer Avtech is taking direct aim at low cost leaders Dahua and Hikvision with ~$70 starlight and white light illuminator...