JVC Super LoLux HD Cameras Examined

By John Honovich, Published Jun 18, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

In May 2011 JVC announced a new HD camera line called Super LoLux HD. This is a major expansion for JVC consisting of almost a dozen new cameras covering a variety of form factors and options. Additionally, three of the 'flagship' features included are: H.264 high profile compression, JVC's CLVI image processing and Super LoLux sensitivity. Inside this note, we examine the key features, their pricing and competitive positioning.

The following models are included in this release:

  • Fixed Cameras: 720p Color VN-V17U, 1080p D/N VN-H37U, 1080p D/N VN-H57U (with advanced features), and the 1080p D/N Zoom Lens VN-H137U
  • Mini Domes: VN-V217U, VN-H237U, and VN-H25U
  • Vandal-proof Domes: VN-V217VPU, VN-H237VPU, and VN-H257VPU
  • Integrated Housing Camera: VN-H157WPU: An enhanced bullet form factor, the H157WPU features an integrated sunshade and internal cable channels for better reliability and vandal resistance. Unlike bullet cameras, this form factor is physically supported in two points instead of one, for better stability.

Compared to Existing Line

Compared to existing JVCmodels, the Super LoLux HD line has a number of advances. Let's examine each of them.

  • ONVIF/PSIA support: All models in this line adhere to both ONVIF and PSIA standards, a feature which is found in few other cameras. Cameras currently suppot the most recent versions of both of these specs, with plans to implement later specs through firmware updates.
  • H.264 high profile compression: All Super LoLux HD line support H.264 High Profile. Theoretically, this should deliver lower bandwidth consumption for the same quality levels compared to the more commonly used H.264 Baseline Profile.
  • Super LoLux HD sensitivity: The namesake feature of this line, JVC's Super LoLux technology is intended to provide clear color imaging in low-light conditions, much like Axis' recently announced Lightfinder technology. This technology is reported to assure color imaging at 0.5lx without any sort of slow shutter, automatic gain control adjustments, or other "tricks" which could create motion blur or noise. We will need to test this to understand its competitive positioning.
  • CLVI noise reduction: A JVC proprietary enhancement, CLVI (Clear Logic Video Intelligence) is an image processing method which allows for multiple image enhancements, such as wide dynamic range, digital noise reduction, and digital removal of fog and smoke. CLVI is currently in use in analog cameras in PAL territories. This release is the first time it is available elsewhere, and in network cameras.

Pricing and Availability

The Super LoLux HD line will be available in the fourth quarter of 2011 with the following pricing:

  • The 720p Color Only camera (VN-V17U) has an MSRP of $399, lens excluded.
  • The 1080p D/N camera (VN-H37U) has an MSRP of $599, lens excluded.
  • The 1080p D/N camera (VN-H137U) with an integrated optical zoom lens has an MSRP of $650.
  • Vandal Proof Domes: The VN-H157WPU and vN-H257VPU are the line's most expensive offerings with an MSRP of $1,299. 

Historically, the online price of JVC's cameras are about 10-15% lower than their MSRP.

Pricing is at the mid to higher end of the market. Using Axis as a benchmark:

  • By feature, the Color Only 720p camera (MSRP $399 w/o lens) is similar to Axis's M1114 with an MSRP of $549 (with lens). Pricing is also similiar with JVC likely having a modest advantage.
  • By feature, the D/N 1080p camera (MSRP $599 w/o lens) is similar to the Axis 720p P1344 ($849) and/or the Axis 3MP Axis 1080 P1346 ($1099). JVC pricing, even after factoring in the additional lens price, is significantly less.

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