Testing Avigilon's H3 WDR Camera

By Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 14, 2013

Avigilon has long marketed itself as delivering 'the best evidence' but until recently they did not have any WDR cameras. However, their H3 release introduced WDR up to 3MP.

Here are our key findings from our tests:

  • Solid WDR performance compared to top WDR cameras.
  • Average low light performance compared to other HD WDR cameras.
  • Daytime bandwidth consumption at or below competitive cameras.
  • Nighttime bandwidth consumption spiked, among the highest in our test.
  • Default compression set well below other manufacturers. Consider increasing to lower bandwidth while maintaining competitive image quality.
  • New 2.42 firmware fixed multiple issues with previous version, including autofocus malfunctions, as well as color and saturation issues with WDR turned on.
  • Price: The Avigilon H3 3MP has an MSRP of $835. This is at or below street price of many competitors, such as Axis, Bosch, Panasonic, and Sony, which range from ~$800 to $1,100 online. This makes it one of the lowest cost 3MP WDR cameras available from a major manufacturer.

Recommendations

Avigilon's H3 series 3MP camera is a competitively priced for its featureset, including auto focus and solid WDR performance. However, those looking for superior low light performance, as well as more advanced features such as on-board storage or analytics should consider other offerings.

For those currently predominantly selling Avigilon, the 3MP WDR model represents a great advance in WDR performance, and a modest increase in low light imaging compared to older models.

Configuration Overview

This screencast overviews key camera configuration and settings.

WDR Performance

We tested the H3's WDR performance against five competitors in our 2013 WDR Shootout. We found that performance was solid in all of our test scenes.

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

These example images show performance in a garage scene, with an overhead door open with strong sunlight behind the subject (click for larger versions). In this comparison, we can see that the subject's face and the chart are well-lit, and details outside are visible, as well. The H3 is only among the top performers in this scene.

With the subject standing in the darker area next to the door, the chart and subject remain quite visible, more so than in the Bosch, Panasonic, and Sony models, and only moderately darker than the only 3MP competitor, the Arecont AV3116DN.

 

Low Light Performance

In this indoor nighttime scene, below 1 lux, Avigilon produces one of the dimmest images among the cameras tested. Note that this comparison shows the Arecont AV3116 with binning turned on. Avigilon outperforms only the Sony CH240 and Panasonic WV-SP509.

Indoor Performance

In our indoor, well-lit test scene (~300 lx), the H3 performs well. Colors are fairly true, but slightly oversaturated, as can be seen in the subject's face. Whites also display a slight blue tint. Neither of these issues had a major impact on image quality, however, and could potentially be remedied by adjusting camera settings if need be.

Image Quality in Avigilon vs. 3rd Party VMS

For those using an end-to-end Avigilon system, the H3's image quality will differ, due to Avigilon Control Center's automatic image adjustment features. This adjusts gamma, white, and black levels automatically with the intent of optimizing in the image. In our tests, we found modest improvement to the H3's image during daytime, essentially amounting to a slight white balance adjustment:

However, ACC provided a marked improvement in our low light scene, brightening the image enough that our test chart may be seen, not possible in Exacq or other clients.

Bandwidth Consumption

In order to test bandwidth, we set all VBR cameras to their default settings, but increased the cap to 12 Mb/s, in order to provide substantial headroom for the camera to adjust bandwidth accordingly. Note that only Sony's CH240 did not include VBR streaming, so we set its CBR bitrate to 8 Mb/s. In our daytime scene, the Avigilon H3 consumed less bandwidth than most other 1080p/3MP cameras in our test, aside from the Bosch NBN-932V.

  • Avigilon H3 3MP: ~3 Mb/s
  • Arecont AV3116DNv1: 8-10.5 Mb/s
  • Axis Q1604: 1.4-1.6 Mb/s
  • Bosch NBN-932V: 700-1,000 Kb/s
  • Panasonic WV-SP509: ~8 Mb/s
  • Sony SNC-CH240: 8 Mb/s CBR

However, at night, bandwidth spiked, higher than all cameras aside from the Arecont AV3116DN. However, note that the Axis Q1604 consumed around 9 Mb/s at 1.3MP resolution:

  • Avigilon H3 3MP: 10-12 Mb/s
  • Arecont AV3116DNv1: 9-12 Mb/s
  • Axis Q1604: ~9 Mb/s at 1.3MP
  • Bosch NBN-932V: 4.5-5 Mb/s
  • Panasonic WV-SP509: 2.5-3.5 Mb/s
  • Sony SNC-CH240: 8 Mb/s CBR

Very Low Default Compression

One factor contributing to Avigilon's higher bandwidth consumption is their default compression settings, low relative to many competitive cameras. Avigilon's H3 series defaults to a quality level of "6" in their web interface, which tests determine equates to a quantization level of 24, while most other manufacturers default to somewhere around 30. Left defaulted, the H3's stream jumped to 7-8 Mb/s in our daytime indoor test scene, compared to 2.5-3 Mb/s when adjusted to "15", roughly 30 on the quantization scale, with minimal impact to visual clarity. Nightime bandwidth was impacted much less, with consumption dropping from 10-12 to about 9.5-10.5, meaning aggressive gain control is likely a bigger contributing factor than compression in low light scenes. Users should be aware of this default setting and adjust compression accordingly for their scene.

4 reports cite this report:

Lux Rating / Minimum Illumination Guide on Dec 23, 2016
Lux ratings are one of the poorest specifications to use in selecting...
Avigilon Quietly Slashes H3 Camera Pricing 30-50% on Jun 13, 2016
Pricing has fallen throughout the camera market. But Avigilon has held firm....
WDR Camera Shootout 2015 on May 04, 2015
This is the most comprehensive Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) IP camera shootout...
Avigilon Dirty Tricks on Jan 15, 2014
Avigilon's products are strong but their marketing is consistently and...
Comments (1) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

New Axis M30 Cameras Tested on Mar 26, 2020
Axis has released a new generation of, for them, relatively low cost M30...
Taiwan Lilin NDAA Compliant Cameras Tested on Aug 13, 2020
Taiwan-based manufacturer Lilin is taking direct aim at Dahua and Hikvision...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the...
K3 Pro Wall Mounted IR Gun Tested on Aug 28, 2020
The original K3 model was lacking in features that the K7 model had and was...
Verkada 2020 Cameras Image Quality Test on Oct 06, 2020
Verkada's first-generation cameras suffered from numerous video quality...
Bandwidth Fundamentals For Video Surveillance on Jan 13, 2020
Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video...
TVT Temperature Measurement Terminal Tested on Jul 23, 2020
While Dahua and Hikvision get the most attention for China temp products,...
WDR Cheat Sheet and Camera Tracking - 30 Manufacturers on Aug 26, 2020
Manufacturers are regularly cryptic about what WDR support they actually...
Avigilon Open Analytics Tested on Apr 16, 2020
After years of effectively closed analytics, Avigilon decided in late 2018 to...
Avigilon Elevated Temperature Detection Camera Tested on Sep 17, 2020
Avigilon has entered the temperature screening market with the release of...
Tiandy Super Starlight Cameras Tested on Apr 30, 2020
Tiandy is taking aim at China competitors Dahua and Hikvision, with a new...
Uniview H1 2020 Financials Examined on Sep 08, 2020
While Dahua and Hikvision, helped by fever camera sales, are recovering from...
FLIR A Series Temperature Screening Cameras Tested on Jun 04, 2020
FLIR is one of the biggest names in thermal and one of the most conservative....
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
YOLOv5 Released Amidst Controversy on Jul 27, 2020
YOLO has gained significant attention within video surveillance for its...

Recent Reports

Consultants Online Show LIVE Today! on Oct 27, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show will feature 20+ consultants and recruiters presenting...
Eagle Eye Networks Raises $40 Million on Oct 27, 2020
Eagle Eye has raised $40 million aiming to "reinvent video...
Hikvision Q3 2020 Global Revenue Rises, US Revenue Falls on Oct 27, 2020
While Hikvision's global revenue rises driven by domestic recovery, its US...
VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz" on Oct 26, 2020
This month, IPVM investigated Verkada's sexism, discrimination, and cultural...
Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras on Oct 26, 2020
As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the...
ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...