Testing Geovision Mini IR Camera

By: Derek Ward, Published on Nov 01, 2013

Integrated IR continues to be a growing trend, moving into cameras at both the high and low ends of the spectrum. One new model from Geovision, the 1.3MP GV-UBX1301 [link no longer available] claims 10m illumination range and adaptive IR at a price point barely above $200. To see how this model stacks up we tested it against competitive low cost models from Pelco and ACTi, and integrated IR models from Axis and Q-See.

We tested both full light image quality:

And below 1 lux to test IR range and performance:

Here are our key takeaways from this test:

  • In full light, with equal FoV widths, the Geovision GV-UBX1301 captured greater image details than the ACTi D11, Pelco Sarix IL10, and Axis M1144-L, with more letters legible on our test chart and less overall artifacting. Only the Q-See QCN-7001B provided modestly more usable images.
  • In low light, the GV-UBX1301's image quality was impacted by its weaker IR illumination power than Axis and Q-See models, with details of subject and test chart more difficult to make out, especially at longer ranges (up to 20').
  • Maximum usable IR range of about 6m / 20', versus 10m claimed on specifications. Axis and Q-See offered stronger illumination at ~20' and beyond. 
  • Adaptive IR was functional, reducing IR power when subject was at close ranges, ~4-8'. This produced superior images in these conditions compared to the Axis or Q-See cameras tested, which did not include adaptive IR, resulting in overexposed images.
  • However, in some cases Geovision's adaptive IR took up to ~3 seconds to recognize a subject and adjust power.
  • In our conference room test scene, the Geovision switched in and out of monochrome mode if subjects were close, ~3-5 feet away. This could be adjusted with day/night switch sensitivity, but the camera sometimes failed to return to color mode in full light with higher sensitivity.
  • Geovision's GV-UBX1301 image adjustments such as shutter speed, WDR, brightness, contrast, etc., must be done through live view using ActiveX in Internet Explorer. In other browsers, these functions were unavailable, with no obvious indication to the user that more options are available.
  • Geovision integrated without problems to Exacq using ONVIF version 2.0.
  • Note: this camera is fixed focal only, with 3 options -3mm, 4mm, 8mm. Our test used the 4mm lens. 

Price

The 1.3MP Geovision GV-UBX1301 [link no longer available] sells for ~$220 USD Online. By comparison, cameras tested against the GV-UBX1301 included:

Recommendations

The GV-UBX1301 best fit is for those seeking a low cost, small form factor, indoor camera with integrated IR, especially considering its adaptive IR capabilities. However, it is best suited to smaller, enclosed areas (~20x20) due to its limited illuminator range.

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Of the cameras tested, the Q-See / Dahua one was the strongest overall competitor, given its even lower price and integrated IR.

Physical Overview

Below is our physical overview of the GV-UBX1301. Note the compact size of the camera compared to other box cameras.

Camera Configuration

This video reviews the web interface of the UBX1301. Most notably, IE should be used for configuration. Several key configuration options, including shutter speed, WDR, motion detection, and more, are unavailable in other browsers.

IR Range and Adaptive Functions

The Geovision camera was able to dynamically adjust IR power for subjects close to the scene, as demonstrated in this comparison below. 

Typical of such adjustments, the reduced IR power for near field subjects causes the far field to become black/dark.

IR Range Performance

We found that the UBX1301's maximum usable IR illumination range was about 20', 10' short of their specified 30'/10m range. The image below shows our subject at increasing distances from the camera, comparing IR performance of each.

Indoor Comparison

This image shows the relative FOVs of the five cameras in the test. Cameras were mounted separate from each other in order to account for differences in horizontal FOV. Differences seen in the comparison below are due to perspective, with some cameras located more to left or right of center.

Full light, ~160 lux

In full light, the GV-UBX1301 provides strong details of both our subject and chart, with no artifacting or overexposure issues seen in some other cameras.

Dark, <1 lux

Below 1 lux, the Geovision camera lags behind Axis and Q-See due to weaker IR illumination, with details of the subject and chart becoming hard to discern. Note that this range, 20', is short of the camera's specified IR range (10m/~32'). Both the Axis M1144-L and QCN-7001B are specified with longer IR ranges.

Open Office

We tested the cameras in an open office scene to assess image quality at greater distances. This image shows the cameras FOVs.

Bright ~85lx, subject at ~20'

In an open office scene, full light performance is typical of what we saw in the conference room. Geovision provides good details with our subject at ~20'. 

Bright ~85lx, subject at ~40'

Doubling target distance, details are reduced, but remain stronger than most competitive cameras, with the chart easier to read and the subject more easily identifiable than in all other cameras but Axis.

Dark < 1lx, subject at ~20'

Below 1 lux in this scene, with fewer reflective surfaces behind the subject he is more visible than in the conference room at the same distance. The chart is more easily readable, as well. However, Geovision's weaker IR still provides fewer details than other cameras.

Warehouse

Finally, we tested the cameras in a warehouse, another scenario where interior IR may be useful. The image below compares the IR illumination patterns of the three cameras tested. Note that while it is fairly even across the FOV, Geovision's illumination is much weaker than the other two models, producing an overall darker image.

Dark, subject @ ~20'

With all lights off, once again Geovision's IR power results in fewer details of our subject and chart. 

Bandwidth / Quantization

We tested bandwidth in both full light and dark scenes with IR on. The chart below compares bandwidth consumption on all cameras. The UBX1301 was below average in both light levels, using their default "Standard" compression setting (quantization 30). Note that the Pelco IL10 uses CBR encoding only, with a bitrate of 3 Mb/s.

Test Parameters

All cameras were tested at default settings, except for shutter speed, which was standardized at 1/30s. The following firmware versions were used in this test:

  • Geovision GV-UBX1301: v2.07
  • ACTi D11: A1D-500-V6.04.15-AC
  • Axis M1144-L: 5.40.10.6
  • Pelco Sarix IL10: 1.8.2.4.8310-O3.9119
  • Q-See: 2.100.QS00.9.R
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