Testing IQinVision's 4 Series and PSIA Integration

By John Honovich, Published on Feb 02, 2010

IP camera standards are a hot topic. Determining how, when and with whom these 'standards' will work are key questions.

IQinVision was the first company to announce support for the PSIA IP camera 'standard'. With Milestone releasing support for PSIA/ONVIF, it is now possible to test PSIA integration between a VMS and IP camera.

In this test, we examine the IQ 4 Series (specifically the IQ042SI-V11) integrated with Milestone Enterprise's 7.0 VMS. The 4 series is IQinVision's 'basic' series, offering minimal advanced functionalities and JPEG only. We tested the 2MP version. The camera is designed for daytime use and does not have a mechanical cut filter.

Our key findings of the IQ 4 Series include:

  • Successful PSIA integration with no critical differences in setup nor settings
  • Low light (under 1 lux) video produced high noise and artifacts
  • Simple to setup but limited in functionality beyond streaming video

The IQinVision 4 series is a basic camera that streams 2MP video but does not have advanced features and functionalities found in more premium cameras like IQinVision's own Pro Line.. Specifically:

  • No analog output no auto-focus for camera tuning
  • Only Network/PoE output, no dry contacts, SD cards, etc.
  • Limited software configuration options and optimization as found in IQinVision's Pro line
  • No DC or AC power
  • No H.264

On the positive side, the camera is fairly small and since it uses MJPEG is broadly supported (see NVR integration list).

Pricing is also fairly inexpensive. The IQ042SI-V11 is available on-line for approximately $700 USD. This is significantly less than IQinVision's 752 model (2MP premium camera from IQ), which costs about $1,000 USD on-line.

As a practical matter, IQinVision's support for PSIA may help expand 3rd party support but since IQinVision is already broadly supported, this will not be as critical for them. For instance, the 4 series is supported directly by Milestone with the IQinVision specific driver as well as the PSIA driver.

Physical Features

The screencast below shows the physical features and options on the IQ 4 series box cameras including a review of included accessories.

PSIA Integration

In the screencast below, we examine the steps to integrate IQ 4 series with Milestone using the PSIA 'standard'. At the end, we note some minor settings differences for the IQ 4 series between using the direct IQ driver and the PSIA driver.

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Configuration

The screencast below examines configuration of the IQ 4 Series cameras. It's limited and simple to use. If you are familiar with IQ's Pro Series cameras, note that the configuration options are much more limited.

Also, for purposes of our low light testing, the maximum exposure setting available is only 1/15th second. We try to test with a default maximum exposure setting of 1/30th and a longer one of 1/8th (for background, see our examination of exposure settings).

Update: IQinVision informed us that if the maximum exposure setting is set to none, that the camera's maximum exposure setting will lengthen to 1/7.5 second.

Image Quality

The screencast below demonstrates key elements in the image quality of the IQ 4 series cameras. You can download a zip file of 8 video samples (NOTE: 130 MB file) to see for yourself.

We focus on low light performance and also provide a WDR range test. Note, on the WDR test, we thought performance was close to being as good as the Panasonic WV-NP502 with their SD feature on.

Recommendations

On the PSIA side, it was good to see the integration working in production. The key issue will be watching for more VMS and IP camera companies supporting PSIA (or ONVIF), especially those providers with limited current third party support. Given both IQinVision's and Milestone's broad interoperability, PSIA integration is more of a symbolic step than a major practical advance.

On the IQ 4 series side, customers just looking for megapixel video and no bells and whistles may find this to be a fit. Our key concern, from the test results, was the noise and artifacting during low light conditions. If you want to cover dark areas, you should carefully check whether this will create a practical problem.

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