Testing: March CamPX Microdome 2011

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Jan 22, 2011

In this report, we examine a new camera from March Networks that incorporates 2 new industry developments - the use of ONVIF and the incorporation of improved WDR performance. 

March Networks is historically known for recorders, not cameras. However, with their acquisition of Cieffe a few years, this increased their product portfolio to include cameras. Now, March is releasing a new generation of IP cameras.

We tested the March CamPX Microdome to better understand its overall performance and especially to learn more about its use of ONVIF and the incorporation of Pixim's recently introduced Seawolf chip.

Historically, a new IP camera would have great difficulties gaining 3rd party VMS support as proprietary integrations would need to be executed. Now, with ONVIF, those barriers are decreasing. We tested this dome with two ONVIF enabled VMSes to understand how far removed those barriers have become.

Pixim is perhaps the most well known supplier of WDR chips - offerings to improve the ability of surveillance cameras to deal with lighting variations such as direct sunlights into buildings. A key concern historically with Pixim (and WDR in general) was degraded low light performance. We tested the March dome against a camera with the older generation of Pixim's chip.

Finally, for those wanting the basics of camera choice (including domes vs boxes, WDR vs normal cameras and more), review our training report on choosing IP camera types.

Recommendations

The strongest fit for the CamPX is for challenging lighting conditions (e.g., combination of night time low light and daytime bright light). In addition to its lighting capabilities, The CamPX offers a number of premium features such as IP66 rating, auto-focus, remote zoom, on-board storage, i/o, and audio. However, as a standard definition D1 camera,  its use is best constrained to narrower FoVs (e.g. <30ft).  

While the CamPX is ONVIF compliant, our testing with ONVIF VMSes revealed some management, reliability, and control issues. Thus, for now, we would recommend the camera be used in VMS environments supporting the manufacturer's camera API. For example, March's own VMS will provide better overall integration of the CamPX than any VMSes using ONVIF to connect to CamPX.

The CamPX provides a highly robust SD dome option at a reasonable price point. Our camera finder shows an average online price of $636 for standard resolution IP66 domes. However, these domes generally do not offer all the 'bells and whistles' of the CamPX dome, such as, remote zoom, on-board storage, WDR etc. With the CamPX dome retailing at $915 and March offering a relative high security dealer discount structure, the street price is likely to be competitive.  As such, the CamPX is a good value given its wide ranging and advanced feature-set. An additional consideration should be given the CamPX dome in applications involving difficult lighting, as our testing revealed solid strengths in low-light performance.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Product Overview

The CamPX Microdome is unique in March's portfolio of IP cameras because it features the new Pixim Seawolf chip. The Pixim Seawolf is designed for improved low-light performance and WDR capability.

The CamPX Microdome offers a maximum D1 (704x576) resolution at 30fps (H.264). Note that March offers up to 1080p/2MP IP cameras, but because the Pixim Seawolf supports only SD resolution, it is not available in megapixel models. The camera, also supports true day/night operation via mechanical cut-filter.

The CamPX Microdome features an integrated 2.9 to 8.5mm focal length lens. The focal length can be controlled remotely via supported VMS or via the web-interface.

The CamPX Microdome is also one of several March cameras now supporting ONVIF compatibility. In our tests we used ExacqVision and Milestone's Go VMSes to test ONVIF connectivity.

Physical Overview

In this video we provide a physical overview of the CamPX Microdome. The camera is available in either surface or flush mount versions - both IP66 outdoor rated. (Video shows surface mount version). Key to note is the PoE only powering option of the unit. Also, we experienced issues (e.g. unit discovery tool, VMS connectivity, etc.) using lower-end SMB type PoE switches. Using an enterprise class PoE switch appeared to mitigate these issues to some degree.

Administration, Configuration and ONVIF

The CamPX Microdome features an internal web-server for administration of the dome. It requires an IE browser and Active-X controls. The URL for the administration web-server is the camera's IP address followed by /setup. Note that if only the IP address is used, the user is brought to a live view of the camera with zoom controls, snapshot, SD/NAS archived video access, and other functions.

In this video we overview the key options in the configuration interface. One key finding was that connection to ONVIF VMSes required setting the time/date correctly and converting it to UTC format. Otherwise, we could not connect to ONVIF VMSes such as Exacqvision and Milestone GO. There is also a fair degree of nuance involved with optimizing exposure, day/night, and WDR camera settings.

Our testing of ONVIF connectivity with CamPX revealed issues and constraints. For example, the CamPX connected with an Exacqvision and Milestone Go VMS. However, the connection was unstable with Exacq and experienced frequent connection losses. Also the Exacqvision VMS provided no interface to camera settings (e.g., resolution, fps, bitrate, codec etc.) or the remote zoom function. Connection to Milestone Go proved stable, but again there was no remote zoom or access to settings. If 'tweaking' of camera settings were required, we had to access the camera's web-server directly. The VMSes appeared to honor these changes.

Video Samples and Analysis

The remainder of the report provides our analysis of March's video quality in various conditions/scenarios. You may view the exported samples yourselves by downloading the March CamPx Microdome samples ZIP folder.

Daytime Image Quality

This daytime video clip demonstrates the image quality of the March CamPx Microdome. Note that the resolution is only D1 or standard resolution. A highly detailed image is not attainable at such a modest resolution but the image appears crisp with decent color representation.

WDR Tests

Our tests of WDR indicate some level of improved performance under difficult lighting. However, the improvements are modest at best and appear to generally underperform against more well-proven WDR technologies such as Sony's View-DR, and Panasonic's MegaSuperDynamic. Note that in an upcoming future report we'll be comparing March's CamPX WDR (underlying Pixim SeaWolf chip) with WDR technologies from several different manufacturers.

In this short video we examine the WDR functionality in both an indoor and outdoor environment. All settings are at default. We notice in the indoor application the overall scene appears 'brighter' so that dark areas are better exposed. However, the 'bright' area causes subjects to become under-exposed when back-lighting the subjects.

Low-Light Tests

In this video we'll examine video clips of the March CamPX dome under low-light conditions (1.0 and 0.3 Lux). Interestingly, going from 1.0 to 0.3 lux did not produce a detectable drop in 'brightness' of the scene, but did produce a clear increase in noise level and overall reduction in video quality.

We also compared the new Pixim Seawolf (CamPx) to an earlier Pixim predecessor (ioicam wdc100dn). Our findings indicated the Pixim Seawolf provides modest but clear improvements in low-light performance.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Axis 2N Intercom Tested on Nov 08, 2018
Axis expanded its video intercom business buying Czech-based 2N in 2016. Despite competing against owner Axis' intercoms, 2N recently registered as...
Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Avigilon Opens Up Analytics And Cameras on Nov 06, 2018
Avigilon is opening up. The company historically famous for advocating its own end-to-end solutions and making it harder for 3rd parties to...
Worst Products on Nov 03, 2018
Security integrators periodically report on their favorite and worst products to IPVM. These are known integrators who IPVM pays to answer surveys....
Unisight Company Profile on Nov 01, 2018
Hikvision's largest US OEM, LTS has started to carry Unisight, whose products (shown below) look a lot like Hikvision's rival Dahua: Who is...
VMS Camera Management Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hanwha, Hikvision, Milestone, Network Optix on Oct 29, 2018
Camera setup, configuration and maintenance are the most common tasks when managing a surveillance system. Who does it best and worst? Who offers...
Axxon Face Search Tested on Oct 26, 2018
AxxonSoft has brought facial recognition to their Axxon Next VMS for free with the simply named Face Search, claiming to allow users to find...
Exacq Co-Founders Return, Start Qumulex on Oct 24, 2018
Exacq co-founders Dan Rittman, Tom Buckley, and David Underwood are back, starting up Qumulex. In 2000, they sold Integral to Andover...
IP Camera Installation Tool Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Ideal, Hanwha, Triplett, Veracity on Oct 23, 2018
Setting up IP cameras has historically been challenging, with techs often precariously using a laptop on a ladder or lift. Some options for install...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact