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

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Drops Dahua, Fenner Becomes ISS CMO on Jul 09, 2018
Hired to improve Dahua's miserable marketing just last year, Janet Fenner has quit Dahua, joining VMS manufacturer ISS as Chief Marketing...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
Digital Watchdog Low Cost 4MP Camera Tested on Jul 02, 2018
Based on member 4MP testing requests, we bought and tested Digital Watchdog's low-cost 4MP DWC-MTT4Wi to see how it performs in real world scenes,...
Replacing / Switching Access Control Systems Guide on Jun 28, 2018
Ripping out and replacing access control systems is hard for important reasons. Because users typically hold on to access control systems for as...
Panoramic Fisheye Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek on Jun 27, 2018
IPVM tested Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek 12MP panoramic fisheye cameras head to head, as shown in the test setup...
Snap Surveillance Profile on Jun 26, 2018
There are not a lot of video surveillance companies that survive 9 years with only one feature that makes their product stand out. In the case of...
OpenEye Apex VMS Tested on Jun 26, 2018
OpenEye is a US company, founded nearly 20 years ago. In the past few years, OpenEye has been one of a few VMS providers that have pivoted to being...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...

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