Testing Pelco SureVision 2.0

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Mar 17, 2014

Pelco's new SureVision 2.0 line [link no longer available] promises superior low light and wide dynamic range capabilities, claiming "industry-leading image quality in the most difficult lighting conditions." But does it deliver?

In order to test these claims, we shot out 1MP and 3MP SureVision 2.0 models, the IME119 and IME 319, against other top performing low light and WDR cameras, from Axis, Bosch, Samsung, and Sony.

Here is a preview of the side by side WDR comparison:

 

Here are our key findings from this test:

  • Improved WDR performance compared to first generation SureVision cameras, on par with or better than most current competitive 720p/1080p WDR models.
  • Dramatic improvements in low light performance over first generation SureVision cameras.
  • The IME119 and 319 scored 250/200 TVL in low light, respectively. This was lower than most competitive cmaeras, such as the Axis Q1604 (~400 LL-TVL) and Samsung SNB-5004 (~500 LL-TVL).
  • Unlike most cameras, Pelco's SureVision 2.0 does not allow the user to set a specific compression level, instead automatically managing compression. We found that when using constrained variable bitrate, quantization stayed steady around 27-28.
  • When set to VBR, the camera uses a bandwidth "target" setting which functions as a minimum bitrate. Bandwidth will not drop lower than this target, but may exceed it depending on scene complexity.
  • Using VBR with a cap (CVBR), SureVision 2.0 cameras had some of the lowest bandwidth consumption in our tests at all light levels, in some cases beating out previous leaders such as Bosch and Samsung.

Pricing Comparison

Pricing on the SureVision 2.0 is as follows:

  • Pelco IME119-1S 1MP indoor dome: ~$850 USD estimated street price
  • Pelco IME119-1ES 1MP outdoor dome: ~$950 USD estimated street price

These prices are well above many options, such as Samsung and Hikvision, whose indoor domes sell for ~$485 online and ~$420 online, respectively. However, compared to options from Axis and Sony (both about $850 online), Pelco's SureVision 2.0 models are priced approximately the same.

The same is true of outdoor models. Compared to the ~$950 IME119-1ES, Samsung's SNV-5084 sells for ~$550 online, while the Hikvision DS-2CD7264FWD-EIZH sells for ~$450. Models from Axis (P3384-VE, ~$1,050 online) and Bosch (NIN-733V03IP, ~$850 online) are priced closer to Pelco.

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The SureVision 2.0 line is a good choice for those looking for top WDR performance or 3MP/1080p low light performance. However, low light performance lagged behind others at 1MP/720p, making competitive options more attractive.

Physical Overview

In this video, we review the physical construction of the SureVision 2.0 domes:

As well as SureVision 2.0 box cameras:

Configuration Overview

This screencast reviews the web interface of the SureVision 2.0 camera, largely unchanged from previous Pelco cameras.

First Generation SureVision vs. 2.0

To see performance differences between first generation SureVision cameras and the new SureVision 2.0, we tested the IME119 against the IXE10LW. Both low light and WDR performance are notably improved, seen in the following comparisons.

Low light performance is drastically better, with far less noise and brighter imaging.

WDR performance is moderately improved, with better visibility in both light and dark areas in the 2.0 IME119.

Low Light Comparisons

We tested the IME119 and IME319 against other current generation 720p and 1080p low light cameras in an indoor conference room, below 1 lux. 

The IME119 lagged compared to other 720p low light cameras, with dimmer images and lower contrast, providing overall fewer details of our subject and chart.

The IME319 fared better compared to other 1080p cameras, with relatively less noise than competitive options, though slightly dimmer images.

WDR Comparisons

We tested the cameras against an open overhead door to check WDR performance. 

The IME119 was one of the top performers in this scene, with better details of our subject and more legible lines on the test chart.

In the dark area next to the door, the IME119 is again strong, though slightly behind the Axis Q1604 and Sony SNC-VB600.

The IME319 is the top 1080p performer in this scene, again with better details than other cameras.

And in the dark area beside the door, the IME319 again outperforms all other cameras in the test.

Full Light Comparisons

Neither the IME119 nor IME319 displayed any imaging issues in full light, seen in the comparisons below.

TVL Ratings

We tested both Pelco cameras with our ISO 12233 chart to check TVL performance in full light and low light.

The IME119 was able to resolve 600 TVL in full light, and ~250 TVL in low light (<1 lux). 

The IME319 resolved ~800-900 TVL in full light, and ~200 in low light.

 

Bandwidth/Compression

Pelco SureVision 2.0 cameras have no means to directly set compression level, such as low/medium/high or numerical scales typically found in other cameras. Instead the camera manages compression automatically. Analyzing video streams, we found that using CVBR, compression averaged about 27-28 on the quantization scale. 

Note that when using VBR encoding, a "target" bitrate setting is used, which sets a minimum bitrate the camera will use. Depending on scene complexity, bandwidth may exceed this setting, but it will never be lower, as is typical in most VBR implementations. Due to this target setting and resulting higher bitrate, we found quantization very low (~18) using default settings in full light.

Standardized to 10 FPS, ~28 Q, both Pelco cameras had some of the lowest bandwidth consumption in our tests, lowest among 720p cameras and second lowest among 1080p, bested only by the Bosch NBN-932V.

Test Parameters

All cameras were tested using default settings, except for shutter speed, which was set to 1/30s maximum. WDR was manually turned off for low light cameras in those models which do not automatically turn it off.

Cameras were tested using Exacq version 5.10.4.53466. The following camera firmwares were used:

  • Avigilon 3.0W-H3-B2: 2.6.0.14(9243)
  • Axis Q1604: 5.50.3
  • Bosch NBN-733V: 98500590
  • Bosch NBN-932V: 12510590
  • Pelco IME119: 2.0.0.11.8280-A0.0
  • Pelco IME319: 2.0.0.11.8280-A0.0
  • Pelco IXE10LW: 1.8.1-20110829-1.9083-A1.6522
  • Samsung SNB-5004: 1.13_131218
  • Samsung SNB-6004: 2.22_131218
  • Sony SNB-VB600: 1.9.2
  • Sony SNB-VB630: 1.9.2

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