Axis MP Pinhole Shootout

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 18, 2013

For covert surveillance, pinhole lenses / cameras are a common choice because they can be hidden behind walls, or in ordinary objects. Until recently, the only options were analog / SD. However, Axis launched the P12 series, bringing 720p MP to pinhole. How much of a difference does that make and what tradeoffs did it bring?

We bought two Axis P12s plus 3 analog alternatives (two Marshall Electronics pinhole lenses and a Supercircuits 'snake camera'). We then tested them head to head in a custom test harness, installing each camera side by side:

Here's the view inside, from left to right, the Axis P1214, the Marshall lenses with Sony box cameras and the Axis P1204. In the top center, is the Supercircuits snake camera:

Overall, it was a 'split decision' with some advantages for the new MP offering but some continued strengths of the established analog ones. We dig into the specifics inside.

*** ****** ************, ******* ****** / ******* *** * ****** choice ******* **** *** ** ****** ****** *****, ** ** ordinary *******. ***** ********, *** **** ******* **** ****** / SD. *******, **** ******** ****** ******, ******** **** ** ** *******. *** **** ** * difference **** **** **** *** **** ********* *** ** *****?

** ****** *** **** **** **** * ****** ************ (*********** *********** ******* ********* **************'***** ******'). ** **** ****** **** **** ** **** ** * custom **** *******, ********** **** ****** **** ** ****:

****'* *** **** ******, **** **** ** *****, *** **** P1214, *** ******** ****** **** **** *** ******* *** *** Axis *****. ** *** *** ******, ** *** ************* ***** camera:

*******, ** *** * '***** ********' **** **** ********** *** the *** ** ******** *** **** ********* ********* ** *** established ****** ****. ** *** **** *** ********* ******.

[***************]

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ******** **** **** ****:

  • ** ******, **** ********, ***** ** ** ****** ******* ** megapixel ********** ** *** ******'* ****** ** ** ******* ***** up ****** ** * *******, **** ** ******* *** ******* applications.
  • ** ******* ******, **** **' **** *** ******, *** ******** of ****** ********** ****** ******** ** ******* *** ******* **** in *** ****** ************* *******.
  • *******, ** ******** ***** (~* ***), ***** ** *** ********* models ****** ** ****** *** *********** ***, ****** *** ************* PC229XP **** ***********.
  • ** *** *****, provided ****** ******. ***** ******* **** ********* *** *** ***** at *** ******.
  • *** *.*** ******** ******* **** ****** *********** ********** **** *** 6.0mm ******* ** ***** *****. *** ***** ***** ****** ******* the **** ** *** ***** ** *** **** *******, ********* better ******* ********* ** *** *****. *** ***** * **** (1.0 **. *.*) **** ******** ****** ******* ** *** lx *****, ***** *** *.*** **** ***.
  • ** ********* ******** ********* ******* **** ***, ******* ******** ****** not ***** ***** *** ********* *******.
  • ** ****** **** ****** ************, *** ** ***** ******** ******* lenses *** * ***** *******, ** * *** ******* *** be **** *** **** ***********.
  • *** ************* ******* ********* **** ** *** ****** **** *** subject ***** ** *** ******, ************* *** ** **** *****. However, ** *****, ** *** ** *** *** ***** ** our *** ****.

****: *** *** ******** ** **** ****, ** ******** ** *********** *** ** ***** ******** ******, ** ***** ** ***** performance ***** **** ***** **** *********** *** *****/*** *******. ***** lower **** ** ***** ******* ******* **** ****** ***********, *********** bringing *** ****** ** *** **** ***'* ***** ** ***********.

Price ***********

******* ******** ** ******* *** *** ****** ** *** ****.

  • *****:$***-*** ***
  • ******** *-******:$***+ **** ** *** ******
  • ******** *-******:$***+ **** ** *** ******
  • ************* *******:$***+ **** ** *******

****** *** **** ** *** ******* (** *** **** ** Marshall ******) ** ******** (** *** **** ** *** *******) into *******, *** ***** ** ****** *** ****** **** *** least ******* ******* ******. ****** ******* ** *** $***-*** ***** could ** **** **** ******** ****** *** * ******* ***** point, *** ******* **** ********* ************ *** ****** ** **** advantage.

***************

***** *** ***** *** *************** ** **** **** **** **** test:

  • *** **** *** ****** ******** ****** **** ****** ******* ** scenes ********* **** **** ****** ***** ** *****. ** **** behind **** *********** *** *****/*** ******* **** ***-** ******, *** is ** * **** ******* **** ****** ******** ** ** be ********* ***** ***** ******* ***** *** ***. *******, ** is *** **** ********* **** ***/*** ***** *** **** **** options.
  • **** ******** **** *********** ** ******, ***** ****** ******** ********'* add-on ****** **** * ******* ******. ******** **** *** **** allow, **** ******* **** ******* *** **** ******* ** *** light *** *** ************. ** **** ****, ** ********* *** wider-angle ******, **** ** *** *.*** **** ** **** ****, as **** ***** ********** ** *********** ********* ** *** *****, where ******** ****** **** **** *** *******'* **** ** ***** range.
  • ** ***** ** ***** ** *** **** ****** ** *** camera, *** ************* ******* *** ** * ********** ******, ********** when ********* ** * ***. *** ********** **** ** ** encoder ****** *** ***** ***** ***** ** *** **** *** series, * ****** ********** ******.

Physical *********

** **** ***** ** ****** *** ************ ** **** ** the ******* ** *** **** *** ******* **** *******. ********** of ****:

  • ******** **** ****** ******, **** *** ****** ****** **** ****** being ******** ** ***, ****** ** ******** * ******** *******.
  • *** **** *** ****** ** *** ******** "***-**-***" *****, **** very ***** ****** ***** ******** *** ***** *********.
  • *** ******* ******** **** ******* ****** *** ********* *****, ****** to ** * ******** ****** ** **** ****** *************.

Installation ******

** **** ***** ** *********** ******** *** ******* **** *** pinhole **** ***. ***** ****** **** *** *********:

  • ****** **** ******* *** ***** ******* ***** ****-******** ******. *** P12 *** ****** ******* **** **** **** **** ** *****.
  • *** ******* **** ******* ****** ******* **** ******** ************* *** to ***** ****** *** ****. ***** ****** ****** ** **** when ******** ************ ** **** **** *** ****** *** ** properly *********.

Similar ***** ** ****

*****, ** ******* *** ***** ******* ** *** **** **** similar ****** ** ****, *** ******* ** *** ** *******: Axis *****, ******** *-****** **** * **** *****, *** *** analog *******.

**** *****

** ***** *****, *** **/********* ****** ******* **** **** **** and *****, ******* *** *********** ***** **** ** *** *******. However, **** **** *** ****** ** ********** ******* ********, ** details ** *** *******, **** *** *****, *** ******* ******* in *** ****** ******.

** **' *****, *** ** ******* **** ***** ********** **** SD, ** *** ***** ** ****** ********, **** **** ****** of *** ******* ********. *** ******* ******** ******* **** *** identify * ***** *******, *** **** ******* ** ****. *** chart ** **** ****** ** ****, *** ** ************ *** lower **********.

*******, ** **' *****, *** ******* ***** ****** ******, ****** to ******* ***** ** **** **** ** ********, *** **** the ***** **** ** *** ***** ** *******. *** ***** and *-****** ******* ******* ****** ** ******, **** * ****** edge ** ****, ***** ******** ****** ***** ***********

* ***

******** *** ***** ***** ** * ***, *** ** ******* show ********** **** *** ****** *****. *** ******* *** ****** so *********** **** ** ****** ***** ***** *** *****, ****** the *******'* **** ** ***** ******* ********. *** ***** *** VB600 **** ******** ****, *******, ***** **** ***** ***********, ****** with ********** *****.

** **' *****, *** ** ********* ***** ** *** ** cameras, *** *********** *** ******* **** *** *** ******* ****** somewhat. *** ***** ** ***** **** ******** ** *** ** models, *******, *** ** ***** ****** **********.


** **' *****, *********** ** ******* ** **', **** ***** obscuring ******* ** **** *** ***** *** ******. *****, *** chart ** **** ******** ** *** ** ******.

****

** ***** ***** ** *** **** *****, ***** * ***, none ** *** ******* ******** ****** ******* ** *** *******'* face.

****** ** **', *** **** ***** ******* *******, *** *** subject ** ***** ******** ** *** *******.

*******, ** **', ******* *** ***** *** *** ******* *** visible ** *** ** *** *******.

Standard **. **** *****

****, ** ****** *** ******** ******* ****** ****-**-****, ** *********** the ********* ******* *** ******** *.*** **** *** *** **** angle *.*** *****.

**** ***** **********

** ***** *****, ~*', *** **** ***** ****' ******** *** most *****, **** **** **** **** ** *** **** *** right ** *** ******* *******, ***** ***** **** ******* ** an ********* *********** **** ******. *** ******** *** ***** ***** be ******** ** ******* ****.

*******, ** **', ** *** *** *** *** ******** ** the *.*** *****'* ***** ***. ** **** ********, ******* ** the ******* ***** **** ******* ***** *** ******** ***** *********** are ****, *** *** ***** ******* ********** ***** **** *. The *.*** ***** **** *** ****** **** ***** ******.

*** ***** ***********

*** *.*** **** *** ******** ********** **** *** *.*** ***** in *** ***** *** ** *** ***** * ****** (*.* vs. *.*). **** ** ******* ** **** ***** ***** * lux, ***** *** *******'* ******** *** ******* ** *** *.*** lens, *** *** *** *.*.

** **', *** ******* ** ********** ** *** *.*** ****, but *** ** *** *.*** *****:

HD **. **

****** *** ******** ****** **** ********** **** ***** ******* ******, allowing *** ****'* ****** ** ****** *** ******** ****** (*** light, ***), **** *** *** ********* *****. ** ***** ** determine ******* *** **** *** * ******** ****** **** ***** HD *******, ** ****** *** ****** ** *** **** ******, with *** **** *******, ** **** *.*** *** *** **********. At *' *****, *.*** ****** ****** *********, ***** ***** ***** on ****** ** ** ****, **** ***** *** *******. *******, we *** *** ***** ******* ** *** ********** ** *** wider ***** *.*** ****.

** **', ******* *** ******* ** *** *.*** *****, **** the ******* *** ***** ****** *******. *******, ** *** *.*** lens, *** *********** *** ** ********. ***** *.*** ***** *** additional **** ** *** ***** ********, *** *** *******'* ***** is **** ***********, ** **** *** ********* ******* **** *******.

*** ***** ***********

** *** ***** ******, ***** * ***, ***** ***** ** little ********** ** *'.

** **', ******* ********** ******* ****** ******* ** ****** ******.

***

*******, ** *** ** *** ******* ** * ***** **** strong ************, ******* ** **** ******** **** ** * ***** day, ** ***** ** **** ***** *** ********.

** ***** *****, **** *** ******* ******** ** ***** ** the ****, *** ***** ******** *** ******* ******* ** *** subject's ****, ****** ******* *** ***** *******. *** ******* ******* the ******* ****, *** *** ********** ** ***********, ********* ******* outside.

**** *** ******* *******, ***** **' **** *** ****** ** strong ********, *** ******* ** ******* *** ***** *********, **** overexposure ********* *** ******* *** *** ******** ** *** *****. The ***** ******* ** ****, **** *** ***** ********** **** line *, *** *** ******* ***** ************. *** ******** ******/**** cameras ******* ****, ********* *** **** ******* ** *** *******/*****, though *** *.*** ***** ******* ******** *** ** ***** **********

*******, **** *** ******* ** *** **** **** ******, **** to *** ****, ** ***** **' *****, **** ***** *** P1204 ******** *** ******* *****. *** ******* *** ******** ****** are ********, **** ******* ****** *******.

Test **********

*** ********* ******* **** **** ** **** ****:

*** ******* **** *** ***** *** ****** ********, **** ******* settings **** **** **********:

  • ********** *** *** ** *** ******'* *******, ** ** ***
  • ******** *** *** ** *** **** ** *** ***** ******** (All ******* ***** **** *** *******, ** *** ***-***** **** supports ***)
  • ******* ***** *** ********** ** */*** *******

Comments (16)

**, ****. ***** *******. ******* ***** ** ******** **** ****** to **** **, ********* ** *** ********* ** *** ***********, the ******* ** *** **** ***'* ** ****** ** *** edge. ******** **** **** ****** *********, ********* *** **** ** run **** ** * ********* *********. *** ****** ****** ****, "one-off" *************, ** ****** ************, *** ***** **** *** ** driven **** ******* ** "***-*******" ***** *** * ************* (*.*. license, ****** *** **** ************, ***.).

*****. * ** ** *** ******* ************** ******** *** **** about ***** ****** *** ** *** *****. * ***** ****** for ** **** ** ****! *******, * **** *** ****** with *** ** ***** "********" *** ********* * ****** ****** or ***** ***** *** ** ******* ********* *** ** **** required ************ **** ****** *** ******** *****. ***** ********* ******* and ** ***** *** ***** *********. * ***** **** **** techncial ******* (*** **** *********), *** ***** ******* ***** ** attempting ** ******* *** *****, *** ** ***** ********* ********* reducing *** **********, ***** ****, ******* ***** **** *** ******* settings **** * *** *****. ** ** ****** ***, **** solved *** *******. ** **** ****, *** ******* ***** ******* on * **** **** *********** *** ** ***** *** ***** couldn't **** ** *** ********** ***** **** *****. * ***** a ******* ** ** ***** ********* *** ******* **** ****.

******** *** ***** *** **** ********, ** ** ******** ************* that * ** ****** ** ****** *** ******** ***** *******. Otherwise * ***** ******!

***********, ****** *** *******! **** ****** ******* *** ******* **** ****? ***** *? ***** **?

******* ***** *******-****-**** ********* ***-* ***** **** - ****, ***** 10, ****/*

******, * ** ***** ** *** **** *** ******* ******* on ****. **'* ******** **** * ***** ** **** ******'* keep **. *****, **'* * ********** ***** ** *** ****** side? * ***'* ****. *'** ****** **** **** **** *******.

** *** **** ********* ** *** *** ****** ** **** to ********* ****.

****** ****. ***** *** ******* **** ***** ** **** ** these ********** ******* *** **** ******* * *** ******** *** cards (** **** ** ** ******* ******** *******) *** **** were ** *** ******* **** *** ***** *** ********. ******* both *** ** *** **** ***** *** *** **** *****.

** ****** ******? ***** *** **** **** **** ** ****' cameras *** ****** * **** **** ** ** *** *** use ** *****? * ***** **'* *** **** ** *** is ****** ********* ** *** *** ******* ****** **** ** on *** ************** ** ****.

*****, *******'* **** ** ************. **** **** ******* **** ******* **?

***, **'** ********* **** *** *********** ** **** ****. **'** report **** *** ******** ** **** *****.

**** *** ********* *** **** *** ****** ******** *** *** P1204, *.**.**.*, ****** *** ** **** ******* (*** ********** *****). **** ******** *** ************ ****.

****'* **** ****! * ***** ****** ***** ****** **** ********* hours ** ****** ** ** ** **** *** ** ********** with **** **** ******* ** ******* ** ******* **** *****. Hopefully **** **** *** *****. ****** *** **** **** ****.

***** *** ******* ** *** ***** *****? ****** ** *** the **** *****, *** *** ****'* *******, ***'** *******. *** write ***** ** **** ** ***** ****** (***********, ******* **** lists *** **** *****, *** **** ***** ***** ***** ** "lower"). *** ********* **** * ***** ***** ** ** ***** 40Mbps ** ****.

** *** ***** ***** ** *** *******, *'* *** ******** that ******** *** ***** ****, **********, *** ** ***** ****** your *****.

***, **** ********* ** **** (*** * ******** *****), *** problem *** **** ****.

****: ***** *** *** ******* ****** ****? **** **** ** ***** *** ****** ** *** ****. *** ***** ** ****** ** ****** ** ******.

**** ** ***** ***** ** **% ***** **** **** *****, at ****** **** ** *** **** **** ****** ** ****** any **** **** / ***** ********** ** ***** ** *********** level.

****! ** ****** * **** ****, *** ****.

** ****** ** ** *** ** **** ********** ***** **** the ***** *******, * **** ******** *** ******** *** ** far ** ****! ***** **** ** *** **** ****** *** issue. * ***** * **** ****** ** **** (*** ******) trying ** ******* **** *****. ********* **'* ***** ***.

** **** *** ** **** *****-* *** *** ******* ** HORRIBLE. ****** *** *** *** **** ***** ** ***** ** the ****** ***** ** ****** *** ****** *******. ******* ****** as **** ** *** **** *****'* *** **** ****. ****** else *** *** ********** **** *** ****'*?

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