Testing Vivotek IP7161 - 2MP MPEG-4 Camera

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 03, 2009

Vivotek's new 2MP camera (the IP7161) expands low-cost product options in multi-megapixel cameras.

The IP7161's specification include support for MPEG-4 (but not H.264) and has a maximum frame rate of 10fps at 1600 x 1200. The test results show the camera's performance is solid across the board but not exceptional. However, with an online price under $500, it is extremely affordable and hundreds of dollars less than other cameras in its category.

The challenge for buyers will be to examine and determine whether the camera is good enough for your application, given the significant product cost savings it offers. For example, contrast this with the premium Axis Q1755 camera we reviewed recently.

For background on the product see Vivotek's Product Page on the IP7161 and its datasheet.

Product Overview

Key considerations in examining the camera include:

  • Video Quality - I thought the video quality was solid but not as sharp as others that I have been testing. Additionally the low light images tended to be nosiy and less sharp than others. As I did not do a formal comparison test, I will limit my remarks here. You, of course, can download the actual video clips below.
  • Bandwidth - The camera uses MPEG-4 rather than H.264 so there is potential for increased storage and networking cost. However, in the tests, bandwidth consumption was fairly modest with 2Mb/s to 3.5Mb/s the average consumption for 1600 x 1200, 10fps. It's hard to make a definitive claim here because different vendor's H.264 implementations consume different bandwidth levels.
  • Frame Rate - The frame rate is definitely no more than 10fps. With Vivotek's own internal tool, I measured 8-9 fps consistently. If you need more frames per second, this is certainly an issue. For general monitoring (as the video samples show), the frame rate was sufficient.
  • 3rd Party VMS Support - VMS support is currently very limited. Exacq helped me by providing a beta version. Vivotek's cameras are widely supported so I view this as more of a short term issue than a permanent barrier. However, if you are going to use the camera, you should be sure that your VMS supports this model.

Video Samples from Test

Download 6 sample videos from a variety of scenes and lighting conditions.

In the screencast below, I provide comments on the video samples on key issues I saw.

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

Physical Overview

The screencast below shows the camera and provides a brief overview of the physical setup and options.

Configuration and Optimization

For testing, I used the camera's web interface and Exacq's software. As I explain in the screencast below, the camera worked well with Exacq's software. I decided not to use Vivotek's VMS software, the ST7501, as I had a number of problems using it including difficulties in searching and exporting video.

Examining Bandwidth Tradeoffs in Quality and Frame Rate Settings

In the video samples, I use the default settings for each test. In the screencast below, I examine the impact on bandwidth of raising the quality level and dropping the frame rate.

Raising the quality level does not provide much 'quality' benefit but it does significantly increase bandwidth utilization. As such, I did not find much benefit in adjusting that.

Loweing the frame rate did provide modest benefits. Dropping from 10 fps to 5 fps lowered the bit rate by 25% while dropping to 3fps lowered the bit rate by an additional 30%.

Comparing VBR and CBR Settings - Image Quality Tradeoffs

By default and in normal operation, most deployments use Variable Bit Rate streaming. For the 7161 in the variety of scenes I tested, the daytime bit rate ranged from 1.5 Mb/s to 3.5 Mb/s (with default fps and resolution). 

The screencast below shows the impact of setting a constant bit rate of 1 Mb/s in an indoor environment that was consuming about 2 Mb/s using VBR. Both the image quality and frame rate suffered. Users should therefore be careful about using CBR or having insufficient bandwidth.

Recommendations

Selecting the IP7161 is likely to center around determining what's best for your budget. It does not have any unique features nor is the performance exceptional in any area.

On the other hand, the camera did not demonstrate any significant problems (though, as I mentioned, I would be more comfortable using a third party VMS than Vivotek's ST7501). Image quality was solid, both day and night. Bandwidth consumption was modest. Frame rate, while a maximum of 10fps, was sufficient for general monitoring.

The camera is $300 to $400 less expensive than current options in the market for 2MP cameras (with the Arecont 2105 being the most relevant contrast). The lack of H.264 may increase storage costs by $100 (depending on storage length and options) but it's likely not enough to eliminate the cost savings on the product side.

For customers looking to make a low cost migration to IP, this product should work well. Four to Six of these cameras in an office or store could provide solid coverage.at a very low cost. Also, consider using the camera with Theia's SY125M lenses (see our test on Theia). This combination could cover an entire parking lot for less than $1,000 USD.

7 reports cite this report:

Megapixel Camera Comparison 2010 on Feb 22, 2010
Megapixel cameras are clearly 'hot' - the fastest growing segment in the industry for multiple years now. Which should you use? What makes one...
Testing HikVision's IP Camera 2010 on Feb 08, 2010
Hikvision is one of the fastest growing video surveillance manufacturers in the world. Already a leader in their home market of China, Hikvision is...
Testing Pelco's Sarix Megapixel Cameras (IXE20DN) on Dec 05, 2009
While Pelco is a leader in analog surveillance cameras, they are not even in the top 10 for 2008 global network camera sales. Pelco aims to rectify...
Testing Sanyo's HD Surveillance Camera (VCC-HD4000) on Dec 01, 2009
Sanyo is making an aggressive push into the IP video surveillance market introducing a broad line of HD cameras in 2009. Sanyo is positioning high...
Testing Basler's Megapixel Cameras (BIP-1300/1600) on Nov 29, 2009
Basler is a recent entrant into the IP video surveillance megapixel market. Leveraging its extensive expertise in machine vision, Basler's...
IP Camera 2009 Mid Year Review on Jul 26, 2009
Megapixel was the most dominant trend in IP cameras over the first half of 2009. So dominant was megapixel, that not only did most manufacturers...
Can Everfocus Make Megapixel Simple and Inexpensive? on Jun 28, 2009
Two key problems for megapixel cameras are (1) their substantially increased cost relative to analog cameras and (2) the complexity of using...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Hikvision Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 18, 2019
Hikvision favorability results declined significantly in IPVM's 2019 study of 200+ integrators. While in 2017 Hikvision's favorability was...
ONVIF Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 15, 2019
In the past decade, ONVIF has grown from a reaction to the outside Cisco-lead PSIA challenge, to being the de facto video surveillance standard...
City Physical Security Manager Interview on Mar 14, 2019
This physical security pro is the Physical Security Manager for the City of Calgary. He is a criminologist by training with an ASIS CPP credential....
Pelco GFC 4K Dome Camera Tested (IMP831-1ERS) on Mar 12, 2019
Pelco has finally released their first 4K IP camera, after years of competitors' releases. Is this move too late? Or is their new GFC Professional...
Network Optix Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 11, 2019
Network Optix is arguably the last new VMS. Founded in 2010, more than a decade after most client/server VMS offerings, the company has become a...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...
Hanwha Tax Evasion Probe, Camera Division Implicated on Mar 19, 2019
A Hanwha group subsidiary was raided as part of a tax evasion probe. While a Korean news media report listed the raided entity as 'Hanwha...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Retired Mercury President Returns As Open Options President on Mar 18, 2019
Open Options experienced major changes in 2018, including being acquired by ACRE and losing its President and General Manager, John Berman who...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...

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