Testing Vivotek IP7161 - 2MP MPEG-4 Camera

By: 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.

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.

Physical Overview

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

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

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...
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 [link no longer available] in 2009....
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 [link no longer...
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 : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

New Axis M30 Cameras Tested on Mar 26, 2020
Axis has released a new generation of, for them, relatively low cost M30 series cameras, claiming to deliver "sharp video quality even in poor...
Cisco Acquiring Fluidmesh on Apr 09, 2020
Cisco announced it is acquiring niche wireless manufacturer Fluidmesh. Both Cisco and Fluidmesh have been offering video surveillance solutions...
Cheap Camera Problems at Night on Feb 19, 2020
Cheap cameras generally have problems at night, despite the common perception that integrated IR makes cameras mostly the same, according to new...
Hikvision and Uniview Entry Level Thermal Handheld Cameras Tested on Jun 05, 2020
While most screening systems cost $10,000 or more, manufacturers such as Hikvision and Uniview have now released handheld models for $1,000 or...
Multi-Imagers Added to IPVM Camera Calculator on Jun 15, 2020
IPVM has added multi-imager cameras to the Camera Calculator, supporting this growing category of cameras offering 2 to 5 imagers with both fixed...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance analytics. Inside we cover: Why Use Video Analytics Video Analytics Warning Where...
Camera Resolution Usage Statistics 2020 on Mar 12, 2020
The average resolution used, for new cameras, is now 4MP, according to new IPVM statistics, continuing the rise that we have mapped from 2014,...
Camio Presents Coronavirus Social Distancing Analytics on Apr 20, 2020
Camio presented its social distancing analytics for responding to coronavirus at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
ProCam Low-Cost Open Thermal Temperature Project on May 12, 2020
An engineering professor in Switzerland is building what he hopes will be the world's lowest-cost fever camera, costing a fraction of commercial...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Camera Course Summer 2020 - Last Chance on Jul 15, 2020
Thursday, July 16th is your last chance to register for the Summer 2020 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Bias In Facial Recognition Varies By Country, NIST Report Shows on Jul 15, 2020
While many argue that face recognition is inherently racist, results from one of the most extensive studies done on demographic bias in AI, the...
Video Surveillance 101 July Course - Last Chance on Jul 15, 2020
Friday, July 17th is your last chance to sign up for the July 2020 Video Surveillance 101 Course. This 2-day course is designed to help those new...
Brazil Assembly Powers Hikvision Local Expansion on Jul 15, 2020
Hikvision has grown considerably in Brazil ever since the 2017 opening of an assembly operation in a free-trade zone in the middle of the Brazilian...
50+ Security Industry Companies Take $40 Million PPP Funding on Jul 15, 2020
50+ security industry companies have taken more than $40 million in PPP funds, IPVM has confirmed from US government records. Inside this...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now, they have released their Prime Series Deep Learning cameras, with an...
Drako's Companies (Brivo, Eagle Eye) Take $4+ Million in PPP Funds on Jul 14, 2020
While centimillionaire Dean Drako is the owner of two of the largest SaaS businesses in the security industry (Brivo and Eagle Eye), Drako's...
Defendry Presents AI Active Shooter Security System on Jul 14, 2020
Defendry presented its Active Shooter security system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Defendry including IPVM...
Ban Rules Released: Use Dahua or Hikvision, No US Government Contracts on Jul 13, 2020
The US government has released the rules implementing the "Prohibition on Contracting with Entities Using" Dahua, Hikvision, and Huawei based...
JCI Sues Genetec For Patent Infringement on Jul 13, 2020
Surprisingly, security giant JCI has sued their partner, security software developer Genetec, for patent infringement. Inside this note,...