Vivotek Panoramic Test FE8172V

By Ethan Ace, Published on Aug 02, 2013

Continuing our panoramic camera shootout series, this report shares our findings from testing the Vivotek 5MP 360 vandal dome camera, the FE8172V. The report contrasts Vivotek's performance to Axis, Mobotix and Panasonic panoramic cameras, featuring a series of image comparisons, like so:

These are the key findings from our test of the FE8172V:

  • Performance in full light lagged slightly behind top performers such as the Axis M3006 and Mobotix Q24, notably worse at close range. At 18' range, performance on par with others.
  • In lower light, ~3 lux, performance was reduced somewhat. Details of our subject were blurry, while the chart was unreadable past line 1 or 2.
  • Below 1 lux, the FE8172V was one of few cameras to produce any usable image, able to detect our subject at close range, but not beyond.
  • The FE8172V was one of the best performers in WDR scenes, with both foreground and background objects visible, without significant desaturation or artifacting common in other cameras.
  • VMS dewarping integration is client side only. The web interface can display dewarped video as well, but does not stream dewarped views.

Pricing

The Vivotek FE8172V sells for about $600 USD online. An indoor version, the FE8172 is also available for about $75 less

Recommendations

The FE8172V offers superior WDR and low light performance compared to other panoramic cameras, though full light image quality lags somewhat. If these conditions are key factors in the intended scene, Vivotek is a strong choice.

It is priced on the low end of the cameras in our tests, moderately lower than the Axis M3007-PV (~$650 USD online) and well below the Panasonic SF438 (~$700), SW458 (~$800), and Mobotix's Q24 (~$850+).

Physical Overview

In this video we review the physical construction of the FE8172V. Key highlights include:

  • IP66/IK-10 impact resistant housing.
  • Optional connections for audio, I/O, and low voltage power via separate pigtails.
  • Built-in microphone in housing. 

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Configuration

This screencast reviews the FE8172V's web interface and configuration. Aside from dewarped viewing options on the live view page, those familiar with Vivotek's web interface will find little unfamiliar in the FE8172V.

 

 VMS Integration

In this video we review configuration and operation of the FE8172V in third-party VMS systems: 

Competitive Comparisons

These comparisons show Vivotek versus a selection of competitors from our panoramic camera shootout, at varying light levels.

Full Light, ~160lx

In full light, ~6' range, the FE8172V lags somewhat behind the top performers in our test. Details of the subject are slightly reduced, and the chart is fully legible only to line 3, while others may discern line 4, as well.

At 18', performance evens out somewhat, as details delivered by all cameras are reduced.

Low Light, ~3lx

At close range, relative performance is similar to our full light scene, with Vivotek slightly less clear than competitors. 

At 18' range, almost no details of the subject or chart are clear. This is similar to the Axis M3007 and Panasonic SF438. Mobotix outperforms others, despite the higher level of visible noise.

Dark, <1lx

At close range, the FE8172V is one of few cameras to show the test chart at all. Others, such as Mobotix and Panasonic are completely dark. Note that Vivotek produces no details whatsoever, though, providing detection of the chart only. Beyond this range, the chart and subject were not visible.

WDR Overhead Door

In our WDR scene, Vivotek outperformed all other competitors, showing the subject, chart, and vehicles outside without much overexposure. The closest competitor, Panasonic, showed details of the subject, as well as objects outdoors in the much brighter area behind him, but was almost completely desaturated. Axis and Mobotix were overexposed around the subject, and details of objects outside were difficult to see.

In the darker area next to the door, performance among cameras was more even, with Mobotix slightly edging out others.

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