Will Frame Rate Make a Difference for Thermal?

Published Feb 10, 2010 00:00 AM
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In the growing rivalry between FLIR and Axis, FLIR is emphasizing its advantage in frame rate over Axis [link no longer available] - 30fps for FLIR but only 9fps for Axis Q1910 (actually 8.33 according the the Axis Q1910 specification sheet [link no longer available]).

Some specifiers are always insistent on a certain minimum frame rate (10, 15 or 30 being 3 of the most common 'higher' frame rates). However, we think for thermal cameras, the frame rate is not as critical. The resolution is likely to be more of a concern in most applications (FLIR holds an advantage here as well with Axis supporting a maximum thermal resolution of 160 x 120 while FLIR goes to 640 x 480).

FLIR claims that lower frame rates, reduces "the utility of those cameras as perimeter security devices" and that "the performance of video analytic software is typically degraded with slower frame rates."

We do not think 8 fps will be a significant limitation on most video analytics software. However, the lower resolution of Axis' thermal cameras certainly will be as need a certain number of pixels which is halved or quartered for Axis compared to a more typical 320 x 240 FLIR thermal camera. The ultimate outcome will be to reduce the total distance covered for the Axis camera.

For human operators, we do not think 8fps will be a problem for applications using telephoto thermal cameras such as Axis's. First, at 160 x 120 resolution, most objects will look like blobs so even at 60fps, it will be difficult to see fine details. Secondly, it will take most subjects many seconds to cross the FoV so dozens of frames will still be captured even at a lower frame rate.

All of this being said, when the roles are reversed, Axis likes to emphasize its use of 30fps for general IP cameras. We believe some users who really care about frame rate will see this as an issue but that most applications will not notice a meaningful issue from 8 vs 30 fps.

Review our analysis of FLIR's network thermal cameras and their competitive comparison vs Axis.