Axis CCTV Dubai
Axis is a leader in the video surveillance market, distributing a wide variety of cameras for use cases as broad as there are buildings and people to protect. In the StorageReview Lab, we use several models of Axis cameras paired with a Synology NAS and Surveillance Station 7 to provide visualization of our space both while we’re on-premises via a flat panel in the lab, or remotely via Synology’s mobile apps. What follows is an overview of the cameras in place, their core strengths and how they are part of the overall security strategy for StorageReview.
TRULY compact dome cameras face a tough task. Within their compact housings they’re required to offer broad and at times conflicting functionalities, including compact size yet quality optics and very wide field of view yet low distortion and high image sharpness. Adding pressure to the recipe is the demand for a low price. Clearly, this class of camera is a compromise and what installers and end users want to know is whether or not the balance of compromise meets their requirements.
Before we look at performance in the field, let’s run through the specifications of the M3045–V. They include a ubiquitous 1/3-inch progressive scan RGB CMOS sensor with a resolution of 2MP and a fixed iris, fixed focus 2.8mm F2 lens with a magnesium fluoride coating and a horizontal field of view of 106-degrees along with a vertical field of view of 59-degrees, making the camera capable of being mounted high.
Befitting its internal specification, the camera has a minimum scene illumination of 0.25 lux and a selectable shutter speed between 1/32500 s and 1/5 s. The adjustable gimbal pans 177 degrees and tilts 69 degrees and the mount rotates 176 degrees. Resolution is 1080p, there’s WDR functionality, Zipstream compression technology, digital PTZ and multi-view streaming, HDMI output for live streaming to a local monitor, there’s H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC), Main, Baseline and High Profiles, and MJPEG compression.
Selectable resolutions range from 1920 x 1080 pixels to 320 x 240 pixels, there’s Zipstream technology in H.264, VBR/MBR H.264, up to 2 individually cropped out view areas in full frame rate and digital PTZ. Camera settings within the Axis camera browser include compression, colour, brightness, sharpness, contrast, white balance, exposure control, backlight compensation, WDR, Text and image overlay, mirroring of images, privacy mask and rotations of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees, including Corridor Format.
You can use the digital PTZ capabilities and multi-view streaming to view separate video streams of zoomed-in sections of an image at the same time as you view the full overview image. In the hand this is a compact unit that’s only 56mm high and 101mm in diameter and weight is just 170g – the M-Series really is compact. The white PVC-free poly housing (which can be painted) and smoked dome are well made. The camera has encapsulated electronics making it IP42 water and dust resistant and there’s IK08 vandal resistance as well as Torx 10 captive screws. Operating temp is 0-45C and maximum humidity is 85 percent. These numbers are fine for indoor applications.
Power draw is 2.6W average with a maximum of 3W and there are RJ-45 and an HDMI Type D connectors. The camera supports microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC cards with a capacity up to 64GB, VMS options include free AXIS Camera Companion, AXIS Camera Station, and video management software from Axis’ Application Development.
The camera is can share event footage via file upload to FTP, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS network share and by email and notification of events can be sent via email, HTTP, HTTPS and TCP and SNMP trap. The camera supports event triggers analytics and edge storage events and video can be recorded to the edge and video clips sent with pre-alarm and post-alarm video buffering.
The compact nature of the camera, the smoked dome, the fixed focus and the short focal length giving a wide angle of view with a relatively compact CMOS sensor mean the performance characteristics of the M3045-V are a generalist with a specific focus on internal applications. First impressions inside and outside suggest the camera system doesn’t meet the standards of some of Axis’ higher specified day/night domes and full body cameras but within the constraints of its specification, the M3045-V does well.
The depth of field is a strength and WDR performance is good, too – especially at close ranges. Resistance to motion blur is good for pedestrians but I can’t get plates at traffic speed in good light. Low light capability – remember this is not a D/N camera – isn’t bad, either. Low light performance is subject to blooming and noise that starts to build from about 25 lux. Noise and noise reduction artefacts are quite noticeable at 5 lux but the camera stays in colour. Same as every IP camera, as light levels fall, motion blur becomes an issue and there’s a point at which court admissible face recognition is impossible.
A contributing factor to overall performance is the wide angle of view and the small sensor, which spread pixels and leads to diminishing returns with digital zooming. For internal applications with modest distances, this works fine and it was noticeable testing outside that the camera was capable of face ID to about 12m, which is pretty good going at a 2.8mm focal length. This camera is going to find a home in retail outlets, service stations and shopping centres so faces at long distances aren’t the priority.
In the rear lane with full sun at an oblique angle, the image was relatively strong and enormously wide – there’s a lot of detail with a 2.8mm focal length and I was able to take advantage of the 59-degree vertical coverage to get right down close to the foot of the camera mounting point. I noticed one consistent very mild ghost in strong light, which looked to be a reflection of the red lens coating of the dome bubble but it did not have any real impact on the image quality. Faced with movement, including cars and tree branches, there is some stepping in the image stream.
I noticed barrel distortion and guessed it was around 9-10 percent. This camera doesn’t show much in the way of chromatic aberration, which is great given the very wide lens and 1080p bandwidth. When your camera is undertaking a delicate balancing act, you don’t want to be giving up detail to purple fringing. Intrusive tone mapping was all but invisible in good light and not much in evidence in low light either, where its symptoms merge with falling shutter speeds.
Colour rendition is strong and performance across the scene is very consistent – there are none of the pockets of deep shadow you often see. I also found that activating WDR did not lead to loss of contrast and sharpness in the image as it so often does. This is a camera you can run with WDR on auto without fearing there will be times when a customer will pay a price for your decision.
Against 78,000 lux of the backlight, the M3045-V did less well when almost all 16m of the office was between the lens and Norman’s face – under these conditions, there was blooming around Norman’s head. Up close, things improved – this is quite normal – and at 2m, the camera was doing as well as many much more expensive units, despite its huge angle of view.
Going out the front in good light, the camera does well in our street test, showing good detail of Norman at 8m, reasonable detail at 12m and reduced detail at 16m, where pixel spread really leans in. Because of this factor, I didn’t take Norman out past 16m – the camera is not designed to give high levels of detail past this point, though I do notice the depth of field is surprisingly strong from the point of view of situational awareness in full screen.
Wide Dynamic Range and Backlight Compensation
These two settings are sometimes confused. Both improve the lighting of various parts of the scene. If you have a scene where there is a very bright area in the background, it will cause the object in the foreground to appear in silhouette. You can use either backlight compensation or wide dynamic range (WDR) settings to adjust for this.
If you turn on backlight compensation, the camera will try to adjust to the darker part of the scene so you can see the object in the foreground, but the background will appear washed out.
If you want to see the objects in the foreground as well as the objects in the background you need wide dynamic range. This Axis camera has an adjustment for WDR and the image with a bright background was reasonably good.
Just an aside here: Wide dynamic range is measured in dB, which is the relative difference between the lowest light level and the highest light visible in the image. It used to be that a camera with 60 dB of WDR was considered good, but some new cameras, such as the Axis P3384, incorporate a special process that averages a number of images at different exposure levels to create a composite that has 120 dB of dynamic range.
The Axis M1065-LW is one of the smallest IP cameras on the market, making it an attractive option for offices seeking a discreet indoor surveillance solution. What’s more, despite its miniscule dimensions, it comes with a list of features to match IP cameras twice its size.
That includes a maximum resolution of 1080p at 25fps, with support for both wired and wireless network connections. With an integrated infrared illuminator and a PIR motion sensor, it can detect movement and record video in the dark as well as the daytime.
There’s also an internal microphone and speaker for two-way audio, and a micro-SD card slot, so you can store video locally as well as to network storage. It’s a shame that there’s no PoE support, but the included PSU has a decent 2.9m cable, so your positioning options aren’t too limited.
We found the camera took less than a minute to set up over a wired connection, and its native web interface is very easy to use. From here, setting up a wireless connection is simplicity itself: you can choose your SSID from a list, or simply use the WPS button on the side of the camera.
The M1065-LW impressed us with its video quality. Its live view is pin-sharp, with excellent contrast and colour balance. You can choose from 10 resolutions and configure multiple stream profiles, so you can set up different image sizes, frame rates and compression levels to suit different destinations.
For night-time operation, the IR illuminator has a range of 10 metres and switches on automatically when light levels drop. We found the PIR sensor also worked well, with movement within 6 metres triggering our alert actions.
The one concession you’ll probably have to make is accessing the camera via Internet Explorer. Neither Microsoft Edge nor Chrome supports the Axis Media Control plug-in required for H.264 streaming – so if you want to watch your feed in one of these browsers you’ll have to live with MJPEG. And while Firefox will stream H.264 through the QuickTime plug-in, there’s an annoying three-second video delay. Internet Explorer has no such limitations: we were happily able to stream in either video format, with a latency of less than one second.
When we enabled audio, the web interface also installed an AAC decoder plug-in. Audio transmission is half-duplex: to speak to someone, you click and hold the Talk button at the bottom of the live view page, and let go when you want to listen to them. Overall sound quality isn’t great, but it was good enough for us to hold a conversation with someone next to the camera.
The camera can be set to respond to a wide range of events, including motion (detected by either the camera or the PIR sensor), audio noise or camera tampering. The camera comes preloaded with Axis’ clever Motion Detection 3 app, which offers variable sensitivity, so you can ignore small movements such as birds landing on the windowsill.
You can set up rules to link triggers to actions, such as recording to the micro-SD card or to a network share, sending images to HTTP and FTP servers or emailing them and playing a warning sound clip stored on the camera. You can also set up schedules to apply different rules at different times of the day.
It’s a system with scope to grow, too: Axis’ free Camera Companion software supports multiple sites, each with up to 16 cameras and provides a centralised recording and playback facilities. The interface provides live views of assigned cameras, along with facilities for browsing recordings and a slick investigation mode for frame-by-frame viewing.
We found it automatically discovered our Synology NAS appliance, listed available shares for selection and set up motion detection for us. We also had no problems linking the Axis iOS app to our MyAxis cloud account and viewing camera feeds remotely from our iPad.