Founder, Zeecure.com, Sonitrol of South Central Ontario

Author Bio ▼

Colin Bodbyl is the founder of Zeecure.com and Chief Technology Officer at Sonitrol of South Central Ontario. He has over 10 years' experience in the security industry specializing in the design and installation of physical security, IP CCTV, video analytics, and access control systems. In 2012 Colin developed Zeecure.com to connect with other integrators and end users through his unique video blogs.
August 6, 2014

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Surveillance Camera Review: Axis Q6044-E

Axis q6044-eEarlier this year Axis announced a massive upgrade to their Q60 line of PTZ cameras.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the new Q6044-E model and spent a few days putting it through its paces.

The Q6044-E, which is a 720p Pan Tilt Zoom camera, has several upgrades that differentiate it from older 720p models, including 30x optical zoom, better low-light sensitivity and electronic image stabilization. The Q6044-E also boasts an automatic defog feature and shock detection.

Since I already had a lot of experience with the original line of Axis PTZs, I decided to take the Q6044-E straight into the field to experience the upgrades first-hand.

I began by installing the camera using a wall mount arm. The first thing I noticed was that Axis had not changed anything about the mounting procedure.

Easy to assemble

While the camera is extremely easy to assemble, Axis is still relying on an IP66 Ethernet connector to create a watertight seal inside the mounting arm. These connectors are difficult to work with, expensive to replace restrict the camera from ever supporting I/O or audio jacks.

If I could ask Axis to change one thing about their PTZs it would be the IP66 Ethernet jacks. Aside from the silly connectors (not required indoors), Axis Q60 PTZs remain some of the easiest to install.

Powering up the unit I was met with a crisp clear image. Since the camera is 720p and the monitor we use 1080p, using the camera in full-screen mode left the image slightly pixelated from the digital zoom. That said, users who want to display this camera on a big screen may want to consider the Q6045, which has a full 1080p resolution. The pan tilt zoom functions of the camera were fast and pleasantly responsive. The stand-out feature, of course, was the 30x optical zoom, which I tested in a variety of situations.

The combination of 30x zoom and 720p resolution is extremely powerful; however, zoomed in all the way this camera was very sensitive to vibration. The electronic image stabilization (EIS) was off by default. Once enabled I saw a slight reduction in the total resolution of the camera, but the trade-off was well worth it. The EIS worked beautifully.

In future versions of the Q6044, I would love to see an option that automatically enabled the EIS any time the camera zoomed beyond a certain point. For example, guards could enjoy full-resolution images with EIS off while zoomed out, yet if they suddenly needed to zoom in on an object, EIS would kick in beyond 20x, automatically stabilising the image.

Auto-tracking

I couldn’t test the defog setting since I can’t control the weather… yet. I did test the auto-tracking feature, which worked surprisingly well.

Shutting off the lights I tested the camera in several low-light applications. It performed well, especially outdoors where the moon and streetlights lit the scene from various directions.

The camera struggled a bit more indoors with darker shadows, since light leaked in from only one direction. Axis advertises the camera’s low-light sensitivity as “nearly three times better than the industry norm for HDTV cameras.” It was certainly above average.

The last feature I tested on the Q6044-E was the new shock detection (a feature added to all Q60 cameras). I decided to throw a few tennis balls at the camera, which was configured to swing to where I stood when a shock was detected.

On a direct hit it worked perfectly. I would recommend, though, that anyone using this feature should configure it to test various impacts – shock detection is configurable and some users will want it less sensitive than others.

Step in the right direction

Overall the Q6044-E is another step in the right direction for Axis.

I’m glad to see that instead of increasing the Q60 line’s resolution they’ve focused on functionality.

I’ve always found that optical zoom and user experience matter more than total resolution when it comes to PTZ cameras.

Therefore, at 720p this camera’s image quality is comfortably above average, something I’ve come to expect from Axis. I’d still like to see some things changed but overall Axis is certainly on the right path with the Q6044-E.

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