Axis Q1910 Thermal Network Camera review
The first thermal IP camera to market lets businesses add a new dimension to their surveillance and security systems
Review Date: 6 Apr 2010
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,973 (£2,318 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
In the world of IP cameras Axis has delivered more firsts than any other vendor, and it's done it again with the Q1910, the world's first thermal imaging IP camera. There's no need to worry about IR illuminators or lux values for night-time surveillance as it works purely by sensing an object's heat signature.
Axis has replaced the standard RGB image sensor with a micro bolometer, an extremely sensitive device used to measure infrared radiation. This gives it a big advantage over standard IP cameras as it doesn't worry about light levels or atmospheric conditions. It works in the 8µm to 13µm spectral band, allowing it to penetrate smoke, fog, rain, shadows, bright light and most other conditions that would confound normal cameras.
The Q1910 is extremely well built and uses the same heavyweight steel shell as Axis' Q1755 HD IP camera. The bolometer sensor's top frame rate is only 8.33fps and no optical or digital zoom functions are provided. However, the sensor's maximum resolution of 160 x 128 pixels can be scaled up by the camera to 720 x 576.
The Q1910 supports simultaneous H.264 and M-JPEG video streams, is 802.3af PoE compliant and has an integral microphone plus sockets for an external mic and speaker for two-way audio. Its 32MB buffer for storing images can be increased using the SD/SDHC memory card slot at the rear.
Installation is a simple process. The web browser's live view is impressive, with Axis offering nine heat signature colour palettes. The level of detail available from emitted radiation is quite surprising, with some of the palettes better suited to certain scenarios.
The rainbow palette is the most visually impressive, but it doesn't show as much detail as the ice and fire or night-vision palettes. It's easy enough to switch from one to another directly from the live view to find the one that works best. Even though the frame rate is comparatively low, we felt motion was conveyed well with very little jerkiness.
We found during testing that the camera won't work well through glass, especially double glazing. However, Axis also offers the Q1910-E, which comes in an external IP66 rated aluminium case equipped with a heated germanium window.
You can swap between M-JPEG and H.264 from the live view. In our review of the Axis P3301, we found H.264 has a much lower network bandwidth usage than M-JPEG. Furthermore, each individual stream can have its own colour palette.
For motion detection you can define up to ten include and exclude windows and fine-tune sensitivity for each. If detection is triggered you can upload images to the internal memory and FTP and HTTP servers, email them to multiple recipients and activate external devices connected to the I/O ports.
Along with an impressive range of features, the Q1910 overcomes many problems associated with thermal imaging cameras. It costs less than half that of typical analogue devices and being digital will be far easier to integrate into surveillance and recording systems.
Author: Dave Mitchell
It is time for all cameras, both fixed and hand-held, to have user-controlled frequency selection as a continuous variable throughout its entire range.
By specious on 6 Apr 2010
read more http://www.e-castig.com/index.php?r=K1kwg
By niceguy on 6 Apr 2010
Glass and Infra-Red Radiation
You comment that "the camera won't work well through glass". This is no surprise, since you also say that the camera works in the far infra-red (around 10 microns) and glass does not transmit well above about 1.2 microns (it reflects longer wavelengths - the original greenhouse effect!). It will, however, see through black plastic bin-bags and, perhaps, thin clothing.
Special materials, such as Germanium or Zinc Selenide, have to be used to make lenses for these cameras.
I would not expect it to see well through fog or heavy rain and the black smoke from burning tyres, although wood smoke (for example) would appear transparent to it.
By dwrobinson on 7 Apr 2010
Can Specious provide more info? Regarding the camera’s inability to work through glass, I’ve mentioned in the review that Axis offers an external casing for outdoor use that has a germanium window. Not sure why you’d want to look through bin bags, though.
By DaveMitchell on 7 Apr 2010
Thermal vs Optical
Ordinary things often look very different through a thermal imager. for example, both a white horse and a black horse (to the human eye) would look the same through a thermal imager, because each horse's body is much hotter than the surroundings, but the body of the white horse is the same temperature as the black one - and temperature is one of the important parameters (although emissivity is also a factor). Objects that might be invisible to the eye, because of an obscurant barrier (such as smoke or black plastic) or camouflage (such as green painted screens) become clearly visible in thermal either because the thermal radiation penetrates the barrier or because foliage reflects infra-red radiation whereas green paint often absorbs it (so an object that is painted green looks different from green vegetation in a thermal image). Look at the (glass) spectacles that are shown in the image in the article - you cannot see the man's eyes, just a reflection of the surroundings. Thermal cameras require special materials for lenses and windows (e.g. to look out of an armoured vehicle, through a small window in the armour); often these 'windows' are made from Germanium, as this is transparent to 10 micron thermal radiation, even though human eyes see it as black and opaque.
One hidden danger is that those Germanium lenses, prisms and windows often have radio-active materials (such as Thorium) added to them to enhance their optical or mechanical properties. This makes them potentially dangerous when damaged.
Ordinary window glass blocks radiation longer than about 1.2 microns; even fused quartz gives up around 4 microns. To detect efficiently the thermal radiation from people (around 300 Kelvin) the thermal detector needs to respond to far infra-red radiation around ten microns (because that is what objects at that temperature emit most strongly - basic quantum physics!). Germanium and Zinc Selenide are, pretty much, the only useful materials for transmitting far-IR.
Bin bags are quoted only as an example of how different things look when seen by the human eye and by the thermal camera. Watch some of the ubiquitous TV programmes that show how the police use thermal cameras to find the bad guys when they are hiding in the bushes on a dark night, to see what I mean.
By dwrobinson on 7 Apr 2010
I passed the comments from dwrobinson on to Axis and it has confirmed that the germanium lenses used in its thermal cameras do not contain radioactive material
By DaveMitchell on 29 Apr 2010
- BBC admits £100 million IT project was a "waste"
- IBM's Watson answers customers' questions
- New CEO reorganises Intel to target "new devices"
- Dell profits slide 79% amid buyout talks
- Forget cloud subscriptions: users prefer standard licences
- McAfee: cloud storage could help spread viruses
- Analysts question Windows 8 as UK PC shipments slump
- Google pools storage across Gmail and Drive
- Ofcom accused of killing off VoIP competition
- ShoreTel dock turns iPhones and iPads into desk phones
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Software subscriptions return us to a life of servitude
- How to get a job in cloud computing
- Are today's tech start-ups simply get-rich-quick schemes?
- Choosing the right tablet for business
- Best free antivirus for 2013
- The best business broadband: how to choose the right package
- Choosing your web hosting package: space, bandwidth, service-level agreements and email handling
- Windows Server 2012 features in-depth
- How to protect your business against spear phishing
- How to install virtual servers with Hyper-V
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW