Mobotix DualNight M12 review

16 Jul 2010

An impressive feature set, but the DualNight M12 is fiddly to set up and the price is too high

Price when reviewed: 
1,361inc VAT
4

One of the biggest problems with IP cameras is that you invariably have to buy an expensive weatherproof dome in which to house them. Mobotix's DualNight M12 is IP65 rated, so it can be mounted outside straight from the box.

This ingress protection rating means it's protected against dust and can withstand low-pressure jets of water from all directions. It will also tolerate temperatures down to -30¡C.

The M12 uses separate lenses and sensors for day and night viewing. The day lens is 3-megapixel colour, while the night lens is 1-megapixel mono, and the camera swaps between them depending on the light levels. The front of the camera has the lenses mounted near the top, with an infrared motion detector in the centre. Two-way audio is supported, with an internal loudspeaker and microphone.

The camera's composite plastic body feels solid, and has a short Ethernet cable routed through its wall-mount bracket. You can replace it with a longer cable if needed.

PoE is supported, and the lower panel has serial and ISDN ports plus an SD card slot for direct recordings. The top frame rate of 30fps is achievable only at the lowest resolution of 640 x 480.

Mobotix DualNight M12

Installation is swift as the camera's web interface provides a quick-start wizard for securing access, choosing the video mode and setting up network parameters. Press a button on the camera's faceplate and it will announce its IP address, subnet mask and MAC address using its loudspeaker.

The M12 offers both MJPEG and Mobotix's MxPEG video codec, which aims to reduce network usage when streaming high-resolution images. However, Mobotix still doesn't support the more efficient H.264 codec.

Output quality is excellent, with images demonstrating sharp focus and good colour balance. The level of detail was good, although the digital zoom wasn't anywhere near as sharp as that offered by the Axis Q1755 HD IP camera.

For night-time operations, the camera goes down to 0.1lux in mono mode. It delivered good detail in very low light levels and switched swiftly from one lens to the other as light levels dictated. However, movement wasn't conveyed well, and the fact that the top resolution supports only 4fps makes this worse.

Motion detection setup is unintuitive since you have to manually enter parameters for each window size, the lens to be used and the sensitivity. It took time to familiarise ourselves with the process, but afterwards we were able to create events and link actions to them such as sending images to internal storage, an FTP server and email addresses.

Businesses wanting an outdoor-ready IP camera should consider the DualNight M12. It offers an impressive range of surveillance features with good image quality, although it isn't the easiest to configure and is a little too expensive for our taste.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,158
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Warranty

Warranty RTB years 3

Specifications

Sensor type 1/2in progressive scan RGB CMOS
Video frame rate 30fps
Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
Power over Ethernet yes
Compression scheme MJPEG, MxPEG

Software

Web interface? yes