Axis M5014 Review: An Incredibly Compact Professional Dome Camera
At a Glance
Axis Communications M5014 PTZ Dome Network Camera
(When Rated) via PCNation.com
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This discreet dome camera delivers exceptional performance without drawing much attention to itself.
The $595 (as of August 5, 2012) Axis M5014 PTZ dome network camera is a solid value for businesses seeking a discreet, ceiling-mounted dome camera. At more than twice the price of the D-Link DCS-5222L PTZ dome camera, however, it is a tougher sell for most consumers.
It fits in the palm of your hand, and stands just 2.2 inches high. The PTZ in its name stands for pan, tilt, and zoom, referring to its integrated shooting abilities. A bonus: Its IP51-rated enclosure means that it is dust-resistant and protected from dripping water, so it won’t fail if your sprinkler system goes off.
Unlike the DCS-5222L, the M5014 uses Power over Ethernet exclusively, so you don't have to find an AC power outlet to operate the camera. Although this simplifies installation since you have only one cable to run, it also means that you need to obtain a Power over Ethernet switch for your network. Unlike most IP cameras, the M5014 supports both IPv4 and IPv6 to provide a degree of future-proofing during the transition between the two Internet Protocol standards.
The built-in microphone and motion detector can trigger the camera to record a video clip, either to local storage (the camera has a MicroSD slot, but you’ll need to provide the card) or to a shared folder on your network.
Axis uses a quarter-inch image sensor that requires just 1.4 lux of illumination to capture the action, even though the M5014 is not labeled as a day/night camera. The camera can record M-JPEG or h.264 video with a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels at 30 frames per second.
The intentionally oversimplified Axis Camera Companion software leaves a bit to be desired, unfortunately, as it doesn’t expose the advanced features of the cameras it connects to. Its playback window, on the other hand, is just about perfect, with a simple timeline that shows recorded events for each of the cameras it’s managing.
The Axis M5014 delivers exceptionally good image quality, and its motor moves the lens around the dome very quickly without generating a lot of distracting noise. The camera is expensive, but its feature set, robust build quality, and extensive third-party software support more than justify the price tag for business users.
This review is part of a network camera roundup. You can read the introduction to the roundup here.