|At a Glance|
|Product||AXID M1054 Network camera [Website]|
|Summary||Prosumer HD network camera with two-way audio, PoE and night vision|
|Pros||• Wealth of features
• Solid construction
• Built-in two-way audio
• Night vision is in color and very clear
|Cons||• Night vision can't be triggered by low light level
• Pricey compared to other "HD" netcams
Did you know Axis invented the network camera back in 1996? When I first started working with IP cameras I didn't. As I've worked with more and more vendors I've come to take note of the large range of features and usability that run the gamut from very basic to very detailed. Taking pictures is just one small portion of what sets one network camera apart from another. Just as important are the features and the functions that are supported
For this review, we'll be looking at AXIS' M1054 camera. You can think of the M1054 as either the top end (and most expensive) of Axis' "smallest and smartest" M10 series, or the next-to-least expensive model in its HDTV/Megapixel netcam family. The M1014 entry-level HD netcam, which should be shipping soon, lists at $229 and shares many of the M1054's features, including 720p resolution.
The M1054 can be purchased for around $389 if you check around online. It's more expensive than some of the other network cameras we've looked at. But once we get into features, you may find it's worth it. A follow-up review will showcase the differences between the M1054 and the next model down, the M1031-W. In the meantime, check the M10 series spec and feature summary below.
AXIS M10 series
Opening the M1054 box, I found a manual, software CD, the camera, a power supply and several mounting accessories, including a wire clip. I've mentioned the lack of a wire clip on other reviews, so that was nice to have.
Setup of the Axis M1054 was very easy. I simply plugged it into my network and then found the IP address with Overlook Fing on my Android phone. The first time accessing the camera's web interface required an admin password be set. From there, I simply proceeded to the front page Live View of the camera, which is shown below in Figure 1. The Setup tab within the camera was also available here and lets you into the guts of configuring the camera for different functions. When it comes to features, there are a lot of them, which we'll get into later.
Figure 1: AXIS M1054 Live View
The M1054 came to me courtesy of Iomega, so that I could review the video surveillance features in its new ix2-dl NAS. Since they sent three cameras, I decided to install the AXIS Camera Management software to see how it handled multi-camera management. The AXIS Camera Management software allows you to configure multiple cameras, manage firmware updates on multiple cameras, configure user accounts, check and configure IP addresses and just generally check the status of any AXIS cameras on your network.
In Figure 2 I've highlighted the Properties display of one camera within the AXIS Camera Management software. IP address info can also be found and adjusted here.
Figure 2: AXIS Camera Management software Camera Properties display
The AXIS Camera Management software was great for configuring multiple cameras all at once. But I felt going to each camera's own setup page was best for really figuring things out, reading help and working on something I didn't necessarily understand.
Figure 3 shows the configuration page of the AXIS Camera Management software, you can see it takes a no-frills approach. Changes can be quickly made, but it's not very user-friendly.
Figure 3: AXIS Camera Management Device Configuration
Figure 4 below shows the AXIS Camera Management main screen, where templates can be applied to all cameras, firmware can be upgraded, user accounts can be created and modified, etc.