Mobile Device and PC-Friendly Surveillance Systems from Axis Communications

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The idea of having a computer network in your home or small business used to seem futuristic and prohibitively complex, but today they’re as common as toasters and cash registers. Similarly, the idea of having an Internet-connected surveillance system in your home or business—one that you can view remotely with a smartphone—shouldn’t seem beyond reach either. A Swedish company called AXIS Communications offers a fairly simple way for you to keep an eye on your property from near and far with their P12 series of network-connected cameras.

The P12 cameras exist in two parts: the Sensor Unit and the Main Unit. As the name suggests, the Sensor Unit contains a 1/4-inch progressive scan RGB CMOS sensor, but it also houses a fast wide-angle lens. The reason this system exists in two parts is to give you more options for how you can set it up. When you separate the small Sensor Unit from the somewhat bulkier Main Unit, you can fit them into a larger variety of installations.

Their operation is quite simple. You install the P12 model of your choice where you need it. This could be in a wall, a ceiling or even in a location where there’s severely limited space, such as inside a kiosk or a doorway. The Sensor Unit is really compact, so it can fit into tight spaces; however, it needs to connect to the Main Unit with an included cable, and they can be separated by as much as 26 feet (8 meters). The Main Unit needs to be plugged into a wired computer network. It uses PoE technology, so a basic Ethernet connection supplies this system with all the power it needs, and connects it to the Internet. The huge advantage here is that you don’t have to run power cables to these cameras.

Once connected to a network, you can access the live video feed from the camera by logging in through a custom Web interface. You can access this Web interface with a regular browser, such as Internet Explorer on a Windows PC, or Safari on a Mac or iOS device. If you set up more than one P12 camera, you can access them each individually through a browser, or you can utilize the included AXIS Camera Companion software, which enables you to view up to 16 cameras at the same time. The software is only compatible with Windows computers. However, third-party apps that offer multi-camera view capabilities are available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Images from an Axis P12 Camera installed eye-level.

The Main Unit on each of the P12 models features a microSD card slot, which enables you to record video footage without the need for a DVR or separate storage device. You can control the recording from the Web interface, or through the Camera Companion software. You can set the cameras to start recording when motion or tampering is detected, and they can be set to send you automated notifications of these activities as well. Tampering is always an issue with surveillance cameras—but the Sensor Units on the P12 series are so small that it’s likely that passersby won’t even notice them.

The P12 series consists of three different models. The P1204 features a space-saving right-angle Sensor Unit. When you need to squeeze a camera into confined quarters indoors, the P1204 is the way to go. It’s possible to mount the P1204 flat or angled onto surfaces with the included brackets. The right-angle camera makes the P1204 a great option when you can’t drill through a wall from the opposite side for installation. When it is possible to install inside a wall or ceiling, the P1214 is a great choice because it can be set up to be flush with the surface. If you want the option to install a camera either indoors or out, you should use the P1214-E, which features an IP66 and Nema 4X-rated aluminum casing with an outdoor housing. All three of these cameras come with different mounts to suit their intended uses.

The P12 series of surveillance cameras is capable of providing 720p HD video streams. Since you can view the video from these cameras while you’re in the same room, accessing them from a LAN (local area network), and you can also access the video from these cameras when you’re on the other side of the planet using a mobile device, you may not always need the bandwidth-hungry HD video feed. That’s why the P12 cameras supply multiple kinds of streaming formats. For example, when you’re accessing the cameras from a smartphone, you can select a less data-intensive H.264 stream. When you have more bandwidth, you can opt for a motion JPEG stream.

Although each unit can be powered over an Ethernet connection for simplified installation with fewer wires, every P12 model also features an external power connection. This gives you the added flexibility of being able to choose between multiple power sources. In addition, a 26-foot (8-meter) extension cable is included with your purchase, so you can mount the Sensor Unit a considerable distance away from the Main Unit. If you don’t need that much distance between the two, detailed instructions for how to cut and reattach the cable are provided in the product manual.

If you have any questions about the P12 series of cameras, or about surveillance systems in general, we encourage you to stop by our SuperStore in New York City to speak to a B&H Sales Professional. You can also reach us by phone at 1-800-606-6969 or via live chat. You are welcome to submit a Comment, below, as well.

  P1214 P1214-E P1204
Image Sensor Progressive scan RGB CMOS 1/4” Progressive scan RGB CMOS 1/4” Progressive scan RGB CMOS 1/4”
Lens 3.7mm, f/2.5, fixed iris, fixed focus, Horizontal angle of view: 57°, Vertical angle of view: 31°, Diagonal angle of view: 68° 2.8mm, f/2.0, fixed iris, fixed focus, Horizontal angle of view: 81°, Vertical angle of view: 44°, Diagonal angle of view: 87° 3.7mm, f/2.5, fixed iris, fixed focus, Horizontal angle of view: 57°, Vertical angle of view: 31°, Diagonal angle of view: 68°
Light Sensitivity 1.2 lux – 100000 lux, f/2.5 1.0 lux – 100000 lux, f/2.0 1.2 lux – 100000 lux, f/2.5
Shutter Time 1/24500 s to 1/6 s 1/24500 s to 1/6 s 1/24500 s to 1/6 s
Video Compression H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC, Baseline profile)
Motion JPEG
H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC, Baseline profile)
Motion JPEG
H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC, Baseline profile)
Motion JPEG
Resolutions 1280 x 720 to 320 x 180 1280 x 720 to 320 x 180 1280 x 720 to 320 x 180
Frame Rate H.264 Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions
Frame Rate
Motion JPEG
Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions Up to 25/30 fps (50/60 Hz) in all resolutions
Video Streaming Multiple, individually configurable streams in H.264 and Motion JPEG
Controllable frame rate and bandwidth
VBR/CBR H.264
Multiple, individually configurable streams in H.264 and Motion JPEG
Controllable frame rate and bandwidth
VBR/CBR H.264
Multiple, individually configurable streams in H.264 and Motion JPEG
Controllable frame rate and bandwidth
VBR/CBR H.264
Image Settings Compression, color, brightness, sharpness, contrast, white balance, exposure value, exposure control, exposure zones, backlight compensation, fine tuning of behavior at low light Compression, color, brightness, sharpness, contrast, white balance, exposure value, exposure control, exposure zones, backlight compensation, fine tuning of behavior at low light Compression, color, brightness, sharpness, contrast, white balance, exposure value, exposure control, exposure zones, backlight compensation, fine tuning of behavior at low light
Rotation: 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°
Mirroring of images
Text and image overlay
Privacy mask
AXIS Corridor Format
Rotation: 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°
Mirroring of images
Text and image overlay
Privacy mask
AXIS Corridor Format
Rotation: 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°
Mirroring of images
Text and image overlay
Privacy mask
AXIS Corridor Format
Security Password protection, IP address filtering, HTTPS encryption, IEEE 802.1X network access control, digest authentication, user access log Password protection, IP address filtering, HTTPS encryption, IEEE 802.1X network access control, digest authentication, user access log Password protection, IP address filtering, HTTPS encryption, IEEE 802.1X network access control, digest authentication, user access log
Supported Protocols IPv4/v6, HTTP, HTTPS, SSL/TLS, QoS Layer 3 DiffServ, FTP, CIFS/SMB, SMTP, Bonjour, UPnP, SNMPv1/v2c/v3(MIB-II), DNS, DynDNS, NTP, RTSP, RTP, TCP, UDP, IGMP, RTCP, ICMP, DHCP, ARP, SOCKS IPv4/v6, HTTP, HTTPS, SSL/TLS, QoS Layer 3 DiffServ, FTP, CIFS/SMB, SMTP, Bonjour, UPnP, SNMPv1/v2c/v3(MIB-II), DNS, DynDNS, NTP, RTSP, RTP, TCP, UDP, IGMP, RTCP, ICMP, DHCP, ARP, SOCKS IPv4/v6, HTTP, HTTPS, SSL/TLS, QoS Layer 3 DiffServ, FTP, CIFS/SMB, SMTP, Bonjour, UPnP, SNMPv1/v2c/v3(MIB-II), DNS, DynDNS, NTP, RTSP, RTP, TCP, UDP, IGMP, RTCP, ICMP, DHCP, ARP, SOCKS
Application Programming Interface Open API for software integration, including VAPIX and AXIS Camera Application Platform from Axis Communications;
Support for AXIS Video Hosting System (AVHS) with One-Click Camera Application
Open API for software integration, including VAPIX and AXIS Camera Application Platform from Axis Communications;
Support for AXIS Video Hosting System (AVHS) with One-Click Camera Application
Open API for software integration, including VAPIX and AXIS Camera Application Platform from Axis Communications;
Support for AXIS Video Hosting System (AVHS) with One-Click Camera Application
Intelligent Video Video motion detection, active tampering alarm, support for AXIS Camera Application Platform enabling installation of additional applications Video motion detection, active tampering alarm, support for AXIS Camera Application Platform enabling installation of additional applications Video motion detection, active tampering alarm, support for AXIS Camera Application Platform enabling installation of additional applications
Triggers Intelligent video, digital I/O, manual trigger, network lost, storage status, system initializing Intelligent video, digital I/O, manual trigger, network lost, storage status, system initializing Intelligent video, digital I/O, manual trigger, network lost, storage status, system initializing
Actions File upload via FTP, HTTP and email Notification via email, HTTP and TCP Video recording to edge storage, pre- and post-alarm buffering, external output activation status LED File upload via FTP, HTTP and email Notification via email, HTTP and TCP Video recording to edge storage, pre- and post-alarm buffering, external output activation status LED File upload via FTP, HTTP and email Notification via email, HTTP and TCP Video recording to edge storage, pre- and post-alarm buffering, external output activation status LED
Video Access from Web Browser Camera live view
Video recording to file (ASF)
Customizable HTML pages
Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003
DirectX 9c or higher
Camera live view
Video recording to file (ASF)
Customizable HTML pages
Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003
DirectX 9c or higher
Camera live view
Video recording to file (ASF)
Customizable HTML pages
Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003
DirectX 9c or higher
Management and Maintenance AXIS Camera Management tool on CD and Web-based configurations
Firmware upgrades over HTTP or FTP
AXIS Camera Management tool on CD and Web-based configurations
Firmware upgrades over HTTP or FTP
AXIS Camera Management tool on CD and Web-based configurations
Firmware upgrades over HTTP or FTP
Installation Aids Pixel counter Pixel counter Pixel counter
Casing Main Unit: Polycarbonate
Sensor Unit: Aluminum
Main Unit: Polycarbonate
Sensor Unit: IP66Nema 4X-rated aluminum
Main Unit: Polycarbonate
Sensor Unit: Aluminum
Memory 256MB RAM,
128MB Flash
256MB RAM,
128MB Flash
256MB RAM,
128MB Flash
Power 8-28 V DC max 4.7 W
Power over Ethernet (PoE) IEEE 802.3af Class 2, max. 6.4 W
8-28 V DC max 4.7 W
Power over Ethernet (PoE) IEEE 802.3af Class 2, max. 6.4 W
8-28 V DC max 4.7 W
Power over Ethernet (PoE) IEEE 802.3af Class 2, max. 6.4 W
Connectors RJ-45 for 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX PoE
RJ-12 for Sensor Unit
Terminal blocks for power, 1 alarm input and 1 output
RJ-45 for 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX PoE
RJ-12 for Sensor Unit
Terminal blocks for power, 1 alarm input and 1 output
RJ-45 for 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX PoE
RJ-12 for Sensor Unit
Terminal blocks for power, 1 alarm input and 1 output
Edge Storage Micro SD/SDHC memory card slot (card not included)
Support for recording to network share (Network Attached Storage or
file server)
Micro SD/SDHC memory card slot (card not included)
Support for recording to network share (Network Attached Storage or
file server)
Micro SD/SDHC memory card slot (card not included)
Support for recording to network share (Network Attached Storage or
file server)
Operating Condition Temperture: -4 to 122˚F (-20 to 50˚C)
Humidity 10-85% RH (non-condensing)
Temperture: -4 to 122˚F (-20 to 50˚C)
Humidity 10-85% RH (non-condensing)
Temperture: -4 to 122˚F (-20 to 50˚C)
Humidity 10-85% RH (non-condensing)
Dimensions Main Unit: 1.1 x 3 x 4.1" (31 x 76 x 103mm)
Sensor Unit (diameter x depth): 0.8 x 1.7"
(20 x 42mm) 
Main Unit: 1.1 x 3 x 4.1" (31 x 76 x 103mm)
Sensor Unit (diameter x depth): 0.8 x 2.1"
(20 x 53mm) 
Main Unit: 1.1 x 3 x 4.1" (31 x 76 x 103mm)
Sensor Unit: 1.1 x 0.8 x 0.9" (27 x 20 x 22mm) 
Weight Main Unit: 0.24 lb (109 g)
Sensor Unit: 0.52 lb
(238 g)
Main Unit: 0.24 lb (109 g)
Sensor Unit: 0.55 lb
(248 g)
Main Unit: 0.24 lb (109 g)
Sensor Unit: 0.49 lb
(222 g)