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Build your own surveillance system with the Axis F series

April 27th, 2016 by Paul Sandford

The Axis F series offers a very flexible way of creating a high performance IP CCTV system – complete with video management software and remote access – all without the need for a dedicated PC, server or Network Video Recorder (NVR).Axis F series hardware and Axis Camera Companion

An F series camera consists of separate HD sensor / lens units which connect to a main unit (the body of the camera) via a cable. Axis refer to this design as a ‘divided concept’ and a choice of 7 lenses offers users the flexibility to build a surveillance system to meet their exact needs.

Since the series was launched in 2014, we’ve seen the Axis F series used for a wide variety of indoor, outdoor and mobile surveillance applications. The ultra compact design and options for discreet installation make these cameras particularly popular with small office-based businesses, independent retailers and restaurants.

We’re going to show you how you can put together your own system in 3 easy steps.

Step 1 – main unit (camera body):

There are currently three main units to choose from: the Axis F34, Axis F41 and Axis F44. Each unit houses the processor and SD card storage along with power and network connections. The F34 and F44 both support up to 4 sensor / lens units while the F41 supports just 1 sensor / lens.

When there are up to four areas to be covered, the four-channel main units are cost-effective solutions as they can stream videos from four sensor units simultaneously.

Other features are model dependent and include support for two-way audio, rugged housing, quad view, WDR – Forensic Capture and alarm I/O connections. The table below illustrates the differences between models.

Feature Axis F34F34 Axis F41F41 Axis F44F44
Sensor unit connections 4 1 4
Max video resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
WDR – forensic capture  
Quad view  
Zipstream
Rugged  
Two-way audio  
Alarm in/outputs  
Power-over-Ethernet
DC power
AXIS Camera Application Platform
Edge storage

All the connectors are placed on one side of the main unit so that cables go in one direction and do not take up unnecessary space. This makes the main unit easy to install in cabinets and small enclosures.

Step 2 – sensor / lens:

Sensor units are available with a standard, varifocal, pinhole or fisheye lens. Currently, there are seven to choose from, with each unit setting the maximum image resolution, field of view and type of wide dynamic range (WDR) that is supported.

All sensor / lens units can be used indoors and a couple are also suitable for use outdoors – the table below illustrates the differences between models.

Feature Axis F1004F1004 Axis F1005-EF1005-E Axis F1015F1015 Axis F1025F1025 Axis F1035-EF1035-E Axis F4005F4005 Axis F4005-EF4005-E
Outdoor        
Horizontal angle
of view
102° in 720p 113° in 1080p 53° to 108° in 1080p 92° in 1080p 194° in 1080p 113° in 1080p 110° in 1080p
Lens Standard Standard Varifocal Pinhole Fisheye Standard Standard
Min illumination 0.4 Lux 0.3 Lux 0.3 Lux 0.3 Lux 0.3 Lux 0.3 Lux 0.3 Lux

The lenses are all compact but come in a range of different form factors and can be converted, if required, into domes or bullet style units with the help of optional accessories. Different cable lengths for attachment to the main unit are also available (up to 12m).

This varied selection of lenses makes the Axis F series very versatile. The sensor units can be installed in tight places – different units are suitable for use in doorways, behind metal sheets or partitions and flush-mounted in a wall or ceiling. This makes them discreet and thus popular with restaurants, hotels and boutiques.

When used as traditional dome or bullet style units, they can serve as a visual deterrent and of course, the user can mix the use of overt and less obtrusive monitoring for their solution by picking the most suitable combination of units.

Step 3 – storage and software

All of the Axis F series main units support SD card storage – two cards on the F34 and F44 and one card on the single channel F41.

Use of “edge-based” storage in this way creates a decentralised system – there is no need for a separate, central device to store recordings such as an NVR. This is a reliable and economical storage solution for most small businesses because there are no moving parts such as hard disks to maintain and it consumes less power.

At this point your surveillance system just needs some video management software to provide live views and access to recordings – that’s where Axis Companion Software completes the solution.

Axis Companion Software is free to download and install – available as a PC client or to run as an app on an Android or iOS device. The user friendly interface makes it easy to check your camera(s), take snapshots in real time, search your timeline of recordings and export footage when evidence is required.

At Network Webcams, we offer free a 64GB SD card when purchasing an Axis camera (2 free cards when buying the F34 or F44). This means there is no cost for this final step to building your own surveillance system! We provide the storage and Axis provides the software.

Summary

For a long time, the answer to having a simple IP CCTV system for many small businesses has been a kit comprising of a number of IP cameras with an NVR for monitoring and recording.

The Axis F series offers a very flexible alternative to this approach with a number of distinct advantages:

  • More varied installation options – locations, form factors and visibility
  • Mix and match different lens types and focal lengths for optimum coverage
  • Decentralised design means no NVR to site, configure and maintain
  • Reliable edge-based storage and simplified system set-up
  • Video Management Software (Axis Companion Software) offers convenient, remote access from a variety of devices
  • Easily scalable with the option to use Network Attached Storage (NAS) if more cameras or longer storage periods are needed

You can build your own Axis F series surveillance system using the 3 steps detailed above and order online but if you’d like further advice on the choice of lenses or which main unit is your best option, just get in touch.

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