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Round-Up: Fully Functioned Network Domes Network-connected dome cameras offer full pan, tilt and zoom functionality have been improving steadily with regard to performance. Benchmark takes a look at some of the leading units. Panasonic WV-SC385E

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The WV-SC385E is a fully functioned day/night dome that offers multiple streams with H.264/MPEG4 and JPEG options. The camera delivers up to 1280 x 960 resolution in real time, featuring a 1/3 inch MOS sensor. Optical zoom is 18x, although this can be extended to 36x in VGA mode. Focal length is 4.7–84.6mm. Functionality includes a host of Panasonic’s own features, such as Super Dynamic, Face SD, adaptive black stretch and facial recognition (with a compatible server). It also delivers video motion detection within presets, privacy masking, AGC, noise reduction, and slow shutter mode. Low light performance is quoted as 0.5 lux. Mechanical functionality includes 350 degree pan and a tilt range of 120 degrees. Maximum speed is 300 degrees per second for presets, or 100 degrees per second for manual operation. The WV-SC385E supports up to 64 presets, as well as preset sequencing and auto-tracking. Other features include alarm inputs and outputs, two way audio and an integral SD/SDHC card slot. The unit uses a 12V DC power source (not included) or PoE. It is supplied with a quick start guide with the full manual on a CD. Once logged in to the camera the menus are logically laid out and intuitive. Image quality is very good, but you expect that when you pay a price-premium. Detail is sharp, colour accuracy is spot on, and with bandwidth set at the maximum 8Mbps everything looks impressive. Reducing the bandwidth to a more realistic 4Mbps doesn’t create any issues. The camera holds a decent colour image until around 2 lux, when noise begins to creep in. At 1 lux colours start to fade, and then the camera switches. PTZ operation is very good. The directional arrows tend to move the camera in steps, but the track pad allows smooth and easily controlled variable speed use.

80% D-Link DCS-6818 The DCS-6818 is a fully functioned dome that delivers day/night performance. The camera offers dual streams with MPEG4 and M-JPEG options for D1 (720 x 576) resolution in real time. It employs a 1/4 inch CCD. Optical zoom is 36x, and focal length is 3.4–122.4mm. Video functionality includes VMD, privacy masking, AGC, wide dynamic range and backlight compensation. Sensitivity is quoted as 0.1 lux. Mechanical functionality includes 360 degree continuous pan and a tilt range of 200 degrees with auto-flip. Maximum speed is 400 degrees per second. The DCS-6818 supports up to 256 presets, as well as 8 paths made up from up to 32 presets. There are also 4 autopan choices. Other features include 8 alarm inputs and 1 output, an integral heater and fan, and video management software is included. The unit uses a 24V AC power source (included). It is supplied with a quick start guide but the full manual is on a disk. The camera offers video streams in MPEG4 or M-JPEG; if you’re looking for smooth real-time video, then it’s best to opt for the MPEG-4 stream. The camera doesn’t offer H.264, which is a nod to its age. Maximum bitrate is 3Mbps. However, at full bitrate with MPEG-4, the DCS-6818 is still a useful camera, and quality is good enough for security applications! The camera starts to show deterioration in image quality between 4 and 5 lux. Day/night switching occurred at around 2 lux, which was too late. This cannot be adjusted! The DCS-6818 is basic, and whilst it does offer a number of traditional security settings, fine tuning of these is not always possible. PTZ operation is decent. If you want smooth motion when manually controlling the camera, use the lower speeds. All typical functionality is there, albeit with differing names (for example, Cruise is an auto-learn process).

Benchmark April 2013  
Benchmark April 2013  

Benchmark April 2013

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