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Round-Up

80% Vista VK2600PTZ The VK2-600PTZ is a fully functioned dome with day/night performance. The camera offers dual streams, with H.264 and MPEG4 options as well as JPEG images. Utilising a 1/4 inch Exview CCD, the camera delivers 4CIF resolution in real-time. Optical zoom is 22x, and there is also a 16x digital zoom. The lens has a focal length of 3.9–85.8mm. Video functionality includes wide dynamic range, video motion detection within presets and privacy masking, along with the usual suspects such as AWB, backlight compensation, AGC, etc.. There are also adjustments for colour, brightness, sharpness, and a digital image flip. Low light performance is quoted as 0.5 lux. With regard to mechanical functionality, the unit delivers 360 degree continuous pan and a tilt range of 180 degrees with auto-flip. Maximum speed is 380 degrees per second. Up to 120 presets are supported, asare 4 tours of up to 42 functions and 4 patterns of up to 200 seconds. Other features include two-way audio, an alarm input and output, RS485 connection and network security features such as IP filtering. The unit uses a 12V DC power source (not included). It is supplied with a quick start guide, and the full manual is on a CD. It’s fair to say that the menu itself isn’t intuitive, and whilst it is navigated using a virtual multidirectional controller, the Return key won’t do anything when you try to enter the access password. It took a good 15 minutes to work out how to do this: it’s a combination of the Control On/Control Off buttons. Image quality is very good, and the optical quality is high. Colour accuracy is faithful, and the image carries good detail, even at a midquality setting. With a real-time 4CIF stream, there were no dropped frames with bandwidth set to its highest level (around 4Mbps). Dropping back to more typical 2Mbps for 4CIF images didn’t see any detrimental effect. Low light performance is good. The camera switched at around 6.5 lux, which sounds a tad early, but it is actually just right. Mechanical operation is good with regard to tours, presets and patterns. Manual control is decent enough. If you’re ham-fisted then you will overshoot, but mouse control is rarely as fine as a joystick. If you depend on manual control, use the RS485 connection for this

JVC VN-V685U The VN-V685U is a fully functioned dome that delivers day/night performance. The camera offers dual streams with MPEG4 and JPEG options for VGA (640 x 480) resolution in real time. It employs a 1/4 inch CCD. Optical zoom is 27x, and focal length is 3.43–92.6mm. Video functionality includes VMD within presets, privacy masking, AGC, noise reduction and sens-up. Sensitivity is quoted as 1 lux for a 50 per cent signal. Mechanical functionality includes 360 degree continuous pan and a tilt range of 190 degrees with auto-flip. Maximum speed is 400 degrees per second. The VN-V685U supports up to 100 presets, as well as auto-patrols. It also offers motion tracking, and intelligent tracking. Other features include alarm inputs and outputs and network security features such as IP filtering. The unit uses a 24V AC power source (not included) or PoE. It is supplied with a full manual. Connecting to the camera is easy, and you are prompted to load a few Active X elements, after which a JPEG image stream is shown. When you switch to the MPEG4 stream, a popup informs you that “ffdshow” needs to be installed. JVC doesn’t supply a CD with utilities, and the manual tells you to download the codec from the internet. The codec isn’t a JVC tool; it’s an open source project. It is generally considered to be safe, but that’s no guarantee, plus you must ensure that the package you download and run is what it claims to be. We found the codec was fragile and kept dropping the video. Whilst open source products are free, they can also be unreliable, and there are many different builds of this particular codec. Image quality is as good as you’ll get from a VGA camera. Detail is noticeably lower than with other units. Colour accuracy is good, with faithful replication throughout the range. With a real-time stream, there were no issues with frame rate when bandwidth was set at 2Mbps, nor did compression have any detrimental effect. Noise becomes obvious in the image at around 6 lux, but the unit doesn’t switch until around 2 lux! PTZ operation is good, with smooth motion at the lower speeds, even with mouse control. Pushing the speeds up does create a tendency to overshoot. Zoom quality is good, and tracking functions well. The three auto-patrols can include up to 99 positions each.

79%

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Benchmark April 2013  

Benchmark April 2013

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