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Technology Showcase: PTZ Security Cameras

Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

There is no hiding the innovations in remotely controlled video surveillance cameras.

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<i>Elmo PTC-401C IP</i>

Elmo PTC-401C IP

Here is a look at some of the latest innovations in remotely controlled PTZ surveillance cameras.

The AutoDome Easy PTZ camera from Bosch Security combines a high-performance pan/tilt unit and a state-of-the-art autofocus zoom camera into a single compact mini-dome housing that is less than 4in. in diameter. That's 20 percent smaller than most mini domes, yet it still offers variable pan-and-tilt speeds and autopivot to ensure optimal camera control and viewing at all zoom levels. The AutoDome Easy PTZ camera's 100X (10X optical/10X digital) zoom can be used with 60 user-defined presets, four preset tours, and multiple autoscan modes. The Bosch AutoDome 300 series high-speed PTZ dome camera system boasts optional hybrid operation for simultaneous analog (coax) and IP (MPEG-4) connectivity, and its AutoDome 500i series intelligent PTZ camera system provides fully interchangeable CPUs, cameras, housings, communications, and mounts. The 500i series also incorporates intelligent features such as motion detection and Auto Track II automated motion-tracking technology.

The VB-C300 PTZ camera from Canon builds on the high-quality video monitoring products from the Canon Network Video Solutions assortment. Thanks to its70-degree Canon AF wide-angle lens, the VB-C300 is primarily designed for installations for which monitoring tight spaces is paramount, although it also has a 2.4X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom. A mechanical IR cut filter gives the VB-C300 auto day/night capability enhanced by Canon's proprietary image-processing technology. The VB-C300 PTZ also offers Power over Ethernet (PoE), and it comes with a built-in network server for high-performance data transmission. In addition, Canon VB-C50i and reverse-mounted VB-C50iR PTZ camera systems deliver clear video from far distances under the dimmest lighting conditions — often beyond the scope of the human eye. The VB-C50i andVB-C50iR now also have two-way audio capability, along with teleconferencing and web-casting options.

The Altitude 9840 series of high-resolution network-based video and audio PTZ dome cameras with 35X optical zoom are DVTel's latest addition to its line of MPEG-4, 4CIF-based IP network cameras. With IGMP snooping technology, the cameras enable a single stream to be transmitted to multiple viewers on a network simultaneously while reducing bandwidth demands. The Latitude Network Video Management System's Digital Virtual Matrix Switch allows independent settings for live video and recorded streams. This lets an authorized user observe the viewing stream while the recording stream is being captured on the Latitude Media Archive Server storage system. The DVTel Altitude 9840 IP dome-camera system also provides bidirectional audio and data.

<i>GE Security Legend IP</i>

GE Security Legend IP

From Elmo comes the PTC-401C IP, which allows full PTZ control via a web browser over LAN/WAN. The camera can be controlled with a remote joystick/controller or through control outputs from a DVR generated by mouse and onscreen GUI. The remote PTZ functions can be managed wirelessly or through RS-485 (standard for security) or RS-232 (standard for AV markets). Elmo's own software application provides single-camera control of the PTC-401C IP, including image flip. Third-party software control can also include target tracking that directs the PTZ functions without human intervention to keep the camera aimed at a moving target that meets certain user-defined criteria. That way, an intruder can be kept in the field of view while help is being notified.

The newest addition to the GE Security integrated-network dome-camera line is Legend IP with a built-in MPEG-4 video encoder that provides D1 resolution at a full 30fps over a 10/100Base-T Ethernet network. A choice of 36X or 26X optical zoom lenses with 12X digital zoom assist gives the Legend IP dome camera 432X or 312X total zoom. Sixteen shadow tours can hold a total of 20 minutes of pan, tilt, and zoom operation. Each of the 127 preset positions in the Legend IP stores the pan, tilt, and zoom position along with a complete list of camera settings including backlight compensation, iris, and shutter settings. The GE Legend IP also features SilkTrak direct drive for smooth and precise PTZ movement.

The new Honeywell Security Acuix PTZ speed dome camera will be available in March. The company is calling it “round-the-clock viewing that never blinks.” Using up to 35X zoom lenses with image stabilization, the Acuix allows an operator to download and save all camera and location-specific settings including labels, presets, tours, and privacy zones in its dedicated remote DVR or on disk in a secure location. The Acuix system will feature Honeywell's exclusive IntelliBus bidirectional communication protocol with dynamic privacy zones that allow programming 32 areas with restricted viewing. The Honeywell Security Acuix PTZ speed dome camera comes with a variety of housings for enhanced security and aesthetic appeal.

The IPD-Q38 IP network PTZ dome camera from Ikegami outputs JPEG2000 images with wavelet transformation for improved still-frame clarity, and it boasts a 35X optical zoom. Its PTZ mount has a 500-degree-per-second pan speed and a minimum illumination of 1 lux/f1.4. The pre-alarm function of the IPD-Q38 records images that have been shot before an alarm is sounded, while alerts are sent to a designated email address. Ikegami's motion detector is designed to disregard disturbances, such as tree leaves swaying in the wind, to minimize false alarms. The whole system's software can be updated and self-diagnosed over the network for realtime maintenance, and it can work with multiple protocols including TCP/IP, SMTP, POP3, DHCP, and HTTP.

Just last November, JVC released its new VN-V686WPU outdoor PTZ dome camera. This month, that should be joined by the company's VN-V686U indoor model. Both ensure the accuracy of their pan/tilt positioning with a silent direct-drive motor mechanism. Each offers motion detection, auto tracking, image stabilizer, and private masking, and easy installation and maintenance with a one-touch lock mechanism that separates the camera from its head for quick replacement. The JVC VN-V686 line has a memory-card slot (CF card), web and FTP-server functions, and 100 preset positions. JVC claims its PTZ cameras are both the fastest and the slowest on the market, rotating at 400 degrees per second to complete a full circle in less than one second, or crawling around at .01 degrees per second for extremely slow pans. For use in extreme environments, the VN-V686 PTZ cameras can operate at temperatures down to -40 degrees F.

Last year, Panasonic Security Systems enhanced its line of i-Pro intelligent network products with several new models, including its WV-NW964 weatherproof outdoor network PTZ with SDIII technology. That SDIII technology delivers the highest-quality images attainable in any lighting condition along with a host of features including dual-stream MPEG-4/JPEG output, an SD memory-card slot for onboard recording, autotracking, 256 preset functions, and super-slow and fine manual PTZ movement — along with high-speed movement for mission-critical object-tracking operations. IP66-rated, the WV-NW964 boasts endless PTZ operation for superior picture quality with no digital-to-analog-to-digital conversion.

<i>Samsung SPD-3300</i>

Samsung SPD-3300

As one of the largest manufacturers of PTZ cameras, Pelco makes models for every application from indoor school settings to explosion-proof domes. From its Spectra Mini, which it touts as the smallest-form-factor positioning system available, to the Spectra IV 35X SE, Pelco offers a wide range of systems delivering PTZ control. Spectra 14 offers autofocus on a high-resolution integrated color camera/optics package with zone blanking, 64 presets, and a 140-degree-per-second pan speed. The Spectra Mini incorporates many well-known features from the company's full-size Spectra dome systems into a cost-effective small form factor. Its high-resolution camera transmits video over coaxial cable or unshielded-twisted-pair wires, and its pan/tilt operation with onscreen programming can be performed with Pelco controllers, which transmit D, P, or Coaxitron protocols. Pelco PTZ dome systems come with quick-connect cables for power, video (coax or UTP), and data.

Samsung Super Noise Reduction (SSNR) virtually eliminates noise in low-light situations for the SPD-3300, along with providing a DVR storage savings of up to 70 percent. It offers privacy masking, motion detection, digital flip, and 128 presets — all accessible through an onscreen display. The SPD-3300 comes with a 30X optical zoom, 8X digital zoom, and 126X wide dynamic range, and its output is MPEG-4 or JPEG-selectable. With a pan angle of 360 degrees, the SDP-3300 can rotate completely around on its horizontal axis wile providing a tilt angle of -4 degrees to 184 degrees. The SPD-3300 features a 1/4in. color vertical double-density interline CCD, static/dynamic IP support, 0.0006 lux minimum illumination, bidirectional audio, 128 position presets, and FTP/email notification.

The newest entry in Sony's third generation of PTZ dome cameras is the SNC-RX570, incorporating the latest image-processing technology to provide multiple compression formats. It features a 360-degree endless-panning capability, a 36X optical-zoom lens, and a wide-dynamic-range camera. The SNC-RX570 has the same dual-streaming capability as the previous SNC-RZ50N, enabling the camera to generate both MPEG-4 and JPEG images simultaneously, and it features Sony's version of Intelligent Motion Detection. Unlike conventional motion detection, which typically detects luminance level differences, the SNC-RX570 uses the last 15 frames to calculate vector-based motion-detection information. It also has intelligent object detection, which can detect objects that have been left in one place for a specified duration. With an optional 802.11g Wi-Fi card, theSNC-RX570 can transmit its signals, both wired and wireless, simultaneously.

The Vicon SurveyorVFT IP dome camera series started out standing for “video, fiber, twisted pair” to emphasize its connectivity options. That means the SurveyorVFT PTZ camera can communicate over any of those transmission protocols simply by swapping out its daughterboard, and that is in addition to IP. With a motorized pan view of 360 degrees and tilt view of -2.5 degrees to 92.5 degrees, the SurveyorVFT has a variable tilt speed from 0.1 degree per second to 150 degrees per second, and it offers 79 programmable presets. This PTZ system comes with vandal-resistant and +5 PSI pressurized housings for the most challenging installations. SurveyorVFT can be remotely configured from Kollector Elite recorders and ViconNet NVR workstations. The ViconNet dome uses an MD5-type video-authentication algorithm, which is based on a 128-bit message used to identify data integrity.

Videology says its IP66-rated, vandal-resistant DW5V9TVB-1 outdoor dome is “tough yet elegant,” while boasting a true day/night high-res color Sony CCD behind a 22X optical zoom (10X digital) lens system. This versatile dome housing can also accommodate a wide-dynamic-range camera. Using endless 360-degree pan rotation with autoflip and 127 preset positions, the DW5V9TVB-1 comes with a focus-lock preset option to optimize night imaging. Videology's latest is the cost-efficient 20Z704T-PZ, also with 22X optical zoom. The 20Z704T-PZ has low-light capability of 1 lux during the day and .001 lux at night with digital slow shutter and eight swing speeds. It copies and saves its pan/tilt movement (one direction) for repetitive viewing.

The VT-PTZ36 Xpress Dome PTZ with 36X optical zoom from Vitek is a true day/night camera that can record an image even under candlelight (0.01 lux night mode w/ICR on). The system comes with a built-in 3.4mm-to-122.4mm lens with 36X optical zoom and 12X digital zoom. It can be programmed with eight tours — with each tour consisting of up to 64 presets, patterns, scans, and other tours. It is capable of 248 presets programmed with view direction and zoom. There can be eight privacy zones including “video off” or up to eight masked blocks. The Vitek VT-PTZ36 Xpress Dome PTZ offers 64 steps of variable speed from 0.1 degree per second to 90 degrees per second with a minimum adjustable angle of 0.0375 degrees using its Single Step move function. At the other end of its traversing range, the camera's maximum manual speed is 360 degrees per second with the Turbo key pressed.

For More Information

Bosch Security




GE Security

Honeywell Security



Panasonic Security Systems







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