At NW Systems we like a good deal. If we find an IP camera with great image quality, tonnes of functionality and a small price tag, we love it, and we make sure other people hear about it. However, every now and again someone will come to us and say they want the best of the best. They want equipment that does everything they could ever need without any compromise.
So, whether you’ve just won the lottery, are installing security cameras for a millionaire or compiling a geeky Christmas list, here we run down the cameras that we would buy if we threw the budget out of the window, and why.
When you’re working in the surveillance industry, image quality is almost always the most important camera feature when selecting equipment. What’s the use in having a wide range of functionality if you can’t identify an intruder?
The Axis P1347 offers 5 megapixel resolution. This might not seem like much, but think of it this way: you would need 16 VGA resolution IP cameras to make up the same image quality as this camera. This means that the camera can pick up the tiniest details in view, or allow users to zoom in after video has been captured without any loss in quality.
On top of the high resolution, the camera features a special “P-iris” lens, which can automatically focus the camera and provide a large depth of field, as well as two-way audio with integrated microphone, H.264 video compression for efficient bandwidth use and day/night switching providing colour video in daylight and highly-sensitive monochrome images for night viewing.
Whereas most IP cameras use light to capture an image, the Q1910 detects thermal radiation. This means that even with no light source whatsoever, the camera will still detect human movement. On top of this, the detection range is massive. A human can be detected up to a distance of around 200 m, with cars detected at over 550 m.
The camera does have its limitations. Thermal energy is obstructed by glass, so the camera will not work with conventional outdoor housings (see the Axis Q1910-E for more information). Additionally, heat energy does not differentiate colour so the camera cannot really be used for identification purposes. However, when you can see people moving around in complete darkness, even through light smoke and fog, the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks.
Similar to the P1347, there is a great deal of functionality packed into the camera, including Power over Ethernet support, on-camera SD card recording, two-way audio, H.264 video compression and more. It really is the ultimate solution for intrusion detection.
Give any 8-year old an ice cream and they will always tell you that two scoops are better than one. Translating into IP cameras, why make do with a single view in the camera when you can have two?
The Mobotix D12Di-SEC provides two independent lens assemblies which can be positioned in two different directions. Up to 3 MP video is available from each lens, with 1.3 MP possible when monochrome night lenses are used, perfect for low-light monitoring.
The dual-lens setup means that a single camera can cover two completely opposite views, perfect for monitoring a street or corridor. Alternatively, lenses with different viewing angles can be used and aimed in the same direction, providing a wide angle overview and a close-up, ideal for doors or entry gates.
On top of this, the built-in functionality and configuration possibilities on Mobotix cameras are huge. Each camera comes with its own integrated recording software, allowing footage to be stored to a networked drive at no extra cost. The integrated PIR sensor can trigger events as people walk by and the two way-audio lets viewers interact with people in view.
So far we’ve just dealt with static cameras, so what do you do if you want to move around a little? The Panasonic WV-SW395 is one answer – a dome camera giving full 360 ° endless panning and 180° tilt, letting users monitor a much wider area than a static camera.
The camera features an 18x optical zoom, which might seem a tad restrained when compared to others offering 36x zoom, but when coupled with full 720p resolution video, image quality is much more usable.
It’s also outdoor-ready, able to handle anything that the weather can throw at it and, with support for High Power over Ethernet, can be installed quickly and easily. In addition, it features on-camera recording to SD memory cards, day/night switching for low-light and infrared monitoring, and two-way audio.
PTZ cameras have always had an achilles heel: whenever viewers are looking at a specific area, the rest of the field of view is being missed completely. By watching the direction of the lens, intruders can easily nip around the camera’s view undetected. The Q24M combats this by providing a 360° view simultaneously using a fisheye lens, covering every angle and eliminating blind spots.
Fisheye lenses tend to be shied away from due to the image distortion associated with them. Any lens with a viewing angle over 90° will distort the image captured. The greater the angle the more the distortion until the image is all but unusable. This isn’t the case with the Q24M though, as the built-in software adjusts the image in real-time so that objects appear as you would expect them.
On top of this, it’s compact. In reality it looks like a smoke detector and can often go undetected. You also get the built-in recording, on-camera storage and two-way audio common to most Mobotix cameras. What more could you ask for?
What have we missed?
Do you think we’ve missed anything? Is there a camera on the market that you think offers more than the ones we’ve selected? Let us know in the comments below.