The Incredibly Capable World of Modern Surveillance/Security Cameras

Once upon a time, surveillance and security cameras were clunky, low-resolution analog units that were fixed in place, and offered minimal flexibility.
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Once upon a time, surveillance and security cameras were clunky, low-resolution analog units that were fixed in place, and offered minimal flexibility.

Flexibility and compatibility among trends driving this technology

Once upon a time, surveillance and security cameras were clunky, low-resolution analog units that were fixed in place, and offered minimal flexibility.

However, times have changed: Today’s surveillance/ security cameras offer broadcast-quality HDTV resolution or better, smooth-running pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) motors, and the ability to output multiple video streams to a wide range of destinations. Add sophisticated storage/distribution appliances and advanced software, and modern surveillance/ security video equipment has truly advanced to the next level. Below are some of the most noteworthy devices on the market today.


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Bosch AutoDome 7000 HD camera Bosch Security Systems recently introduced the AutoDome 7000 family of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, which the company says are equipped with “intelligent features.”

Specifically, Bosch’s embedded Intelligent Video Analysis (IVA) software automatically processes video signals and alerts operators to multiple security risks. A single Autodome PTZ camera can analyze up to 10 different scenes for alert-worthy incidents, such as loitering and line crossing.

The company’s Intelligent Tracking technology uses flow-detection algorithms to monitor scenes for motion and to automatically track objects. Users can select conditions that will instantly activate tracking, such as a truck moving through an area in a specific direction. Operators can also click on a moving target within live video to prompt the camera to keep it in the scene. The camera dynamically re-tunes zoom settings to capture “objects of interest” as they move through the camera’s field of view.

The standard definition AutoDome 7000 IP camera offers 28x or 36x zoom, and the HD camera delivers 1080p resolution, 30 images per second (IPS) and 20x zoom. The HD camera also supports high-speed 720p resolution at 60 IPS for capturing fine details of fast-moving objects in various settings, including traffic.

The AutoDome 7000 series supports quad-streaming that provides live monitoring and recording of up to four independently-configurable streams. The cameras also support edge recording in combination with central storage. They come with five pre-configured settings and 256 preset positions for viewing critical monitoring areas.


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Canon VB-H610VE IP security camera The Canon VB-H610VE fixed-dome IP security camera is in a hardened case to provide resistance to vandal attacks. Producing HD video, the VB-H610VE combines high durability and capability, with sophisticated controls and excellent image quality. The camera uses Canon’s DIGIC DV III image processor.

The VB-H610VE is targeted at financial, utility, military, government, airport, retail and casino security operations, particularly in locations where the camera is remote from security personnel and vulnerable to vandalism. The camera is equipped with Canon’s Remote Adjustment Function that allows the pan, tilt, rotation, zoom and focus to be set from a remote location after installation. The 111-degree wide-angle lens on the VB-H610VE was designed to maximize the camera’s low light performance, allowing it to provide color video down to 0.3 lux and black/white video down to 0.015 lux. It also offers an array of on-board video analytics, including moving, removed and abandoned-object detection, as well as passing detection.


In its new version 5.0, Interlogix’s TruVision Navigator video management software has become an open platform that helps CCTV operators migrate from analog to IP video systems.

According to Interlogix, TruVision Navigator 5 works with IP cameras from all major manufacturers. It also can integrate, manage and control multiple recording devices such as DVRs, hybrid DVR-NVRs (network video recorders), embedded NVRs, as well as COTS servers loaded with the new TruVision Software Video Recorder (SVR). Basically, this software allows any combination of analog and IP devices within the same CCTV environment.

TruVision Navigator 5 can work with everything from a small, single DVR site to one with thousands of IP cameras. It is also backwards-compatible with earlier Interlogix recording devices dating back more than a decade.


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JVC VN-H657WPBU HD CMOS camera JVC added to its HD CCTV surveillance camera family with the addition of two new Direct Drive 360-degree PTZ dome cameras. The VN-H657U is an indoor model, while the VN-H657WPBU is designed for all-weather outdoor use. Both are equipped with 1080p CMOS sensors, dual/triple-stream performance, and support codecs such as MJPEG, H.264 Base and H.264 High Profile. Both units can also store footage on SD cards.

The VN-H657WPBU is well-suited for demanding surveillance applications. In addition to its two-megapixel CMOS image sensor, this PTZ dome camera has JVC’s Super LoLux HD technology for high low-light sensitivity (90.35 lux sensitivity in color and 0.15 lux in black-and-white) and true day/night performance. The VN-H657WPBU has an 18x optical zoom (and 10x digital zoom) with 360-degree endless PTZ.

Both dome cameras are equipped with a newly developed direct-drive motor for pan/tilt operation. According to JVC, the direct-drive system produces less operation noise, but is more precise and durable than conventional belt-drive mechanisms. The direct-drive motor delivers accuracy of 0.03 degrees and can maintain preset camera positions even after frequent panning and tilting. Other features include 3D noise reduction, Electric Wide-D (wide dynamic range) for backlight compensation, and IR cut filter for automatic switching between day and night settings.

Recently, the VN-H657WPBU was officially listed as a Profile S supporting device by the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF), which makes it easier to manage interoperable features between IP-based cameras, video management systems and other devices.


Panasonic’s new WV-SW598 PTZ dome network camera features full HD 1080p image quality and 360-degree endless panning. Its goal is to provide clear surveillance imagery and flexible usage in outdoor applications.

“With its vandal-resistant IP66-rated design and Panasonic’s new ClearSight rain-resistant dome coating, the WV-SW598 has been engineered to survive in the harshest environments and maintain clear visibility in even the wettest conditions,” said Greg Peratt, director of the video solutions integration team for the Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.

Peratt added that the WV-SW598’s incorporation of Super Dynamic and Adaptive Black Stretch (ABS) technologies “deliver a 128x wider dynamic range than conventional cameras, allowing for increased visibility of subjects in dark areas with no image quality degradation in brighter areas within the same video scene, making it well suited for complex lighting situations.”


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PESA Xstream storage processor Shooting surveillance video isn’t enough: It must be stored and easily accessed by users, typically working over a network. The new PESA Xstream is a cost-effective, comprehensive package for digital media capture, processing, distribution and storage. Built into a compact 1 RU form factor, the Xstream simultaneously encodes up to five independent video sources and eight audio sources concurrently. It can achieve this from live or recorded video for multipath H.264 IP distribution over six independent video streams — with no sync or latency issues.

Suited for surveillance, security and court recording video storage/access, the PESA Xstream captures H.264 IP camera streams, NTSC/PAL or SDI video up to 1080p resolution, video playback, and even computer-based content such as PowerPoint slides. It can then translate these various formats into high-bandwidth MPEG-4/H.264 broadcast streams for enterprise distribution and archiving.

PESA also offers the HDcctv 32x16 routing switcher specifically for the HD CCTV market, which is fully compliant with the HDcctv Alliance high-definition video interface standard for security and surveillance systems. Users can connect up to 32 HDcctv-compliant video cameras to the PESA HDcctv matrix switch and output up to 16 individual coax connections for HDcctv DVR or display devices. According to PESA, all inputs are auto-equalized and outputs reclocked to transmit 720p25/30, 720p50/60, or 1080p25/30 video resolutions at distances up to 300 feet.


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Sony SNC-VM630 IPELA HD surveillance camera According to Sony, its SNC-VM630 camera delivers a new range of features for an HD surveillance camera. It includes an image stabilizer that reduces blurriness in video caused by shaking or vibrations. The camera, using the IPELA Engine (Sony’s integrated signal processing system), is described by Sony as generating excellent picture quality.

The SNC-VM630 has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and improved light sensitivity due to a new Exmor CMOS sensor. Other features include high frame rate to provide smoother playback, as well as improved image processing with View-DR, XDNR and DEPA Advanced.

View-DR at 90 dB is designed to see objects clearly even under strong backlight or high-contrast conditions. XDNR (eXcellent Dynamic Noise Reduction) delivers clear, low-noise, images in low-light conditions. Finally, DEPA Advanced enhances video analytic capabilities, according to Sony. It works by pre-processing image data at the camera level, then post-processing image data at the recording and monitoring level. In-camera analytical features include face detection, as well as “left-object” or “removed-object” detection.

Surveillance cameras are benefitting from improvements in the broader camera market, such as improved light sensitivity, faster internal processing and better lens technology. With the heightened emphasis on security in the past decade, swiftly increasing sales of surveillance/security cameras means that capabilities are WAY up, while prices have not risen nearly as fast. At the same time, the size of cameras has been steadily shrinking — and that’s a good thing, too.

All this is great for those who need the power and capability of the current crop of surveillance cameras.