Camera Manufacturer Asks - What Features Are Most Important To You?

I work for Canon. We have new IP camera models and firmware updates on existing models coming to the market over the near and medium term and with so many cameras and even more features available across a seemingly never ending list of brands , I’d like to know your views and opinions on what your ideal camera would have in it. Which of these is the most important to you:

  • More advanced facial recognition capabilities
  • Faster frame rates
  • Minimising latency
  • Ensuring 100% function capability with the world's most used VMS's (say Canon working 100% with the top 30, 40 , 50 VMS's)
  • Ensuring Canon Continues our leading low light and wide angle lens performance
  • Future connectivity ports on cameras (what you'd like to see become standard)

There are no right and wrong answers here, so i appreciate your views and opinions. If there are other frustrations you have on your current brand of camera, that you would like to see on future Canon cameras, please also post.

regards,


I welcome manufacturers to ask questions like this, that seek to solve problems and get input.

For now, I'll refrain from commenting on the 6 suggestions / options listed so others can start the discussion. I will chime in later though.

More than facial recognition, motion detection, improve the quality of the motion detection. To me that would be the starting point for any analytics on the edge.

Simplify the installation and configuration.

Nidal, I'll second that. Our just released VMD test results show continued issues and a clear opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate (which Mobotix is doing well at in the last year).

Hi Ben,

Firstly please forgive the hair splitting, but I'm assuming you are suggesting improved face detection as opposed to face recognition? For surveillance applications I would think face detection can be nice to have, but maybe not a market wide driver. I would suggest a couple of things not on your list. Keeping to the basics, namely improved sensitivity and dynamic range. The highest quality intrinsic image is the best starting point for manual and automated detection and recognition.

To Skip's point on face detection, I do not understand how it can be used / taken advantage of. Let's assume a camera can detect faces (here's a face at coordinates X and Y at time Z) and do it accurately over a decently wide FoV. That's cool but then what? It would be great to 'hand it' over to a VMS who then lets me index, sort, scan, etc. but what VMSes support that (outside of specialist ones like 3VR)?

Thanks Skip for your reply. Yes, I am talking about facial recognition more than detection, but improved performance of this area. And John this could be used by an improved Canon VMS or working with other VMS's for the like of what you mentioned, in terms of storing, scanning, bringing up alerts of what 'target' faces have been logged into the system and what the camera/VMS detects etc. in terms of dynamic range, we would always look at improvements but some of our new cameras have excellent sensitivity to changing lighting conditions and use something called SSC (smart shade control) which is very good at looking at scenes with large changes of lighting conditions.

Well, if you can get one (or a few VMSes) on board, then it starts making sense. For example, Milestone add a face finder / sorter feature that lets cameras share metadata about when and where faces are. Without that, you have a closed offering, like Panasonic does, that has limited overall market value.

Thanks John. At Canon, we are building some good relationships with many of the popular VMSes including Milestone and others and will endevour to get all Canon IP cameras to work fully with 100% of the cameras capabilities with 100% of the software's capabilities. you will hear more about Canon's compatibility with a large range of VMSes over the coming months.

Comming from a manufacturer with similar challenges to Ben I would ask something further. What camera form factors are important to you? What lens focal lengths? What resolutions? Seemingly we discussing premium class cameras with top of the line features where adding capabilities and features can be an endless discussion plus new features can add cost. I would like to know feature priority and what features are important enough that you would consider paying more for? My priority is to focus on delivering the best quality video under the widest range of lighting and environmental conditions while optimizing for bandwidth use and maintaining frame rates.

Good camera management software with ability to send out mass firmware updates, easy IP addres configuration, etc. easy configuration of templates manipulating features such as turn off/on WDR, setting bitrate controls, etc.

The web GUI should be easy to use. Put the standard features at the top of menus and the more advanced ones down further in the tree. Mixing them all together just make sit difficult for installers.

Auto focus is a really great to have unless the price point is rock bottom. As far as latency the cameras usually have minimal latency, it's the network infrastructure and recording server/software that usually introduces the most latency.

Being able to turn on/off WDR and other features that manipulate light during the day and night so they do not conflict with each other.

I think the biggest thing is be honest. If your camera cannot do what I'm asking just say it cannot do that :)

Thanks Jason. Your list is a good one. And yes, i hear some of your frustrations when people get told a brand of camera can do something and then find out it can't - so we are always upfront and if the Canon cameras can't do something we say it straight away, no stuffing people around. Good thing for you, our cameras allow for reasonably quick and easy firmware updates, as the program detects any of your cameras on the network which you can update all at once. We are always looking at ways to improve our GUI and will look to continually take feedback on board and do this. You can turn WDR (or what we call SSC, smart shade control) on and off easily + you can set different areas the camera can look at/pan too automatically where you can program SSC to turn on at a location OR turn on at a select amount of time - which is ideal for areas where big changes of lighting conditions occur.

1. If you are a true profesisonal IP camera solution, please don't waste your time with "fake" D/N. Make true D/N cameras with IR cut filters unless it's some budget, compact interior dome or something like that.

2. Motorized zoom and focus. Saves a lot of time on install and saves on service calls that comes out of our pockets.

3. Would be nice to see more competitive multi-imager suround video products, ideally one that can provide as an option pre-stiching the pictures together before output.

4. High frame rates have their applications, but I wouldn't get too caught up in that, at least not for every model. As shown by polls on here (but can't find links to right now), most recording are 15FPS or less.

5. If you make a fisheye, 360 model, make sure it has option to dewarp images at the camera. This increases potentionial use with other VMSes that don't have dewareping at the client side.

6. Don't know how practical this would be, but maybe a connector for a dongle that gives you an option for composite video or display port/hdmi out for seperate display monitors or hand held monitors....

7. A cost effective IP LPC camera.

Good recommendations!

I'd second the multi-imager and LPC ones. There's clearly a lot more interest / demand than there is manufacturer supply in both cases. Integrators and users repeatedly ask about this yet there are few choices.

Thanks for your response. You will be happy to hear Canon is already working on nearly all of your points above and new models and features will come to the market in the near and medium terms. Also, to help you right now, in regards to your point number 2, in our current range the VBH610D (FULL HD Dome) ; VBH610VE (FULL HD IP66 Dome); VBM600D (HD Dome) and VBM600VE (HD IP66 Dome) all have Pan/Tilt/Zoom and Rotate motors in them, which allow 1, or 100+ cameras on a network to be controlled remotely - which as you said saves a massive amount of time and cost in installation.

I second (third, fourth and maybe even fifth) the #2 suggestion from undisclosed above. This is something we have taken advantage of extensively and it has saved us hours of labor costs.

Backup and restore of camera settings

This may help you. All Canon cameras have a restore and backup feature. These tools backup camera information to a PC. Information from multiple cameras can also be saved at the same time. The tools can also restore settings back to a camera from the PC.

8. Some 16mm vairfocal lens options for domes and bullets would be nice.

9. Inexpensive indoor and outdoor dome models that have audio inputs. Don't do something dumb by only having audio inputs on your most expensive models.

10. If your quality control and technical support are not up to par, don't bother.

Regarding audio, the problem is very few people use it, so manufacturers are not motivated to add it, given that it increases cost on every unit.

Granted we don't do a lot of them, but they are useful when we do. They don't need to be a part of every model. But if they had at least an inexpensive to begin with model for indoor and outdoor application, it would be nice.

I know of one camera manufacturer, I won't name them, who only offers audio in their expensive, high end WDR models. That is a waste. Everytime we've used audio, it's been from close quarters where WDR and other specialized feature are not needed. For outdoor, a lot of times it's at the guard shack pointing down where people drive up and check in, so you can see who is in the car and record the conversation between gaurd and driver. For indoor, it's mostly in interview rooms.

Easier if I reply to both of you. For us it often goes in waves of people asking for audio connectivity and then we won't get asked for a period of time. However, if you are looking for audio on cameras, our VB-C, VB-M and VB-H series have Line-in/Mic-in and also Line out Connections. Our small new range, VB- S series, has a Line-in/Mic-in connection.

As one of our big strengths is in lens design and manufacture, we will continue to bring cameras to the market which have a range of advancements in how a lens performs in regards to speed of focus, other movement capabilities, low light and high bright lens performance (inlcluding WDR or what we call Smart Shade Control) and pushing the boundaries of wide angle and distortion free viewing, just to name a few. You may want to look at some of our new VB-S range. As the VB-S30D does not have any lens options, but compared to your point 8, it may have some things you can utilise. This camera has a focal length of 2.25-7.88 (the Varifocal lens has a length benefit, so is 8-16mm but is a lot larger), but the VB-S30D also has a F1.4 lens (V F1.6) so the Canon is brighter and also has a wider angle of view standard 20.7-77.7mm (Vs 26-50mm on the Varifocal 16mm) in terms of quality control I haven't seen anything come close to thel levels our R and D arm and manufacturing arms go when designing and putting our camera ranges together. I can't say too much about what we have coming out in regards to point 9 just yet, but there will be more information coming to hand when i can release it.

For casino purposes I think more advanced facial recognition capabilities would be great.

Hi Everybody,

Thanks everyone for their input to this question. It is very valuable information to us to hear what people in the market, using IP cameras are looking for. At Canon we are always striving to make the best cameras available and will take all of these points under advisement and look to see how we can develope some or all of these points into our future roadmap of cameras that will come to the market over the next 12-24 months. Stay tuned for more exciting Canon IP camera developments in the future.

regards,

I actually am a big Canon DSLR fan and at one point demo'd a couple of the indoor VB-C60 40x zoom ptz and was really impressed by the lens (its Canon... duh)

One of the things that has always bugged me about Canon's offering is this: Canon Fixed Camera

This and a lot of your offerings appear to be designed with no security background/frame of reference. Who approves that housing design and thinks A) This fills a huge demand gap in the market for "cameras with the imager oddly on the side of the camera" and/or B) This is going to steal sales from incumbant manufacturer in the "cameras with the imager oddly on the side of the camera" market.

Just make the cameras easy to install, and go from powered/boot to connected to the network and sending images in under 30 seconds (I think this is a highly underated and oft overlooked limitation of IP cameras). Done.

Sean, I never saw that camera before. I thought it was some form of hoax but it's real - S900F.

I am trying to get a sense of how big or small that is, which is hard to do without a frame of reference. Can it be rotated 90 degrees and mounted horizontally? It might look better that way.

Also, what's the rough price? I can't find it for sale online.

I wasnt able to dig up a price, I'll check Ingram tomorrow to see if they have it listed. The dimensions are on the webpage but they're in metric, so I'll leave that comparison to someone from a civilized nation

Hi John,

Yes this camera is one of our new models in the VB-S series. In terms of size, it is the same height and length as an iphone 5 to give you an indication of size. In terms of mounting it horizontally, you can't on this model, you would have to go for one of the new VB-S30D (powered FULL HD PTZR mini dome), VB-S31D (powered PT ) or VB-S800D if you wanted to mount a camera horizontally. I'll email you some specifications on this range.

regards

Thanks for the clarification. I am still confused about the 'paperback book' form factor. I don't see the advantage of it. If anything, it seems to stick out our more than a conventional minidome or box form factor. Thoughts?

Hi John and Sean, i just got back from leave and saw your question. We get a lot of different requests from markets all over the world and although the VB-S900F and VB-S800D are similar spec'd, they are targeted towards different users.

VB-S900F- this is designed for people wanting more of a 'seen' security presents, like down aisles of retail stores or above cash registers etc. users that want the camera to be easily seen on the roof to deter crime etc.

VB-S800D - as it is much more steamlined than the VB-S900F, it is for more subtle, discreet surveillance.

You could argue they can be used for the same things, which you would be correct, but this is where they have mainly been designed for.

Sean, hopefully by now you did get pricing on this new range, if not let me know and i'll get someone to be in touch with you who can assist.

regards,

Ben

Hi Sean,

thanks for the response. Glad you like Canon DSLR cameras, so this will give you a strong indication on the quality and performance cabilities of Canon IP cameras. in terms of the VB-S900F, this is primarily design for retail environments, as it has a very small body, but has a wide angle Canon lens fitted which reduces the cameras needed for these environments, making the cost lower than conventional cameras currently available. This new camera which you posted, is part of our new VB-S compact FULL HD series and they are all ONVIF S compliant and can be up and running in a very short amount of time which may be ideal for you. We do take feedback from all markets, including the Americas, Europe, Asia etc, to make cameras that reduce the cost and time to install and reduce or remove the frustrations from cameras people may currently be using. Appreciate the feedback and questions.

regards,

He may be sincere, or it may be a PR ploy, but either way, at least he asked. I don't see too many other manyfacturers proactively reaching out for feedback.

Hello Integrator,

I work for Canon's R&D department (I don't sell any equipment), and I've read this thread with great interest. I can't guarantee that all issues will be addressed as there are many considerations for a product, but all input in this thread is genuinely appreciated.

What is helpful for us, in this thread or elsewhere on the site, is a description of the problem that needs to be addressed, in addition to the solution that is proposed. Such information is very valuable as it assists us in better evaluation and test scenario development.

Thanks for all your contributions,

Jeroen

@Ben You have any info about these cameras?

Hi Alex,

The cameras in the article you are referring to are based on the Canon VBH41 PTZ camera. If you have any more questions let me know,

Multiple stream capability at >=30fps, including at least one each unicast and multicast.

For box cameras, a huge plus would be a form factor that can fit inside a Pelco DF5 dome.

For integrated domes, interchangeable lens capability and the ability to accomodate both auto and manual iris lenses. Enough space between camera and dome to accomodate even very long lenses like 5-50mm. In the same vein, light weight and a non-vandal-resistant option would be pluses. Full 3-axis control with the ability to not only pan nearly 360 degrees and tilt greater than 90 degrees (with the capability to tilt beyond horizontal) and the capability to rotate the camera so that offset mounting can still obtain proper angles of view.

By the way, we will be interested in testing MP IP cameras starting early next year. A couple of manufacturers have queued up but we still welcome other opportunities. Minimum requirements are 2x 30fps streaming capability and ONVIF compatibility with IndigoVision Control Center.

Carl, I'm interested to hear what your current feedback is on the systems and units you've already tested. Based on your above specs, it sounds like the q1614 is gonna be right up your alley.... Ours too. The form factor, fps, and lens options all lend to the above. What other 30 or 60 fps cameras have you guys tested? I remember responding to a thread a while back on the 3354 and the inability to maintain 30fps while dual streaming. Have you guys tried multicasting and putting the stream duplication on the switch? I'm unsure if IndigoVision supports multicasting or not.

And while we are on the topic, why Indigo? Is it their client and video playback responsiveness? This is the only area I've heard of indigo beating out other VMS companies. I fear that the turmoil at the upper echelon of Indigo is telling of how the company is operating currently, so we've steered clear. Stability within a company is a good indicator in my opinion of where a company is headed.

R,

In cameras, we tested the IndigoVision 11000HD and BX series, Axis P3354, P3364 and P3384 and, I believe, an M3204. We also tested a Ganz dome and a Bosch dome (don't remember the model numbers).

The Ganz had a relatively noisy picture, as did the IndigoVision BX. Neither the Axis nor the Ganz cameras could feed two simultaneous 30fps streams via ONVIF. The Bosch showed promise but we didn't test it with the IndigoVision VMS - it arrived during our tests of Geutebruck. It didn't test well with that VMS - it caused their server to reboot continuously until we disconnected it. Likely not the camera's fault as Geutebruck stated there was an issue with a dll.

IndigoVision 11000HD cameras, while lacking a few features, still outperformed all others we tested in terms of displaying reliable 30fps via at least two streams and came in second behind the Axis P-series in picture quality after a factory modification to the IR filter. IV recommends dual streaming: unicast for record and multicast for viewing. Their logic is that a TCP/IP stream is more reliable and therefor better-suited to critical recording.

IndigoVision and Geutebruck were relatively close in our test scoring with each system having advantages in some areas while lagging in others. Key deciding factors were Geutebruck's inability to demonstrate a similar installation and their reluctance to speak directly with us regarding certain aspects of their system (they claimed they didn't want to step on the Integrator's toes), plus not being able to provide competing bids (they put all of their eggs in one Integrator basket).

IndigoVision was eager to work with us on improvements we felt would increase the value of their system to us (and obviously to other casino users). That is also a huge plus for us.

IndigoVision's stability is not a concern. It appears they are well over that problem.

Ensuring Canon Continues our leading low light and wide angle lens performance

Ben, I believe this one for me is the 'nuts'.

People I speak to about Canon, invariably bring up Canon's leading low-light performance and wonder what the ramifications would be if they would, god forbid, sink into second place or worse...

The mere fact that you might not "ensure" your competitive advantage simply to say "minimize" latency or remedy some other production artifact is troubling.

We want you to Stay on Top!

C

Fast IP assignment tools (single click assign to multiple cameras)

Fast IP camera config tools (assign custom bitrate profile to multiple cameras in 1 click)

The handful of previous companies I've worked for have all had one main factor in choosing cameras, cost. But isn't that always the case?