AMG Panogenics Panocam Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published Feb 15, 2012, 07:00pm EST

British manufacturer AMG Panogenics has announced its first entry in the panoramic camera space, the PanoCam360. This camera claims more advanced specs and features than many in the industry, including 5-megapixel resolution and multiple camera streams, dewarped in the camera. In this update we'll look at the PanoCam's featureset, and how it compares to existing entries.

Overview

The PanoCam360 [link no longer available] is a compact form factor panoramic camera, available in both indoor and outdoor vandal-resistant versions. It uses a 5MP 1/2.5" CMOS image sensor, with a maximum specified framerate of 12.5 FPS at this resolution. Both color and day/night models are available, though the day/night version does not use a removable IR cut filter. According to AMG this is because mechanical filters can change the focus of the camera, which causes issues for fixed lens panoramic cameras such as these. Instead, a high pass filter is used, which filters out daytime IR spectrum. Users concerned about nighttime video should be aware of this, and may want to demo the camera prior to deployment, as this is not an industry standard practice.

In addition to the 5MP fisheye stream, the camera is also capable of sending multiple dewarped streams, such as 640x480 and 720p ePTZ streams or a 1280x240 panoramic overview. According to AMG, these streams are more likely used for live viewing or third-party analytics. The full-resolution fisheye stream is normally recorded, so users may utilize client-side dewarping on archived video, one of the key claimed benefits of panoramic cameras.

The PanoCam360 is currently fully integrated (client-side dewaring and ePTZ control) to HeiTel, Wavestore, and Synectics, with Xtralis, iCode, Codestuff, and others in progress. The influence of AMG's location is clear in this list, as most of these VMS partners are UK-based. Notably missing, at least at the current time, are majors such as Milestone, Exacq, or Genetec. 

Pricing and Distribution

The MSRP pricing of the indoor PanoCam360A is £995 GBP, or about $1,500 USD at the time of this writing. The outdoor version has an MSRP of £1,250, or just under $2,000 USD. Both are available now, worldwide, though AMG has mainly focused on the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. Sales and technical support are both run through the UK office. Users elsewhere should be aware of this, as time zone differences may be an issue if support is required.

Competitive Options

Likely the most commonly used current panoramic camera is the Mobotix Q24. The Q24 is a 3.1 megapixel panoramic camera. The Q24 can be found online for around $800 USD online. Assuming AMG uses a more traditional, deeper discount common to the security industry we estimate the street pricing of the PanoCam360A/B to be about $1,200/$1,600, well above the Mobotix Q24. A number of the Asian brands, including Vivotek, Pixord, and ACTi, have launched panoramic offerings of their own in the past year, with a price point at or below the Q24.

Though the PanoCam does have some potential performance advantages, such as increased resolution and multiple dewarped streams from the camera, it suffers from the same problem as all other panoramic offerings: limited VMS support. While AMG's third-party integration list is longer than some, it is still missing the major VMS players, which will likely inhibit wider adoption. For users of the VMSs on the integration list, however, the PanoCam may be a reasonable choice if increased resolution is needed, or if other lower-cost options are not supported.

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