Canon's New Megapixel Cameras Examined

By John Honovich, Published Mar 23, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

In this note, we examine the announcement of 3 new megapixel cameras from Canon. The release includes a PTZ, dome and box camera as well as video analytics and ONVIF support. 

Let's start with the PTZ cameras as this has historically been Canon's greatest strength in IP video cameras (for background, review our test of the Canon SD 40x optical zoom VB-C60). The new camera, the VB-M40 provides a maximum resolution of 1.3MP (vs the 4CIf maximum of the previous generation). The megapixel version has a 20x optical zoom with a focal length range of 4.7mm to 94mm (compared to the 3.4mm to 136mm of the SD model). The two cameras will likely provide roughly the same maximum viewing distance (the higher resolution offsets the lower focal length range) while the MP providing a broader coverage area for recording. The MP model (VB-M40) has an MSRP of $1979 about $300 more than the SD version. Online pricing for the MP model will likely be about $1500.

The Canon MP PTZ will likely fit a gap between expensive $2,000+ outdoor MP PTZs and the very inexpensive but limited range Axis M50 series. The closest comparable MP PTZ is the Panasonic WV-SC385 offering similar overall specifications but a lower price.

In addition to the PTZ, Canon is releasing a 1.3MP H.264 dome and box offerings with an MSRP respectively of $1299 and $1059. The pricing seems expensive for a 1.3MP camera, even with its D/N, full duplex audio and on-board storage support.

Finally, Canon is including video analytics standards in all the new cameras. As Canon describes, "Intelligent Features include abandoned, moving, and removed object detection. User-adjustable in terms of detection area, sensitivity and duration, these features can engage configured alarms and notification functions." Like all analytics, these demand testing to know their limits fully. That noted, we would be skeptical about how well these analytics would perform in demanding environments.

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