Focusing Panoramic Cameras

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on May 05, 2013

Focusing panoramic cameras is really important. Indeed, after testing 9 different panoramic cameras across many manufacturers, we believe this must be done manually for each camera. This might seem unnecessary as panoramic cameras are, after all, fixed focal lenses. However, though all the cameras in our tests shipped focused by the factory (with the exception of ImmerVision, sold as an accessory), we found it necessary to refocus nearly every one to maximize image quality.

Since panoramic cameras have lower pixel density by nature, due to their wide FOV, fine focus issues may be difficult to spot. Worse, because of the FOV, even being slightly out of focus will have a large negative impact on image quality. For these reasons, we recommend users always refocus panoramic cameras. 

Panoramic ****** ***** ********

*** ******** ********* ** ***** ********* ******* *** ******* ****** from ****** ** ******. *******, ******** ******** *** ********* **** factors *****:

  • ** *** ***** *******, ******** ** ********* **** *** **** ** **** * standard ***-******* ****, ** ******* * ***** **** ***/** **** ring (*** ****** **** ******). *********** **** ******** *** ****** for ********* *** **** ** *** ****** ******, * ******* not ***** ** ***** ******.
  • ** ******** *******, ***** ** ********* ********* ** ******* *** ****. **** models, **** ** *** **** ***** ****** * **** ** the **** ** **** ******** ******, ***** ****** ******* ******* the ***** **** ********. **** *** **** ******* ******* ***** which *** ******** ** **** *** **** *** ********, *** may *** ** ******* ** ****.

**** ******* ******* * ****** ***** ** ******* *** ***-***** surfaces, ** ****. ** **** ** *** ** ***** ******** in **** **********:

Focusing *********

*** ***** ********* *** ******* ******* ****** ******** **** *********** cameras. ***** *** *** *** ****** ** ********:

  • ****** *** ********: ** ********* *** ******** ***** *** ****** ******* ********, *** instead ***** * ******** ****, ********** *** **** ***** ***** will ******** ** **** (********, ****, ********, ***.). ***** *** find ** ********* ** ***** **** *** ******* **** ** occasion. ** ***** ** ****** ** ***** **** * *** 10 ********* ******* ** *** *** *********, *** *******, ******* their **** ********** *** ******* **** ***** **** ***** **** fine ******** *********.
  • ***** *****:** ** ********* ** ***** ***** * ****** ****** ** the **** ** *** *****, ***** **** **** ******* **** the ******** ********* ** ********** *** ** *********.
  • ***** ******:****** * ****** ** *** **** ****** ** **** *** focusing, ** ********* ***** * ****** ****** ** ****** ** well, *** ********* ***** ** **** **. ** ***** ** some ***** **** ***** *** ** ** ******** ********* ** between *** *** ** ******* *** **** *** ****** *****.

 

Comments (3)

Hi Ethan,

Great write up. If you could wave a magic wand and make the process easier to set up and configure, what would it be?

In general, how could panoramic cameras be improved to make it easier and more painless for the installer? They all seem to more similar than different from one another in this respect.

Cheers,

Ian

Ian, my question is why panoramic cameras, given their fixed focal lenses, even allow for focusing adjustment. I presume this issue is that the distance of the imager to lens varies among different cameras and the off the shelf lens needs to accommodate different distances?

Since the lenses in panoramic (minidomes) can't be changed anyway, why even allow for focus adjustment?

I assume the other alternative would be to add in ABF but that I imagine would increase cost and probably size as well.

Hi John,

Ideally the lens is set by the factory to what is called its “hyperfocal” distance. At this focus point, everything forward of that line is perfectly in focus. The bigger the F-Stop of a lens, the bigger this hyperfocal range is. Taken to an extreme, a pinhole camera for example has everything perfectly in focus in front of the ‘lens’ as well as perfectly in focus behind the lens. It doesn’t matter where the subject is infront, nor does it matter (for focus) where the film or sensor is behind.

This is also the same principal that allow ‘point and shoots’ to work that have no ability to adjust focus. The focus range is usually 4’ to infinity, but they either need flashes to work indoors, or bright sunlight outdoors.

The challenge that security manufacturers typically have is balancing the need for low light performance versus depth of field. Pinhole cameras have their exposures measured in minutes versus milliseconds, making them of course unsuitable for these types of applications. Typical lenses in panoramic applications have relatively low F-stops - in the 1’s (1.0, 1.4 or 1.6) - which decreases depth of field, making manual focus adjustments a requirement.

Complicating matters, the distance to the subjects across the entire field of view has a rather big range. With a panoramic camera mounted in the middle of a room for example, the distance to the floor in the middle is much shorter than the distance to the objects at the perimeter of the view. Your suggestion of focusing for the edges is a good one for all the reasons you mentioned. If low light performance wasn’t as critical a priority, a lens with a higher F-Stop could be used to get everything in view tack sharp across the entire view.

Since many customers use this in a relatively well lit retail setting, it would be interesting to know whether this would be an acceptable trade off. (low light versus sharpness and no-adjustment to focus required). This would (I think) be a good application for P-Iris and might be cheaper than doing a back focus adjustment to tweak the focus.

Speaking of lenses and back focus, another point of frustration for manufacturers is the back focus range for various brands of lenses vary quite a bit. So called, board mount “prime” lenses or fixed mm lenses used in these types of cameras are easier to work with since they usually screw into a 14mm or 19mm mount. The factory or installer can simply twist the lens to move it in or out to adjust the focus point.

Where manufactures really get into a bind is with C/CS mount lenses that clamp down to a fixed back focus distance. The two choices that we have is to allow for a bit of slop on the verifocal range (the extremes might not be able to focus quite perfectly) or we have to incorporate a relatively expensive back focus adjustment mechanism. Most manufacturers today simple fix the back focus best we can and rely on the fact that most installers use verifocal lenses that can adjust for the variability.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Avigilon H4 Multi-Sensor Adds 32MP, H.265, Analytics on Jun 13, 2018
Avigilon has announced the H4 Multisensor, the successor to their repositionable multi imager line, adding features like H.265, integrated IR,...
Introducing Effective PPF (ePPF) - Improving Video Surveillance Designs on Jun 11, 2018
Pixel density (PPF / PPM) is the best metric the industry has to define and project video quality. It allows simple communication of estimated...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jun 07, 2018
H.265 support has improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and more manufacturers...
Top Features For Easy Camera Installation (Statistics) on Jun 05, 2018
Camera installation is the most fundamental and common task for video security technicians. Because of this, camera manufacturers market their...
Keypads For Access Control Tutorial on May 31, 2018
Keypad readers present huge risks to even the best access systems. If deployed improperly, keypads let people through locked doors almost as if...
Installing Box Cameras Indoors Tutorial on May 22, 2018
This tutorial starts our physical installation for video surveillance series, starting with Box Cameras, one of the oldest and most basic types....
Dahua 12MP Fisheye Camera Tested (NK8BR4) on May 16, 2018
Continuing our coverage of 12MP sensor fisheye cameras, we bought and tested the Dahua NK8BR4, examining: Default vs. Optimized...
Installing Cameras in Plenums Tutorial on May 15, 2018
There is often confusion about plenum ceilings, with misinformation about what is required when running cables through them and mounting cameras...
Access Visitor Management Systems Guide on May 11, 2018
"Who are you, and why are you here?" Facilities that implement Visitor Management Systems hope they never need to ask that question to anyone,...
Axis 12MP Stereographic Camera Tested (M3058-LVE) on May 10, 2018
Axis has released the M3058-PLVE, a 12MP sensor, stereographic panoramic camera and Axis' first with integrated IR claiming images "sharp to the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IFSEC Show Report Day 2 Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM is live from London reporting on the IFSEC show. The Chinese have taken over the UK, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 19, 2018
The last chance to save $50 on registration is this Thursday, June 21st. Register now and save. This is the only networking course designed...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...
IPVM Vulnerability Scanner Released on Jun 18, 2018
IPVM is proud to announce video surveillance's first and only cybersecurity vulnerability scanner. This tool allows quickly and simply...
Hikvision Corrects False Cybersecurity Announcement on Jun 18, 2018
Hikvision has corrected a false cybersecurity announcement that claimed a British government-sponsored program endorsed the cybersecurity of...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring Dahua as a 'cyber responsible partner',...
Amazon Ring Launches $10 Monthly Professional Alarm Monitoring on Jun 15, 2018
Amazon's Ring has announced an alarm system with 24/7 professional alarm monitoring for $10 per month, a fraction of the $30+ per month traditional...
Axis Releases First New Access Controller In 5 Years (A1601) on Jun 15, 2018
It has been 5 years since Axis 2013 entry in the physical access control market, with the A1001 (IPVM test). Now, Axis has released its second...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact