Focusing Panoramic Cameras

By: 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 Camera Focus Overview

The specific mechanism by which panoramic cameras are focused varies from camera to camera. However, standard features for different form factors exist:

  • In box style cameras, focusing is performed much the same as with a standard non-fisheye lens, by turning a focus ring and/or iris ring (for manual iris lenses). ImmerVision also includes set screws for centering the lens of the camera imager, a feature not found in other lenses.
  • In minidome cameras, focus is typically performed by turning the lens. Some models, such as the Axis M3007 attach a ring to the lens to make focusing easier, while others require turning the small lens directly. Some may also include special tools which are required to turn the lens for focusing, and may not be focused by hand.

Some cameras include a gimbal mount to account for off-level surfaces, as well. We look at all of these features in this screencast:

Focusing Procedure

The focus procedure for fisheye cameras varies slightly from traditional cameras. These are the key points to remember:

  • Dewarp for focusing: We recommend not focusing using the warped fisheye overview, but instead using a dewarped view, preferably the view style which will normally be used (dewarped, quad, panorama, etc.). Users may find it necessary to focus from the fisheye view on occasion. We found it easier to focus some 5 and 10 megapixel cameras in the web interface, for example, because their high resolution was causing some frame drop which made fine focusing difficult.
  • Focus edges: It is important to focus using a target closer to the edge of the image, since this area suffers from the greatest reduction in resolution due to dewarping.
  • Focus center: Though a target at the edge should be used for focusing, we recommend using a target closer to center as well, and adjusting focus if need be. We found in some cases that focus had to be adjusted somewhere in between the two to produce the best all around image.

 

1 report cite this report:

4K Panoramic Panasonic Tested on Mar 25, 2015
Panasonic has released their first 4K cameras, and surprisingly, they are panoramic [link no longer available], which they tout include high...
Comments (3) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Camera Resolution Usage Statistics 2020 on Mar 12, 2020
The average resolution used, for new cameras, is now 4MP, according to new IPVM statistics, continuing the rise that we have mapped from 2014,...
Phone Camera Calculator Released on Mar 10, 2020
IPVM has released the first-ever Phone Calculator, video surveillance design software that you can use on your phone, without installing an...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
Last Chance - Camera Course Winter 2020 on Jan 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to access. However, some companies claim to be able to detect...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Oct 14, 2019
Camera focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can significantly reduce details, making cameras less effective. In this guide, we...
Lens Iris Tutorial on Aug 08, 2019
Cameras, like humans, have irises, controlling the light which hits the imager and impacting image details. However, cameras have multiple types of...
Lens Focal Length Tutorial on Jul 10, 2019
3mm, 6mm, 2.8 - 9mm, 5 - 50mm, etc. Camera specifications often list lens lengths but what do they mean? These metrics are important in...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance business for those new to the industry. This is part of our Video...
FDA Gives Guidance on 'Coronavirus' Thermal Fever Detection Systems on Mar 30, 2020
The US FDA has given IPVM guidance on the use of thermal fever detection systems being marketed for coronavirus, as an explosion of such devices...
Worsen: Integrators Hit Even Harder By Coronavirus on Mar 30, 2020
Integrator's problems have worsened over the past 2 weeks, according to new IPVM survey results. Inside this report, we share statistics and...
Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
UPDATE: NBC News Report Cites IPVM On Coronavirus 'Fever Detection' Cameras Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...
New Axis M30 Cameras Tested on Mar 26, 2020
Axis has released a new generation of, for them, relatively low cost M30 series cameras, claiming to deliver "sharp video quality even in poor...
Coronavirus Shuts Down ADT Door Knockers on Mar 26, 2020
Coronavirus has another victim - this time, alarm giant ADT has stopped all door to door sales. Door knockers are a critical but controversial...
Access Control Course Spring 2020 - Save $50 Last Day on Mar 26, 2020
Register Now - Spring 2020 Access Control Course. Today, March 26th is the last day to save $50. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
Convergint Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 25, 2020
One of the world's largest security integrators, Convergint, has made a major move to handle the impact of coronavirus, with cuts across the...