Panasonic New Integrated IR Camera Reviewed

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Apr 10, 2012

Panasonic is the latest manufacturer to jump on the built-in IR bandwagon with the introduction of the WV-SW316L outdoor camera. This camera promises improved nighttime performance without the additional expense and complexity of external illuminators. In this update, we look at this new model's features and compare to competitors Sony and Axis.

Overview

The WV-SW316L is a a pre-packaged box camera (IP66 housing/sunshield/camera in one), with the following features:

  • 1/3" MOS image sensor.
  • 3.1-10mm varifocal lens.
  • True day/night with mechanical IR cut filter.
  • Built-in IR LEDs with specified range of 15m (~50'), dynamically adjust based on object distance from the camera, to avoid overexposure of subjects.
  • High profile H.264 as well as MJPEG, MPEG-4.
  • 30 FPS specified at maximum resolution, 1.3MP (1280 x 960).

The WV-SW316L will be available Q2 2012, with an MSRP of $1,690, and an estimated street price around $1,200, based on available models' MSRP and online pricing. The following image illustrates the camera's all-in-one construction and IR LEDs:

Competitive Comparison

The SW316L is a catch-up release for Panasonic. Other major manufacturers, such as Sony, Arecont, and most recently, Axis, have each released a range of models with built-in IR illuminators, in either dome or bullet form factors, versus Panasonic's single model. Like Panasonic, both Sony and Axis's models feature "smart" IR, which adjusts as subjects move toward or away from the camera. Axis also allows for adjustment of the IR coverage pattern to match the set field of view. Sony, Arecont, and Panasonic do not offer this.

This video demonstrates the dynamic adjustment of the IR illuminator:

The WV-SW316l's pricing places it in the same range as the Sony SNC-CH180, around $1,200 online, and above Arecont's AV1325IR bullet and Axis' new P series -L model domes, $800 and $950, respectively. Both Panasonic and Sony specify that their models feature WDR capability, however. Panasonic's use of H.264 high profile may also provide modest bandwidth and storage savings.

Recommendations

While built-in IR illuminators may be useful in some instances, users should beware of two common issues which make them less than perfect for all applications:

  • Overstatement of range: As we've found in our testing, manufacturers commonly overstate IR illuminator range. In some cases, range is as little as 50% of specifications. Users should be aware of this before counting on illuminators to fill the camera's field of view.
  • Short range: Relative to external illuminators, built-in IR provides limited range. External illuminators may provide hundreds of feet of range across a wide field of view, though at a higher price, normally hundreds of dollars. 
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on IR

Pelco GFC 4K Dome Camera Tested (IMP831-1ERS) on Mar 12, 2019
Pelco has finally released their first 4K IP camera, after years of competitors' releases. Is this move too late? Or is their new GFC Professional...
Mobotix Move OEM Camera Line Tested on Feb 25, 2019
Mobotix has long been criticized for not offering integrated IR, mechanical cut filters, varifocal lenses, optical zoom and other features that...
Axis IR Multi Imager Camera Tested (P3717-PLE) on Feb 18, 2019
Axis has released their first IR multi imager, the P3717-PLE, a repositionable model listing 360° IR illumination and flexible positioning,...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
Bandwidth vs Low Light Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Geovision, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Feb 08, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance, but do all manufacturers' cameras perform the same? Are some more consistent...
PlateSmart LPR Profile on Jan 31, 2019
PlateSmart Technologies claims to "turn any conventional surveillance camera into a license plate recognition camera" We spoke with PlateSmart to...
8MP HD Analog Tested (Dahua / Hikvision) on Jan 30, 2019
HD analog has promised higher resolution for years, but has lagged substantially behind for years. Now, both Dahua and Hikvision have started...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Jan 28, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Camera Course Winter 2019 - Last Chance on Jan 24, 2019
This is the last chance to register for the Winter 2019 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...
Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Retired Mercury President Returns As Open Options President on Mar 18, 2019
Open Options experienced major changes in 2018, including being acquired by ACRE and losing its President and General Manager, John Berman who...

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