Panasonic New Integrated IR Camera Reviewed

By: 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

Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Hikvision DeepinView Camera Analytics Tested on May 08, 2019
Hikvision is expanding its 'deep learning' offerings with a new camera series called 'DeepinView' claiming false alarm reduction and improved...
Dahua ePoE Long Distance UTP / Coax Tested on May 03, 2019
Dahua's Enhanced PoE (ePoE) line is claiming extended video and power transmission over 600m without repeaters, with devices interchangeable via...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...

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