Panasonic's HD PTZ with 36x Optical Zoom Examined

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 28, 2011

At ASIS 2011, Panasonic announced adding two HD PTZ models. Two important factors make this noteworthy and interesting. First, our analysis indicates that these cameras will be priced substantially below competitive cameras. Secondly, these PTZs have the highest optical zoom range of any HD PTZ in the market and a substantial jump over competitors. Inside, we compare to Axis, Bosch and Sony HD PTZs.

Model Overview

This release consists of two models:

  • WV-SW396 Outdoor HD PTZ (Tentative $4,250 MSRP, Q4 2011 release)
  • WV-SC386 Indoor HD PTZ (Tentative $3,500 MSRP, Q1 2012 release)

These cameras are essentially upgrades to their existing SW395 and SC385 PTZ models. Both have a maximum resolution of 1.3 megapixel, are ONVIF compliant, and capable of H.264 high profile, MPEG-4, and MJPEG encoding. 

Longest Specified HD Optical Zoom

The focal length of the lens is 3.3-119mm (36x optical zoom). This is longest focal length of any of the HD PTZs we have seen so far, as most other HD PTZ cameras have a maximum focal length of no more than 80-90mm. It is also much wider than most competitors when zoomed out, providing over a 60° field of view. In practical terms, this provides a viewing angle when fully zoomed (telephoto) of 1.47°. Competitors are typically in the 2.5°-3° range, making this a substantially tighter field of view.

To achieve this 36x optical zoom at HD resolution, Panasonic reports they designed a new camera module using a new specialized zoom lens as well as a new 1/4" MOS sensor. This smaller sensor allows the camera module to be more compact to physically accomodate a larger zoom lens.

Other Features (Endless Panning and Advanced Auto Tracking)

These two new cameras also feature 360° endless panning, not found on their predecessors, which instead used e-flip. Lastly, Panasonic has built "Advanced Auto Tracking" into these models, which is designed to automatically track objects through the scene, and using Panasonic NVR's, even between cameras. Until we haved tested this feature, however, we make no claims as to its performance, and we have doubts about nearly all auto tracking functions.

Competitive Analysis

The outdoor SW396 compares favorably against competitors with an approximate online price of $2,600. Compared to the Sony RH164, Axis Q6034-E, and Bosch AutoDome 800 HD PTZs, all well over $3,000 online, Panasonic is a clear winner on price. Coupled with the extended zoom range of the Panasonic's lens, we expect that this may be very attractive to users seeking HD PTZs.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on PTZs

Last Chance - Camera Course Summer 2019 on Jul 11, 2019
Last day to register is Thursday, July 11, 2019. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Police Department Surveillance Manager Interview on Feb 28, 2019
Former Memphis PD Surveillance Manager, Lt. Joseph Patty retired months ago, but kept busy during his decades on the force, working to build up...
Milesight Company Profile on Jan 22, 2019
Milesight Technology, a Chinese company building an International branded business, says they are slowly building their presence through a series...
Axis First IR PTZ Tested (Q6125-LE) on Aug 21, 2018
Axis is very late in releasing IR PTZs. While competitors such as Hikvision and Dahua have offered them for years, Axis has just released their...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Axis Launches Mini Concealed IR PTZ on Apr 11, 2018
Axis has been a laggard in releasing IR PTZs. While the company released a laser focus PTZ (the Q6155-E tested) until now Axis has had no PTZs with...
Axis Z-Wave IP Camera Tested Poorly on Mar 20, 2018
Z-Wave is drawing notable interest for video surveillance use. In IPVM's initial coverage, 84% expressed interest in it, with nearly half being...
Camera Form Factor Guide on Mar 16, 2018
When selecting surveillance cameras, users may choose from a number of different form factors, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses,...
Hikvision 4K IR PTZ Tested (DS-2DF8836IV-AELW) on Nov 10, 2017
The IR PTZ trend continues, now with 4K resolution, with Hikvision releasing its DS-2DF8836IVAEL-W camera, a 4K 1/1.9" PTZ model specifying 200m IR...
Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
How To Troubleshoot Wiegand Reader Problems - Inverted Wiring on Jul 16, 2019
Wiegand is the dominant method of connecting access readers, but problems can arise for installers. In fact, one of the most difficult reader...
ZeroEyes Gun Detection Startup on Jul 16, 2019
A gun detection video analytics startup, ZeroEyes, is being led by a group of 6 former Navy SEALs, aiming to "save lives" by using AI to assist...
Motorola Acquires Watchguard, Adds to Vigilant And Avigilon on Jul 15, 2019
2 years ago, Motorola had no position nor relevancy to video surveillance. Now, they own major video surveillance, LPR and body camera providers...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jul 15, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
Vivotek Trend Micro Cyber Security Camera App Tested on Jul 15, 2019
Vivotek and Trend Micro are claiming five million blocked attacks on IP cameras, with their jointly developed app for Vivotek cameras. This new...
Beware African 50,000 IP Camera Contract Scam on Jul 12, 2019
A “Nigerian Prince” scam for the video surveillance market is going around. You, or at least we, could be lucky enough to be the single bidder for...
Axis ARTPEC-7 P1375-E Camera Tested on Jul 12, 2019
Axis claims the new P1375-E box camera with ARTPEC-7 chip delivers "clear, sharp images in any lighting condition." But how well does it do? We...
Last Chance - Camera Course Summer 2019 on Jul 11, 2019
Last day to register is Thursday, July 11, 2019. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Nortek Blue Pass Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jul 11, 2019
Nortek claims BluePass mobile readers are a 'more secure and easy to use approach to access', but our testing uncovered security problems and...

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