Panasonic New Compact Minidomes

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 27, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

During ASIS 2011, Panasonic displayed over a dozen new models, to be released in the fourth quarter and beyond. In this note, we will look at the first of these cameras, a series of compact minidomes, where they fit in the line, what gaps they might fix and how it compares to Axis's popular compact M31 series.

Model Overview

While Panasonic was showing more models than these at ASIS, including 1080p versions of some of the current line and new prepackaged outdoor models, the following models will be the first released, available in Q4 of 2011. This release consists of the following four models:

  • WV-SW155(M) HD compact dome camera ($764 MSRP)
  • WV-SW152(M) SVGA compact dome camera ($646 MSRP)
  • WV-SF135 HD indoor compact dome camera ($582 MSRP)
  • WV-SF132 VGA indoor compact dome camera ($455 MSRP)

The SW155/152 and SF135/132 cameras are minidomes in the compact form factor which Axis made popular initially with its 209 series, and now with the M31 series of compact domes. All of these models are electrical day/night, capable of 30 FPS, and use H.264/MJPEG dual encoding. The SW155 and 152 also feature Panasonic's Super Dynamic WDR technology. The M suffix models of the SW155/152 are equipped with an M12 connector instead of a typical RJ-45, which is commonly used in mobile applications.

Recommendations and Competitive Analysis

While this series of cameras could fit practically anywhere a compact minidome is desired, there are two applications which are especially promising:

  • Entry/Exit doors: Especially in retail applications, it is becoming much more common to see a camera mounted just above the door or to one side, to capture facial shots of those entering and exiting. Compact cameras such as these have become popular for this, since they're small and low-profile. The Panasonic line with Super Dynamic should also alleviate some problems with lighting variations common in these areas.
  • Mobile applications: Low-profile compact minidomes have become popular for use in mass transit applications. Due to their size, they are unobtrusive and less prone to vandalism. Panasonic's dynamic range should help in these applications as well, since the contrast variations between the inside and outside of a bus or train can be quite large.

The SW155 should have an approximate online price of $460. The Axis M3114-R, a 720p fixed minidome, prices out online in the range of $560-580. Panasonic's $100+ advantage puts it a healthy distance ahead of Axis. At the low end of the range, the VGA SF132 should price out at about $275. The closest equivalent to this is the Axis M3113-VE which retails online for about $480.  Again, Panasonic is well ahead on pricing. Panasonic tends to edge out Axis in terms of image quality and dynamic range, making this line even more attractive.

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