Testing Panasonic's Remote Monitoring Network Camera (BL-C210A)

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Jun 26, 2010

Panasonic is one of the most well known network surveillance camera providers in both the consumer and professional market.  In February 2010, we tested their megapixel/HD camera (WV-NP502). Now, we turn to one of their higher end consumer/residential offerings.

In this report, we examine the test results of the Panasonic BL-C210A network camera. Available for under $200, the camera includes a number of relatively advanced features includes H.264 support, motion and heat sensors, motorized pan/tilt/zoom capabilities. In addition to our common image quality analysis tests, we focus in on these features, examining how well they work and are supported.

This is the second test in our budget camera series. We bought a number of the top selling cameras on Amazon (also including D-Link, Cisco, Trendnet) and will be systematically going through them in the next 2 months.

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** **** ******, ** ******* *** **** ******* ** ************ **-************ ******. ********* *** ***** $***, *** ****** ******** * number ** ********** ******** ******** ******** *.*** *******, ****** *** heat *******, ********* ***/****/**** ************. ** ******** ** *** ****** image ******* ******** *****, ** ***** ** ** ***** ********, examining *** **** **** **** *** *** *********.

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*** *** **** **** ***** ******* ******* ** ********** ** setup *** ************, *** ********* **-***** *** ** * ********* because ** *** **** ** * ***** ****** *** *** complexity ** ******** ******* ** ************** *** ****** ******* (** the **** **** ********** ******* ****** ** ** *** *****)

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** * ****** ********** (**** * *******), ** ************ *** need * *** **** ******** **** **** *** ***** ************* of *** ******** ******* ****** ******** ********. ** * ************ VMS ******** *** **-*****, **** ****** **** **** * **** low **** ********** *** ** ******, *************** ********** ********.

Key ********

*****: While the camera comes with a setup CD, no wizard is provided, requiring manual configuration. The more features that a product has available, the level of complexity rises.  Since this camera is marketed as having many features (like multiple sensors), the lack of a setup wizard may make setup cumbersome and difficult for the home user. 

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********** ********: This Panasonic kit comes with two video monitoring software options.  On the CD and documentation, the software is called Network Camera Recorder Single Camera Version, and Network Camera Recorder 16 Camera Version. We are not sure why there is a delineation, because it seems that the Single Camera Version does support multiple cameras as well. 

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** ********** ***** ** **** - ******** *** ********* ****** has ** *.*** ******, **** ******** ** *** ********** ******** does *** ******* **** ******; **** ******** **** ******* ***** and ****-* *******.

*********: We observed the Panasonic camera's bandwidth consumption at 2.5Mbps during the day, and 3Mbps at night.  The stream settings were 640x480, 30fps, MJPEG Codec (No VMS we attached camera to supported the H.264 stream).

******* ** ********: Since the camera has a fixed lens, if placed in a large room, the field of view will generally be too wide to get facial details, but human identification is possible.  In addition, the pan and tilt feature will add additional area of coverage and aid in surveying larger rooms. 

********* ***********: Low light performance was observed at 1 lux, which produced an excessive amount of camera noise artifacts; Although, some details could be identified like background objects and slight human features.  At 0.3 lux nothing except direct light sources from houses in background could be seen.

***** ***** *** *******: We were able to associate the BL-210A to the Luxriot DVR software. Support was limited to the MJPEG stream, pan / tilt functionality, changing resolution and encoding quality. We tried to associate the camera to Milestone Enterprise and ExacqVision VMS, but with out success.

*** ****** *** *******, ** **** **** ** ********* *** camera **** **** **** *** ***** ************ *** (**** **** limited ** *** ***** ******).  ** **** ****** ** ********* to ****** **. 

****** ****** & **********: In our tests, the documented process of setting up the camera for remote viewing over the Internet did not work.

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Product ********

****** *** ******** ** ******* ************ **-*****, ** ******** *** ********* *** ******* ******:

  • ****** ******** *.***, ****-*, *** ***** ******, *** ******** ********** software *** *** ******* *.*** ******
  • ***** ****, */*" **** ******
  • ******* ********** ** *******, *****, *** ** **** ******* ********
  • * ****, ** **** **** ** ***** *******
  • ******, ***********, *** ********** ****** ********** ** ******; *** ** complex ** ***** *** ******* **** ****
  • ** ***** ******
  • ***** ** ******** * ****** ****** ***********; ** **** ** systems, ****** ****** ***** *** ****** ****** ** *******
  • ******** *********'* **** **** *******, **********.***; ************ ** **** ******* web ********* ** ******
  • *** ******** ** ********** ******** ** ******** ** **: * version *** * ****** ******, *** * ** ****** ********** version
*****
 
*** **-***** ** ********* ******* ****** ****** ******** ** ** MSRP ** $***.** ***, *********** ************* $*** ***
 

Physical ********

** ******* *** ******** **** ****** *** *********** ** *** Panasonic **-*****.  

*** ****** *******:

  • *** **-***** ** * ***** **** ******* ****** ***** (*** wireless ***** ** **-*****)
  • *** *** ***** ** -** ******* ** +** *******, *** tilt ***** ** -** ******* ** +** *******
  • ****** *** ******* **** ******* **** ******, *****, *** ****
  • ******* ****** ***** *** ****** **** ****** *** ****** **** to **** **** *****
  • * ******* ***** (*** ******** ** ***) ** ********* ** the ****** *** *** ***** ******** ****
  • *** ** ******* ***** ***** ** * ****, ** ****** long

Setup & *************

*** ********* ********** ******** *** ***** ********* ** *** ********* BL-C210A. ** ***** *** ******* **** ********* *** ******** ***** CD ** ********* *** ******'* *** *********.  ** ********, ** discuss *** ******** ************* ******* **** ** ********* ** **** camera.

*** ****** *******:

  • ***** ** **** *** ******* * ***** ******
  • *** ****** ****** *********** *** *** ******** *** ****** ** the ******* ** ***** ** ** *** ******** **
  • **** ********* *** *** ********* *** ******* **** *****, ** default, ***** **** *** ********** ********** **** ****
  • ****** ******** ** *** **** ******* *** ******'* *** *** tilt *************
  • ***** *** ***** *** ** *** *** ** ****** ****** settings
  • ** *******, *** ****** ** *** ** *** *.*** / MJPEG ****** *** ***** **** ** ** *****
  • *** **** ***** *** ** ******* **** *** ******* ***** of ******* - *****
  • ******* *** *** ******'* ******* *** ******* ** **'* *** interface
  • ****** ********* *********** ** *** ** *********** *** ********* ***
  • ***** ********* *********** ** *** ** *********** *** ********* ***
  • *********** ****** *********** ******** *** ** ********* ***, *** **** to **** *** ********
  • *** ******* *** ********* *** ******* *** ********* *******
  • ******** ****** **** ******* **** ****** ** *** ******** ***** tab
  • ** *** ******** ***** ***, ******** ** *** ***** **** play **** ***** ****** **** *** ********* *****
  • ** ***** ** ******** **** *** ***** ****** *******, **** still ******
  • ***** *** ******** *** ** ********* ****** ****** ********
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  • *** *** ******* ******* ******* *** **** ********
  • *** ********* ****** **** ** ******** ****** **** **********.***; **** is *********'* **** **** *******
  • ** *** *****, **** **** ********** (***** ****) *** *** work; *** ********** *** ******* *** *** ******* ** *** camera
  • ****** ******* ************** *** **** ** ** **** ** ******** accessing **** ******* ****** *** **** ********** *** *********** ****

Image ******* ********

** **** ****** *** ********* **-***** ** ******* ************ ***** daylight, *** ***, *** **** ******* ***** ******** **********.  ** addition, ** ****** **** ****** ************** **** **** ***** **** network ******* ** ******* *********** *** ****** *******.

*** ****** *******:

  • ** * ******* ****** *****, *** ******** ***** ** *** BL-C210A *** ****** ** ***** **** * ***** *** ***** image
  • *** *** ****** ***** (* ***), ****** ******** **** ***** artifacts, *** *** ** ***** ** ** **** ** ********** cameras
  • ** * **** ******* ***** *****, ******* ***** ****** *** details ** ******* *******; ** ******* ***** *******, ******* ***** still ** *************
  • ** ** ******* **** ******** ***** ** ***** (*.* ***), camera ***** *** *** ********* ** *** ******* 

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