Pelco Optera 180° Camera Tested

By Ethan Ace, Published on Aug 02, 2016

In our initial testing of Pelco's Optera multi-imager, the main issue was their ONVIF 'bowtie' video streaming which undermined third party integration. 

Now, Pelco has released new firmware that they say fixes this problem with what they call 'tiled' mode as well as a new 'panomersive' mode. We have tested this new firmware and added these results to the report below.

[Update, Sept 2016] Note: Exacq has released official support for Optera in version 8 of their VMS, requiring only one license per camera and integrating the Optera SDK.

____________

[Nov 2015] This summer, Pelco came out firing against Arecont, touting the superior performance of its new multi-imager line vs Arecont's. But is this really the case?

We bought a Pelco Optera 180° multi-imager 12MP camera, testing it against Arecont's 12MP SurroundVideo as well as a Panasonic 12MP fisheye panoramic (WV-SFV481) in order to measure performance in low light, full light (below), and WDR scenes:

 

As the multi-imager market is now expanding quickly, later this year, we also plan to test Axis' 33MP multi-imager model as well as Avigilon's HD multi-sensor

New ******** **** ******* [August 2016]

***** *** ***** *** new ********* ***** ** the ****** ** ******** 2.6.1:

***** *.***

*****, **** **** ******** three *******, **** ********* (~4.1MP), ********** * **** 180° ******** **** ****** next ** **** *****. Because *** ****** **** 4 ******* *** **** 3 *******, **** ****** contains *-*/* ******, **** stitching ******* ** **** stream, *****:

***** ******* *** ******** and ********* ****** *** camera, *** ********* **** about *** **** **** as *** "******" ******* panoramas, **** **** ****** differences ******* **** *** view **** *********, ****** noticeable:

**** ***** ***** *** tiled ******* ** *** in *****, ** * layout **** ** **** other ** ****** * 180° ********:

*********** ***-******

*** ***** **** ******* ** the ****** ** *** firmware ** ******** *** use **** ***** ************ their *********** ***, *** is *** ********* ****** to ***** *****. *** Uni-stream **** ******* * single ***** **** **** and ***** "*******" ******* on *** ** **** other, *********. **** ** intended ** **** *** integration *******, ******* ** requiring ******** ******* ** be ********** *** *********** viewing, ****** ********** ***** have *** *** *********** it (*.*., ******* *** Milestone).

*******

*****'* ****** ****** ************* ****** image ******* **** *******'* multi-imager ******, ************ *********** *** only ****** *********.

*** ****** ** *** multiple ******** ***** ******* (added ** ******** *.*.*) removes *** ***** *** negative ** "*******" ***** streams **** ***** *****/************ VMSes, ***** ******** ** warped/distorted ******.

*******, *** *********** *** Pelco's *** *** ********** ********* and ********* *******, ***** quite ****, ********* * superior ********** ** *** traditional ******* ******** ***** *******. However, ** **** **** able ** **** ** with ********* *** ******* as support *** ** ** still *******.

Key ********

  • **** *****, *** *****, and *** ***** ******* significantly ****** **** ******* 12MP ****** *** **** Panasonic *********. 
  • "******" ****** ****** ** stitching ******* (*** **** and *** *****) ***** odd ** ******* **** to * ****** ****** for **** ******.
  • *** "*****" **** ******* bowtie ******* **** ***** not ***** *** *********** SDK, ****** ******** ***** streams (********* *-*/* ****** per ******) ******* ** one *** ******. [*** in ******** *.*.*]
  • *** "*********** ***-******" **** provides *** ***** ****** to ******** *********** *** VMSes ******* **** *****'* Panomersive *** (******* ** using ******** *******, **********). This **** ** ********* not ****** **** ***** ONVIF ** ***** ******* not *********** **** ***.
  • ********* ******* ******** ********* ** ExacqVision (*** ** ******* 8), ********* ******** ******, Genetec ******** ******, *** Pelco's *** ********** *** (but ********* **** ***** DS *******).
  • ********* ******* ****** ****** full ******** ******** ** well ** ******* *** regions, ****** *** ****** more ****** *** ******* to **** **** *** bowtie **** ** ***** VMSes. 
  • ********** ****** ******** **** Arecont's *** ****** ***** as **** ** **** fisheye *********.
  • ***** ******** **** ******* when ***** **** *********** H.264 *** ***** ********* modes.

*******

*** ******** ***** *** ~$1,500 ******, ******* ** *******'* ************* ****(~$*,***-*,***) ***********'* *-****** ** ***********. 

Physical ********

*** ****** ** ***** the **** ** * typical **** **** **** camera. ******* ** *** Arecont ************* ******, ******* are ******* ****** * spherical **** ****, **** factory ******* ******.

**** **** ****** **** cameras, ********* ***** *****-****** models, *** *** ******** 802.3at *** *** *********. 802.3af **** *** ***** it.

*************

*** ******** ** *** Optera's *** ********* ** essentially similar ** *****'* ***** ********** cameras. ***** ****** **** that *** ****** ******** to */*** **** ******* (66ms), *** ****** ** changed ** **** ** avoid ****** ****.

*** ******'* ***** ******* when ***** *** ******** Panomersive **** (********, ****, right) *** ************ ************. In ***** ****, *** three **** ******* *** configured ** *** (** unique ******** *** ****).

**** **** ** ** their ***** ******, ***** does *** *** **** VBR (*** ***********, ******** bandwidth), ***** *********** ******** Bitrate *******, ***** ****** the ******* ************* ±**% ** the ****** *******, ********* compression ***********.

*** ***** ******* *** points ** ****** *************:

Stream ***** [Updated, August 2016]

**** *** ******* ** firmware *.*.*, *** ****** now ******** ***** ********* modes, **** *** *** Tiled **** (*****) ******** to ******* *********** **** those ***** *** ***** Pelco's ***.

  1. *********** *.***:** ******** **** *** "bowtie" ******** *******, **** with ***** ***** **** implemented *** ***.
  2. *****:***** ********* ******* ********* and ******** ** *** camera, **** **** ****** comprised ** *-*/* *******. This **** ** **** generally ****** *** *** majority ** *****/********* ***** have *** *********** *** Panomersive ***, ****** ********* viewing ** ***********.
  3. *********** ***-******:* ****** ********* ****** including **** **** *** right ****** ********* ******* vertically. ***** ****** **** streaming **** *** ***** which ****** ** ********* only * ****** ****** but *** ***** *********** SDK (*** **** ** date)

**** *********** *** ***** streams ****** ** ***** we ****** ******* *****, including ********, *******, *********, Exacq, *****, *** ******* Optix.

** **** ** ***** streams ** **** ****** below. 

*********** *.***

***** *** ***** ******* available **** *** ****** in **** ****:

  • * ********* ******** ****** which ***** *** **** imagers ** * *** layout, ******** ** ** "******."
  • *** *** **** ******* (45° ****, ***** **°) stitched ********.
  • *** *** ***** ****** (**° each, ***** **°) ******** together.

** *** ***** ******, ExacqVision, *******, *** ********* XProtect **** **** ** view *** ***** *******. Avigilon **** ********** *** Overview ******.

**** ***** ***** *** full ***° **** ** shown ** *****, **** the **** *** ***** "bowties" ****** **** ** each ***** (***** *** full **** *****):

***** *.***

**** **** ******** ***** streams, **** ********* (~*.***), comprising * **** ***° panorama **** ****** **** to **** *****. ******* the ****** **** * imagers *** **** * streams, **** ****** ******** 1-1/3 ******, **** ********* visible ** **** ******, below:

***** ******* *** ******** and ********* ****** *** camera, *** ********* **** about *** **** **** as *** "******" ******* panoramas, **** **** ****** differences ******* **** *** view **** *********, ****** noticeable:

*********** ***-******

*** **** **** ******* by *** ****** ** intended *** *** **** VMSes ************ ***** *********** SDK, *** ** *** generally ****** ** ***** VMSes. *** ***-****** **** outputs * ****** ***** with **** *** ***** "bowties" ******* ** *** of **** *****, *********. This ** ******** ** make *** *********** *******, instead ** ********* ******** streams ** ** ********** for *********** *******, ****** integrated ***** **** *** yet *********** ** (*.*., Genetec *** *********).

"***********" *******

***** **** ****** *********** the ***** *******, ***** has **** ******** ** SDK ** ********** *** immersive *******, ***** **** call "***********." **** *********** allows ***** ** ***** in * **** ***/***/*** panorama (********* ** ******) and ********** **** **** angle *** ****.

** ****, *** **** third-party *** ************ ******** **** these ******** *** ********* XProtect, ***** ** ******** through * ****** ********* by ***** ********** *** Genetec ******** ******. *****'* own ********** *** ******** Optera ** ** ******* 1.7.

**** ****** *** ** used ** **** **** one **** ** * time, **** **** ****'* view ************* ************. **** is **** ***** ** the *** *** ***** of *** *** ****, with ******** ******* **** below:

******:** ******* *, ***** announced ********* *** ******, with *** ****** *** supported ** *** ***** driver ******* ** *****, and ********* ******* **********. This ******* ***** *** camera *****: ****** ********, dewarp (**** ******* *** control), *** **** ********.

VMS ***********

***** ******* ****** **** multiple VMSes ****** *** ***** (Axxon, ** *******) ** well ** ****** ******* (Genetec, *********), *** *** unable ** ******* ** Avigilon ******* ******. ** Exacq, *********, *** ******* (direct ************), **** *** license *** **** *** all ***** ********. ***** integrations ******* * ******* for **** *******.

*** ***** ***** ***** the ****** ** *** in ***** ***** ** their *********** ** *** Optera ***, **** ***** placed **** ** *** another ** ******* *** full ********.

Image *******

** ****** *** ****** against *** ******* ************* Omni ** * ***° configuration, ** **** ** the ********* **-******* ** wall ***** ***° ****. We **** ******** ** Axis ***** ******* ** the **° *** ** one ** *** *******'* imagers.

******* **********

** ****** *** ****** against *******'* ************* **** 12MP, *** ********* **-****** to **** *** ** compares ** ***** *** panoramic *******, ** **** as *** **** ***** to **** *** *********** relative ** ****** ****** models.

*** ***** ***** ***** the **** *** ** the Pelco ******:

 

*** ****** ******** ******* images ** **** *** subject *** ***** **** Arecont's ****, ****** **** moderately **** ****** ** the *******'* **** **** the **** ***** *********** camera. *** ********* ********* provides **** ***** *** and **** ***** *******.

 

**** *** ******* ******* from *** ******, ~**', PPF ***** ** *** 180 *** ****** ****** cameras ** ~**. *** Optera ***** ******** ****** details **** *** ******* Omni ** **** *** width, ****** *** **** Q1615 ******** **** ****** details **** ****. *** in *** ******* ****** is **** ***, **** few ******* ********.

***** **********

*** ****** ******** **** better ****** **** *** Arecont **** ** *** light (~*.** **), **** lines *-* ** *** test ***** *******, *** moderately ***** **** *** Axis *****.

 

*** **********

** ****** *** ** a ********* ***** **** open ******** ****, **** below.

 

** **** *****, *** Optera ******** **** ** the **** *** *********** of ******* ******, **** better ******* ******* **** strong ********* *** **** areas ** *** ***** than ***** ******. *******, note **** *** ******'* flattening/dewarping (******** *** "******" effect) ******** *** *******'* face *** ** ********** relative ** ******.

Bandwidth **********

*** ******'* ******** **** slightly ****** **** **** the ************* **** *** Panasonic ********* **** ****** in **** *****. ******** were ******* **** ***** both *********** *** ***** streaming *****.

**** **** *** **** Q1615 ******** ***** ~*** Kb/s ** *** **** FOV ** *** ****-****** imager ** *** ***** and ******* ******* ** full *****. **** ******* to ~*.* **/* ***** multiplied *** *** **** imagers (*** ********** *** differences ** **** ******'* FOV), **** ***** **** other ******* ******.

 

Test **********

*** ********* ******** **** applied ** *** *******:

  • *.***, ** ***, ~** quantization *** ****
  • */*** ******* ******* *****

***** ******** **** **** at ******** ****** ********* noted.

Comments (26)

I was recently evaluating this camera in our lab to observe its effects on Pelco's own DS and CP VMS.

It runs very hot such that you would draw away if you were to grab it without knowing how hot it is. It is about 40-45 C on the surface.

I would not recommend it in a place that has a high ambient temperature as the internal electronics would quite possibly be at a temperature that would exceed their ratings.

Be sure to plan for a larger Client CPU since that will be performing the dewarping function.

Pay attention to the Pelco VMS version and the cam firmware match. If they dont match up you will get a 'black' video stream recorded and viewed.

Hi Mike, ours doesn't run quite that hot. I haven't measured it but it's warm after running for awhile, not hot hot. It does have fans running all the time, which is maybe why it requires 802.3at, not instead of typical PoE.

Good info, though!

No IR, no wiper, no heater and no PTZ and still requires 802.3at? That may be a first.

On the other hand I guess it sounds about right for 4 analog cameras and a 4-port encoder.

I was chatting with a Pelco engineer yesterday about these and the EVO5 360 cams yesterday and I asked about this temperature.

He said it was because the SOC chip they have in the system has all the analytics running on it so it is a beefier CPU...which in turn generates more heat.

Can you disable the POE+ analytics and save watts and cool it down a bit?

Or are they always running?

PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at, Class 4) is needed in order to get the camera running properly. Most of the power draw is from the heater which consumes up to 23 Watts in total according to the datasheet. It would consume 17 Watts without heater.

The camera also have co-processor for video analytics and that’s another reason of consuming more power.

Does the indoor vandal model come with a heater?

I've installed a few of these Optera cameras in particular a few of the 180's, 270's and a 360. I have also had a heat issue. One 270 right out of the box would heat up so hot on me I couldn't touch it for more than a second of two. I only noticed this because after the camera heated up that much, it would shut itself down.

The CP VMS version is imperative for normal system operation. Another thing to look out for besides planning for larger client CPU requirements is Pelco "recommends" not streaming any more than two Optera cameras at a time. I have ran into issues with even having 3 Optera cameras on a single DSSVR from Pelco.

Man, I hope they crush Arecont. Go Pelco go!!! Hee Hee!

"This summer, Pelco came out firing against Arecont, touting the superior performance of its new multi-imager line vs Arecont's."

Yeah!

"Bowtie" effect caused by stitching imagers (two left and two right) looks odd to viewers used to a single stream for each stream."

Fail! Next.....

[I swear to the Holy Gopher this goes on in every camera manufacturer board room.."How can we take this great concept and mess it up in some irritating way?"]

I've suggested / asked Pelco why they just do not send out 4 individual streams, one for each imager, with ONVIF. Maybe there is a technical / processing limitation, but I still do not understand why they are sending out the 2 bowties. It's just weird.

I know they are optimistic / focused on getting the SDK integrated but there's a lot of VMSes out there and eliminating the bowtie would help a lot there.

Promised:

Delivered:

@Undisclosed 1, I think it is a very mis-leading statement and pictures above.

It really come down to what tool do you utilize to show the Pelco Optera video. If you just use generic tool like VLC, web browser or non-integrated VMS, you would see the bowtie video because it has not been dewrapped and blended.

In addition to Pelco’s two VMS, VideoXpert and Digital Sentry, Milestone has already integrated with the Optera camera like what you see on the IPVM video above. Genetec has released or about to release the integration. Exacq is estimated to be by the end of the year and few other main VMS players are coming along but I don’t have details on the date yet.

For people who like to play around the Optera, the easiest way to show the Panomersive video could be using Digital Sentry version 7.11.269 or Panomersive Viewer version 1.0.2.3. DS comes with 4 free camera license so there is no software or licensing cost for startup. The Panomersive Viewer is a standalone player without the need of installation but it wouldn’t do recording, just show live.

Easy now, undisclosed Pelco employee.

He's half making a joke but the point remains, why in the world would you output a bowtie via ONVIF? Can anyone, with a straight face at Pelco, explain why?

Just fix it. Don't complain or make excuses. Just fix it.

Why would I want to depend on a full integration to dewarp the image when I could use an Arecont 180 and use it with just about anything? What then would be the difference from any other camera that requires a dewarping module be used? Yes, you can say better pixel density in a 180 view with the additional sensors, but again, why then not an Arecont? The only people to get the full benefit then is ones already using a system where an integration is done. That leaves a lot of money on the table because.... seriously, are you a Pelco employee? Can any Pelco employee please find out if there were seriously no objections to the bowties when development brought this to management? Did management really not have a problem with this?

I mean, that's like getting a new Corvette and discovering they purposely pinched the windshield in the center to match the Chevy bowtie logo and they put the shifter on the roof.

@Undisclosed 1, I think it is a very misleading statement and pictures above.

Disagree.

Reading your promo, this is the promise:

Optera cameras use advanced SureVision 2.0 technology to optimize the images from each of the four sensors and then seamlessly stitch and blend them at the boundaries to present you with a natural, continuous panorama.

IMHO, one gets a distinct impression that the cameras are presenting me with a natural, continuous panorama. Not the camera is presenting a raw image, which may or may not be dewarped, depending on your client software.

Define SureVision 2.0 for us please. Where does this technology reside? In the camera AND the client? Reading the whitepaper it sounds like in the camera.

And besides the compatibility issues, there is the issue of client loading by dewarping. I assume that this process is intensive, that's why it's being offloaded, but now I am paying for your CPU cycles, which with Arecont, all processing (including accidental flipping) is done at the camera.

"Define SureVision 2.0 for us please"

SureVision is their general marketing term for high end imaging, both for single and multi-imager cameras.

As for your interpretation of the sentence, I agree. I am not so much opposed to the stitching being done client side as I am ONVIF having a bowtie.

To be clear to Pelco employees, my recommendation to fix it is:

Send 4 dewarped individual streams, one for each imager, for those VMSes that do not support the Pelco SDK. This will give a 'regular' experience for those (almost all) who do not have recorders using the Pelco SDK, including ironically most Pelco VMS users today.

Send 4 dewarped individual streams...

Maybe we might even say 4 unwarped streams, to point out there is nothing that actually needs dewarping.

Still, I'm thinking there must be a reason that the camera is doing any warping or dewarping to begin with. Why do half at the camera and half in the client? If the camera was not capable, then the client could do it all, no?

@Pelco, was the intention possibly to do all the image processing at the camera originally?

Also, I may be missing it, but where are the exact resolutions listed of the two "warped" streams listed? Are they each 4096x3064 or?

What is the distance from the camera to the test subject in the outdoor daytime shots? Thanks!

About 30', I believe. I'd have to double check, but at the point where he's standing I think it was about 30'.

Hi guys, it would be nice if you can compare those cameras with the brand new Vivotek ms8391-ev

With IR and one stitched image, and extreme temperature operation.

Thks!

We are finishing up a test on the Vivotek multi-imager and expect to publish in the next week.

Thank's!!

Update: In version 8, Exacq announced supported for Optera, with the camera now supported by the Pelco driver instead of ONVIF, and immersive viewing integrated. This example shows the camera modes: warped overview, dewarp (with virtual PTZ control), and full panorama.

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