Testing Vivotek Cube Panoramic (CC8130)

By: Derek Ward, Published on Oct 16, 2013

A cube panoramic? Plus a wall mount facial camera? That's what Vivotek is proposing with its recent CC8130 camera.

That's certainly different from the legion of ceiling mounted minidomes that have become the industry norm (see our panoramic shootout results).

In this report, we share our test findings of Vivotek's CC8130 to see how it matches up. We did a shootout against 2 other panoramic cameras (another Vivotek and the new Brickcom Immervision one), the super wide angle 3MP Axis M30, as well as an ACTi conventional cube camera to get a full range of realistic alternatives.

The image sample below shows one test environment we used.

Here are our key findings:

  • In full light (~160 lux) and ~30 lux scenes, the CC8130 is able to capture critical details such as skin tone, hair color, build, and clothing up until ~7' away. Beyond this, details quickly drop.
  • Low light (~1lux) image quality is fair at close range, with subject and test chart details visible, but degrades very quickly. Below 1 lux, no usable images were produced.
  • The CC8130 should not be mounted higher than ~6' (or ~8' with the included 15° angled mount) or facial details may be lost. For more information regarding mounting height, review our Testing Camera Height vs. Image Quality report.
  • The CC8130 defaults to CBR, 3Mbps. We recommend switching to VBR ("fixed quality", as named in Vivotek's web interface) and directly setting quantization level and bitrate cap as necessary for the specific scene.
  • In indoor scenes with ceiling lighting, enabling BLC delivered significantly improved image quality.
  • In indoor scenes, a significant part of the image is wasted on the ceiling. While the camera does not support cropping, a privacy mask can significantly reduce bandwidth consumed / wasted on this area.
  • The camera's dewarping did not distort subjects even though many 180/360 cameras do.
  • The CC8130 is significantly smaller than standard 360 minidomes and roughly equal or less than cube camera.

Pricing: The Vivotek CC8130 sells for ~$212 USD online. The cameras used to test against the CC8130 allowed us to compare form factor and usability. Cameras tested against the CC8130 were:

Recommendations

Given its wide, non distorted, coverage of a full area, its small form and low price, the Vivotek CC8130 is an interesting niche camera, as an alternative to traditional narrower FoV cameras and fisheye minidome ones.

The CC8130 is not recommended for covering wide areas where identifying details are required beyond 6-7'. Instead, higher resolution wide angle or panoramic cameras to capture these scenes.

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Also, the camera is not recommended for mounting at traditional surveillance camera height of 10', 12', etc. 

Default settings are highly unoptimized in terms of image quality and bandwidth savings. Changing these settings are highly recommended in terms of obtaining the best possible images quality and storage savings.

Sample Images / Videos

We have included a download link containing short demo videos of the Vivotek CC8130 in different scenes and lighting, such as our conference room and vestibule scenes. (23.8MB download): Vivotek CC8130 samples.

Physical Overview

In this video, we review the physical construction of the CC8130. Key highlights include:

  • Relative size to panoramic cameras and cube form factors.
  • Included wall mount accessory and it's application.

Configuration

See our screencast overviewing the CC8130. Users should note the following:

  • Simplified web interface, with fewer options than typical Vivotek panoramic cameras.
  • CBR is enabled by default at 3Mbps, causing noticeable compression and degraded image quality.
  • Users may directly set quantization level when using VBR mode, not commonly found.

Indoor Comparisons

Since the cameras in this test have vastly different fields of view, we've included this image for reference:

Full Light, ~160 lux

At 6 feet, the CC8130 performs well compared to the other 180° panoramic cameras. Lines 1-4 are distinguishable, as well as skin tone, hair style, facial expression and clothing.

At 12 feet, details and quality start to diminish, but our subject can still be identified, and line 1 on the chart is still readable.

At 18 feet, the CC8130's details captured decline, unsurprising given its 1MP resolution, lower than other cameras in this test. It becomes difficult to identify our subject and read line one on the chart at this range.

Dim Light, ~30 Lux

At 6 feet in dim lighting (~30 lux), the chart in the CC8130 provides details similar to full light.

At 12 feet, the chart in the CC8130 is hard to read, with only line 1 visible. The Vivotek FE8172's image begins to darken at this range, but details are still distinguishable.

At 18 feet, our subject details become difficult to discern. The ACTi D11 and Axis M3006 perform best in this scene, while Brickcom and the Vivotek FE8172 perform poorly as well.

Low Light, ~1 Lux

At 6 feet in low light (~1 lux), the CC8130 has minimal noise and artifacting, allowing us to see our subjects face and the first few lines on the eye chart clearly. The Brickcom MD-300Np and Vivotek FE8172 suffer from severe noise and artifacting that makes it hard to distinguish details on either our subject or eye chart.

At 12 feet, detection and large details is still possible for all cameras, but the ACTi D11 is unable to detect our test subject, and can only view our eye chart, and the "E" on the chart.

At 18 feet at ~1 lux, only detection is possible. We cannot see our test subject in the ACTi D11, and the Brickcom MD-300Np is heavily impacted by artifacting and noise.

BLC On vs Off

Below are comparison images with BLC turned on and off, to show the benefits/tradeoffs of image quality. In our full light comparison, our subject is much brighter with BLC turned on, but at the expense of the bottom characters of our eye chart to appear washed-out.

In a ~1 lux scene, BLC allows us to better distinguish our subject, and the first few lines on our eye chart are much more visible and sharp. The image also appears brighter and less noisy with BLC on.

Mounting

The scene below is used to emulate a checkout line at a grocery store or a bank teller line use-case scenario for the CC8130. At eye level (~6ft), our subject, which is ~2ft away from the camera, can be easily identified, and there is no added benefit for the 15° downwards tilt. Lighting is different in these scenes due to the amount of ceiling light being captured by the CC8130 in the no-tilt image, as compared to the tilted images.

In this scene, the CC8130 is mounted ~8ft high, and our subject is ~8ft away. The main difference here would be the amount of time our subject would remain on-camera as he walked towards it. The detail of our subject, however, remains unchanged at this distance, regardless of tilt.

In the scene below, our test subject is ~2-3 feet away from the CC8130, which is mounted at ceiling height with the 15° downwards tilt. The main issue here is that recognition is difficult and identification is not possible, since we only see the top of our subject'a head, along with the wasted ceiling space taking up ~1/2 of the FOV. This is problematic for end users trying to "see more" subjects in a scene at once, thinking that mounting the camera higher will better the chances of finding someone in particular in a crowded scene.

WDR

Below are images of our test subject entering a building, swiping his card for entry, and about to leave the vestibule. We have included a side by side comparison to demonstrate a use-case scenario. The CC8130 is mounted at ~6 ft with no downwards tilt.

In this image, our subject enters the scene from the outside. Even with BLC on, we can clearly see what he is wearing, the color of his shirt, hair, and pants, and build.

In this image, our subject is ~1 ft away from the camera when he swipes his badge for entry. Here, we can see our test subject in greater detail, even in a WDR scene.

In this scene, we see our subject about to leave the vestibule to enter the building. If there was another person trying to tailgate into the building, the CC8130 would be able to detect or recognize them.

Below is a side by side comparison image containing the three above images.

Bandwidth

The CC8130 defaults to 3Mbps CBR, but bitrate can be changed to VBR, or "fixed quality" in the web interface. Users can pick through defined quality levels or use a customized quantization level, and set a bitrate cap. 

Due to the 180° FoV, large amounts of unused space (such as lighting fixtures) do little more than consume bandwidth, and users can apply a privacy zone to eliminate unused areas of the scene and save ~25-35% on bandwidth and storage. Cropping is not available for this camera.

Compare with and without privacy mask:

In our conference room scene, bandwidth consumption was as follows:

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