FOR a long time Sanyo has managed to come up with smart surveillance cameras at sharp prices so it makes perfect sense for the company’s engineers to pool their ideas in pursuit of a high quality network PTZ dome camera incorporating Sanyo’s sweet Pan Focus technology. END users and integrators could be forgiven for having nightmares about camera choice in the current market. Sure, the top one or 2 cameras stand out and the bottom end is universally recognizable thanks to extreme low cost and dubious pedigree. But if you’re looking for an affordable camera with serious smarts the decision is demonstrably harder and it’s at these buyers that the Sanyo VDC-DPN9585P network PTZ camera is unashamedly pitched. In Australia, Sanyo is now bringing its cameras to market through aggressive wholesalers like QVS. A simple monitor comparison test we saw on the QVS work bench clearly showed Sanyo’s camera, replete with that characteristic 520-line CCD, outguns similarly priced competitors in the realism of its colour picture, with night mode a particular strength. The first thing that jumps out at you with the DPN9585P is just how much Sanyo’s boffins have crammed into its compact vandal-resistant IP66 weatherproof housing. This is a power-over-Ethernet, networked surveillance camera with 2-way voice communication, and pan, tilt and zoom control that offers 25 images per second with a resolution of 720 x 286 pixels. The camera has a ¼ -inch CCD and uses JPEG compression with 5 levels of picture quality. Network porting is via a standard RJ-45 connector. There are 16 preset positions, minimum scene illumination of 1.2-lux in colour (at F1.9) and 0.06 lux in black and white, along with 8 privacy masks. These rectangular privacy masks can be protected with a 4-digit security code to ensure their integrity. In terms of pan, tilt operation, the DPN9585P has a pan/tilt mechanism that offers panning of 335 degrees when ceiling mounted, along with a tilt of 90 degrees. When used in combination with presets, the camera gets round to new positions at 120 degrees per second. You can combine this feature with the camera’s built in motion detection in order to capture images of activity in the camera’s field of view. The motion detection is set up by splitting the camera’s field of view into 16 areas. Once this is done the movement and brightness areas of the screen are analyzed in order to detect potential targets. Once there’s detection of an intruder the camera fires off an alarm status signal and captures the object at zoom magnifications of 2.6x. This flexible motion detection allows adjustments of settings like sensitivity, tracking time, zoom ratio and do-not-detect areas. Another neat feature of this camera is backlight compensation and there are 2 selectable backlight compensation modes, multi-spot metering that’s applied to the entire screen and centre-screen metering that’s applied to the central part of the screen only. Installation is enhanced by a bunch of features headed up by Sanyo’s neat Pan-Focus technology which means the camera lens has smarts of its own straight out of the box. Pan-Focus looks for activity in the field of view and that capability gives the camera the ability to cover a lot of ground with less time consuming input from the installer. Inside the housing there are integrated camera units with motors and lenses, and the design is such that heater modules can be connected in a couple of steps. There also a bunch of installation options in terms of mounting and housing options, including wall and ceiling mounts, flush and pendant. Despite the simplicity of the camera it would be a mistake to discount its toughness. The housing is a gutsy die-cast aluminium enclosure and the polycarbonate dome is able to take a serious beating. Tampering is forestalled by features like tamperproof screws that can’t be opened by anyone with a Leatherman. Software management Sanyo’s DPN9585P comes bundled with Sanyo’s VA-SW3050LITE viewer software which resides on a remote PC and allows viewing of images streamed from a remote camera. The software supports audio and remote control of cameras and a single camera can be accessed by 16 users at a time, with password-powered user access. Sanyo’s VA-SW3050 network archiving software is sold separately. Once this is installed you can use the workstation as a local server with the 3050 software giving full data playback functions, as well as recording. The network archiving software is able to simultaneously record up to 128 cameras all at 25ips and full resolution, though this capability is going to depend entirely on the strength of your network links. Additional features of the software include display switching between full, quad or 16-split screen, simultaneous playback and recording of video and audio, and flexible settings with a wide array of recording modes. Search functions are conducted by time/date, alarm event and timer recording. A particularly good feature allows the camera to send a single surveillance video image by email, with up to 5 email addresses able to be contacted each alarm event.