Big image shows VMD performance in extremis - the camera is detecting a pedestrian 50 metres from the lens in sub-4 lux unassisted. At the same time we have near court admissable faces at 6 metres. It's seriously impressive.

Panasonic’s i-PRO WV-X1551LN AI bullet camera is a polished new offering from the Japanese manufacturer, with great build quality, solid physical and optical specifications, and an evolved AI engine that’s designed to enhance security applications in the real world.

The camera features 5MP resolution, a fast F1.3 varifocal lens with a range of 2.9–9mm, minimum illumination of .07 lux colour .04 lux in monochrome and 0 lux with IR activated. There’s also adaptive black stretch, back light compensation (BLC), fog compensation, highlight compensation (HLC), digital noise reduction, auto backfocus, integrated IR, image stabilistion and loads more.

We’re testing the camera on SEN’s venerable Optiplex 9020 server. The camera is powered via a NetGear 108SP 8-port PoE switch and is alone on the network. The camera is running at 2560 x 1440 pixels, has a maximum bitrate setting of 14Mbps (though we never approach it), and we are at H.264 to save the browser from frame drop. I should point out we tend to favour H.264 quality in our tests. Finally, VBR is activated and everything else is default.

My first feeling after hanging the camera out the front (and this is a compliment) is that the i-PRO renders like an Axis camera – the stream has that particular look about it – right down to the slightly more than usual barrel distortion and the latitudinal and longitudinal chromatic aberrations. Levels of detail are high, colour rendition is true and the camera deals with the bright parts of the scene 50+ metres from the lens extremely well. There’s no over exposure and no loss of detail in adjacent vehicles. People and vehicles are boxed and labelled by I-VMD, with indicators of travel all the way to 50 metres in some cases – it’s awesome performance.

It’s a winter afternoon in Sydney, so what remains of the sun is away to the North and there’s shade on both sides of the street. The shutter speed has eased a bit, so I’m not getting moving plates at full wide. Depth of field is excellent thanks to that 5MP resolution, but the way variable light is being handled contributes to image quality, too. We often lose deeper detail in the afternoons thanks to overexposure but not with this i-PRO. I notice bitrate ranges from 5500-7000Mb in H.264, depending on movement across the scene. I’m running at ‘fine’, so bitrate could be reduced if required but there’s no pressure to do so.

Don’t miss the full review of Panasonic’s i-PRO WV-X1551LN AI bullet camera in the June issue of SEN!