YEAH, yeah, you've heard all this before. More droning on about 4K, the revolutionary new CCTV technology guaranteed to gum up your subnet pipes firmer than fecal impaction. Coupled with Australia's glacial internet speed of 1Kbps, UHD is more trouble than it's worth – right?
Not so fast. We like ultra HD at SEN. Bit rates are coming down – way down. That's a big deal for bandwidth and storage. Storage cost, too, is falling. Sensor sizes are growing, making UHD low light performance comparable with smaller sensor formats, but most importantly, price is falling very quickly indeed.
SEN tested DVTel's latest 4K camera a month or ago and came away seriously impressed with the balance it offered between high resolution and low light performance. The month before, we swooned over Bosch's UHD Starlight camera and now there's a bunch of other UHD cameras at Security 2015 July 15-17 from a cross section of quality manufacturers.
Walking around the floor a couple of hours ago, 2 manufacturers caught my eye. Sony is showing its new 4K camera – the new SNC-VM772R is a fixed IP66, IK10 dome with a monster 1-inch sensor, an 8Mbps constant bitrate and an 8.8-25.7mm focal length (on a 1-inch sensor these focal lengths equate to 27.5-70.7 degrees of viewing angle) that's claimed to offer better low light performance than all current 1080p cameras. This camera also has a couple of LED strips onboard just to seal the deal.
But what's most noticeable is the image quality. It's simply insane. Sony image quality tends to be strong but this new Sony 4K camera with 20MP of resolution is smoking hot – and at 30ips there's virtually no latency to be seen in live streams. Stuff that matters to investigators like useable depth of field is achingly deep – you could drown in it.
What 4K of this quality means is multiple useable feeds pulled from one wide-ish angle scene. Or it means digital zoom. Yeah, that's right – actual digital zoom. The ability to wind in a face at 25m recorded at wide angles of view and reveal court admissible images. It sounds nice, doesn't it – and with UHD, you do get that capability.
I'd never seen anything built by Uniview before tonight but it's seriously nice looking kit.
Along with Sony, something else I noticed was Uniview's 4K PTZ. Uniview is the third big Chinese manufacturer and it's entire range is distributed locally by C.R. Kennedy. This 4K, H.265 PTZ (with integrated IR) that C.R. Kennedy is showing at Security 2015 Expo comes in at under $A2000 – it's a pointy price for a camera with this specification level.
From the point of view of C.R. Kennedy, distribution of Uniview is a major win, catapaulting a distributor with a reputation built at the top end of town squarely into the dogfight between specification and price – and I mean specification and price. These Chinese builders don't muck around when it comes to features and their technological churn times are force-fed nitrous.
Security 2015 Expo – take a look at it.♦