Panasonic’s new WV-X8570N 4 x 4k multi-sensor camera is a play for the Holy Grail of video surveillance – a camera with the ability to see everything, all of the time.
PANASONIC has a long history at the bleeding edge of video surveillance technology. The company’s Super Dynamic cameras changed the way the industry judged the performance of CCTV cameras in the late 1990s and Panasonic was at the forefront of PTZ development, with a string of excellent camera systems over many years. The WV-X8570N has the same design DNA as earlier cameras and incorporates many of the company’s technological breakthroughs but fundamentally, it’s designed to give end users managing large open spaces a view of everything in its focal range – around 30 metres for faces and plates.
The specification list is long – in fact it’s so long, it makes the camera difficult to get a handle on. Each of the 4 camera sensors is a 1/1.8-inch progressive scan CMOS with a minimum scene illumination in colour of 0.12 lux and in monochrome of 0.05 lux. These are 4K image sensors with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels at up to 15ips. The lenses are fixed 4.6mm with a constant aperture of F1.6 and wide dynamic range of 108dB. The cameras feature auto gain control, white balance, adaptive black stretch, backlight compensation, highlight compensation, fog compensation and digital noise compensation.
My tilt angle under the camera is not ideal but the quad view shows this is more system than camera…
The first thing I realise, as I pin the Magic Arm to the verandah rail outside the office with the heaviest camera it has ever carried, is that this is much more camera than my application. Yes, you can set the camera to deal with 270 degrees, but I want to look at 360. Even using a pendant mount pushing away from an overhang, this isn’t easy. In the real world, integrators, and the security managers of universities and public spaces, are going to need to find ways to install the camera to leverage its undoubted power.
The next thing that hits me on the street is resolution. It’s strong and that feeds into good things like depth of field and sharpness. The camera’s ability to manage variable light is good and I’m impressed with colour rendition. Motion blur of moving traffic is good, too, though it’s better in the sweet spot of the 4.6mm lens than at the edges, where classic barrel distortion starts arm wrestling pixels.
You can see the strength of this camera’s depth of field.
Once I start playing with digital zoom, I get a stronger sense of the power of the camera, but I decide I prefer t2x digital zoom over 4x, unless 4x gives me a particular angle of view. Digging into digital zoom unearths typical pixel-spread softness at 4x, as well as discovering chromatic aberration, while the full 4.6mm angle at 2x is flinty and sharp from edge to edge.
Hyperfocal distance looks a little longer than usual. Looking at detail in the timber, as well as the sharpness of the adjacent verandah railing suggests it might be around 1 metre. This is likely to come down to that slightly longer than usual 4.6mm fixed focal length, the pay-off of which when combined with 4 x 4K resolution, is getting court admissible plates and pretty good faces out towards 30 metres.
Low light performance is bright and even.
The WV-X8570N’s camera browser gets involved in this test and that’s because of the nature of the camera. In some ways it’s better to think of this as a 4-camera system, not a single camera. In my case that system comprises Bellevue Street cameras 1, 2, 3 and 4. The cameras are not stitched but together they contrive to give complete coverage out the front.
Don’t miss SEN’s full review of the Panasonic WV-X8570N 4X4K in the October issue!