OVER the past 5 years Sanyo has consistently impressed with the development of forward thinking camera technologies and these latest speed domes are no exception to the rule. In this cut-price market the one thing that allows the leading manufacturers to stand out is performance and these new Sanyo speed domes, give just that. There are 4 cameras in the range a day/night and a colour with 36x optical zoom, and a day/night and a colour with 30x optical zoom. For the purposes of this review we’re going to look at the flagship VCC-9800P, with day/night functionality and 36x zoom capability.The first feature that jumps out at you is how fast the Sanyo dome is between its 256 presets – it whips from one preset to another at 435 degrees per second and with a preset accuracy of 0.014 of a degree. You set up presets during commissioning and once they’re locked in you use them for auto mode functions like Sequence, Auto Pan and Tour. The Auto Pan feature offers 4 different settings for auto panning while up to 4 different Tour settings are capable of storing up to 1000 pan/tilt/zoom commands and recreating the pattern for guard tours. Auto return takes the camera back to a programmed location within a set time. Automatic tracking of the subject in a scene is another great feature. Sanyo’s domes have an image processing algorithm that can detect moving objects and track them automatically. If the scene is busy and there are multiple paths of movement the camera will select the object with the largest degree of movement but there are selectable parameters allowing differentpatterns to be tracked to suit different applications.Tying in with this is an optimum focus feature. This offers the sort of capability we first saw with Sanyo’s Pan Focus technology. Essentially the camera stays focused on a subject in front of the camera no matter what else us moving in the field of view. The function is so powerful it allows images to remain in focus even when the lens is moving during pan/tilt. Zoom is another strength of the new Sanyo speed dome range. All important optical zoom is 36x, making the VCC-9800P one of the most powerful domes around. Topping the optical zoom off is a digital zoom of 16x, which uses the dome’s own processing horsepower to hone images once you’re at the limit of the optical range. Given the zoom strength on the optical side, however, chances are you’ll rarely use it. Low light performance is another traditional strength of Sanyo cameras and dollar for dollar they outperform most other brands in this area. Colour performance is retained down to 1 lux in the presence of 50IRE while monochrome performance in the same conditions is 0.05 lux. The unit hasan auto-switching cut filter that goes from colour to monochrome at 1-3 lux inlow mode or 3-9 lux in high mode. Sanyo’s speed dome also has built-in motion detection with 2 modes of operation. The first detects motion at a preset position and allows the setting of motion detection within the whole picture or the setting of mask patterns to exclude some elements of a scene from detection – things like trees or a nearby road. The camera can be set to zoom in and out automatically whenmotion is detected.Next comes zone motion detection which picks up motion from 1 to 4 areas that are set in the entire detection scene during a pan/tilt operation. This sensing is handled by splitting the field of view into 48 areas, and movement and brightness levels within the picture are analysed to accurately detect surveillance targets. If motion is detected the camera generates an alarm. Another neat feature of the Sanyo speed dome is -5 to 185 degrees tilting range – that means the unit can tilt above the horizon range allowing improved field of view through the 360 degree pan range. Better still it means the camera need not be pole mounted in order to get a view in undulating or layered scenes. Privacy masking is another good feature and up to 24 rectangular masks can be deployed across a scene to cover things like windows, doors or nearby properties.If you want to take Sanyo Speed domes out onto a network you use the network board VA-80LAN which encodes the analog signal at 25ips andoffers 5 resolution levels, the highest being 720 x 572. Once connected to aLAN you can link to the camera using a remote web browser. There’s also network recording software that supports up to 128 cameras and 16 users. Sanyo’s speed dome range can be connected to an external door, switch or infrared sensor so that when an alarm is detected, the camera automatically moves to the preset position, zooming on the image or displaying the alarm event on screen at the control room. Along with the best speed domes of the past 12 months, Sanyo’s new camera offers a high level of modularity with different dome covers, camera units, power supply bases and housings being interchangeable to allow easy upgrade or maintenance. There are indoor and outdoor housings, with the flagship VCC-9800P being IP66 rated.Installation is designed to be easy. Each housing has an integrated lens, a motor and a pan/tilt mechanism. Power delivery is handled by sliding a couple of release levers, while the settings circuit board is detachable for access to protocol, address and other switch settings. VAC controllers can be connected after installation to handle PTZ control. There’s a detachable settings circuit board which makes life easy for installers. You can hold the board in your hand and handle settings or turn it over to reveal I/Os (8 inputs and 2 outputs). The settings side employs dip switches for address, baud rate, coax or RS-485, terminations and comms options. Sanyo’s Security Serial Protocol allows 254 speed dome cameras and 100 DVRs to be managed in a 1200m daisy chain.Offering strong camera performance, excellent economy and a features list few cameras approach, the new Sanyo speed dome range is definitely worth careful consideration.