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Axis doesn’t beat about the bush when it launches a new IP camera and its latest 207MW certainly looks worth crowing about. Its claim to fame is being the world’s first megapixel IP camera capable of delivering an amazing top resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 pixels.
Physically, the camera isn’t much to look at but its compact chassis hides a wealth of features that most other vendors would be hard pushed to match, let alone beat. At its heart lies a 1/3in. megapixel RGB CMOS sensor, which is teamed up with a 3.6mm F.1.8 fixed iris lens. It incorporates an 802.11b/g wireless client as well as a Fast Ethernet port although it’s a pity support for PoE isn’t on the menu. However, it is now possible to buy pocket sized PoE injectors for as little as £25. Axis also bundles a 180cms power extension cable to go with the two metres of cable on the external power supply.
The camera provides full motion detection along with support for both Motion-JPEG and MPEG-4 compression. It has an internal microphone enabling viewers to listen to the area under surveillance although a lack of speaker output means you can’t talk to anyone at the other end. Axis’ standard four-pin terminal block is also in evidence at the rear and this provides a number of useful features as it can be used to connect input devices such as a push button on a door and link it to an output device such as a relay for triggering an alarm or a door lock.
Installation beats the same path as all Axis cameras. You load the bundled IP Utility which searches for cameras on the network and presents them ready for configuration. Naturally, you’ll need to start with a wired connection but once you have web access you can configure the wireless portion. This is easy enough as all available wireless access points are displayed in the interface along with options to provide WEP or WPA keys.
Once you’ve installed the necessary ActiveX media controls from the camera the web interface opens with a live view and it becomes abundantly clear that the 207MW is something special as at the top resolution the image is enormous. Using a 19in. Samsung TFT monitor set to the same resolution the only way to see the entire picture is to select full screen viewing. What’s even more remarkable is the image quality. Axis has always scored higher in this department that any other manufacturer and the 207MW doesn’t let the side down. Colour balance is far superior to similar cameras from vendors such as Panasonic and Sony and once you’ve manually adjusted the focus ring, the picture is nice and sharp. We initially had problems accessing the MPEG-4 screen and the solution if you can’t get a video stream is to place the camera’s IP address in your browser’s list of trusted sites.