When we first saw Panasonic’s BL-C10 we thought surely this can’t be right – a network camera with remote pan and tilt functions for around £200? But that’s exactly what you get as this baby camera offers these features and more making it highly affordable for home users and small businesses alike. Not only does it deliver pan and tilt controls but the BL-C10 also incorporates an infrared thermal sensor which can be linked to triggers allowing the camera to take snapshots of the area under surveillance when activated.
Up until now if you wanted remote pan and tilt controls in a network camera you’d have to choose from the PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) varieties with many costing in excess of a grand. The BL-C10 doesn’t offer quite the same level of coverage but the lens can still move 50 degrees horizontally on either side of its home position and 10 degrees up and 40 degrees down vertically. A golf ball style mounting is used for the lens with a small slot allowing it to move in either direction.
Build quality for this palm-sized package is good with a Fast Ethernet port and power socket hidden underneath a detachable panel at the rear. There are also tripod screw fixings on the back and base for mounting on a wall or horizontal surface. A useful feature is a privacy button underneath the lens mounting as pressing this will cause the lens to retreat inside its mounting and the video feed to be switched off. It’s a handy feature for turning surveillance off and on as required but it can be disabled remotely. Underneath the privacy button is the thermal sensor which has a range of approximately five metres over an arc of 85 degrees.
The bundled Easy Setup utility makes light work of installation as it searches the network and displays all discovered cameras ready for configuration. For general Internet access Panasonic also provides access to the DDNS service at www.viewnetcam.com. We found the main browser interface easy to use, particularly as you don’t need to leave the main viewing screen to modify a number of settings. You can switch between the maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and the lower 320 x 240, manually increase or decrease brightness and opt for full motion video or a refresh interval of up to thirty seconds.