Panasonic’s recent move into the consumer IP network surveillance market has met with considerable success thanks to its diminutive BL-C10 and BB-HCM311, delivering a fine range of features for the price. We now move up to its professional products and take a look at the WV-NP472E, which delivers some interesting alternatives albeit with a substantial price hike.
The first point to clarify is that this is not by any means a brand new product. It has been languishing in Panasonic’s camera family for a couple of years but finally benefits from some improvements to video delivery and image quality. The camera is specifically aimed at 24-hour surveillance and is one of few products at this level to come with both digital and analogue feeds. The camera also accepts a variety of lenses and Panasonic offers high-speed, powered remote zoom, auto-iris and auto-focus varieties. For this review we were supplied with the WV-LZA61/2 vari-focal lens, which is included in the price listed.
The camera offers a good specification that centres on a 1/3in Panasonic CCD sensor that’s capable of delivering a maximum resolution of 752 x 568 pixels. It functions well in low light conditions and will switch from colour to mono modes when light levels drop below 0.8lux. It can continue to provide a picture right down to 0.1lux so should work in areas such as car parks with security lighting or just general street lights. Build quality of the camera body is reassuringly solid and the lenses are easily screwed in and removed from the front. The vari-focal lens is powered by the camera and its cable is plugged into a receptacle on the side of the main body. At the rear you have a standard Fast Ethernet port and this is accompanied by a BNC composite analogue video output for connection using co-axial cable.
An I/O connector block is also provided and adds some interesting possibilities to your surveillance scenarios. The analogue socket will more than likely be connected to a standard video recorder where you could run 24-hour recording is you wished. However, by connecting an alarm or door sensor to the input on the I/O block you could use this to trigger the output to switch on a recorder. There’s also a day/night input where you can use an optical switch to force the camera to swap modes as the light levels change.