According to Sony, the name IPELA is made up from the ‘IP’ from IP Networks and Bella – the Italian for beautiful. If looks are anything to go by the new SNC-MZ25P certainly delivers the goods but in Sony’s last visit to TrustedReviews with its SNC-M3W we weren’t bowled over by its dodgy image quality.
The SNC-MZ25P aims to take IP surveillance up a gear as this sleek PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera delivers a fine selection of features. Its range of coverage is particularly good as panning covers 350 degrees and it can tilt across 120 degrees – a lot better than most of the competition as this price point. Even smarter is the 18X optical zoom which is augmented by a 12X digital zoom to give a theoretical maximum 216X magnification.
The lens motor is no slouch either with a top pan speed of 100 degrees/sec. A CompactFlash expansion slot lurks behind a cover at the front and this accepts CF media cards for increased image storage or an optional SNCA-CFW1 802.11b wireless network card. The camera runs at up to 25fps at a 320 x 240 resolution, motion detection is in the frame and there’s line in and out sockets for external microphone and speaker.
The camera comes complete with ceiling mounting brackets and a security strap although if you want to operate it from a desk or something similar the image can be flipped over. Unfortunately, testing fell at the first hurdle as the supplier forgot to include a power supply. This camera uses a two-pole contact block which requires bare wire connections and Sony does not include a supply with the camera. We cannibalised a couple of standard 12volt transformers but both failed to power the camera. The suppliers did send through the correct transformer on request which was a Vista VPSU1000/12 model.
Network installation won’t take long as Sony’s IP Setup utility scans the network and displays the camera ready for configuration. From here you can modify the IP address and HTTP port settings, change the date and time and implement network bandwidth restrictions. The main web interface is well designed and provides a live view along with a set of image controls to the left. These allow you to select one of three resolutions, take a snapshot and open a control pad to operate pan, tilt and zoom functions. You can also fine tune pan and tilt motions using the mouse pointer within the viewing window but a very smart feature is the panoramic view and control bar located underneath, which allows you to move the lens easily to a specific location within the entire range of coverage. Don’t worry about how to create a panoramic image as Sony provides a utility to do just that. It’s so simple to use as you provide the camera’s details and it automatically logs on and moves the lens across the selected range to build up an image. Once it’s finished it downloads it directly to the camera’s memory where it appears underneath the main image.