Panasonic BB-HCM531 IP Camera Review - Panasonic BB-HCM531 IP Camera Review

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The bundled Easy Setup utility locates the camera on the network and from here you can go straight to the main browser interface. The home page provides the live view and we liked having all the camera controls alongside making it easy to switch picture quality settings, refresh rates, white balance and resolution. A keypad alongside can be used to control pan and tilt functions or you can simply point and click in the viewing area to move the lens and use the mouse wheel to control zoom. At this price we expect good picture quality and Panasonic doesn’t disappoint as the image is reasonably sharp and clean with good colour balance. Night vision is also very good as the camera operates down to 0.2lux. The integral microphone also worked well although with the customary lag of around one second and audio sockets are provided for an external microphone and speaker.

Access can be restricted with fifty password protected user accounts and each individual can have access to up to fifteen functions. You can also create a timetable that determines at what times and days the camera may be accessed. Motion detection isn’t as sophisticated as that offered by Axis’ cameras as you can only apply detection threshold and sensitivity settings to the entire image as opposed to different windows. However, once activated, images can be saved in the camera’s buffer, uploaded to an FTP server or emailed to three different addresses. A slot at the side of the camera accepts SD memory cards up to 2GB for storing recordings as well and this is also protected by a large rubberized sealing cover. If you can afford it the Multi option handles up to sixteen cameras and will display images from four at a time.


The camera is ready with support for both IPv4 and IPv6 but the IPsec VPN option on earlier models has been removed although this is no surprise as Panasonic’s support for this feature was woefully inadequate. Twenty preset pan and tilt positions can be programmed in and used from the live view panel or with triggers to move the camera to a specific position. Recordings can also be triggered using a timer that takes snapshots or you can use sensors connected to the camera’s I/O terminal block to set them off. Any device such as a security light or alarm connected to the output terminals of the I/O block can also be activated directly from the live view page.


”’Verdict”’


It’ll need a sheltered location but Panasonic’s outdoor PTZ camera offers a lot of features including very good day and night image quality, motion detection and plenty of recording options.

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