Canon VB-610VE IP Camera Review
The Canon VB-610VE is a new 2.0-megapixel camera with very good resolution and very low light capability. It includes some video analytic functions which can be used to detect special situations such as removed object or left object.
It doesn’t have wide dynamic range but includes Smart Shade, an adjustment tool that compensates for low light areas.
This is a nice camera when you need to reduce the installation time. The remote pan, tilt, zoom, and focus make it an easy camera to set up. Unfortunately, the setup controls are difficult to use.
The camera has a 2.1-megapixel progressive scan sensor that provides a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It is only available in the wide-format view and doesn’t have an option for 4:3 ratio view.
The camera resolution showed that we could see the converging lines indicating TV lines of resolution in most areas of the test pattern. The image was a bit noisy.
We had some difficulty evaluating the lens on this camera because of other setup issues that made it difficult to remove some artifact noise in the video. For example when the Smart Shade is turned on it introduces some speckling in the video.
The Camera Angle Setting Tool is required to set up the lens zoom and camera position. It’s easy to use once you have figured out how to install the tool, which is separate from any of the other camera setting tools. The lens can be remotely adjusted between 2.8 mm and 8.4 mm (111 degrees and 36.5 degrees). When adjusting the zoom the camera automatically focuses the lens making this camera the easiest to adjust.
Day/Night and Minimum Illumination
This is a true day/night camera so it has an IR filter. The camera does very well in low light situations. The camera specification indicates that the minimum illumination is 0.3 lux in color at shutter speed at 1/30 sec (when Smart Shade Control is off, 50IRE). When it’s dark the camera switches to BW mode and the minimum illumination is 0.015 lux in BW, with F1.2 lens, a shutter speed of 1/30 sec and at 50 IRE.
The specifications also says that the illumination can be as low as 0.008 lux in color (F1.2, shutter speed 1/2 sec., when Smart Shade Control is on, 50IRE), and also indicated a minimum light level of 0.0005 lux (F1.2, shutter speed 1/2 sec., when Smart Shade Control is on, 50IRE). Is this specsmanship or is this real, well our tests did show that the camera performed well in low light. But, I’m not sure most people would be happy with a shutter speed of ½ second, which relates to a frame rate of 2 fps.
Low Light Test
The camera did perform well at low light. It provided a brighter image than the Axis but it did show some amplifier noise. The Sony camera provided an even brighter image.
As mentioned above the Canon IP camera settings are very difficult to deal with. There are actually 3 different setting tools in the main menu plus a separate tool for remote lens angle setting. Two of the setting tools (Admin Viewer and Admin Tools) did not work in IE version 10. They will only work in IE 9 or below. Canon said they are working on correcting this, but there was no timeline provided.
The top menu screen is shown below
To do some of the video setup you need to select the Admin Viewer:
This will allow you to adjust the focus, exposure, shutter speed, and white balance. There are fewer settings than the Axis or Sony cameras, but the most important light settings are grouped in this viewer. Some of the same camera settings are also located in the Setting Page. This is confusing, but it’s better to use the Admin Viewer since this is where you can see the result of any changes you have made.
Click on the Admin Tools and you will get to the next menu:
And from there you can select like the Privacy Mask, Intelligent Function Setting Tool, Recorded Video Utility, Preset Tool and Log Viewer.
The “Intelligent Function Setting Tool” allows you to set motion detection, and the other analytic detectors.
These settings were easy to understand, once we got into the menu, and allowed us to adjust the settings for best performance.
Video Analytic Functions
The Canon camera includes a number of special analytic features that enhance security such as Moving Object Detection, Removed Object Detection, Abandoned Object Detection, Camera Tampering Detection, Volume Level Detection, and a new Passing (or “tripwire”) Detection.
There is also an audio detection alarm that is available, but it is located in the Settings Menu (confusing), and the trigger level is very difficult to set correctly because it doesn’t provide a visual level of existing background noise (which the Axis camera does very well).
In summary the camera settings, alerts, and other controls are very confusing, but there is a lot of functionality available..
Shade Control and Backlight Compensation
If you have a scene where there is a very bright area in the background, it will cause the object in the foreground to appear in silhouette. You can use backlight compensation or Shade Control to compensate for this.
If you turn on backlight compensation, the camera will try to adjust to the darker part of the scene so you can see the object in the foreground, but the background will appear washed out.
If you want to see the objects in the foreground as well as the objects in the background you need to use the Shade Control function. There are various levels of adjustment from 1 to 9 (strong). The higher the number the more you can see, but it does introduce some noise in the picture.
The Canon VB-610VE is a good camera with powerful setup controls that allow you to adjust the position of the camera and lens after it has been installed (pan, tilt, and zoom), but the configuration and setup tools are confusing and difficult to use. The video performance was good but not as good as the Axis and Sony cameras. The camera includes some advanced features such as missing object, left object, and other video analytic functions. The indoor camera is priced at MSRP $1299 and the outdoor version lists at $1569.