In recent years, the video surveillance sector has seen something of a proliferation of HD day/night ruggedised static dome cameras with integral illumination. Often billed as the complete all-in-one package, these units obviously attract much interest from installers and integrators. IC Realtime has released the ICIP-D2000VIR into this sector. Benchmark took a closer look to see if it ticked all the right boxes.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s demand for HD video increases, many installers and integrators are looking towards integrated cameras. Much as with composite video, integrated models are a popular choice because they can deliver an all-in-one complete image capture solution straight from the box.
Supplied with a lens, housing, integral power management and often integral infrared illumination, these cameras typically are fast to install and can be fully operational with minimal set-up. When it comes to IP-enabled HD models, such cameras often additionally incorporate support for edge recording media and PoE.
The market has a number of such devices, ranging from very low cost, basic units which creak a bit in terms of performance, to high end devices with excellent image quality and high functionality.
IC Realtime’s offering in this sector is the ICIP-D2000VIR, an integrated vandal resistant HD static dome camera.
The ICIP-D2000VIR is a day/night static dome camera, which utilises a 1/3 inch Sony progressive scan Exmor CMOS chipset and makes use of the Texas Instruments Da Vinci processing engine. The camera can deliver dual streams, with resolutions of HD1080p, HD720p, 1280 x 1024, 1280 x 960 and D1 on the main stream. Compression can be H.264 (baseline or high profile are also offered) or M-JPEG. Frame rate is up to 25fps. The sub-stream offers resolutions of D1 or CIF, again at rates of up to 25fps.
Bit rate for the main stream can be variable or constant, with a maximum throughput of 8Mbps; this is enough for full HD video, but a tad more would be appreciated in some applications. The secondary sub-stream is capped at 1Mbps.
The camera includes on-board infrared illuminators, and has a quoted range of 10-20 metres, which is a little ambiguous. We did note that with our test unit, of the 15 LEDs, 6 did not have the lenses fitted. We checked the packaging and they hadn’t fallen out, so we can only assume this is a manufacturing flaw. Sensitivity is quoted as 0.2 lux (F1.2).
The lens is a 3-9mm motorised varifocal item. Control is via a small joystick on the camera interior. It can also be set and adjusted via the camera’s GUI. The camera includes a slot for a MicroSD card, and features an alarm input and output. Two way audio is also supported.
Other features include exposure mode, backlight compensation and WDR, video motion detection, privacy masking, etc..
Power input can be via PoE; 12V DC or 24V AC are also supported.
The unit is supplied with a very brief quick start guide; a full manual is on a CD, but ours wasn’t for this specific camera. There was also a manual for software, but no software is included!
The installation process does give the impression that the product isn’t 100 per cent finished. The quick start guide refers you to an installation utility, which isn’t supplied. Whilst many manufacturers at the budget end rely on static IP addresses, if you promise a utility, you should include it.
Connection could not be achieved with the static IP address, so this necessitated a camera reset. It’s not a big problem, but wasted time is never good. As mentioned, the manual isn’t for this specific camera, but there many similarities with the model it is for so you will get by!
Once connected, the next stage was to download and run the driver. This is an executable program on the camera, and loading it had varied results. These weren’t consistent and did seem to indicate that the firmware wasn’t totally smooth.
The first attempts informed us the file was not present. Then it did download but wouldn’t run. In the end we had to download and save the file, restart the PC, run the executable file and restart again to get it to work. Even if such a procedure is normal, there’s little mention of the process is the documentation we received.
A point of note is that whilst the camera seemed stable with Internet Explorer, it gave regular errors (stream overtime) with other browsers.
Once up and running, the menus are fairly straightforward. The GUI is relatively clean, and set-up is as you would expect from a basic camera.
Viewing an HD1080p stream using H.264 and 8Mbps bitrate results in a sharp and detailed image. Colour fidelity is high, and there’s no real noticeable bias towards warm or cool tones. Even at the highest settings the camera doesn’t seem to drop frames. There is a slight blur on very fast motion, but this can be reduced by manually setting the shutter speed.
Latency is low, at around a quarter of one second, and it is consistent so there’s no jumpiness when viewing streams.
Dropping the bitrate has an increasing impact of the detail and quality of the image, and when you hit 4Mbps the compression is still working well, although there are signs of artefacting in bland areas of the image.
As light levels fall, you see degradation at a fairly early point, around 20 lux, especially if you’ve increased the shutter speed to dial out motion blur. Setting this back to 1/25th second does see a slight improvement, and things improve slightly as gain increases between 10 and 5 lux. It’s somewhere in this range that the camera should switch, to our thinking. Sadly it doesn’t and hangs on to a deteriorating colour image until 1 lux, when noise is obvious.
Not only does the camera switch too late, but when the infrared illumination does take over there is an inconsistent level of light across the whole scene. This might be due to some of the LEDs not having lenses fitted.
Motion detection is basic, but it is on a par with the degree of performance expected from an entry level product.
The ICIP-D2000VIR is a relatively new model, and our feeling was that it needs a few software tweaks and a decent manual to get it up to speed with the competition. Whilst you can achieve what you need (with a little patience and perseverance), there are other options available in the market which deliver a smoother installation process.
The general video quality is well implemented, and aside from some minor barreling on the lens at the widest angles, there’s little to fault until light levels drop. There’s very little that you can do to alter the switching point aside from messing with the gain levels, but that impacts on other performance. The camera either needs to give the installer the chance to set the switching point, or automated switching should be earlier.
The camera isn’t a disaster; it’s close to being right, but given the breadth of other options out there it cannot be Recommended unless IC Realtime address the minor issues. We’ll let you know if they do.