Monday, May 12, 2008

ISC West Report

This was my first ISC West. Being based in New York City, with my office being a 5 minute walk from the Javits Center, I usually attend ISC East. That show takes up most of a day. ISC West is a good day and a half. So I didn't get to see everything on my list- I had to skip Bosch, DVTech, and Fujinon, as well as any booth that wasn't outright CCTV related. Any booth that I did get to was a hit and run, with me asking the show personnel "what's cool?" Booths that responded well to the question "what's cool" as well as having something that actually is "cool" are as follows (warning- the term "cool" is defined by me):

Axis has an H.264 single channel encoder. Streams 30 FPS at D1 (720x480). Supports numerous PTZ protocols. 2 way audio. With PoE, SD card slot, motion detection, tamper alarm, audio detection. 9MB buffer for pre and post alarm recording.

Marshall has two incredibly impressive lenses. They aren't on the website yet, but there is one 300mm, f3.75 lens, and one 140mm, f1.0 lens- the 140mm is practically a starlight lens! The 140mm has a field of view of 3 degrees H by 2 degrees V (using a ½" chip). They should be out in the summer. Special order only. Use a good tripod, these lenses are humongous. Marshall had these lenses mounted 503HDV, 351MVB2K kits. MSRP may or may not be $2499 on the 140mm.

Speaking of starlight, Bolide will have a starlight box camera- 1/3", 0.001 lux, 560 VTL in color and an incredible 620VTL in b&w. Digital noise reduction, and variable power from 8VDC to 30 VAC. I recommend Tamron IR coated lenses for this one.

Arecont Vision has a line of mega pixel cameras that compress video in H.264 right in the camera. Streams 1920x1080 in 16:9 format, in 30, and 15 FPS, with 1.3, 2, 3, and 5 mega pixel versions. The company says "The new cameras will also support RTP protocol for direct streaming of H.264 video into third-party software players, such as Apple's QuickTime, as well as custom TFTP protocol for streaming into Arecont Vision's own AV100 software, and other custom software applications developed using Arecont's SDK." I think that means you can use this camera for custom apps like traffic watch.

Everfocus has a new Wide Dynamic Range version of their famous vandal proof domes, the EHD 650. 480 VTL, and 0.08 lux. As usual it has a heater and blower, and comes with a varifocal lens.

Panasonic has a high definition video decoder with HDMI out called the WJ-GXD400. Supports 1 video at 1920x1080 with audio. Use with a mega pixel camera. They also announced the WJ-ND400 NVR, replacement for the ND400. It will ship with 500GB storage, expandable to 4.5TB onboard or 27TB with external units. No info on the Panasonic site yet. This is part of their new megapixel line.

Probably the most astonishing thing I saw at the show was the super wide angle lenses fromTheia. 1.3mm mega pixel pan focus lenses… with no distortion! It needs to be seen to be believed. I, personally, love lenses, and this goes against everything I know about lenses. It requires no power- all correction is done optically. Good for dPTZ and video forensics.

Of course, there is the SV35.3 series of hard drives from Seagate. Drives are the least visible, least glamorous, most important part of the CCTV system, and buying good drives are important. Available up to 1TB.

Some company I never heard of called Dotworkz has a line of wireless IP housings. Very nice.

Nothing I saw seemed very revolutionary. Everyboday was talking "H.264" and "storage" and "IP". Seems some companies are abandoning analog cameras entirely, and focusing on IP cameras and networking. Good thing too, except the security industry seems a bit lost as to this whole IP thing. It requires a whole new way of thinking, and some people just don't get it. For example- storage. We're all used to thinking of video storage as something expensive, so we compress video as much as possible to fit as much time as we can on the same amount of space. Video tape is expensive to buy and bulky so it's difficult to store. But we don't use video tape anymore, we use hard drives. And hard drives are so cheap nowadays it's virtually free. A 750GB SV35.3 Seagate hard drive is only $200 more than a 250GB hard drive (retail!) but the difference between a DVR with 160GB onboard and 1TB onboard is $1000 or more. There's no good reason why any DVR from any manufacturer should ship with less than 500GB of space.

The H.264 revolution could have gone in one of two ways. Either the DVR manufacturers could have decided to use the same resolution and just saved more video, or they could have saved the amount of video we're used to at a far higher resolution and frame rate. I applaud the companies that have decided to go in the second direction.

On a personal note, I got to meet Geoff Kohl at's booth. I told him how much I appreciate this forum, which allows me to get a glimpse into the minds of the most imoportant users of CCTV- security guards and managers. Kudos.


John Honovich said...

Have you used the Theia lenses in any projects?

Just looking to see how it actually does work and what benefits people are seeing.



The CameraMan said...

not yet, but they did have a live display that impressed the heck out no me.