Panasonic Network Camera Packed With Installer-Friendly Features

Find out if Panasonic’s Model WV-SFV631L network camera is the best product for your project in SSI’s Bench Test review.

The WV-SFV631L is also equipped with an analog video port, which is indispensable for a field technician. This video output allows a field technician to install the network camera and adjust the field of view with a simple handheld analog monitor. I’d much rather balance a $100 monitor on top of a ladder than a $1,500 laptop any day.

The WV-SFV631I also has an available exterior sun shade for the outdoor models; this is another indispensable item for those installations where the weather is a constant factor on the camera assemblies. I have seen many a camera in the South (Florida especially) where the camera assembly is still fully operational but the dome has met its match with Mr. Sun and it looks like the camera is underwater. I would highly recommend this option for those installations where the sun is a constant factor.


The WV-SFV631L ships with a CD containing the programming software, manual and viewing software. I do not like having to use proprietary software for camera access and programing for two reasons. First, I prefer to be able to have a known IP address so I can go directly to the camera with a network connection on my test bench. This makes the initial camera access easy and, if you screw it up, all you have to do is default the camera’s IP address and start over fresh. Second, I hate having to load multiple camera search & configuration programs on my computer. I don’t like loading programs on my computer that I may use once or twice and then have to uninstall them. You should be able to get to a network camera via Internet Explorer (or your Web browser of choice) and make a quick connection.

I decided to see if I could find the camera assembly via a DHCP assignment on my network before I installed all of the included software. I connected the dome to my PoE switch and waited for
the unit to power cycle. After a few moments I conducted a network scan and located the camera’s assigned IP address. I discovered I was able to access the camera this way and away I went. Once the camera came up, I tried to access the video stream when (you knew it was coming) I discovered I had to load Panasonic’s viewer software to view the camera’s video stream. I allowed the camera to perform its task and it went out to the Web, downloaded the newest version of Panasonic’s Network Camera View 4S, and then s-l-o-w-l-y ran through the setup. I didn’t time it but it definitely seemed like it took much longer to run through the software installation than usual. Once that was accomplished, I was in to the camera and had a great picture on my laptop.


Once in to the WV-SFV631L, I worked my way through the dome’s system menus. Programming the product is similar to other IP cameras on the market, as you can imagine. There are the usual settings available to adjust the name, time, date, IP address and other basic system information. One of the features in the WVSFV631L’s menu is the ability to adjust the four H.264 streams and configure them for individual resolution rates. The streams are also designed to incorporate with Panasonic’s UniPher proprietary System LSI platform. The camera can also be programmed to provide JPEG streams for applications that require it, and has built-in video motion detection.

Another feature available on the WV-SFV631L is the ability to adjust the dome’s zoom and focus, and initiate the autofocus feature through its menus. To test this feature, I moved the dome around and centered on several different field of views. Each time the WV-SFV631L zoomed in or out it would perform the autofocus function and provide a sharp image. This feature is one of the best items manufacturers have come up with in recent years. It is so much easier and convenient to be able to remotely ad
just IP cameras than to have to play the old “hold the dome up and hope you get the lens adjustment right” game.


  • Features: 4/5
  • Construction: 5/5
  • Setup: 5/5
  • Performance: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5
  • The WV-SFV631L is supplied with LED IR technology. When I opened up the dome, I couldn’t tell where the LEDs were. I initially thought maybe my unit didn’t have IR illumination. Once I went through the camera’s settings and testing it, I placed it outside in almost total darkness. The camera’s LEDs kicked in and I was presented with a clear picture that was properly illuminated via the LED IRs. The literature from Panasonic touts the IR illumination and the way it doesn’t bloom the light and cause close objects in the field of view to be “hot” in the picture. The images I observed during my testing confirmed what the literature presented. The unit’s image was very good and the normal hot spots weren’t observed in the images I saw.


    The Panasonic WV-SFV631L is a very good network camera. The dome’s design and construction is solid and the attention given to the helpful items for the installer will be greatly appreciated by those in the field. As noted, the proprietary software requirements can be a pain but you can locate the camera without using the software. Viewing will require the software but it appears it does uninstall completely and doesn’t leave anything behind to mess with your computer. The video images from the camera are excellent and the multiple streams are a nice feature.

    Products are tested and reviewed by R. Grossman and Associates Inc., an independent consulting firm specializing in electronic security products and projects. For more information, visit

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