Panasonic 360° Camera Stands Up to Third Degree

Here is a review of the Panasonic’s WV-SFV481 360⁰ network camera.

You know the old adage, “When it rains it pours”? There seems to be a plethora of 360⁰ cameras in the CCTV market to-day, but that’s a good thing. Competition and innovation drive the market and result in better cameras for everyone. The WV-SFV481 is one of Panasonic‘s offerings in the panoramic view camera market. The company has several models in its 360⁰ series offerings with the WV-SFV480 and the WV-SFV481 being the newest entries in the i-PRO ULTRA 360 class.

Building on previous models, the WV-SFV480 (indoor) and WV-SFV481 (outdoor) cameras both have a 12-megapixel (MP) imager that, when incorporated with the integral fisheye lens, produces a 9MP maximum usable image. Both models are designed to provide maximum coverage of a location/area from a single lens assembly via their wide angle lens. Both cameras are designed to provide 180⁰ viewing across the vertical and horizontal planes from the camera’s single lens. This multiviewing angle capability provides the user with several viewing options, which can reduce the number of cameras required to cover a wide area. I have previously noted the advantage of this technology versus the older wide-angle cameras that only provide a 180⁰ panoramic view via three-four camera assemblies in a single housing. Those camera views often don’t match up well due to alignment issues with the different imagers in the assembly and can’t provide varied multiviews like the Panasonic cameras can.

Panasonic WV-SFV481 360° Network Camera

SPECS

  • Network IP camera
  • Designed for wide area/multiple angle coverage

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Provides multiple views from one camera assembly
  • No proprietary software required to be installed

CONS

  • Onscreen manipulation a bit tricky
  • SD card issues may be a “new camera” bug

Construction
When unpacking my WV-SFV481 camera review unit I noticed something that tends to make someone like me a bit leery. On the face of the camera body was a sticker with the word “sample” emblazoned in red letters. Needless to say this is something that every evaluator hates to see – in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “Is this what the public will be using or a ‘special’ camera?” Hoping I had the shipping version I proceeded to examine the camera and its accessories.

RELATED: Panasonic Network Camera Packed With Installer-Friendly Features

The WV-SFV481 resembles the various mini-domes common in today’s CCTV market and is of average size when compared to other manufacturers. The product is designed as a vandal-resistant camera and carries an IK10 vandal rating highest on the EN 62262 standard. The assembly consists of an upper dome (camera) assembly, an integral mounting plate and a base mounting plate. The base mounting plate is designed to allow the camera to be mounted where wire penetrations are not practical and the use of conduit is called for. The integral mounting plate is used in locations where the wiring can be accessed and secured directly under the camera assembly. All of the case components felt solid and their design and construction appeared to be well thought out. There is a lock/unlock indicator on the side of the camera assembly that is utilized when the base mounting plate is used and is there to show when the camera assembly is aligned with the internal securing screw. This can be a bit tricky to lock in place if you are doing an evaluation and the base mounting plate wasn’t secured to anything. Once the assembly was locked into place I knew (and felt) the mating had occurred properly and the securing screw was easy to fasten down.

The camera is designed to be powered via two sources. As with the majority of IP cameras today, it can be powered via the assembly’s RJ45 connector via PoE, or via a 12VDC power jack allowing external power to be supplied locally if necessary. This model has an operating temperature range of -4⁰ to 122⁰ F, is water-resistant and carries an IP66 rating for the WV-SFV481 model. The camera assembly has a built-in SD card slot that accepts cards up to 64GB. This feature allows the camera to store video locally (both alarmed and regular recordings) and can provide the user’s video management system (VMS) with any lost video images should there be an interruption in the data stream. This slot is located under a trapdoor on the side of the camera assembly, which also houses the network connection lights and reset switches. At first I thought the use of an SD card was going to be a breeze for my testing; unfortunately that thought didn’t last long and will be noted later in this evaluation.

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