Wide Dynamic Range – Panasonic i-Pro WV-SW155
I stumbled across some marketing of the newly released Panasonic i-Pro WV-SW155.
Some of this camera’s main claims to fame are:
a) 128 x broader dynamic range
b) facial recognition technology
c) 720p resolution
That is all well and good.. but they do not tell you the full picture.. For a 720p camera to get really good facial shots, sufficient for facial recognition to a standard admissible in court you really need to position the camera in an ideal location (Low and close to the subject). Panasonic are touting this camera as ideal for transit applications and in those scenarios then its not difficult to get low and close and the wide dynamic range abilities will come in handy (eg: bus with low light interior and bright sunlight outside).
The thing with all the implementations of Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) that we have seen is that in order to get that dynamic range, you must sacrifice either frame rates, image quality or both (generally image quality suffers). It is disappointing that Panasonic have not really tried to go higher resolutions to deal with this. They also do not state anything about having image stabilisation technology which is really required when you are in a vehicle or transport scenario.
In summary, I think it interesting that Panasonic are pushing IP cameras into this market, however compared to the competition of the Axis P3114-R (or P3114-VE) cameras they are nothing new. Even Vivotek and Etrovision are doing similar cameras of very similar specification to the Panasonic WV-SW155. I am yet to actually get my hands on one of these cameras, but my first thoughts are “Too little, too late” for this particular camera. It is exciting to have more players in this area of the market though, only good things can come from the competition and innovation it creates.