Canon gets into megapixel security camera market

Las Vegas, March 30, 2011 -- When you arrive at ISC West next week, it will probably be hard to walk the show floors without bumping into new surveillance cameras. In fact, we’ve already received word of new cameras coming from IQinVision, Genetec (an LPR camera), Arktan Systems, Texas Instruments, Axis Communications and others -- and we’re sure to here from other vendors introducing cameras at the show.

One of the notable introductions at the show promises to come from Canon (booth 21061), which just this last week entered the megapixel surveillance video camera market by rolling out three new 1.3-megapixel cameras. Although 1.3-megapixel cameras are clearly not big news at this stage in the market, Chuck Westfall, technical advisor for Canon’s Imaging Technology & Communications Group, said while that Canon wasn’t among the first companies to introduce megapixel video surveillance cameras, the group waited until they could release a high-quality megapixel camera line.

The cameras, which are available in a PTZ, a vandal-resistant fixed dome and a standard fixed dome model, offer such features as multiple output streams (e.g., H.264 and MJPEG), ONVIF compatibility, and low-light performance. Canon specs the cameras as operating at .03 lux in color and at .001 lux in black/white if using slow shutter speeds and Canon’s own Smart Shade Control, a technology which uses the camera’s image processor to brighten the darker/shaded areas of an image without over-brightening the already well-lit areas.

These new cameras – the VB-M40 (PTZ), VB-M600VE (anti-vandal dome) and VB-M600D (standard dome) -- all use lens optics manufactured by Canon itself, plus Canon’s own image processor. Analytics are part of the mix and include removed object, abandoned object and camera tampering detection, plus sound-level thresholds (the cameras have microphones built in), and privacy masking. The PTZ model features a 20x optical zoom; all models offer Power over Ethernet in addition to 12VDC and 24VAC powering options.

Westfall added that Canon is investing significantly in research and development for its security products, and said he expects to see significant expansions in the firm's product lines as those R&D projects come to market.