Surveillance camera lens update at ISC West 2012

March 29, 2012
Tamron and Theia out with hot lens technology to match changing camera market

Talk cameras and you're always hearing about megapixel and IP and analog, but if you don't have the lens, you're not capturing video. I stopped by two leading booths of lenses to see what's new. Here's the quick report:

Tamron's been a well-known producer of lenses for video surveillance as well as industrial vision and photography. They have been know for offering a full complement of lenses and specialty lenses fitting most surveillance cameras. Now at ISC West, the company is even in the thermal imaging space with very high-end germanium lenses. The lenses, which cost thousands of dollars alone, aren't for the new low-end commercial grade thermal cameras you're seeing offered by companies like FLIR, Pelco and Axis. Instead, they've done special OEM work for NEC's high-end thermal cameras. The most impressive thing of these thermal lenses is that they have a smart mechanical system that automatically balances against vibration. In a demo on the show floor, one of the cameras mounted on a vibration device seemed almost perfectly still once the vibration compensation feature was switched on.

Megapixel is all the rage, and one thing you'll always hear about megapixel is that if you buy the megapixel camera, you better have a quality lens or else you won't get the value out of that megapixel investment. Tamron is matching the roll out of 3 megapixel cameras with its model M13VG850IR lens, which is an 8-50mm F/1.6 megapixel 1/3" varifocal telefoto lens. Ask around to companies like IQinVision, and you'll hear similar megapixel Tamron lenses suggested as quality options for today's demanding megapixel cameras. In addition to 3 megapixel lens, the company is also showcasing megapixel lenses for board cameras and 2MP/Full HD zoom lenses (again designed for board cameras, and available in compact and non-compact models, with zoom capabilities up to 30X).

Finally, this may be a lens story, but it's worth noting that Tamron is now in the camera business. It hasn't been long since they introduced a 180-degree view fisheye-based analog camera, but swing by their booth at ISC West and you'll now find a megapixel IP panoramic camera with 180 degrees of view – again using fisheye technology. It's called the Tamron 300QV-P-CM.

Theia is another of the specialty lens makers, and they've got an interesting new lens just in time for ISC West. The company is soft launching it's 5 megapixel P-Iris 9-40 mm telephoto lens, the SL940P. The P in P-iris is for precise iris control, and it essentially talks to the chip to finely focus control iris control and gain to deliver sharp image quality with greater depth of field and improved contrast. It's being developed for cameras that support P-iris technology. Word from Theia is that Axis and ACTi are two of the first developers of camera firms using P-iris technology.