Unfortunately for society today, there is an increasing need for quality surveillance - it’s almost mandatory that businesses incorporate security into their list of ‘must haves’. Canon’s new VB-C500VD vandal-resistant mini dome network camera is suited to a wide variety of applications where discreet high quality surveillance over a network is needed, and its wide angle lens means it’s ideal for positioning in tight places, like around ATMs, schools, lobbies, and shopping malls. If set to motion-activation mode, this PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera can send emails or cell phone messages instantly, and being a PoE (power over Ethernet) device, it uses a single LAN cable to power the camera and transfer video and audio data when connected to a PoE switch, saving on installation costs.

Surveillance cameras are often the target of vandalism or tampering and this camera is designed to resist both. The exterior of the VB-C500VD comprises high-shock resistant materials, reducing the possibility of outer damage. The base is made of a heat-resistant polycarbonate and ABS mixture, the body from tough alloyed aluminum, and the dome cover casing is made of strong polycarbonate plastic.

The company says its unique shock absorbing mechanism effectively reduces high impact blows to the camera housing, protecting the camera inside. And tamper-proof screws that prevent removal by ordinary screwdrivers add another level of security.

The VB-C500VD features a genuine Canon wide angle lens with an 82° horizontal field of view and image clarity throughout the entire field of view.

The 2.4x optical zoom lens makes the VB-C500VD ideal for close monitoring of tight spaces such as ATMs and elevator lobbies. Easy to setup, the zoom can be set to magnify or close-up into areas of importance.

The high-precision lens used in the VB-C500VD delivers high resolution video in a variety of conditions - the bright F1.1 diameter lens combined with high-sensitivity CCD provides optimal contrast even in low light.

Canon says its exclusive DIGIC NET technology ensures high image quality and high speed communication. An advanced pivoting axis lets users position the camera at exactly the angle they need, while genuine Canon optics ensure the sharpest, most color-perfect images possible.

The VB-C500VD utilizes a progressive-scan CCD to allow for the capture of noise-less, high quality video (M-JPEG or MPEG-4) of moving subjects. You can even see color images down to low as 0.2 lux. Plus, the Auto Day/Night mode feature switches automatically in dark night-time conditions.

If the background of an image is too bright to see main subjects, the VB-C500VD allows you adjust the contrast of the darker areas to make it easier to see. Unlike backlight compensation, the shade correction adjusts darker areas of the image while maintaining the brightness of the brighter areas so the background image remains clear. Since this process occurs in the camera, image degradation is minimized and the load on the system is reduced.

M-JPEG and MPEG4 video

The VB-C500VD allows you to record video in either M-JPEG or MPEG-4 video formats. M-JPEG captures a stream of individual JPEG images, while MPEG4 captures changes to images to create video. Each has its advantages based on your monitoring needs. The high image quality of M-JPEG video is suited for live monitoring, while MPEG-4 is ideal for recording due to its smaller file size and lighter network load.

The VB-C500VD uses DIGIC NET - a powerful, proprietary hardware-based compression engine that performs all image processing and encoding. Cameras that process or encode images via PC software use a lot of CPU power resulting in lowered frame rates. But Canon says with the DIGIC NET, each step of the image capture, processing, encoding, and transmission process uses virtually zero PC CPU power.

The VB-C500VD can simultaneously deliver both M-JPEG and MPEG-4 video in high quality VGA size (640x480) at the maximum frame rate of 30fps with no loss in frame rate. The camera supports IPsec and performs onboard data encryption without any loss in frame rate. Each camera offers support for up to 30 simultaneous clients (users accessing and viewing video images at the same time).

The VB-C500VD can distribute M-JPEG images in three sizes simultaneously (640x480, 320x240, 160x120). The 160x120 size comes in handy for image upload mobile devices, the 320x240 size is useful when monitoring multiple cameras on a single screen, and 640x480 is ideal for saving when high image quality is desired.

If there's a break in data transmission, live frames from that period are typically not sent, resulting in lost frames until the connection resumes. The VB-C500VD's Recorded Stream Functionality enables the camera to retain and send the frames from that period to the recording server when the connection resumes. When playing back the recorded video, all frames are included, at the proper frame rate (up to 10fps).

The VB-C500VD has built-in motion detection capability, allowing you to set up to four motion detection areas with varying levels of sensitivity. Pre-recorded audio can also be set to playback.

In addition, the VB-C500VD has an image Upload and Email Notification feature. When subject motion is detected, or if an external sensor is triggered, the camera is equipped to automatically send the images to a desired location via FTP/HTTP/SMTP. For example, the camera can automatically send images to a mobile phone or email address. Pre-recorded audio can also be set to playback.

The camera can transmit and receive audio in real time from an authorized networked PC, allowing simultaneous two-way audio. Authorized personnel can listen in on a camera site, make announcements to the scene of the camera, or do both at the same time. An optional audio interface cable is required (WA500-VB).

The VB-C500VD comes with a built-in Web Viewer for live monitoring and basic camera control, such as controlling the camera's PTZ movements. It's also bundled with network video recording software VK-Lite, a software application that lets you monitor, record, and play back images from up to four cameras from a single screen – straight out of the box.

On-screen display functions show date, time, and camera name (or any character combination up to 15 characters) which can be embedded into the video, while each camera name on the video helps to distinguish different cameras at a glance.

The VB-C500VD offers ultra-wide coverage of pan: 350º (± 175º), tilt 150º(± 90º), and rotation 350º (± 175º)- making it easy and flexible to adjust the camera angle. Adjustments can be made to set your preferred shooting direction when mounting on the ceiling or wall.

The camera is priced at USD$999 and will be available from late October.

View gallery - 7 images