360° panomorph lens from FUJIFILM: Fujinon DF360SR4A-SA2
360° panomorph lens from FUJIFILM: Fujinon DF360SR4A-SA2

FUJIFILM Corporation has introduced the Fujinon DF360SR4A-SA2 to join its line of wide angle lenses for use in security cameras. The new lens is a day/night type lens compatible with 5 megapixel high-resolution 1/2.5” cameras. It has a 182-degree field of view to eliminate dead blind spots and capture the peripheral edges of the area being monitored at premium picture quality. DF360SR4A-SA2 uses the panomorph technology of ImmerVision, the market leader in 360-degree panoramic imaging, as well as the high-precision aspherical lens element, built with Fujifilm's cutting-edge optical simulation technology. The combination improves the image resolution through to the corners of the frame, which are generally more prone to degradation than the frame's centre. This enables high-definition image capture across all corners for easy recognition of any persons. Furthermore, since DF360SR4A-SA2 is a day / night lens, it provides clear, sharp images even in low light at night or at dusk to become a powerful tool for round-the-clock surveillance. About panomorph technology: a technology that uses an ellipse image footprint rather than a circle footprint for increased sensor coverage and amplified resolution along the edges; 'Image footprint' refers to the area where the light that has passed through the lens forms an image. About ImmerVision: a company that licenses optical and software technologies concerning 360-degree panoramic imaging to lens manufacturers and software developers around the world.

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FUJIFILM Europe showcased wide range of Fujinon zoom lenses at IFSEC 2017
FUJIFILM Europe showcased wide range of Fujinon zoom lenses at IFSEC 2017

At this year's IFSEC, the FUJIFILM Europe booth focused on the great variety of high-quality Fujinon zoom lenses. Highlights on the booth were the Full HD zoom lens series with 32x and 60x optical magnification that were presented in live demonstrations. Both lens series combine large optical zoom ratios with high resolutions and large sensor formats of 1/1.8” and 2/3”.The new 32x zoom lenses impress with Full HD image quality across the entire zoom range with maximum focal lengths of up to f = 400 mm (FD32x12.5SR4A) and f = 500mm (FH32x15.6SR4A). To respond to increasing market demands for colour images even in low light, the lenses are designed for large sensor sizes of 1/1.8” and 2/3”. The built-in visible-light-cut filter enables reliable performance even in fog, rain and snow. Analogue control for zoom, focus and iris is supported as well as serial control via RS232C interface for operation by PC. In addition, the lenses support the widely used Pelco-D protocol. Added value for easy operation: Improved back focus adjustment for simple handling during set-up; Compact size (20% smaller than before) to fit into a great variety of housings; Control panels on top of the lens body enable direct access to adjustment functions - easy handling even after the installation into a housing; Higher installation stability due to additional affixing holes downside. The 60x telezoom lens series D60x16.7 and D60x20 feature 2 megapixel Full HD resolution. The D60x16.7 lenses are designed for a maximum sensor size of 1/1.8” and cover a focal length range of f = 16.7 ~ 1000 mm while the D60x20 lenses offer a focal length range of f = 20 ~ 1200mm on 2/3” sensors. Thanks to the built-in 2x extender the focal length can be doubled, giving clear identification and recognition of objects at 4 km distance. Discover additional features such as: Anti-vibration technology: built-in optical image stabilisation due to moving glass elements inside the lens. This unique optical image stabilisation technology compensates for image vibration; the result is a stable picture even at long focal lengths Remote controllable built-in filter system: 2 types of ND selection for observation suitable at most light conditions. A visible-light-cut filter gives advantages in most critical weather conditions such as fog and rain Autofocus function: the one-shot autofocus system enables accurate and reliable focusing based on contrast measurement within the scene Precise lens control by PC: adjust zoom, focus and iris by your computer via RS232C interface

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FUJIFILM Europe's wide range of Fujinon zoom lenses at Security Essen
FUJIFILM Europe's wide range of Fujinon zoom lenses at Security Essen

FUJIFILM at Security Essen This years' booth of FUJIFLM Europe at Security Essen focused on the great variety of high quality Fujinon zoom lenses. The highlights on the booth were the Full HD zoom lens series with 32x and 60x optical magnification that were presented in live demonstrations. To respond to increasing market demands for colour images even in low light, the lenses are designed for large sensor sizes of 1/1.8” and 2/3”. Fujinon zoom lenses The 60x telezoom lens series D60x16.7 and FH60x20 feature 2 megapixel Full HD resolution. The D60x16.7 lenses are designed for a maximum sensor size of 1/1.8” and cover a focal length range of f = 16.7 ~ 1000 mm while the FH60x20 lenses offer a focal length range of f = 20 ~ 1200mm on 2/3” sensors. Thanks to the built-in 2x extender the focal length can be doubled, giving clear identification and recognition of objects at 4 km distance. Discover additional features such as optical image stabilisation, built-in “Fog-Filter” and Autofocus function. The 32x zoom lenses impress with Full HD image quality across the entire zoom range with maximum focal lengths of up to f = 400 mm (FD32x12.5SR4A) and f = 500mm (FH32x15.6SR4A). To respond to increasing market demands for colour images even in low light, the lenses are designed for large sensor sizes of 1/1.8” and 2/3”. The built-in visible-light-cut filter enables reliable performance even in fog, rain and snow.

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Fujinon PL 85-300 Fujifilm unveils two new lenses
Fujinon PL 85-300 Fujifilm unveils two new lenses

FUJIFILM Europe GmbH, Optical Devices Division is introducing two new high-performance FUJINON lenses: the PL 85-300 light weight zoom  lens (model ZK3.5x85) and the XA99x8.4BESM ultra-wide field production lens. The PL 85-300, a PL Mount zoom lens in the Premier PL digital cinematography family, capitalises on the popularity and success of its predecessor, the PL19-90mm Compact zoom (Model ZK4.7x19). The new XA99x8.4 is a box style HD lens, ideal for producing live sports and entertainment events. PL 85-300 Compact Zoom Lens While the PL 85-300 is similar in size and weight as the PL 19-90, its longer lens makes it ideal for shooting documentaries, nature and wildlife, and car commercials, among other demanding production scenarios. The PL 85-300 offers a focal length of 85-220mm at T2.9 and 300mm at T4.0, with 200-degree focus rotation. Designed using the latest optical simulation technology, the PL 85-300 compact zoom not only offers exceptional optical performance in the center of the image but in the corners of the frame as well. Like the highly acclaimed PL 19-90 compact zoom, the PL 85-300 is equipped with the same indispensable features including flange focal distance adjustment, a MOD of 1.2m, a macro function for objects as close as 97mm (3.8-inches), and covers a 31.5mm sensor size. The digital servo’s 16-bit encoding assures operators that all lens data output—such as the position of the zoom, iris, and focus—is extremely accurate and the lens supports Lens Data System (LDS) and /i metadata formats. Like the PL 19-90 Compact zoom, the new PL 85-300 features an exclusive detachable servo drive unit, making it suitable for use as a standard PL lens or as an ENG-style lens. And the PL 85-300 can be controlled using cinema industry standard wireless controllers as well as existing FUJINON wired and wireless units. The other Premier PL Mount Series lenses are available in 14.5-45mm T2.0, 18-85mm T2.0, 24-180mm T2.6, and 75-400 mm T2.8-T3.8 ranges. “We designed the new PL 85-300, and the entire Premier PL zoom lens family, to give professional cinematographers and videographers the utmost in features and versatility. We believe that a wide array of choices help them match the right lens with the unique demands of their high-end productions,” said Thom Calabro, director, Marketing and Product Development, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Optical Devices Division. “Versatility means that videographers accustomed to shooting ENG-style will be right at home with a servo attached to the lens, while cinematographers who shoot projects like feature films and commercials can opt to shoot without it,” Calabro explained. “Cinematographers will also like that this lens accepts industry standard cine motors and matte boxes.” XA99x8.4 Ultra-Wide Lens The new XA99x8.4 ultra-wide field production lens offers a zoom range of 99x, a focal length of 8.4 to 832mm, and MOD of 2.9m. The XA99x is f1.7 to 341mm and f4.2 at 832mm. Like other lenses in this product line, including the XA77x9.5, XA88x8.8, XA8812.5 and the XA101x8.9, the XA99x8.4 offers FUJINON’s DIGI POWER digital controls (featuring F number limit), Quick Zoom, two-shot presets, a 2X extender, and other precision digital functions increasing production flexibility. “The XA99x Ultra Wide is outstanding in its class because it combines high-performance imaging, a long zoom reach, and an ultra-wide angle,” said Calabro. “Since it’s extremely rugged, versatile, and reliable, this telephoto zoom lens is ideal for even the most demanding live sports production.” The XA99x8.4 features a newly developed patented image stabilization technology for rock-steady performance, which is especially critical for long-distance HD shots. High-resolution 16-bit encoders are standard, making it suitable to virtual, robotic, and digital signage, among other applications. FUJINON’s exclusive GO-Technology improves image resolution and chromatic aberrations at all focal lengths. This 2/3-inch telephoto field lens employs the latest High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating (HT-EBC) resulting in richer colors and greatly improved blue response and transmittance. HT-EBC coupled with FUJINON’s exclusive Aspheric Technology reduce ghost and flare and increase light transmission. A proprietary anti-fogging design minimizes lens fogging and reduces downtime due to moisture—a critical concern when shooting in all types of weather conditions.

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FUJIFILM Fujinon HF-12M series machine vision lenses
FUJIFILM Fujinon HF-12M series machine vision lenses

FUJIFILM Europe GmbH has launched of new Fujinon HF-12M series as top-of-the-range machine vision lenses for use in inspection and measurement applications in production lines. The HF-12M lenses can resolve the high resolution of up to 12 megapixels with a pixel pitch of 2.1µm. All models of the new series maintain the high level of even sharpness from the image centre up to the corners and compensate for the resolution degradation that typically occurs when changing working distance or aperture value. This enables the consistent delivery of high-resolution images even under varying installation and shooting conditions at the manufacturing frontline. Small light body Despite the high resolution, the lenses surprise with the smallest and lightest body compared to other high resolution lenses that are currently available on the market, measuring only 33mm in outer diameter. Fujinon HF-12M series is available in five models of various focal lengths from 8 mm to 35 mm and is officially designed for 2/3” sensors, but especially the longer focal lengths are applicable on larger sensor sizes of up to 1/1.2” as well. All models offer low-distortion design and small working distances as of 100mm. Therefore they are very flexible and reliable for a wide range of applications. The combination of high resolution implemented in a small size makes the new Fujinon series unique lenses on the market. Product names and focal lengths HF818-12M 8mm F1.8 MOD 100mm HF1218-12M 12mm F1.8 MOD 100mm HF1618-12M 16mm F1.8 MOD 100mm HF2518-12M 25mm F1.8 MOD 100mm HF3520-12M 35mm F2.0 MOD 200mm Main featuresAdvanced optical performance When the iris (aperture) is set at the orange F4 marker on the lens barrel the HF-12M series offers the highest resolving power of 2.1µm pixel pitch on a 2/3” sensor, which is equivalent to 12 megapixels. The HF-12M maintains ultra-high definition with 2.7µm in the whole frame area; even on sensor sizes of up to 1/1.2”Small size Despite being high-resolution lenses, all five models come in a compact form measuring only 33mm in diameter. The small size makes the lenses the smallest lenses currently available on the market compared to other Machine Vision lenses within this resolution segment. This allows installation flexibility even in manufacturing facilities with space constraints. Edge-to-edge sharpness Due to physical properties the resolution varies when working distance or aperture is changed, but thanks to the unique optical design this resolution degradation is minimised. The new Fujinon lenses maintain their high resolving power from the image centre to all corners even when the aperture is wide open under low light conditions as well as over changing working distances. This enables a flexible usage of the lenses in versatile applications with constant image quality. Added value General machine vision lenses use iris and focus locking screws with a head protruding out from the lens body, potentially causing interference within the machine vision system. Fujinon HF-12M comes with regular locking screws as well as headless compact screws, which can be countersunk into the lens body to minimise interference with the machine vision system, thereby increasing flexibility in system installation and design.

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Fujinon HF6XA-5M wide-angle lens for Machine Vision
Fujinon HF6XA-5M wide-angle lens for Machine Vision

FUJIFILM Europe GmbH has announced the release of the new lens HF6XA-5M for Machine Vision applications as an addition to the Fujinon HF-XA series. This new lens offers 6mm focal length, supports 3.45 µm pixel pitch on a 2/3” sensor format (equals 5 megapixels) and delivers stable sharpness from the image centre to the corners.  The Fujinon HF-XA series consists of five high performance fixed focal length lenses with focal lengths between 8mm and 35mm. The new lens HF6XA-5M enlarges the HF-XA series at the wide end with a focal length of 6mm for 2/3” sensors. With an angle of view of 75° x 58° (on 2/3”) and a MOD of 100mm the lens fits perfectly to applications that require a short working distance and a wide image angle at the same time. The lens maintains the high resolving power of 5 megapixels (3.45 µm pixel pitch) from the image centre to all corners even when the aperture is wide open under low light conditions as well as over changing working distances. Thanks to the small body measuring just 33mm in outer diameter and the slightly larger front lens of 39mm, the HF6XA-5M can easily be integrated into compact inspection devices with restricted internal space in industrial image processing. Furthermore, each lens has three holes for locking screws that allow for the iris and the focus ring to be adjusted from more flexible angles.  Product name and focal length  HF6XA-5M 6mm F1.9 MOD 100mm Main features: Short focal length: with the short focal length of 6mm on 2/3” the lens covers a wide angle of view even at a short working distance 5 Megapixel resolution: The lens maintains high resolution from the image centre to the corners and fully resolves at the pixel pitch of 3.45 μm for 2/3” camera sensors - even with change of working distances and apertures Compact and lightweight body: with a front lens diameter of only 39mm the lens contributes to the reduction of the overall system size Designed for installation convenience: Three screw holes each are provided on the iris ring and the focus ring. Choose the most convenient position for affixing iris and focus even when space is limited in imaging systems  In 2016, Fujifilm released the Fujinon HF-XA series of five lenses for Machine Vision applications. This lens series achieves both constant high resolution even with changing working distances and aperture settings and a compact design with an external diameter of 29.5mm. In order to respond to the need for a wide-angle lens with even wider coverage of an object, the new 6mm lens HF6XA-5M was developed. With this addition, Fujifilm´s portfolio of lenses for Machine Vision can cover even more applications, is more versatile in use and therefore more valuable for the customers.

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CCTV camera lenses - Expert commentary

HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade
HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade

According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analogue, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure overhaul for HD video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analogue HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy solutions for HD video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analogue systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analogue solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analogue technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping video delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetise their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analogue systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing network hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilise a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying surveillance through one DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analogue or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analogue systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression.  HD casino surveillance made simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analogue system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximising existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.

Saving lives with effective security control centre design
Saving lives with effective security control centre design

When people think of control rooms, images from James Bond movies or intense action stories come to mind. What they fail to realise is the incredible level of ergonomics, technology, precision and craftsmanship required to create a top-notch command and control room. “These are rooms of complex functionalities, where hundreds of elements must be integrated and function in sync,” says Jim Coleman, National Sales Manager, AFC Industries. Professional teams from several different industries must coordinate every single detail in order to ensure that functionality occurs each and every time. Reconfigurable furniture for control rooms AFC Industries is one company that specialises in equipping control rooms for security and other applications. AFC Industries was established in 1994 as a family-owned business that focuses on the design and construction of ergonomic products. Their height-adjustable units guarantee the right height for standing desks as well as traditional sitting levels. The company produces an array of Command and Control ergonomic security consoles and mounting solutions. Modular racking systems facilitate efficient storage of electronic and audio-visual equipment. As technology changes, older traditional consoles are no longer a necessity. Many organisations instead are choosing to use lighter, less costly, reconfigurable furniture that allows more flexibility. Command Centres need to be able to reconfigure the space at will. Because most systems are housed in secure data centres, users should be able to quickly move their positions by relocating their workstations, utilising different network connections. Simple control room features, like those addressing lighting or operator comfort, can make the difference in a correct or incorrect decision during a crisis Emergency operations centres A positive trend driving the market for control rooms is an increase in emergency operations centres (EOCs), says Randy Smith, President of Winsted. “Everybody is concerned about what happens in an emergency,” says Smith, and the centres are popping up as a tool for emergency preparedness. It’s another environment where sit-stand work stations are the rule. Winsted’s product lines include stock modular and customised elements in good-better-best categories – from basic to lots of “bells and whistles;” jobs can be configured from modular elements or customised as needed. Customised control rooms for seamless operation There is a lot at stake in control room design: Lives can depend on how effectively a control room functions in an emergency. Control rooms should seamlessly accommodate both everyday occurrences and crisis situations, says Matko Papic, Chief Technology Officer of Evans Consoles. Better-operating control rooms can increase efficiency and reduce and/or mitigate risk. Simple control room features, like those addressing lighting or operator comfort, can make the difference in a correct or incorrect decision during a crisis. Addressing operator comfort can reduce the possibility of workers’ compensation claims. End users are seeing multiple benefits of creating a better operating environment, better sightlines, more comfort and attention to ergonomics. As a fully integrated control room solutions provider, Evans Consoles approaches the needs of a control room environment beginning in the conceptual/operational planning stage. They consider broad issues such as how information will be processed, the interface between technology and operators, and the cognitive and physical interactions of operators – understanding that these factors drive the layout and function of control rooms. After analysing tasks to be performed in the environment, Evans lays out the consoles to meet those needs. Rather than a predesigned solution, each installation is tailored around a specific application. Read part 2 of our Control Rooms series here

HD surveillance: Secrets to producing the best possible image quality
HD surveillance: Secrets to producing the best possible image quality

Many end-users shell out the cash to acquire the newest high-end devices, plug in, and expect to be wowed A well-developed surveillance system can give a single security guard the power to see what otherwise might take a hundred pairs of eyes to see. But what happens when all the components are all connected and powered up, and the resulting image on the screen is, well, indiscernible, or, at the very least, terribly pixelated? Many end-users shell out the cash to acquire the newest high-end devices, plug in, and expect to be wowed. Often enough, however, what they see on the screen is not what they were expecting – and they wonder what they just paid for. In a good high-definition system, what factors actually create the best image quality? With so many variables involved, from the camera’s lens to the imaging algorithms to the monitor resolution – just to name the obvious ones – how do system integrators achieve the best on-screen images?   The lens The first component to handle light from an object, this may be the one most taken for granted in cameras of any sort. (Just try scratching or cracking one and you’ll agree.) In the days of analogue cameras, it seemed that any old lens would do just fine. However, as the technology inside cameras evolved and more powerful sensors (more pixels) became available, engineers and programmers demanded more from lenses. Moreover, intelligent video content analyses would be impossible without high-accuracy lenses.In what way do lenses impact the image quality? The key factor here is light transmission. The quality of light passing through the lens itself will forever be critical to the quality of image reproduced. A lens made using ultra-precision molding aspherical technology achieves more accurate colour, better light, and clearer images. Multilayer broadband anti-reflection coating further maximises a lens's light transmission while minimising the residual reflection of light on the surface of each optical lens. Variables involved include the camera’s lens, the imaging algorithms and the monitor resolution When it comes to fabricating a megapixel lens that hits the mark, the materials used and the processes by which lenses are produced are the two most critical criteria. The materials most often used to create lenses are glass and specialised plastics. An HD lens made of ultra-low-dispersion optical glass – which, by using dispersion characteristics that are different from those of conventional optical glass – will deliver better HD performance. Machine-automated lens production using specialised plastics results in high output for camera producers, and the lenses produced are more uniform in design and quality. For an HD vari-focal lens, its image quality depends largely on the precision of the cam. The cam rotates to drive the zoom and focus lens groups forward and backward for a smooth continuity of focal length and adjustment of the focal point. A lack of precision with the cam inevitably causes an offset or tilt of the lens' optical axis during zooming and focusing, leading to a serious loss of image quality. Lens production is a delicate balancing act. The slightest errors or imperfections will be very noticeable when tested Lens production is a delicate balancing act. The slightest errors or imperfections will be very noticeable when tested. The features of a lens that affect image resolution, clarity, and contrast must be perfect. Achieving uniformity of image resolution at the centre and the edges of a lens requires high-precision machinery. And once a lens has been properly crafted, the assembly of the camera, the lens housing materials, and the alignment of the optical axis demand utmost accuracy. To put it mildly, quality control must be rigorous. Image signal processing As light passes through the lens, the sensor captures it and converts it to data. Raw RGB data is transmitted by the camera sensor and undergoes Image Signal Processing (ISP) such as noise reduction, white balance, WDR, curve correction and colour correction, etc. The data is then transformed to true colours for each pixel point, for people to see images that look “normal” to the human eye. It is the Image Signal Processing that defines the final image quality on the screen. Collecting data in different conditions is vital, for instance, outdoor data should be analysed with natural light on days with sun, overcast, rain, and fog, at dawn, at dusk, and so on. Similarly, when using cameras equipped with infrared sensors, testing the IR light signals in various conditions is necessary as well.  Actual image performance depends upon variables such as low light illumination, signal to noise ratio, dynamic range of light, and more. ISP algorithms aim at increasing the signal data and decreasing noise. Cameras with Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) will yield improved video imaging with both background and foreground objects in high contrast or high-backlight environments, maximising the amount of detail in brighter and darker areas in one field-of-view. In scenes with low contrast and low light, the sensors deliver digital image signals and at the same time send some amount of digital noise that directly hinders image clarity. Three-dimensional digital noise reduction (3D DNR) removes unwanted artifacts from an image, reducing graininess. Where cloudy weather poses a challenge, auto-defogging technology helps to identify the density of fog or rain with gray-white colour ratio analysis, and imbues images with true colour reproduction. Ramping up the megapixels and frame rates yields great video, but also results in more bandwidth used and more storage occupied Matching megapixels to image quality When the factors mentioned above line up well, correlating cameras and monitors creates the best viewing experience. When a high definition camera is in place, a monitor with a high resolution will display images much more clearly. But if the monitor’s resolution is low, it will not deliver the high-quality images expected – or possible – from that HD camera. For an 8 MP camera, for instance, users do best to apply monitors with 4K × 2K resolution. Though common sense, this deserves to be mentioned because users might decide to upgrade their systems with 4K monitors, but with perhaps 1.3 MP cameras installed. In such a scenario, there’s no guarantee the on-screen image quality will automatically improve. Managing data and bandwidth In terms of a complete, high definition surveillance system, when the right factors come together and the calibrations are set, image quality – even in a standard HD 1080p setup – can be extremely good. The final piece of the puzzle is managing the data. Ramping up the megapixels and frame rates yields great video, but also results in more bandwidth used and more storage occupied. Squeezing bandwidth threatens image quality and clarity, but keeping ample room for signal transmission and storage will eventually increase the overall cost for customers. Is it possible for integrators to optimise their customer’s system and, at the same time, stay within budget constraints? Luckily, it can be done. Squeezing bandwidth threatens image quality and clarity, but keeping ample room for signal transmission and storage increases the overall cost for customers To do this, a more efficient video encoding solution would allow an improvement in compression efficiency of 40–50% over H.264. Improvements to algorithms that are adaptive to a particular scene give users control over bitrate. Another option would be to start recording video only when an event triggers an alarm, since most security guards are primarily concerned with moving objects rather than a scene’s generally stagnant background. This intelligently helps optimise bandwidth and storage consumption. Another method is to use a single panoramic or fisheye camera in place of several HD cameras for coverage – the reduced number of security devices will reduce bandwidth demands and the rate of storage consumption as well. Getting the best image quality Now let’s put this all together. Naturally, integrators and users will refer to their product specs to understand features and functions, fine-tuning each component for best results. Also, as suggested above, users should select an HD camera comprehensively in terms of lens performance, pixels, image quality, and overall system compatibility and performance. Next, matching the backend device and management platform should be carefully considered in a complete security system. Installing equipment that has been engineered for a given scene is a must, along with strategising how to get the most coverage out of the lowest number of cameras. Finally, product quality, warranty, price, and on-going customer service are all important factors that customers should take into account as well.