MERIT LI-LIN PIH-7030H Super Eye camera
WHAT OUR EXPERTS SAY...
The PIH-7030H is part of a new range of ‘Super-Eye’ cameras from
Taiwan-based Merit Li-Linn. Various specifications are available, including an
interesting sounding ultra-low light colour model that operates down to 0.01
lux. Although not in the same class, when it comes to low-light performance,
the 7030H can still produce a useable image in poor lighting conditions, but
more about that in a moment. It’s a mains powered colour camera (12volt DV and
24VAC models are also available), based around a 1/3-inch Sony ExView HAD image
sensor with a 752 x 583 pixel array, giving a claimed resolution of 480 lines.
For the record low light sensitivity is down to just 0.1 lux.
Exposure options are auto iris lenses (video or DC controlled types) or a
fixed iris lens and the camera’s AGC and electronic shutter, which operates
over a range of 1/50th to 1/1000th second. White balance is fully automatic and
there’s a switchable backlight function
The camera is built into a surprisingly chunky and not especially
pretty-looking case, with cast alloy end caps and chassis base, covered by a
steel shell. No attempt has been made to weatherproof the camera or protect it
from dirt/dust ingress, though, a range of protective housings are available if
it’s to be used in a hostile environment. A detachable 1/4-inch UNC mount can
be bolted to the top or bottom of the enclosure. At the front there’s a
standard C-mount threaded collar (A CS adaptor ring is supplied). The collar is
itself threaded and screws in and out of the front cap, providing a crude but
effective back-focus adjustment. The collar is fixed into position with a pair
of tiny grub screws set deep into the top and bottom of the front plate; a
suitable Allen key is included with the camera.
Moving around to the back there’s not a lot to see. Immediately above the
captive mains cable is a red power-on LED and a standard 4-pin square socket
for an auto iris lens. Next to the socket that are two buttons for setting line
lock phase, and a recessed adjustment for the iris level. To the right of the
buttons is a 4-way miniature DIP-switch, for turning backlight compensation on
or off, enabling the electronic shutter, selecting internal or line-lock
synchronisation and DC or video controlled auto iris lens. A standard BNC panel
mounted socket next to the mains lead handles composite video output.
Inside the case there are four PCBs. The mains power supply is on the
left side, the CCD image sensor is mounted on small board at the front, on the
right is the sparsely populated video processing board (with Sony chips much in
evidence) and at the back the fourth board handles the switching functions,
external adjustments and output connections. It is very sturdily built and the
boards are held rigidly in place. Interwiring is kept to an absolute minimum,
it’s a very tidy looking assembly and there’s every reason to suppose it will
enjoy a long and healthy life. The image was unaffected by several firm
applications of the Security Installer variable pressure, dynamic electronic
circuit intermittency testing apparatus, or rubber mallet as we sometimes call
SETUP AND OPERATION
Installation and setup is all very straightforward, apart from the
back-focus adjustment, which can be a mite fiddly if the top and bottom grub
screws have to be loosened and tightened. Incidentally there’s no mention of
how to do this, or even that the facility exists in the very brief instruction
manual, though in one of the diagrams there is an arrow pointing to one of the
holes, labelled ‘Adjustment for lens’…
Setting up an auto iris lens is dealt with in a similarly rudimentary
fashion and just to confuse matters the manual states the mains PSU operates
over a range 90 – 260VAC (50/60Hz), yet the model/serial number plate attached
to the underside of the camera clearly states 230V AC 50Hz.
Resolution on our sample was a touch over 450 lines, resulting in a
reasonably sharp image. In good light noise levels are low and colour accuracy
is excellent, even in normally troublesome tube and mixed light conditions.
Whilst the camera can produce a colour image in very low light it tends to be
quite noisy and grainy, nevertheless it’s still a notch or two up on many
similarly specified colour cameras. The electronic shutter responds quickly to
lighting changes and backlight compensation is moderately effective.
Despite the lumpy shape, somewhat dated appearance and limited manual
controls the 7030H works well and is worth considering for installations where
the lighting conditions prove challenging. It’s well built, installation
shouldn’t cause too many problems and it’s sensibly priced.
Design and design features ***
Circuitry and components ****
Ease of installation and wiring ****
Range and variety of functions ***
Accompanying instructions **
Technical advice and backup ??
Value for money ****
ã R. Maybury