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MERIT LI-LIN PIH-7030H Super Eye camera

 

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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 it…

 

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.

 

PEFORMANCE

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.

 

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

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.

 

PRODUCT ASSESSMENT

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                         ****                          

 

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ã R. Maybury 2000 2610

 


 

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