SANYO VCC-6975P 1/3-inch COLOUR VIDEO CAMERA
For what is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated CCTV
cameras on the market today, the Sanyo VCC-6975P gets off to a somewhat
inauspicious start. Admittedly it’s probably not a good idea to draw too much
attention to this device’s special talents but the designers clearly thought it
necessary to go out of their way to make it look as ordinary as possible.
From the outside there’s comparatively little to see.
Physically it is of average appearance and proportions measuring 136 x 67 x 54
mm and it tips the scales at 470g. The only thing that looks slightly out of
place is the detachable top or bottom fixing threaded mounting bracket, which
seems a bit like an afterthought. The unusual miniature joystick control on the
side and the busy back panel are the only signs that it’s not a bog-standard,
general-purpose surveillance camera, but we’ll begin with the basic bread and
The VCC-6975 is billed as a high-resolution colour camera.
It’s based around a 1/3-inch CCD image sensor with a 795 x 596 (752 x 582
effective) pixel array. Claimed resolution is in the order of 480-lines and
minimum low light sensitivity is an impressive 0.05-lux, though this is with
the camera in gain-up (slow shutter) mode; without electronic assistance the
low-light figure is a more conventional 1.4-lux. This particular model operates
from a 12VDC or 24VAC power supply, it can be externally synchronised and
there’s a S-Video (Y/C) output in addition to a regular composite video output.
Lens options include fixed/manual, DC or video controlled
auto-iris types with C or C/S type fittings. The camera has a fully automatic
exposure system with manual overrides for iris, white balance and electronic
shutter (8-speeds up to 1/10,000th sec), and it has switchable
Now we come to the interesting part. Sanyo has made
extensive use of digital video processing systems of which the electronic
gain-up facility is only a small part. It has a useful digital zoom that
magnifies the image by a factor of x8, either in fixed increments, or by a
variable amount and this is tied in with an electronic pan/tilt function. The
headline feature, however, is the Dynamic Digital Motion Detection (DDMD), that
takes on-board camera motion detection to a new level. When activated the DDMD
can be set to trigger an external alarm or an on-screen indicator; we’ll take a
more detailed look at DDMD in more detail in just a moment.
All of the VCC-6975’s many and various functions are
controlled from a set of menu-driven on-screen displays – that’s where the
miniature joystick comes in – however, more importantly all functions can be
accessed externally, either via the video connection or by using a built-in
RS-485 serial communications link. The two external control options are a
dedicated handheld battery powered camera control unit (VAC-60) that duplicates
the on-board set-up controls, or it can be connected to a system controller,
such as the Sanyo VSP-7000, which can operate up to 128 devices, including
cameras multiplexers and time-lapse VCRs.
In all cases the menu display is superimposed on the
camera’s video output and is called up by pressing and holding the Set button
on the side of the camera or on the remote control unit (or Menu button on the
VSP-7000 system controller). The first page opens with a choice of eight items:
Language, Camera ID, Sync, Iris, White Balance, Shutter, Motion and Option;
we’ll look briefly at each one in turn.
Selecting Language brings up a sub menu with a choice of
English, French or German for the on-screen menu displays. The Camera ID option
allows the installer or user to compose and position a single line of up to 8
characters. The Sync setting has three options, internal, line-lock or
external. The Iris menu item has two selections, AI, for use with an auto-iris
lens, and EI or Electronic Iris, for use with fixed or manual iris lenses. Sub
menus with settings for lens type, level adjustment and sensitivity become
available according to the lens type selected. This menu also has the settings
for Backlight Compensation (BLC). In both instances (multi-spot or section
photometry) the relevant sub menus lead to ‘masking’ and ‘weighting’ windows,
that allow the installer to specify which parts of the screen will be evaluated
or ignored. The windows are based on a grid of 8 x 4 blocks or zones, or a
moveable and variable aperture. The gain-up or Sensitivity setting can also be
found on the Iris menu however it’s worth noting that this facility, which
increases low light sensitivity by increasing shutter speed (5-steps, x2, x4,
x8, x16 & x32), can only be used when motion detection is switched off.
The White Balance menu has three main options: automatic,
white balance lock, and manual setting, there’s also a facility to mask out
bright lights in the scene area using the same 8 x 4 grid featured in the BLC
mask setup. The shutter menu has two choices: short – for settings from 1/50th
to 1/10000th sec -- for reducing the blur of fast movement, and
long, which is basically a slow-speed shutter, that effectively increases
low-light sensitivity in 5 unspecified increments (x2, x4, x8, x16 & x32).
Again this can only be used when the motion detection system is disabled.
And so we come to the Motion detector. This uses an 8 x 8
sensitivity grid, with variable sized target blocks and sensitivity levels.
However, this system goes a good deal further than most others with some
interesting extra facilities. These include a movement direction setting, whereby
the motion detector will only trigger when an object or subject moves in a
specified direction (left, right, up, down). The size and shape of a trigger
can also be specified, and there is the usual option to mask out or ignore
specified areas of the scene. Trigger or sensitivity parameters include
adjustments for the amount of speed of movement, brightness (to avoid spurious
triggering by picture noise), or a change in brightness (erroneous triggering
by lights switching on and off). Additionally the alarm can be set to ignore
movement inside a specified time frame – i.e. how long the subject is on the
screen before the alarm is triggered. The motion detector can also be tied into
the electronic zoom so that when triggered x2 magnification is engaged, and the
screen will follow the subject or object as it moves. As well as triggering the
external alarm output, via a set of contacts on the camera’s back panel, the
alarm function can also be set to flash the camera ID.
The last menu is called Option and this covers a range of
settings and camera housekeeping functions. They are Aperture, AGC, Gamma
Correction, Zoom, Mirror, RS-485 and Initial or return to factory defaults. A
couple of those warrant further explanation. The Zoom sub menu has the facility
to set a fixed zoom (x2, x4 or x8) or variable value, and manual controls for
the electronic pan/tilt. The Mirror setting changes the orientation of the
image by inverting it horizontally, or vertically, or both.
In addition to the menu settings the camera has a concealed
8-way miniature DIP-switch for setting the camera’s address, when used in a
multi-camera setup or with a system controller.
Build quality is satisfactory, the outer case is fabricated
from a one-piece steel cover; there’s been no attempt to weatherproof the
camera so appropriate precautions need to be taken if it’s to be used in a
hostile environment. Inside the case the image sensor is mounted on a sliding
bracket, to provide back-focus adjustment and there are three large and densely
populated PCBs attached to a sturdy metal chassis.
The standard of construction is very good and the video
output on our sample didn’t miss a beat when subjected to the PSI intermittency
tester (a few good whacks with a rubber mallet…). Resolution on our sample was
as advertised, using an Y/C connection to the monitor, there was tiny reduction
in detail using a composite video feed but it was so small as to be virtually
insignificant. With all of the digital processing systems switched out picture
noise levels were very low indeed, colours are crisp and natural looking,
though it can take a fair amount of fiddling to achieve satisfactory white
balance when the scene is lit by artificial or mixed lighting. It copes well
with difficult lighting condition and changing levels. In short video quality
is excellent, however, arguably the most impressive feature is the versatile
motion detector system, which rivals that used in advanced stand-alone systems
Considering the complexity of the design it is remarkably
easy to install, thanks mainly to the design of the on-screen display system.
Whilst the on-board controls are reasonably accessible we definitely recommend
the external remote control unit on single camera set-ups. The VCC-6975 is an
accomplished and unusually flexible high performance colour camera, it is
designed to be used in the most challenging and sensitive situations and in
that context should more than justify the extra cost and time taken to setup
its many advanced features.
Power supply 12VDC/24VAC 50Hz
Dimensions 136 x 67 x 54 mm
Product design 9
Build quality 9
General functions 9
CCTV functions 10
Ease of use 8
Manuf. support 8
Video quality 9
R. Maybury 2000 0409