Security Installer

 BootLog.co.uk

HomeSoftwareArchiveTop TipsGlossaryOther Stuff

BENCH TEST -- PULNIX TM-520

MONOCHROME CCD CAMERA

 

COPY

The Pulnix TM52 is by no means the smallest black and white camera on the market, but it is undoubtedly close to the point where, if it were much smaller, the case would no longer have enough room for a C/CS lens mount, standard-size connectors or the fittings for a support bracket!

 

In fact it could easily have been a lot smaller, judging by the amount of vacant space inside the housing. The case of this British designed and built camera is not much longer than a couple of standard lenses, placed end to end, and only a few millimetres wider than the lens barrel. The actual dimensions are 45 x 39 x 92mm and the all-up weight, excluding any lens is a mere 235 gram's. Inside the three circuit boards (PSU, signal processing and CCD), are populated by a handful of chips and predominantly surface-mounted components. This type of construction should ensure maximum reliability, and immunity to mechanical shock or vibration. Pulnix's own tests have involved putting the cameras through shock and vibration cycles for up to nine hours. The manufacturers seem reasonably confident about the camera's longevity and it comes with a 3-year warranty.

 

The dark grey case is made entirely from metal and whilst not fully weatherproofed is well-protected against ingress of dust or moisture; a weather-resistant housing (HO-500) is available as an optional accessory. Externally there are just three sockets, a BNC connector carrying the video output, a 6-pin connector for the lens and external shutter controller, and a 12-pin socket for, amongst other things, the 12VDC supply and external sync signals, (if option specified). On the front panel, made from cast alloy, there is a threaded metal collar for C or CS type lenses. Pulnix market two 12 volt DC mains power supply units (built to BS415): the DC12B has a maximum supply current of 500mA and is designed to power a single camera; the DC12/240, is rated at 1.7A and can supply up to half a dozen cameras.

 

There are no external controls or user adjustments. Shutter speed (8-steps, up to 1/10000th sec) can be set using a control module (SC745), or it can be varied automatically, as an factory-fit option on the TM520. There are only two internal adjustments, for ACG and gamma correction, both of which are pre-set to on, and 0.45 respectively. As a matter of interest there are several variants in the TM500 series, including the PE530 which shares a similar basic specification to the TM520, but in addition has external switches for AGC, gamma correction and  shutter speed, and an external sync facility is fitted as standard. The TM510 is a board camera, fitted with a 0.3-inch interline CCD and fixed 4mm lens; it is designed primarily for OEM use in security and imaging, and as such is extremely flexible with provision to mount the CCD in a variety of  positions, and connection to external equipment via a ribbon cable. Incidentally, Pulnix will also consider custom artwork or designs, as an option on all of their TM500 series cameras.

 

The camera is supplied with a pair of 6 and 12 pin plugs, and not much else, apart from  a fairly cursory specification cum instruction sheet with pin-out diagrams for the two plugs. A complete manual is available upon request. Pulnix can supply any type of lens to order, along with a wide range of mounting hardware and enclosures. The average price for the TM520 is around 280; the shutter and external sync options take it up to 350 or so. The better specified PE350 sells for 340 and the two power supplies (DC12B and DC12/240) cost 12 and 50. The TM500 is the baseline camera in the range, it has a similar  specification to the TM520 but a slightly lower-resolution CCD, though better low-light performance (0.2lux at F1.2), it sells for around 180.

 

PERFORMANCE

The basic specifications look impressive; the TM520 (and PE530) have an 0.5-inch interline transfer CCD image sensor with a 752 x 582 pixel array and a stated minimum sensitivity of 1 lux (F1.4); (Low light sensitivity on the TM510 board camera is 0.5 lux at F1.4). Resolution is quoted at 560 horizontal lines, by 420-lines vertical. These figures were borne out in our tests which showed horizontal resolution to be well in excess of 550-lines, and low-light sensitivity comparable with similarly specified mono cameras. Generally speaking image definition was very good, with a broad dynamic range giving plenty of contrast, even in poor light conditions. Vertical edges are clean and in good light noise levels are very low. Lag or comet-tailing was negligible; some slight vertical striation became evident at very low light levels, however, it was not sufficiently intense to be a problem

 

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

Performance is good and with the correct type of lens, this camera can be used in a broad range of locations and site conditions. The small size carries no significant operational penalties and the variants within the range cater for most specialist needs. As it stands the TM520 is a practical general-purpose design that can old its own, both in performance and cost terms, against cameras many times larger, and costing significantly more. Whilst the TM520 isn't quite small enough to qualify as a covert camera, it is nevertheless a very unobtrusive design. Its small size and light weight can also be put to good advantage in a number of other applications, including image processing and machine vision, though the PE530 board camera variant may be better suited to this kind of dedicated installation. An efficient and thoroughly well-designed mono camera that fulfils a wide range of needs in video security and surveillance, especially where space is at a premium, or a certain amount of discretion is required

 

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                                ****

 

---end---

R.Maybury 1993 0111

 


 

[Home][Software][Archive][Top Tips][Glossary][Other Stuff]


Copyright (c) 2005 Rick Maybury Ltd.

admin@rickmaybury.com