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It wasnít so long ago that installers and end-users needed some very good reasons to opt for a colour CCTV system; these days itís difficult to find an argument not to use colour cameras in all but the most demanding or specialist applications. Generally speaking the cost differential is now comparatively small, compared with just a couple of years ago. Performance is no longer an issue and most recent general-purpose colour cameras have the same kind of resolution and low-light properties as their monochrome cousins, moreover theyíre no larger, heavier or any more difficult to install.


The new Computar YC-05 illustrates most of those points. Itís a compact colour camera, designed and built by leading Japanese manufacturers Chugai Boyeki. Compact is the operative word, it measures just 110 x 55 x 48 mm and it weighs in at 400 grams (excluding lens). Minimum illumination is 2.5 lux, and horizontal resolution is quoted at 330-lines. The end-user price is on the high side though, this is in the region of £390, and that excludes a lens and power supply.


Design and layout are both very straightforward, the camera is contained within a tough two-part grey/black metal case that affords the electronics a fair degree of protection against the ingress of dust and moisture, a range of weatherproof housings are available for use outdoors or in harsh environments. At the front thereís a standard CS lens mount, with mechanical back-focus adjustment that shifts the mounting ring fore and aft by +/- 2 mm, using a recessed screw on the left side. Once set itís locked using a second screw on the opposite side of the camera body. C-mount lenses can be fitted, using an optional 5 mm adaptor ring. The camera has a standard square 4-pin auto-iris connector socket on the right side of the body, (a blank plug is supplied) a three-position switch below the socket configures the camera for DC or video-controlled auto-iris operation; the third option is a full-range auto high-speed shutter, for use with a fixed iris lens.


On the left side of the case thereís two further switches and a pre-set adjustment. The first switch is for selecting sync mode, which can be either line-lock or internal. The second switch and preset are for selecting and adjusting the DC iris level, the options are factory pre-set or manual. On the back panel thereís a single BNC connector, for composite PAL video output. Thereís a second preset, this time for adjusting line phase, (when used with a camera switcher) and a pair of spring-loaded terminals, for either 12V DC or 24V AC power supply. The cameraís power requirements cover a fairly broad range, they are: 10.8 to 13.2 volts DC, or 21.6 to 26.4 volts AC (using a Class 2 supply). A green LED indicator next to the PSU connector shows power on.


The YC-05 has a 1/3-inch interline CCD image sensor with a 500 x 582 (effective) pixel array. In the auto high-speed shutter mode speed varies between 1/50th second up to 1/2,000 th second. White balance adjustment is fully automatic and power consumption is rated at a maximum of 5 watts.


Internally the standard of construction is very high with the main circuit boards mounted on a rigid alloy chassis. The boards themselves contain a high-proportion of surface mounted components, resulting a solid assembly that should be able to withstand a fair amount of mechanical shock and vibration


The camera comes supplied with an ABS mounting plate, fitted with a standard 1/4-inch UNC thread, itís attached to the underside of the case by two screws. It can be removed and screwed to the top, to suit different types of mounting hardware.  


Installation poses no problems; the unusual push-fit power supply terminal provides a secure anchorage for the cables. There are few preliminary adjustments, apart from fitting the lens, auto-iris set-up and line-phase in multi-camera systems. The supplied multi-lingual instruction booklet is fairly typical, thatís to say itís rather sparse, not very well laid out, with only brief summaries concerning the various operations, nevertheless experienced installers shoudl be able to follow it without too much trouble.



Tests were carried out using a 8.5 mm f1.5 Computar manual iris lens, this gave a horizontal resolution figure of just over 330 lines. Picture noise levels were very low, similarly in good light colour noise was insignificant, even on areas of high saturation. The cameraís auto white balance system worked well under a range of lighting conditions. Itís optimised for natural light but it coped easily with most forms of artificial light, including mixed light and often troublesome tube lighting, with only a very slight green-yellow colour caste. Colour fidelity was generally very good in natural light, though it does tend to slightly over-emphasise reds and greens.


The auto high-speed shutter is very smooth, and it responds quickly to sudden changes in illumination levels. Low light operation is average to good, it will produce a useable image under typical street lighting conditions, though noise levels are high and thereís a fair amount of grain in the picture. Bright highlights in the picture area produce a characteristic streaking, and as usual some care needs to be taken during alignment to avoid problems as lighting conditions change throughout the day and night.



In performance terms the YC-05 compares favourably with the current crop of compact colour video cameras. Feature-wise it doesnít have many particularly notable talents but itís unobtrusive and can cope easily with most routine conditions. It can be fitted with a wide range of lenses and is sufficiently flexible to integrate with a variety of systems. The price is fairly unremarkable, though given itís pedigree and the quality of construction it is worth considering as a general purpose camera for routine applications.



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                         ***                           




R.Maybury 1995 0108





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