IKEGAMI ICD-36E & ICD-503P B/W & COLOUR CAMERAS
WHAT OUR EXPERTS SAY...
At a time when surveillance video camera manufacturers are
vying with one another to see who can come up with the smallest and lightest
models it is quite refreshing to come across a model range that makes no
concessions to size or weight. Indeed Ikegami appear to have used 'brick
outhouse' design principles for the ICD-36E and ICD-503P black and white and
colour cameras. They look and feel really tough, and one look inside the cream
coloured case shows why. Both cameras are built inside an exoskeleton steel chassis,
and for good measure the outer case is made from steel too, in short they're
Both models are mains powered, the internal transformer contributes
quite significantly to the overall weight (just under 1kg) but it too is a
steel-cased and adds to the rigidity of the chassis. For the record Ikegami
also manufacture 24V AC and 12V DC powered models; the simpler power supplies
knock off between 200 and 500 grams from the overall weight.
Before we move on to the main points of interest on the feature
list a few words about the quality of construction. The standard is very high.
Both models have a glass-fibre main board bolted to the bottom of the chassis, one
or two daughter boards and a camera board with the CCD image sensor mounted on
the front. In fact the CCD panel is bolted to a moving back-focus assembly, this
is set using a screwdriver through a hole on the left side of the camera body.
The adjustment moves the image sensor back and forth, however the range of
movement is relatively shallow and an adaptor ring is necessary for C-Mount
On the right side of the cameras there are standard 4-pin
auto-iris socket and next to that there's a deeply recessed switch for selecting
DC or Video auto iris control. The rear panels of both cameras are almost
identical. Video output is handled by a BNC socket, below that there's a green
power on LED. In the middle of the panel there are three recessed rotary
presets for line-lock phase, backlight compensation and iris level adjustments.
In the top right hand corner there is a miniature DIP switch. The one fitted to
the ICD-503P (colour model) is a 3-way design with settings for the
auto-electronic shutter (AES), backlight compensation (BLC) and automatic gain
control (AGC). The ICD-36E additionally has a switch for selecting internal or
line-lock sync. The captive mains lead emerges from a protective grommet on the
right side of the back panel. On the top and bottom outer casing shells there
are standard 1/4-inch UNC mounting threads. The case offers a fair degree of
protection but it's by no means moisture or even splashproof and unsuitable for
use outdoors or in a hostile (dusty or humid) atmosphere without a protective
The ICD-36E (monochrome) features a 0.3-inch CCD with an effective
752 x 582 pixel array. Minimum illumination is quoted at 0.2 lux with a F1.4
lens, (standard illumination is 18 lux), horizontal resolution is a stated 560
lines. The ICD-503 also uses a 0.3-inch interline transfer CCD, this time with
a 512 x 582 pixel array. Resolution is down to 330 lines and the illumination
range is given as 1.5 lux/F1.4 (minimum) and 2200 Lux/F8 (standard). Additionally
the ICD-503P has a fully automatic through the lens (TTL) white balance system.
You can take it as read from the limited number of controls
and adjustments that set up is very straightforward. The instruction manuals
that accompany both cameras are well presented and easy to follow; all of the
information most installers are likely to need is included and accessible, it's
even written in proper English; whatever nextů?
The higher than average weight of the cameras means a little
extra care needs to be taken with the choice and location of mounting hardware.
The three presets and DIP switches on the back might be a little awkward to get
at once the camera is in position, otherwise we can foresee no serious problems
and suspect that most installations will go without a hitch.
The manufacturers stated performance figures were within a
whisker of our own findings, though we think Ikegami might be over stating the standard
illumination requirement for the ICD-503, our sample performed very satisfactorily
at significantly lover levels. Resolution on the ICD-36E is impressive; the
image has a good contrast range with plenty of fine detail and very little
noise. The AES system works very well indeed and ably copes with slow and rapid
changes in scene illumination. In spite of the lack of any installer or user colour
balance adjustments colour accuracy on the ICD-503P was steady across a wide
illumination range. It only falters when the scene is lit exclusively by fluorescent
tubes; this produces a slight green caste in the image.
We can confirm that the ICD-36E is exceptionally sturdy. It
survived an accidental tumble from the test bench -- a distance of some two and
a half feet on to a wooden floor -- without so much as a scratch. It happened
to be wired up and working at the time (it was the weight of the mains lead
that dragged it to the floor), and by a stroke of luck we noticed that the
image on the monitor didn't so much as twitch. (We did think of trying the same
thing with the colour model but decided that was probably pushing it a bitů).
Nevertheless it illustrates how solidly built these cameras are, and highlights
the kind of application they'll be well suited to. Picture performance is very
good indeed, the operating ranges of these two cameras limit their use to
reasonably well lit locations but if said location requires a tough and
dependable black and white or colour camera, the ICD-36E and ICD-503P are definitely
PRODUCT ASSESSMENT 36E/503P
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 1998 0511