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The DTV 567F camera package from Direct CCTV looks fairly unremarkable, until you come to the price ticket. The whole kit and caboodle, including lens, mains PSU and mounting kit sells for just 99, so what's the catch?


The short answer is there isn't one. The camera is based around a miniature board module sporting a 1/3-inch Sony Super HAD CCD image sensor. Minimum illumination is 0.1 lux (F1.2) with a resolution of 570 lines. It's housed inside a sturdy extruded alloy case measuring just 110 x 43 x 50mm. The supplied vari-focal manual iris lens has a range of 3.5 9mm and the three-piece metal mounting bracket can cope with almost any kind of installation.


Whilst it would be unrealistic to expect too many bells and whistles at this price the camera is nonetheless well equipped. The unit can be fitted with standard C/CS mount lenses and there are threaded mounting bosses inset into the top and bottom of the case. The back panel has a BNC socket for the video output, a 2-way miniature DIP switch for selecting auto-exposure/auto-iris lens and backlight compensation on/off. There's a standard square four-pin socket for an auto iris lens, a switch for selecting video or DC drive for the AI lens, a recessed level control preset, a DC (12 volts) power socket and a red power-on LED.


The case is mostly filled with air, the tiny board module is bolted to the front cap and there's a second PCB on the back panel with all of the associated control and power supply regulation components. The two PCBs are connected together by three sets of cables, with plugs at each end. Build quality is very good indeed and the standard of construction suggests it should be well able to withstand the rigours of normal use. The case is not weatherproof, however, so it is only suitable for indoor applications, unless it is fitted inside a protective housing. All up weight, excluding the lens is a modest 324 grams. Direct CCTV are marketing the camera without any exterior decoration giving the installation company the opportunity to attach their own logos or name badges.


An adaptor ring, blank AI lens plug and an Allen key are supplied with the camera. The latter is used to lock the mounting ring on the front of the camera following back-focus adjustment. The lens adds around 50mm to the overall length of the camera. The manual iris is set using a ring close to the body of the camera, a collar in the middle adjusts the 'zoom' factor and the collar at the end of the lens sets focus. Both zoom and focus rings have knurled locking screws.



Installation and set-up instructions are supplied on a fold out-sheet somewhat optimistically referred to as a 'manual', though to be fair it contains all of the information most installers are likely to need. The only real hitch concerned the back-focus adjustment. The threaded lens collar is locked into place by a tiny grub screw however the ring on our sample proved to be impossibly tight and simply wouldn't budge. We decided to play it safe and heed the warnings on the side of the box about not stressing the lens. Fortunately back-focus adjustment was not required but had it been necessary we suspect that freeing up the ring would have involved taking a pair of pliers to it, risking damage to the case or worse, the CCD sensor.


The mounting bracket is a tough 'universal' design, suitable for wall ceiling or surface mounting; it's well built and simple to fit (screws and wall plugs are included). The protruding video output socket and a cable can easily add a further 40 to 50mm to the overall length, which is worth bearing in mind if the camera is going to be mounted close to a wall or surface. The two tiny DIP switches are very close to the socket and difficult to get at without a small screwdriver. The DC plug was a fairly loose fit on our test camera and very little tension on the cable was needed to pull it free.  When used with an AI lens the plug partially obscures the DC/Video switch and this can be awkward to get at once the plug is in place.  



Resolution on our sample came in at a whisker over 550 lines which suggests the claimed 570-lines is within the realms of possibility. The image is very clean with plenty of fine detail and negligible noise in a well lit scene. Contrast is adequate though we found the image could look a little washed out in the highlights unless great care was taken with exposure adjustments and alignment. The auto iris was reasonably responsive and it copes well with gradual changes in lighting level. When there are bright lights within the scene a combination of manual iris and the AI usually produces the best results. Focus and zoom adjust is very sensitive, borderline touchy in fact, but once set and locked it stays put. The camera is mechanically stable and the image didn't flinch when the case was subjected to a sharp tap.



The over-tight back-focus adjustment was a concern and we hope this was confined to our review camera. Video performance is satisfactory though we found it took a little longer than normal to achieve a well-balanced image. This was due in part to the sensitivity of the lens adjustment and the AI system, which had a slight tendency to over-expose the image. Overall the DTV-567F stacks up as a solid little general purpose camera, fine for undemanding applications but the main selling point has to be the price, which however you look at it has to be a very good deal indeed.



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 1999 0608



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