The big image gives a good idea of performance in colour with sub-4 lux at the lens. Strong optically, crazy angle of view.

The AXIS Q3819-PVE panoramic day/night camera featuring 14MP resolution and a 180-degree angle of view, has four 1/2.5-inch sensors, a combined resolution of 8192 x 1728 at 30ips, and features Axis Forensic WDR and minimum illumination numbers of 0.02 lux in colour.

AXIS Q3819-PVE Panoramic’s 4 camera heads feature relatively long fixed focal lengths of 5.89mm with an aperture of F1.88, which is quite fast considering lens length, and the 180-degree wide views have a vertical depth of 38 degrees, making this camera ideal for large areas. However, it’s going to be a narrow vertical plane in our jam-packed street application. Other features include PTRZ, Zipstream compression with H.264 baseline, high and main, H.265 compression and Motion JPEG.

This is a robust unit – the casing is rated IP66/IP67 and NEMA 4X against water and dust, and IK10-rated for impact-resistance. The cast aluminium body has a polycarbonate hard coated clear dome with a dehumidifying membrane and the camera has an operating range of -40 to 65C. It’s not light for a dome, either, as I discover when shoehorning its 2.4kg bulk onto the Magic Arm and draping it over the balcony. A key piece of operational functionality is built-in motors for remote pan, tilt and roll. These aren’t just handy for tweaking angles of view, they help with quirky installations, too.

There’s Axis Zipstream, H.264 and H.265 (I stick with H.264), and Motion JPEG, and bitrate is configurable. It’s possible to mount 2 cameras back-to-back for a complete 360-degree overview using the AXIS T94V01C Dual Camera Mount and that would be epic, though displaying it might stretch a standard video wall. Image settings include saturation, contrast, brightness, sharpness, advanced WDR imaging of up to 120 dB depending on scene, white balance, day/night threshold, exposure mode, compression, dynamic text and image overlay, orientation aid, exposure control, noise reduction, fine tuning of behavior at low light, and polygon privacy. There’s audio input/output, with audio encoding options including 24bit LPCM, AAC-LC 8/16/32/48 kHz, G.711 PCM 8 kHz, G.726, ADPCM 8 kHz, Opus 8/16/48 kHz, 44.1 kHz ACC-LC and LPCM.

On the security side, there’s password protection, IP address filtering, HTTPS encryption, IEEE 802.1X (EAP-TLS) network access control, digest authentication, user access log, centralized certificate management, brute force delay protection, signed firmware, protection of cryptographic keys with FIPS 140-2 certified TPM 2.0 module, and Axis Edge Vault with Axis device ID.

AXIS Object Analytics are comprehensive for humans and vehicles, with trigger conditions including line crossing and object in area, with up to 10 scenarios. There’s metadata visualized with colour-coded bounding boxes, polygon include/exclude areas, perspective configuration, and ONVIF motion alarm event. Applications include AXIS Object Analytics, AXIS Fence Guard, AXIS Motion Guard, AXIS Loitering Guard, AXIS Video Motion Detection, active tampering alarm, audio detection, advanced gatekeeper, and gatekeeper.

Power is PoE IEEE 802.3 at Type 2 Class 4 with a typical draw of 12W maxing at 22.5W with the integrated heater activated. There’s microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC and NAS support. Operating temperature range is -40 to 65C, which is outstanding. Dimensions are 170 x 195mm as tested here – with the weathershield it’s 221 x 206mm. Recommended mounting height is 4 metres – we are at about 3.5 metres in this application. I have Zipstream set to low. We’re also using a different switch – it’s a 16-input Ubiquiti with PoE on all ports.

Test Driving AXIS Q3819-PVE

My first impressions of this Axis camera are its massive angle of view. It really reaches from one end of the street to the other through 180 degrees. It’s stupendous and it takes a long time to get used to it. This is one of those cameras that makes me hate the little Benq 1920 x 1080-pixel monitor. I need a video wall to appreciate what I’ve got going on here – you could fill 4 large monitors with this view. And while angle of view is strong, depth of field is right behind it. You’d expect DoF to be strong when you’ve got 4 camera heads, each offering reasonably high resolution, but I’m still surprised by the fine detail of its performance.

For a narrow street view like this, the vertical angle of view I have to play with is a little shallow at 38 degrees – this camera is better suited to larger areas, but it still does an amazing job. Over the far side of the road, I can see people’s lower legs going by if I want to see most the near-side pavement, but it’s possible to tilt and get one or the other – this comes down to my application – depth of field opposite the camera is only 20 metres. There’s a rectilinear curve in the centre of the image on the near side but it’s giving me more of the scene I need.

Something I’m able to do every time I return to my workstation, is survey the entire street at one glance. It’s an amazing ability and the stitched image is very seamless, with uniformity of camera performance also strong. I find myself thinking about the quality of performance at the edges, but they are not edges of sensor and lens in the way we would think of them, thanks to those 4 camera heads. Operationally, I’m able to see all the way down the North end of Bellevue Street where traffic is moving on Albion Street. And I can see all the way down to the South end to Foveaux Street – that’s variable levels of situational awareness from 200 metres end to end.

On one screen I can see people sitting at the pub. I can see people moving in broad contact with each other at 70 metres, I can see vehicles turning a corner, while pedestrians are crossing the street. Something to bear in mind here is that I’ve got this performance across the entire angle of view, all the time. Simultaneously, I see someone leave the pub, while another person walks into the university building to the left and someone is paying for a parking ticket 40 metres away at the opposite end of the street, and there’s a bicycle going by on the far side of the road, while a car approaches from the opposite end. This situational awareness is just so impressive – the Axis Q3819-PVE will really please operators in applications that suit it.

Meanwhile, the optical performance of the camera is nicely balanced – colour rendition, sharpness, resistance to noise – these are all very good. As the day transitions into night the image holds together well. Faces and plates aren’t easy but there’s no difficulty working out what sort of car that you’re looking at – the make, the model, the accessories. There’s also no excessive blooming or flaring. I note some motion blur with this camera when vehicles move at right angles but that’s to be expected.

Monochrome performance is solid – tone is contributing to sharpness, depth of field is excellent. There are no dark holes in the scene. When a headlight points straight at the camera I don’t have any blooming, or smearing, though I do see wee bit of blooming around a streetlight in the distance, though perhaps this is a coma aberration. By now the shutter speed will have come back to its minimum – it’s set for 1/25 of a second. I try for face recognition with light almost gone but can’t snare it, even quite close to the lens when people are moving. But I’ve got a lot of detail in terms of clothing, accessories and footwear and ascertaining if one person is masked and another is not.

Overall, motion blur is well handled, and I don’t see too much in the way of tone mapping – no one’s dragging a tail. There’s not much in the way of amplification artefacts. It’s a busy night and I am missing nothing on this street. From the point of view of monitoring and investigations, there’s full context and I can see where people are in relation to each other. That’s great supporting evidence, though you’d need some tighter angles of view from cameras at choke points for face recognition.

Switching back to colour, there’s some colour casting from the low-pressure sodium lamps at either end of the street but generally, this is a relatively low contrast night-time image. It’s not overwrought, the reds are a little dark, but I should point out again that it’s sub 4-lux at the lens. It’s about quarter to seven in the evening and deep winter here in Sydney, so light is scarce. Looking at vehicles going past I’m not getting plates but I’m getting everything else, colour, model, make. I try to snare a plate close to the lens but can’t. Regardless, I can see it’s a silver Mercedes SUV.

As before, I’ve got strong depth of field all the way from Albion to Foveaux Streets. Looking at the colour image, I think that maybe monochrome gives me slightly better sharpness deep into the scene, but the colour image is still good, and it pays off in other ways with extra detail. Something I’ve been doing throughout the test is dipping into applications, setting loitering alarms and line crossing alarms. While no one activated the loitering detection zone I set up around the uni entryway, it was a simple process and it’s nice to know that you have video analytics bases covered in Axis Camera Companion.

Next morning, I spend some time checking out WDR performance – this is the only time I notice any variation in the stitched images – in this case the camera on the far left has a slightly different hue as it wrestles with 65,000 lux. This should come as no particular surprise. Once full sun shifts out of the frame, the stitched image returns to its composite ways.

During this part of the test, I focus on the near side pavement and again enjoy that epic angle of view. You just don’t miss a single thing with this camera, and I can’t help wishing I could take it down to Darling Harbour to try it out on a bigger scene. Something else I find in full daylight is that I am able to get court admissible faces and static plates to about 10-12 metres from the lens – closer is better. This comes down to the fact the 8192 x 1728-pixel resolution is being spread across the entire scene.

Conclusions

The AXIS Q3819-PVE Panoramic camera is a relatively specific surveillance tool that’s designed for applications in public surveillance and on large sites where operators need full situational awareness to facilitate fast and fully informed decisions. The camera’s ability to deliver awareness across 180-degrees is epic, day and night. The camera is rugged – it’s designed mix it in the toughest environments. It would be as happy dockside monitoring the unloading of a ship as it would be installed under an eave monitoring a public square.

Fundamentally, the Q3819-PVE is a story-teller, with the ability to fill in knowledge gaps in a way tight angles of view never can. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say it ensures operators miss absolutely nothing in a scene, allowing them to track multiple incidents in real time on a single camera, while delivering zero-latency updates to security or law enforcement teams on the ground. If you need a wide view, especially in live monitoring applications, this camera comes highly recommended.

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