Reality versus the specs

September 2011 Surveillance

Rotatest Compliant Services recently obtained the CCTV in Focus agency for the Rotatest series of surveillance camera targets, as reported in Hi-Tech Security Solutions in July. The company recently ran an event at Monaghan Farm near Lanseria in which four camera vendors put their equipment to the test.

We all know that the specifications camera vendors publish are not always repeatable in the real world. The Rotakin target allows users to obtain real-world results from cameras that will determine if they meet the client’s needs in specific scenarios.

The companies taking part in the event were Axis, Norbain, Pentagon and Sentronics. Each of the companies provided an array of cameras, including megapixel, high-definition, infrared and thermal cameras which they put through their paces at a variety of distances and in different light conditions, from early morning to total darkness. The people involved in the testing spent a week at the location, enjoying the bright sunny days and not really appreciating the icy winter nights.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions was present at some of the testing and spoke to the various vendors after the event to gain their impressions of the process.

Norbain SA

MJ Oosthuizen from Norbain SA says the event provides the opportunity to test cameras in an environment distribution companies and manufacturers do not always have access to. “However, these were the same tests and environment as last year [the first time this event was held in South Africa] and although a great idea, the next session should be shorter, as providing all the necessary resources for a whole week is a problem.”

Oosthuizen also suggests future tests follow a specific approach, such as testing in a retail environment, including the options of high- and low-end cameras. “This will prove of interest to that specific market segment.”

He added that Norbain obtained very relevant results about how the cameras it sells perform in extreme conditions, such as various lighting conditions, bundled with the results from the Rotakin tests.

“In my opinion, Rotakin demonstrates the difference between installing a camera and configuring a camera,” Oosthuizen continued. He says simply installing a camera focused on a specific area without verifying what the requirement is from the client often leads to trouble as the camera may not be able to deal with real issues such as verification, identification, constant movement etc.

“Rotakin is worthwhile from a distribution and manufacturing point of view and more important for installer training purposes. The relevance to end-users is questionable.”


Ingo Mutinelli from Elvey, the company that recently acquired Pentagon, says the event was “very professional and worthwhile. It showed a different level of competency from the companies that play in that market space. The Rotakin target is great and hopefully is adopted as the standard so that all future tests are done from the same platform, levelling the playing field.”

Axis Communications

Jason McGregor was there for Axis Communications and noted this was the second year at the event for Axis. He found it more focused and organised than before. “We definitely feel the event is a great opportunity for vendors to field test the equipment in challenging environments and determine their real life limits. A huge thanks must go to Ernst and his team from CCTV in Focus.”

Concerning the results, he says, “We found that, in general, our cameras had outstanding performance in all forms of testing. Depth of field, resolution and colour reproduction being the main strong points. The Rotakin standard definitely has a place in our market and if employed correctly the benefit will be realised by manufacturers, resellers and end users alike. The Rotakin not only tests the camera, but incorporates operator, camera and system testing, ensuring a comprehensive audit on all faculties involved.”

Of interest this year, he says that SD card (on board storage) support is being included by more manufacturers, as well as the NVR vendors, who are developing their software to index and incorporate SD cards as part of the recording database, alleviating strain on servers and the networks. A direct result is less traffic on the network and lower requirement on server hardware.


Gemma Forsyth was there to represent Sentronics. She says, “The event provided us with an opportunity to showcase some of our latest camera technology and verify the capabilities of these devices. Cameras perform differently under certain test criteria, and it is a good way to position our products, not only from a performance perspective, but relative to pricing as well.

“The time and effort was definitely well spent and I am sure we will attend again next year, by which time new products will have been released and we will have the opportunity to test and showcase these new technologies.

“We saw some very favourable results from our cameras and were pleased with the performance, especially in the low-light tests. The Rotakin testing system provides more than a camera testing tool as any full system weaknesses can be exposed and thereby corrected. There is definitely a requirement for this kind of testing.

“As a supplier we are always faced with system integrators claiming equipment faults or non-performance, when in fact it is usually just a question of the equipment being installed in the incorrect manner. With the Rotakin system, we can ensure that our systems are not to blame and ensure that the equipment we sell is fit for purpose. These tests also provide the client, piece of mind.”

She adds that Sentronics has seen a growing interest in intelligent video and open platform solutions. “The market seems to be looking very hard at the benefits of analytics coupled with the quality of HD video quality, and edge recording.”

Over the course of the week, the companies involved tested a number of cameras and invited current and potential customers to visit the site and view the results as they happened. According to the majority of people on site, both sellers and buyers, the event proved a success, demonstrating what can and can’t be done with different surveillance cameras.

The cameras on test

Although the companies could bring any cameras on site to test their real capabilities, the official list of equipment at the event is below.

1. Axis Communications

a. P1343-E.

b. P1346-E.

c. P1347-E.

d. Q1602-E.

e. P3344-VE.

f. P3367-VE.

g. Q6035-E.

h. M1114-E.

i. Q1921-E.

j. Q1755-E.

2. Norbain SA

a. Samsung ½-inch A1 low-light camera, 600TVL colour and 700TVL monochrome.

b. Sony analogue camera – fixed box camera. 1/2type CCD with ExwaveHAD technology.

c. Samsung thermal camera with positioning system, f=50 mm, 85 mK sensitivity.

d. HIKVISION 480TVL 1/4” Sony CCD, 3–88 mm.

e. Sony network camera – V-series HD (720p).

f. Sony network camera – V-series Full HD (1080p).

3. Pentagon – Bosch.

a. NBN-498.

b. NBN-921.

c. NBN-832.

d. EX30NG IP.

e. Junior HD.

f. GEN5HD.

g. GEN4 300 series 36x.

4. Sentronics – Pelco

a. EE20 series vandal proof domes.

b. IP8151.

c. IP8161.

d. IP8362.

e. Pelco Spectra IV IP dome x35.

f. Pelco _IXE20 series network camera.

For more information contact Rotatest Compliant Services, +27 (0)11 787 5223, [email protected]

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