25
Mar
12

Panasonic i-Pro HD WV-SC385 PTZ Camera Review

Panasonic is one of the leaders in surveillance cameras and has cameras that fit all budgets. The Panasonic i-Pro HD WV-SC385 network camera is their mid range PTZ camera with a street price of about $1,100. The camera can be mounted outdoors with a Panasonic outdoor dome housing.

It’s main selling point is the HD (720) or 1.3MP resolution at an affordable price. There aren’t a lot of
competitors for an HD PTZ camera but you check out my review on the Axis P5534 which would
provide a good comparison.

Picture of a Panasonic i-Pro WV-SC385 PTZ camera

Main Features

• 720p HD images up to 30 fps
• Newly developed 1.3 Megapixel double speed MOS Sensor
• Multiple H.264 and JPEG streams
• Up to a 1,280 x 960 image in 4:3 format or 1280 x 720 in 16:9 format
• 18x optical zoom in all resolutions (36X in VGA mode)
• Adaptive Digital Noise Reduction: 2D-DNR and 3D-DNR
• Panning with auto flip function can be performed 0 to 360 degrees
• Tilt from -30 degree upward to 90 degress downward
• Auto tracking: Pans/tilts to follow a moving subject
• 64 preset positions
• Face detection function detects the position of human face
• Privacy Zone can mask up to 8 private areas, such as house windows and entrances/exits
• Full duplex bi-directional audio
• SDHC/SD Memory card slot for manual, alarm and backup recording upon network failure
• Still images (JPEG) can be viewed on mobile phones via Internet.

Overall this camera is impressive. The images are crystal clear during the day and the noise reduction produces noise free images in low light. The camera has a slow shutter feature that allows it to capture images down to ~1/2 second.

This provides very clear, noise free, bright images in low light, albeit a moving subject may appear blurry. When that feature is turned off, the maximum shutter goes to 1/30th of a second and noise remains in check, but a lot more light is needed to get an equivalent image. I’ll highlight images with both the slow shutter feature on and off.

This camera like many works solely with Windows and Internet Explorer. This is in the spec sheet but I tried Chrome and Safari to no avail. This is is what the web browser interface looks like when you first log into the camera.

WV-SC385

The overall interface is clean and intuitive. This is a screenshot where you would setup image settings

WV-SC385

This is where you would adjust image settings, for example, shutter speed and white balance.

WV-SC385

This screen is where you set the settings to setup the home position and presets. With 64 presets, you won’t likely run out.

WV-SC385

Now onto what really matters, the images from the camera. First I’ll start off with a typicaly daylight shot taken on a cloudy day (rare in California but it does happen). Click on the images below to see the full sized image straight from the camera.

This is the 1280 x 960 resolution (1.3 MP) that’s in 4:3 format with no zoom (1X)

WV-SC385

This is an image taken in the 720P HD 16:9 format. In this format you lose about 30% of the pixels available in the 1.3MP format above.

WV-SC385

Started to play with the zoom, afterall, that’s what this camera is all about. The pan/tilt/zoom is actually pretty quick. Making a 180 degree sweep, going from 1X to about 10X zoom and tilting down a bit took about 3 seconds.

We saw a suspicous looking item on the ledge of one of the pillasters. We zoomed in 5X to see what it is

WV-SC385

We are not sure, is it a hairbrush or a gun, we zoom in 10X and start getting pretty good detail

WV-SC385

Still not sure, we zoom to the maximum optical zoom for HD resolution which is 18X. The focus seems to be soft here. I tried to manually focus but this is the best I could get.

WV-SC385

This is another daytime shot, more of a wide distant view. I love the ominous clouds and yes, it did rain shortly after this despite rumors that it doesn’t rain in California.

WV-SC385

Zoomed in at the maximum extended zoom of 36X you can see a house in the distance that was barely a dot in the photo above.

WV-SC385

Here’s a shot of a nearby bush that was zoomed in 34X so you can see the fine level of detail that you can get from this camera.

WV-SC385

Lastly, I wanted to show you how this camera performs in the darkness of night. It appears to do very well at first because the maximum exposure is set at a long and unusual 16/30th of second. The noise reduction for such a long exposure shows how well this camera deals with noise and is pretty good.

WV-SC385

This is the same image but taken with the slow shutter feature turned off, meaning it’s now at 1/30th of a second. In this case, with the poor lighting, the image is worthless as it’s nearly black.

WV-SC385

The compromise may be setting it to 4/30ths to get detail while providing a faster shutter speed.

WV-SC385

To use this camera to capture moving subjects effectively, additional lighting may be required.

Some things I was not able to test are the SD card recording, facial recognition and the auto tracking.

The pluses for this camera are;
• 720p HD resolution or 1.3 MP for those that prefer a 4:3 format
• Affordable HD PTZ. I know that’s a bit much for some, but certainly a bargain next to the competition.
• Very good image quality
• Good noise reduction
• Internal SD card slot that can save video during a network outage
• Can send event alerts as emails or ftp
• Powered by PoE

The shortfalls of this camera are;
• Wide angle not as wide as I would like at 4.7mm
• Low light capability is not great at 1/30th max exposure
• Requires an optional housing for outdoor use

Recommended for;
• This camera works well for surveillence where high definition resolution, fast pan/tilt capability and long powerful optical zoom are needed. This is probably the best value in the market for an HD PTZ camera.

The Panasonic spec sheet for the WV-SC385 can be found HERE

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49 Comments on "Panasonic i-Pro HD WV-SC385 PTZ Camera Review"

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Adam
2 years 9 months ago

Where can I download the activex plugin
I downloaded all of the ones I can find for panasonic and none of them worked
and now I can only guess that its only on the supplied disk

Also its 2014, why do we still use activex, My axis cameras don’t need it

Mark
Mark
3 years 8 days ago

I am having problems formatting the SD card. When I execute, I get an error message. Any suggestions?

Aaron
Aaron
3 years 4 months ago

With the latest firmware on the camera, you can view MJPEG or motion video on your smartphone. Access the camera IP followed by /cam on your Smartphone.
For example: http://192.168.0.10/cam
You can also access their “dumb phone” interface which is a refreshing JPEG, which will work on any phone that has a web browser.
192.168.0.10/mobile
Both give you basic controls – pan, tilt, focus, presets, aux.
These interfaces will also allow you to use chrome, firefox, safari, etc…

luke kwan
luke kwan
3 years 9 months ago

what else is out there for macs other than security spy?

their app is good, but pricing is terrible…

[$47.11] SecuritySpy – 1 camera
[$117.79] SecuritySpy – 4 cameras
[$235.59] SecuritySpy – 8 cameras
[$471.19] SecuritySpy – 16 cameras
[$786.37] SecuritySpy – unlimited cameras

i have 8 panasonic ptz cmaeras (bc-10 to bl-c230).

if i were to add one more camera, it would cost me another $240!!!

and these prices are per computer!
Please note that each SecuritySpy license is for one computer only. For example, if you have two cameras connected to one computer, you will need one 4-camera license, not two 1-camera licenses.

i have a mac mini that i wanted to run the camera network in my bedroom. and also view my cameras on my imac in the livingroom.

cecitorteya@gmail.com
cecitorteya@gmail.com
3 years 10 months ago

Hi,
I bought the WV-SC385 for a research project to record interactions between mothers and children. Two cameras are set up in a room to record the participant’s behavior. I am trying to find a way to be able to record audio also, and was told I need to buy a couple of external mics. Is this correct? do you have any recommendations?

PS- I am totally ignorant about technology, so would really appreciate some help.

KJ
KJ
3 years 10 months ago

The spec sheet says “Still images (JPEG) can be viewed on mobile phones via Internet” so curious why only specifies still images.

KJ
KJ
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks. Can u view a live stream via smartphone with this camera? I want to be able to use my iPhone to view and ptz remotely without a local pc running viewing software.

KJ
KJ
3 years 11 months ago

Hi I’ve been looking for a good outdoor ptz camera for a couple weeks now and have read all of your reviews. This Panasonic seems closest to what I want but is it true that you can’t view live streams directly from your smartphone without additional software running on a pc locally? My goal is to mainly watch wildlife which is why I like the 18x zoom and hd features as well as ptz. I’m in Midwest so am concerned about temps too. Do you have any recommendations fitting my criteria for around $1k? I appreciate your site as its been helpful in narrowing my search. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Tom
Tom
4 years 5 months ago

perfect.. i think i will go with panny dome.. one last question.. with the included software I can record to computer correct? still seeing if Blue iris will support as well..

Flannery
Flannery
4 years 5 months ago

Wow. Great review and thanks. I found my camera i think. No wasted dollarson analog ptz nor dvr. I have a seperate windows 7 computer so i should be all set , after poe that is.. Question… If i put outside protected under porch will i need an extra dome?? I would get one before winter butsays ok down to 14f? Thoughts? Recomendtions? Ps..in midwest

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 6 months ago

Can i build a cheap joystick controller for WV-S385? Panasonic products are for big comanies. Most controllers are for CCTC cameras. I was looking for software or a controller that will work with IP cameras by Panasonic.
This is an excelent resource for information.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

If you have any software for my camera let me know.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

I have tried Blue Irus software for my WV-SC385 camera. The software does not support my camnera as yet. I then tried Milestone and I was unsuccesful. First it loaded but I could not find my server. So I uninstalled and then re installed. Now I can’t log on?
Is there any software like Blue Irus that will support my WV-SC385 camera? The WV-SC385 camera is an excelent choice for me. http://WWW.spytown.com has the cheapest price.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

Be careful of these cheap companies that sell the cameras as their a non-authorized reseller from Panasonic. Your warranty is void. I got mine from BH photo, I checked it a while ago they were authorized. Only like 50 bucks more. Well worth it in the end. If you have a Mac, Security Spy works great with it. Did you contact blue Iris about adding compatibility for the camera??

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

Blue Irus was giving me excelent support for awhile. I actualy liked Blue Irus software. Then I was asked to used portforward software. That caused allot of problems. I ended up with a hacker downloaded my drive. Now I am back trying milestone software essential. What is the best way to create a server? Milestane uses a server for there application. The software from Panasonic does not seem to need a server. I will fight tonight with milestone software. I have come to the conclusion: All software vendors on the internet promise you the world but never can deliver.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

I noticed on the first post the WV-SC385 camera is shown with the setup option working. How do you enable the SETUP option?

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

default username and password is…
ID: admin
Password: 12345

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

I tested the admin and 12345 and it worked great. Thank you very much.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

Good. Make sure you change it if you portforward from your router.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

Thank so much. I need some sort of software to test my camera. I did find a very good software program. But it does not support my camera as yet. I will try it tonight. If I could give KUDOS. I would give you the max.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

Blue Irus is working on a driver for the WV-SC385. Ken is extremly helpful. I am just waiting for his new driver. He did release a new one about a week ago. The support from Blue Irus is great. I tried to use PortForward. But I can’t make that software work. The software from Panasonic is a skeleton software. I don’t know what the SETUP button is for? It requires a name and password? I could not find it.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 7 months ago

I finaly purchased the panasonic WV-SC385 camera. The software that came with the camera does not have all the features discussed earlier this forum? I imagine I would have to spend more for the upgrades. So I purchased Blue Irus software. I can’t make it work with my WV-SC385 camera. Has anyone been succesful with Blue Irus and the WV-SC385 camera?

One more question. What is the best way to extend my range? Best buy has run me in circles. I am using a NETGEAR router and I tried a $40 dollar range extender. It gave me one more bar.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

You can also try buying a Ethernet over power line adapter, that will work way better than range extenders. They won’t work sometimes if your circuits your connecting are opposite in the circuit breaker box.

Philip Nielsen
4 years 8 months ago

Is the WV-sc385 or the WV-SW395 any different in features or benifits. I really want to track faces. I have burglers? I will use motion flood lights for night. I am not interested in covert survelance. I just want to capture faces. I can buy two SC385 with domes for $3K. Or one SW395 for around $2K.

Philip Nielsen
Philip Nielsen
4 years 9 months ago

I give in. It is just takes to much time to put my home brew together. I have decided on the WV-SC385. I have priced a dome case for $219. It is even cheaper at other sites. I can use less expensive bullets for other points of interest to me. The WV-SC385 will protect the front area. From my searching the network I have now been trying to find a good software management tool. Any suggestions. The bullet cameras I don’t think can see motion? Anyway I have turned around 360 degrees and found your selection to be the best for the money. I am not sure about Spytown website. But they were the cheapest so far. You have done your homework very well. What type of software is a good program? I am refering to see all the cameras or just one. I hear the software & firmware were somewhat buggy.

Philip Nielsen
4 years 9 months ago

I have looked at types of PTZ cameras. I think the price versus quality is out of line. 1.3 M pixels. at $1000. The quality of the picture is not worth showing the police. I am seriously looking at Canon cameras with around 12MP.
I would download the SDK and develop a 4 camera system. I can buy IP network proto board for $100 each. Then I would need to build two stepper controls for each camera. I am a software/hardware engineer. The cameras are around $400. I can get facial recognition software next to nothing. It will take allot of work. But a 4 camera PTZ with poor quality would start at $4000. No Thanks. The cameras have USB outputs and Video out NTSC standards. The really expensive Canon Cameras had HDMI and IP modules. Canon will make a serious change to SVC. And I have an autocad program for the mechanicl design.

mile
mile
4 years 9 months ago
thumbs up for the detailed reviews!!! i know this is not appropriate place for my several questions, but I couldn’t find a way to contact the guy that is writing this blog, so I posted here hoping I will get a reply from the author or someone else that is competent in this area. Also if you know a place where I can ask/post these questions please let me know in the comments. ***************************************************************** hi my name is mile, i’m doing a research for my masters and seeing I have no experience in surveilance cameras, I need an advice on what kind of camera to use for my project. NOTE: i didn’t just opened this thread blindly, as first I took a look around the web site, the forum and plenty other sites as well. however when a know little about a certain topic, i always ask help from people who are more competent than me and whose knowledge in this ‘unknown area’ is greater than mine. Here are the camera requirements: 1. it should be robust and resilient to rough weather conditions (rain, graupel, hail, etc.) >> outdoor -the camera will be located on a mountain top (location A)… Read more »
Philip Nielsen
4 years 9 months ago

I am totaly confused. My neighbor was robbed. Now they are trying to steal my air conditioner. I am looking for an IP camera for daytime and night. I thought a bullet camera was right. I need at least (3) high quailty cameras. I have become lost looking at all the video cameras. I loved the pan and zoom features on other cameras. I was looking to spend $2000 for at least 3 cameras. I looked at the Zavio B7210. But it does not have pan or zoom features. I was thinking of a dome camera for my front door. I am not sure if I should go withe the other cameras. It is only a short time before the crooks come back and steal from me.

I need your help on chossing the right cameras, System. The internet has totaly confused me.

Thank You,

Philip Nielsen

KJ
KJ
3 years 10 months ago

Hi Philip have you been able to use a smartphone to view live video with ur camera?

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 9 months ago

Great review as always!! Looking forward to more

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