PanaCast 2 review

PanaCast 2 Review

In the increasingly popular genre of Huddle-space cameras, the PanaCast 2 boldly offers a unique solution. Without question its most widely known feature is its panoramic 180 degree horizontal field of view (FOV). Now while other extreme wide angle conference cameras may offer similar FOV numbers, the PanaCast 2 is unique in that it has not one but three separate cameras. It includes on-board processing which not only blends the images together in real-time, but also corrects the image perspective to avoid any distortion such as pincushion or barrel.

This feature has allowed the PanaCast 2 to cater for that previously unreachable zone between super wide FOV and the acceptable level of image distortion. This is particularly relevant with Huddle-space cameras as image distortion is most noticeable for objects closer to the lens, and of course this presents a real issue in a Huddle-space.

Upon unboxing the PanaCast 2 the first notable observation is the compact form factor – taken to an almost extreme level. Easily fits into the palm of your hand and while it may be small, it is heavier than expected. The unit has a dense feel that is reminiscent of quality.

But the weight is not just for show – inside this tiny case the PanaCast 2 has somehow managed to include HD Microphones, an automatic accelerometer (which flips image automatically when inverted), and a cluster of at least 9 processors which are busy blending the images from the 3 cameras into a single Panoramic-4K: 3840 x 1080 stream.

The PanaCast 2 is supplied with a choice of either a Table Stand (which features a clever internal tunnel for routing the cables through helping to minimise clutter) or it can be supplied with a wall mount. Our recommendation here would be to only consider the wall mount option for a very small room, or where the participants will be no more than about 2 metres away from the wall/camera. This is due to both the limitations of the cameras but even more so for the built-in Microphones. The table stand addresses both these matters by having both camera and Mics closer to the participants, and also makes it possible to achieve the holy grail of video conferencing – that being having the camera mounted in front of the display, hence allowing the perception of real, true to life eye contact between near end participants with the far end viewers.

The tripod mount allows infinite other mounting options such as the Heckler Camera Mount.

Among other features is the tiny, yet quite bright LED status light on both sides of the front edge giving clear visibility of the status. The image quality while very good does seem to become a little less sharp for anyone further than 2m from the camera. However as the PanaCast 2 has been designed specifically for Huddle-spaces, this should not present an issue when appropriately installed.

The PanaCast 2 would excel when placed in the centre of a perfectly round table with subjects seated around the 180 degree portion of the table captured by the camera and in rooms where the participants are very close to the display. This setting would result in a uniform scale of each subject individually, and would also allow consistent audio levels of all speakers.

Try the Pancast 2 today and get everyone in the picture – in stock and ready to ship at Video Conferencing Australia