X
Get all access to the world's best video surveillance information.
Logo
680-70-2015-free-banner

License Plate Capture Tested

by John Honovich, IPVM posted on May 21, 2011 About John Contact John

Capturing license plates is one of the best ways to identify suspects and intruders. As such, it is highly desirable that outdoor surveillance cameras are able to do so.

However, capturing license plates is challenging. While license plates are relatively small, surveillance cameras are generally expected to cover a large area. Even worse, at night time, headlights make capturing license plates quite hard.

In the last few years, hopes have risen as megapixel cameras have become mainstream. Theoretically, the much greater resolution should allow for simultaneous wider coverage areas and capturing of license plates.

In this report, we share our results from a real world license plate capture (LPC) test. We choose a two lane vehicle entrance to a public parking facility with a kit of 5 IP cameras (including SD, 720p, 3MP and 5MP cameras from Axis, Arecont Vision, Bosch, Sony and StarDot) to better understand the tradeoffs ourselves. As the image below shows, we captured a moderately wide Field of View focused on the two lane entrance:

We placed our camera kit in line with the vehicle entrance to capture vehicles entering and exiting the lot. The overhead image and map below demonstrates the coverage, distances and pixels per foot at different positions.

Then we analyzed a series of scenes to see how performance varied across the cameras. We digitally zoomed each camera to the same level to see the differences. Below is an example of our analysis:

Inside the Pro section, we provide analysis on 14 scenes, revealing the performance of each camera in each scene. The 14 scenarios we choose were:

  • Daytime LPC (Far)
  • Daytime LPC (Mid)
  • Daytime LPC (Near)
  • Day vs Night LPC
  • Ground Level vs High Mounting LPC
  • 11ft vs 7ft Mounting LPC
  • Low Beams vs High Beams LPC
  • Headlamps Off vs Low Beams LPC
  • Nighttime Van LPC (Ambient Lighting)
  • Nighttime Van LPC (White Light LED)
  • Nighttime Van LPC (IR LED)
  • Nighttime Sedan LPC (Ambient Lighting)
  • Nighttime Sedan LPC (White Light LED)
  • Nighttime Sedan LPC (IR LED)

Many factors impact performance, making LPC one of the most challenging achievements in surveillance, especially when the camera is being used for both license plate capture and general surveillance. Inside, we show and explain each of the key factors involved.

The complete report is available only to PRO Members.
Inside the Pro Section

Pro members may access the full 14 page report, review all the screenshot comparisons, download all the video samples and read our recommendations.

Want to read the rest of License Plate Capture Tested and get immediate access?






Most Recent Industry Reports

Winners Losers Spring 2015 on May 18, 2015
The industry is in the midst of major changes. Consolidation, driven by commoditization and declining financials, is real. New products are moderately better than last year, but still not enough t...

Free Top IPVM Resources on May 16, 2015
Here are 12 of the top IPVM resources, available for free. Members, if you want to share / introduce IPVM to a friend, this directory is a great start so they can see the outstanding informati...

Testing Dahua HDCVI Encoder With VMSes on May 14, 2015
HD Analog cameras have incredibly low prices for true HD video. But HD analog recorders are pretty simplistic and underwhelming. Moreover, many want to use HD analog cameras with their establishe...

The $100 MP Era is Here on May 13, 2015
The video surveillance industry has entered a new era. This era is disrupting the biggest players in the industry and changing long-held industry dynamics. The Old Era - 2009 to 2013 ...

Samsung Wisenet Lite Cameras Tested on May 11, 2015
Far lower-cost MP cameras are a major trend now. So far, the 'Chinese' have been leading the way here. Samsung's Wisenet III series hit the market offering performance similar to more expensive h...

Testing IP Camera Test Monitor (Tatung) on May 06, 2015
Integrators frequently cited insufficient installation tools as one of the key problems of IP camera installation. While many use a laptop, the size and necessary accessory devices to do this make ...

WDR Camera Shootout 2015 on May 04, 2015
This is the most comprehensive Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) IP camera shootout ever. We tested 10 of the latest generation multiple-exposure true WDR cameras, including: Arecont Vision AV3116DNv1 ...

Uniview Chinese Camera Tested on Apr 28, 2015
The company claims $263 million in 2013 revenue and to be the third largest Chinese surveillance manufacturer (after Hikvision and Dahua). Despite being owned by American investment firm Bain Capi...

Google Maps Camera Calculator Released on Apr 27, 2015
The new IPVM Google Maps Camera Calculator empowers surveillance professionals to plan and design systems like never before. Whatever project you are working on, enter the address and start mappin...

Gain / AGC for Video Surveillance Guide on Apr 23, 2015
Gain control is a critical, though often overlooked, factor in low light surveillance video. It is generally only noticed when the negative side effective of aggressive gain levels are seen, namely...