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

PPF Test - Getting High Quality Surveillance Video

by John Honovich, IPVM posted on Apr 04, 2010 About John Contact John

Megapixel cameras foster hope for much higher quality surveillance video but how much more and in what conditions? In this report, we answer these questions in depth based on extensive testing.

The most aggressive marketing claims suggest a single megapixel camera is equals 95 CCTV cameras. Does that mean you could literally replace 95 CCTV cameras? If not 95, is it 25 or 16 or 4, etc.?

A 'Magic Number'

The megapixel vendors are now advocating a 'magic number' of 40 pixels per foot. They claim that if your Field of View provides 40 pixels per foot (e.g., a 1920 x 1080 camera covering a 48 foot wide FoV), then you can see facial details and license plates clearly.

Some vendors qualify their number by saying it is a 'minimum' but then fail to offer any further disclosure or explanation. This is as helpful as the government coming to your house and telling you owe a minimum of $1,000 in taxes.

Our Test

Over a 3 week period, we went out and tested these assumptions using a variety of cameras, resolutions and Field of Views. The video below overviews how we approached our tests:

Our Findings

Our test results show that achieving high quality surveillance is much more complicated than the magic numbers nor multipliers being advocated today. While megapixel surveillance can significantly improve surveillance coverage, many issues and nuances exist that must be properly appreciated when designing and deploying systems. We examine these in depth in the PRO section.

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

Pro members may access the entire report including 5 video screencasts, downloadable sample videos from the tests and comparison slides of tests performed at various resolutions and FoV widths. We provide detailed recommendations on quality achievable for a variety of conditions and settings.


Log in to read this IPVM research.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM does original testing and research that is funded by member's payment enabling up to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information in the industry.

Key ********

*** ********* ****** *** *** *** ******** / ***************:

  • ** 'ideal' ******** ********** - even daytime lighting, no shadows, no glare - you need closer to 50 pixels per foot to see facial features clearly and read US license plates.
  • ** **** ******** *********** ******** ********** - ******** shadow ** ***** - you need ~20% more pixels to 'overcome' decrease in contrast.
  • ***** ****** *** ************ ****** **** **** ****** ** ****** ** ***** ********** *** ***, ** *** **** ** ****** **** ****** ******** *** ******* ****, *** ****** target ** ****** *** ****.
  • ** *****, **** **** * ** ** *** ** ******** (**** ****** ******), ******* **** **** *************. ** ** **** ** *** *******, ***** **** ** ********* *** *** ******* ***** ***** **** ************* ****** *** ***** ***** ********** ******* *** ** ****. ** night, *** ***** **** *** ****** *** **** (or more).
  • ***** quality ********* ******** as the FoV width expands. There's no single point where quality goes from good to bad. Details gradually appear or disappear as the FoV width changes.
  • ** ***** numerous ****** ** ******* ******* *** ************ ***. While traditionally, surveillance applications had 3 quality levels (often called personal, action, scene), we found at least double that number. As quality degrades, some details still remain. Those details can still provide benefits depending on the application.
  • **** ******* ***** ** good ****** ** ******** **********. Because quality gradually degrades, some users may find different levels of quality to be sufficient. For example, two people may view video from the same camera and one will judge 45 pixels per foot to be sufficient while another may prefer 55 pixels per foot.
  • Vertical ******** ******* varies dramatically with the focal length / horizontal angle of the lens. With a wide angle lens, it is nearly impossible to get facial features at more than a few feet distance from the camera (even with megapixel). With a telephoto lens, facial features can be captured at fairly far distances. The tradeoff of course is the width of FoV covered.
  • ****** **** HD ** *** ******** ******** *** ***** ****. In FoVs narrower than 20-40' wide, it is unlikely that significant material difference can be visually observed. At wider FoVs, modest increases in ability to detect meaningful details was shown.

How ** ******* ***********

****** **** *** ***** ***** ** ********** *** ** *** *** ****** ****** ******** *** *** ** ********* ***** ***********.

Download ****** ****** *** ********** ******

*** **** ******, ** *** ******* * ****** ** *** ******** ****** ****** *** ****** ** *******.

** ********* *** ***** **** ****** ** *** ********** ****** ** ***** ****** ******* * ******** ** ****** **** * ******* ** *** ****** *** ***********.

************, **** *** * *** ** *** ******** ***** ***** ** **** *** *** ***** *** '***' ***** ** *** *** ** ********* *** *****:

Lighting ******** ******

** *** ********* ** *** ******, ** ******* ********* *** ****** **** '*****' **** **** ******* **********. ** *** ********** *****, ** ********* * ***** ****** ******** ********* **** ****** *********** ******:

  • ****** *******/***** *** ******** *** ****** ** ****** ****** *** *** **** ***** ** ******* ************** **** ****** *** ****** ** *** ***.
  • ******* ****** **** ***** ****** ** ********** ****** ******** **** ***** ************* ****** **********, ********* ************ ****** ****** *** **** ** ******** ****** ** *** **** ***** ** ***.
  • ********* ** ******** ** ***** *** ****** ******* *** ***** ** *** **** ********* ********** **** ******* ****** ** ** ********* ******** **** ** **********.

Pixels ****** / ******* ********

*** ***** ******** **********, ** **** ********* * *********** ******* ****** **** *** **** ****** ** ********. ***** *** *** ********** (******* ****** ******* ** ***** ********* ******* *******, ******, ***.)

  • ********* ** ****** ******: < * ****** *** ****
  • ***** ***** ** ****** (***, ******): * - ** ****** *** ****
  • ****** *********** ***** ** ****** (****, ***********, ***.): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • ****** **** (***** ******** ** *** ******* **** *** ******): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • ***** **** (***** ******** * ********): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • **** ** ******* (**** ***** ******* ** **** *** ****): **+ ****** *** ****)
 

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ** ********* **** *** *** ************ ** ******* ***********:

Differences ** *** ***** *** ******* ***********

********* ********** *** ******** *** ***** ** *** **** * ****** *** *****. ** *** ***** *****, ** *********** ****** **** * **, *** *** *** ****** *** *******. * *** *** ****** ** ****:

  • *** ** *****, ****** ***** ******** **********. ** *** *******, ***** ******** *** ***** ****** ********, *** ********** ** **** ********** *********.
  • ** ******** **** (**** **-** ****), *** *** ******** ** **** *** ********** ********** ******* * *** *** *** ******.
  • *** *** **** ** **** ** ** ***, * **** ******* **** ****** **** *** ** *** (** ** ******** ***** *** ******** ******** ** ******). ****** **** *** ** *** ***** **** ***** ** ** - *** **** ****.
  • ** * ***' *****, ** ** ****** **** ******** '*****' ** ***** *** * *** ****** *** ******* ******* ** *** ***, ******, **** *** ******** ** * *******.

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ** ******* ** **** ***** *** **** *** *********** ** **** ********:

Variances ** ****** ****** *** ******* / ****** ******

******* / ****** ****** **** *********** *********. **** *** **** ** *** ****** *** *** ********** ****** ** *** ***** *** ***** ******. **** ** ********** ********* *** ** ****** *** *** ******* ****** **** ***** ********** ****** **** ***** ******** ** *** *****.

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ******** *** *** ** ****** *** ******* ******.

Variances ** ******** ** ****** **** ********** **** *******

** *** ***** ** ***, ** **** ********* ************ ** *** *** *****. ** ******, *** **** *** ****** *** ** ******** **** ******* **** ******* **** *** ********* ****** *** ******** ******** ****.

**** ********* ********* ******** *** *** ** **** ***** ** ***** **** ***** ****** ** **** *** *** ***** *** ******* *****. *** ******** ** **** ***** '*******' ***** ************* *** ***** *** ***** ********. *** **** ********* ****** ** *** ******* ** ****** ****** *******. **** * **** ***** ****, * ****** **** **** ** **** **** *** ****** ** ****** ******** ** **** ***** ****** ******* ********. ** * ********* ******* ** **** *********** ********, **** *** **** ******* **** *****'* **** ***** ** ****.

** * *********, ***** ** *** ****** *** **** *** *** ****** ***** ******* **** *******. ****** **** *** **** ********* *** ****, *** **** ******* *** **** *** ** ***** *******. [**** *** * */*' ******, * ** ****** *** ** ******** **** * *.* ** ****, * ** ****** *** **** * * ** **** *** * ** ****** *** **** * **** ****.]

** ** *********** ****, *** *** ***** ***** ***** ********** **** ************.

 

Summary ********

********* *** ************>, *** ********* ****** *** *** *** ******** / ***************:

  • ** 'ideal' ******** ********** - even daytime lighting, no shadows, no glare - you need closer to 50 pixels per foot to see facial features clearly and read US license plates.
  • ** **** ******** *********** ******** ********** - ******** shadow ** ***** - you need ~20% more pixels to 'overcome' decrease in contrast.
  • ***** ****** *** ************ ****** **** **** ****** ** ****** ** ***** ********** *** ***, ** *** **** ** ****** **** ****** ******** *** ******* ****, *** ****** target ** ****** *** ****.
  • ** *****, **** **** * ** ** *** ** ******** (**** ****** ******), ******* **** **** *************. ** ** **** ** *** *******, ***** **** ** ********* *** *** ******* ***** ***** **** ************* ****** *** ***** ***** ********** ******* *** ** ****. ** night, *** ***** **** *** ****** *** **** (or more).
  • ***** quality ********* ******** as the FoV width expands. There's no single point where quality goes from good to bad. Details gradually appear or disappear as the FoV width changes.
  • ** ***** numerous ****** ** ******* ******* *** ************ ***. While traditionally, surveillance applications had 3 quality levels (often called personal, action, scene), we found at least double that number. As quality degrades, some details still remain. Those details can still provide benefits depending on the application.
  • **** ******* ***** ** good ****** ** ******** **********. Because quality gradually degrades, some users may find different levels of quality to be sufficient. For example, two people may view video from the same camera and one will judge 45 pixels per foot to be sufficient while another may prefer 55 pixels per foot.
  • Vertical ******** ******* varies dramatically with the focal length / horizontal angle of the lens. With a wide angle lens, it is nearly impossible to get facial features at more than a few feet distance from the camera (even with megapixel). With a telephoto lens, facial features can be captured at fairly far distances. The tradeoff of course is the width of FoV covered.
  • ****** **** HD ** *** ******** ******** *** ***** ****. In FoVs narrower than 20-40' wide, it is unlikely that significant material difference can be visually observed. At wider FoVs, modest increases in ability to detect meaningful details was shown.

 

*********?

*** ****** ******** * **** ******* ** ******, *** ** *** ***** ** **** ********** ** ** *** ******. ** *** **** ************* ** ********* ** ******* ******, ****** ***.






Most Recent Industry Reports

HD Analog Four Way Cameras Tested on Aug 28, 2015
One camera that delivers AHD, HDCVI, HDTVI and 960H, all for as little as $15 a camera. Both on price and claimed support, that is pretty outstanding. And we are hearing from people all over the w...

The Prox Reader Shootout on Aug 27, 2015
In this report, we put eight readers of the popular 125 kHz contactless format head to head and see which one rises to the top. Over a third of integrators call 125 kHz 'favorite', and tens of t...

Axis WDR Zipstream Low-Cost M1125 Tested on Aug 26, 2015
Axis has been busy promoting speciality devices like IP horns and video intercoms. However, they have quietly released a new series of low-cost HD cameras with true WDR and Zipstream support, spec...

IPVM Launches Live Chat Room on Aug 24, 2015
Now you can get help or talk with colleagues any time with IPVM's new Live Chat. Chat is as old as AOL chat rooms and as hot as mega-startup Slack. Benefits of Chatting Ask a question anytime,...

SMB Market Video Surveillance Guide on Aug 20, 2015
This 13-page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the small-medium business surveillance market. A global group of 90 integrators&nbsp;responded,&nbsp;each offering insigh...

The $100 Intrusion System Korner Tested on Aug 18, 2015
Multi-year contracts at $30 per month are the norm. Now a startup is offering an intrusion system for $59 up front and just ~$3 monthly. The company,&nbsp;Korner, has billed itself as the "Home S...

Panasonic 4K / 12MP Camera Tested on Aug 17, 2015
We bought the new Panasonic 4K / 12MP WV-SFV781L dome camera and tested it against the:&nbsp; Axis P1428E Bosch&nbsp;NBN-80122 Dahua&nbsp;IPC-HFW4800E In this in-depth report, we tested: ...

Testing Petzi, The Pet Cam That Shoots Treats on Aug 14, 2015
Do you love dogs? Do you love the Internet of Things? Then we have a product for you. Half camera, half remote-controlled pet treat dispenser,&nbsp;Petzi lets you shoot treats at your dog. That'...

Genetec Cloud Tested on Aug 12, 2015
Not since Axis public and prolonged agony with AVHS, has a major manufacturer bet as heavily as Genetec&nbsp;is now doing on the cloud. Genetec started with Stratocast, which took a similar small ...

Samsung AHD Tested on Aug 11, 2015
Not long ago, an individual MP camera was commonly $300 and&nbsp;a DVR was commonly $300. Now, Samsung is offering (4) MP cameras plus a DVR for ~$330&nbsp;all-in. We bought the Samsung&nbsp;SDH-...