End User Requires 3MP Minimum, Prefers 5MP Cameras

I did a sales demonstration today for a potential large industrial client for our live monitoring solution which also involves equipment.This potential customer occupies a several million square feet of industrial space across the country etc...ANYWAY, their security director was much more camera and network savy than most that I talk to and he told me that they have a company standard as of Jan 2014 that they could not deploy cameras that were less than 3MP and preferred 5MP regardless of the application. We use 1.3 MP cams (box, domes, bullets) mostly for surveillance properties.

I talk to a lot of companies like this on a daily basis but this was one of the largest and the first time I had heard of such a thing.

I remember about year ago, I think, John posted a survey about most common megapixel usage in surveillance and 1.3-2MP ran away with it at like 80% I think (yes I am too lazy to find the survey results).

Is anyone else running into anything like this? I still believe in our 1.3MP for most of what we do but I am interested to see if others are encountering clients arbitrarily wanting/demanding higher MP regardless of application.


I feel like we're starting to see a trend away from 720p/1.3MP cameras, toward 1080p and up. It seems like more new releases are coming out at that resolution than lower. Axis, for example, has only included their latest WDR features in 1080p cameras. Bosch skipped 1080p for their "starlight" line and went straight to 5MP. I know one integrator who is using that camera as starting point in a lot of projects, and adjusting down to 720p if even lower light is needed, or price is more of an issue.

What's more, bandwidth has dropped on average. Even cameras like the Axis 4K P1428-E are coming in with bitrates lower than some 5MP and 1080p cameras, so storage is less of a concern than it once was.

That being said, an arbitrary standard of 3MP and up seems, well, arbitrary. There are plenty of locations where 1.3MP is more than enough, and 5MP would be absolute overkill. Though I guess if they have the budget, more power to them.

Thanks, Ethan. That is VERY helpful knowledge.

Dale, a key factor is how wide an area does this security director expect each camera to cover and what details does he want out of them? Maybe he wants each camera to cover a 100' wide FoV. In such a case, 1080p provides only 19.2 ppf. On the other hand 5MP, increases that just to 25 / 26 ppf.

This statement makes me nervous:

"preferred 5MP regardless of the application"

I hope he does not have any low light or WDR issues...

Also, he is going to more than double his storage consumption going from 1080p to 5MP, which is quite a lot for the marginal PPF improvements and the potential lighting issues.

John, what you bring up is the discussion we had (I think i used the word exponential regarding bandwidth), thanks to what I learned on this site, and although he was polite I could tell the argument fell on def ears. In all, it is somewhat moot because it means a higher end price and slightly higher take home for me but I try to not to let that motivate things because thats where one can get into trouble. Try to do the best job you can for your clients and the money should take care of itself.

These guys are just following their rules and not THAT invested in the end result. I can tell.

Thanks for the response.

To an extend I agree with Dale..

Some of the new requirments states most of the mid rage customers urge to go for 3MP as their base requirement..

I feel the reason might be as follows :

1. The price difference between 1.3 MP, 3 MP and 5MP camera are not much (most Chinese, Taiwanese)

2. Want to reach the top of range resolution among the common range available, in order to stay long with the changing technology..

3. Lack of knowledge on storage requirement ..

4. Minimise the number of cameras, especially for ware house and factory outlets..

Network savey or not I think someone has drunk too much of the sales koolaid or is just flat out shooting from the hip. Maybe a photography enthusiast who can't understand why his security camera is so much smaller than his 16MP Nikon.

Evidently, their underwriter dictated the MP rating. I wonder if we will see more of that?

Their insurance company asked for 5MP? Have you not heard insurance companies getting that involved in surveillance at all, and especially at low level details like that.

This was the claim of the security director...I have no idea if credible or not.

There certainly could be some. I just don't imagine this is going to be the norm.

I haven't either. I am a neophyte in the industry but our president has pushed the ball with Zurich for awhile as he knows a few of their higher ups and...sum total is congruent with your statement.