Arecont 20MP Camera Examined

By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 05, 2011

Arecont Vision has announced a 20MP camera. This would be the highest resolution production surveillance camera in the world. While there are some interesting capabilities, a number of important limitations should be kept in mind.

UPDATE: We know have full test results of the Arecont 20MP camera.

This 20MP camera will be a combination of 4 imagers in a single housing. Each imager will be 5MP providing a total of 20MP (4 x 5MP). This is the same architecture and format for their existing 8MP camera lineup, called the SurroundVideo series (contrast to our overview of the 8MP D/N series announced at ASIS 2010 [link no longer available]). Instead of using 2MP imagers, Arecont Vision will use 5MP ones.

Arecont is marketing this as replacing 65 conventional cameras. On the one hand, this uses basic pixel math common by manufacturers (e.g., a single 4CIF camera provides ~300,000 pixels, about 65 of them would be needed to match the 20MP of the Arecont). On the other hand, it is dangerously misleading, especially since lighting variances (like bright light and low light) often dramatically decrease the usefulness of the extra pixels. We've tested and examined this extensively - most recently in our recommendations for specifying surveillance image quality [link no longer available].

At night, the 20MP camera will essentially become a 5MP camera. Arecont will provide a binning mode of 1.25 MP per imager (1.25MP x 4 imagers = 5MP). Binning 'bins' multiple pixels together and treats a group of pixels like a single pixel. The upside is that the binned pixels capture more light. The downside is that there are effectively less pixels. This will help reduce some of the common problems of megapixel cameras being very dark at night (see our Analog vs MP camera test results [link no longer available] as an example). Users should make sure this works appropriately as Arecont claims this for their 10MP camera but it did not work in our 10MP test [link no longer available].

Finally, we anticipate that the effective image improvement of the new 20MP over the existing 8MP cameras will be modest. We base this on our comparative testing of many 2MP and 5MP cameras. While there is some visible improvements over wider FoVs, it is marginal and tends to dissapear under challenging lighting conditions. Despite this, the higher resolution will certainly consume significant more bandwidth and storage.

While the resolution is up 250%, we do not think this camera is anywhere near that much better than the existing 8MP camera. That said, we do find this line to be attractive in general as it provides 360 degree viewing without needing a special SDK to integrate with VMS systems. With Arecont's SurroundVideo cameras, VMS systems simply display them as 4 separate video feeds making integration simple. Only Avigilon has a similar product and Avigilon's version is JPEG200 only and can only be used with Avigilon's VMS. For more on panoramic / 360 options, see our Criteria for Selecting 360 / Panoramic Cameras.

UPDATE: In a customer update webinar on September 14th, Arecont released pricing for this series. The MSRP of the AV20XX5DN is $2,898, $500 more than the AV8XX5DN 8MP version. In this webinar, they once again repeated their claims of these cameras being "PTZ killers", and replacing up to 64 analog or VGA cameras and 16 1.3MP cameras. We find these claims to be ridiculous, as reviewed in our update debunking their claims.

5 reports cite this report:

Winners and Losers Fall 2011 on Sep 25, 2011
Now that the dust has settled from the new announcements of the last month, we can better understand the impact on the overall video surveillance...
New Surveillance Products Directory Fall 2011 on Sep 21, 2011
This report provides a summary of key announcements and news being made related to or around the ASIS 2011 show.For each product or change, where...
Avigilon 29MP Camera Examined on Sep 19, 2011
Avigilon has announced a 29MP camera, which becomes the highest resolution single imager surveillance camera on the market. Its launch comes on the...
New Surveillance Products Review June 2011 on Jun 14, 2011
In this report, we provide in depth coverage of new surveillance product releases announced in May and June 2011. Below are the products we are...
New Surveillance Products Spring 2011 Final on Apr 06, 2011
In this report, we provide a single source listing new video surveillance products announced in Spring 2011 and in conjunction with ISC West.For...
Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Camera Resolution Usage Statistics 2020 on Mar 12, 2020
The average resolution used, for new cameras, is now 4MP, according to new IPVM statistics, continuing the rise that we have mapped from 2014,...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
Last Chance - Camera Course Winter 2020 on Jan 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training exists...
2020 Camera Book Released on Jan 10, 2020
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Oct 14, 2019
Camera focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can significantly reduce details, making cameras less effective. In this guide, we...
Hanwha Announces 32MP Camera + AI Line on Sep 10, 2019
In the first rise in maximum megapixel resolution in 5 years, Hanwha has announced a 32MP / 8K camera directly competing with Avigilon's H4 30MP /...
Lens Iris Tutorial on Aug 08, 2019
Cameras, like humans, have irises, controlling the light which hits the imager and impacting image details. However, cameras have multiple types of...
Lens Focal Length Tutorial on Jul 10, 2019
3mm, 6mm, 2.8 - 9mm, 5 - 50mm, etc. Camera specifications often list lens lengths but what do they mean? These metrics are important in...
Spring 2019 50+ New Products Directory on Apr 08, 2019
We are compiling a list of new products for Spring 2019 and have over 50 already. Contrast to Fall 2018 New Products Directory and Spring 2018...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Viakoo Presents Cyber Hygiene for Cameras on May 28, 2020
Viakoo presented its 'Cyber Hygiene' and 'Service Assurance' products at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A...
Seek Scan Thermal Temperature Screening System ReTested on May 28, 2020
Now that IPVM has tested Dahua, Hikvision, and Sunell, we are returning to Seek, the first blackbody system we tested and retested it with our...
Directory of 106 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on May 28, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers to help you see and research what options are available. There are...
Fever Cameras Are Medical Devices, Per The FDA, Dahua, Feevr, Hikvision, InVid Contrary Claims Are False on May 28, 2020
Fever cameras are medical devices, despite what euphemisms various sellers use. The US FDA clearly categorizes them as medical devices and...
Wyze Raises $10 Million And Seeks Services Expansion on May 27, 2020
Wyze has raised $10 million, the company's first disclosed raise since the $20 million announced at the beginning of 2019. Inside this note,...
Startup Videoloft Presents Cloud Storage on May 27, 2020
Videoloft presented offsite cloud storage at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Videoloft including IPVM...
Directory of 300+ Fever Camera News Reports Globally on May 27, 2020
This global directory tracks 300+ articles about thermal cameras used to detect fevers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Articles are...
Integrators Rising Against Coronavirus on May 27, 2020
IPVM integrator statistics make it clear - Coronavirus's impact on business is lessening and many are anticipating even better news in weeks...
Netposa Stock Surges 46% After US Human Rights Abuse Sanctions on May 27, 2020
Last Friday, the US government announced it would sanction PRC video management provider NetPosa for being "complicit in human rights violations...
LILIN Presents NDAA-Compliant P2 Cameras on May 26, 2020
Merit LILIN presented its NDAA-compliant P2 camera series at the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video...