Camera Application Selection Guide

By Ethan Ace, Published Aug 23, 2017, 01:26pm EDT

Entrances, hallways, rooms and parking lots are perhaps the 4 most common areas where surveillance is deployed. But what is the best type of camera for each? What resolution, form factors and FoV are best? Where do special features like WDR, integrated IR, super low light fit? Where is the best place to position the cameras?

In this report, we share test findings and recommendations showing tradeoffs of different camera options in each of these 4 fundamental spots - entrance, hallways, rooms and parking lots.

Below is an image of the FOVs used in our four different scenes.

Advances For 2018

Since our original writing of this guide in 2013, several changes have occurred in the industry, changing our recommendations:

  • 4MP/4K replaced 5MP/10MP: In the past 1-2 years, 5MP and 10MP cameras have become much less common, with 4MP and 4K sensors moving into even low cost cameras. (Note that new generation 5MP models are now becoming available, but we have not yet tested them.)
  • Integrated IR is everywhere: Integrated IR used to be a rare feature, but is now available in practically every manufacturer line, in low end and high end cameras and multiple form factors, with a majority of integrators installing integrated IR models.
  • True WDR is no longer a premium feature: True multi-exposure WDR is now found in even low cost models, under $200. This feature used to be limited to high end models, a significant premium over most cameras. See our WDR Shootout: Low Cost/High End for more details.
  • Fisheye image quality improved: Fisheye panoramic models now often use 4K/12MP sensors, with streaming resolutions of 9MP or higher, providing much better details than previous 3 and 5MP models common a few years ago. Additionally, integrated IR panoramic models improve fisheye low light performance, previously a key drawback. 

Key ********

**** *** *** *** findings **** **** ******:

*********/*******

  • **** ******* *********** *** *** most ****** ** *********** in ******* **** ******** backlighting, * ****** **********. Better ********** *** ** more ****** **** ********* resolution ** ***** *****.
  • *** ** *** **** PPF ** ******* ******** areas (*-* *****), ******* delivered ** *****, ***, and ** ******* *** all ****** (***** *********** the ********** ** ***).

********

  • ** ********, **** *:* and **:* *********** ***** much ** *** *** on ***** **** *****, though *:* **** *** scene ********** ****** *** to *** ****** ***********.
  • ******** ******* ** ******* and ***** *:** ******** mode ******** ******* ******* the ***** ****** ** unneeded ***** *** ******** coverage ** **** ** the ****.
  • ********** *** ** ******** mode ******** ***** ** more **** ******* *** camera ***** *** **** to **** ********* ** subjects. *******, **** ******** results ** * **** of *** ** *** hallway ******, *********** ** recognition **********.

******** *****

  • ** ***** ******** *****, 4K ******* ******** * notable ******** ** ******* over ***** ****** ** well *** *****, ***** may ** ****** *** spotting ***** ********* ** objects ** **** ******** facial **************. *** ******* provide **** ****** ********* (due ** **** ** poor ***** ******** ** models ** **** ******).
  • *******, ** *** ***** scenes, **** ********** ** on, ****** *********** ***** few ********** ******* **** 1080p.
  • ********** ** ** ********** useful ** ******** ******, as ***** *** ***** surfaces ******* ************, ********* image ******* **** **** super *** ***** ******.
  • * ****** **** ********** (8-9+ **) ******* ********* camera ******* ** *** center ** * **** provides ****** ******* *** overview **** * ***** wide ***** ***** (***°+ AOV) ******* ** *** end, *** ******* ******* to **.
  • ********* ** ***** ** rear ** **** ******** purely ** **** ******** was **** ******* ** be ********: *****/**** ** general ******** ** *** room ******.

******* ****

  • *** *** ** ******* provided ******* ********* ** detail **** ***** ****** during *** ***, ******** more ******** ************** ** subjects.
  • *******, ********** ********** *** reduced ** *****, ** 1080p ******* ****** *********** produce ******** ****** *** lower ***** **** ****** resolution ******, *********** ********** similar ******* ** *** and **.
  • *** ******* ** **** details *** *******. **** angle ***** ******** ******** of ********** ** *** parking ***, *** * moderate ********* ** *********** of ******** *** ******* plates.
  • ******** *** *** ** about **** ******** ********** better *********** ************, *** a **** ******** ** activity (**** *** ****** coming *** *****) *** lost, ******** ********* ********** cameras ** *** **** scene.
  • ***** **** ******* **** have **** **** ** outdoor ******** *** ********* safety, ***** *** ***** cameras ******* ******* ******* to ********** ** *******. In ***** ** **** dimly *** ******* ****, integrated ** ****** ******* better ***********.

***************

***** ** ***** ************ we **** *** ********* key *************** *** **** of ***** *****:

********* 

** ******* *********, ** recommend ***** ******* **** **** WDR *********** (** ****** backlighting ******). ******* ****** these *********** *** *** necessary ****** *** *********** is **** *****, ********* in ****** ******* *** bandwidth. ******* ******* *** will **** ****** *** to ************, ******** ***** ability ** ******** ********.

********

******** ********, ** ********* corridor **** ** ****, shifting *** ****** ***** from **:* ** *:**. This ********** **** ** the **** ***** **** when ***** ******** *:* or **:* *******. *******, this ********** *** ** limited ** ****** ** VMS ******.

** ********, **** ********** is *** ****** ******. While ****** ********** ******** more ****** *** ****, these ******* **** ********* handle ***** ***** **** 1080p ******, ******** ****** image *******. ** ***** is ****** *** ****, and ******* ***** ** not * ***** *******, ** may ** ******.

******** *****

** ******* ******** ****** such ** ********** *****, we ********* ** ***** 1080p resolution ** ****. ***** resolutions **** ** ******* usable *****. ** ********, high *********** **** ** 4K *** ****** ***** space ****** **** ******* of ******** *** ********** are ********** *********.

***** **** ***** ******* are *********** ** *** entire **** **** ********** be *******, ******* ** simply *** *** ** the *****, *** ** their ******** ***** ******** capabilities ******** ** ********* models ********* *******.

********** ** ******* *** recommended ** ******** ** expected **** ****** *** low. ***-** ******* ******* little ** *** *** of ********* ** *********** of ********.

******* ****

***** ******* ******** *** best ******** ******* *** light ********** *** ********** ** this *****. *** *** 4K *** ******* **** details ****** *** ***, but ****** *********** ******* similar ** ***** ** night **** ** **.

** ********* ***** **** be **** ** ******* lots, ** ******* ** the ****** ******** ********* in ***** ***** *** low. ********* *** *** by ****** **% **** little ** ******** ******* on ****** ** ****** ranges, *** ******* *** camera's ******* ** ******* an ******** ** ******** throughout *** *****.

***** **** ******* **** are ***, *** ******** of ******* ** *** integrated ** ** ***** low ***** ******* ***** down ** *** *******:

  • *****: ** ***** ** * key **** ** *** scene, ** ***** ** identify ******** ** ********, super *** ***** ******* should ** ****.
  • ****: ** ***** ** *** needed, ********** ** ******* may ********* ** ********* for * ***** *****, while ***** ********* ***** *******.

*********

*****, ** ****** *** of *** **** ****** locations *** ******* ** any ********, ** ******** lobby. *** *********, **** the *** ******** *****, we ****** *** *********:

  • *** **. *** ***
  • ***** **. *** **. 4K

*** **. ***-*** *******

**** ******* ********** ** by *** *** **** important ****** ** ********* cameras *** ******** *******. In *** ********** *****, with *** **, *** subject, *****, *** **** outside *** ******** *** all ******* *******. **** WDR ****** ***, *** subject's **** ** ********* obscured, *** ******* ***** are ********** ****** ***.

***** **. * ** vs. **

** * ***** ** view **** ****** (~**'), the ***** ****** ** easily **** ** ******* recognition ******* ** *** subject. ****** ********** ****** offer ***** *** *********** (though **** *** **** WDR ******), ********* ******* of *** *******, ******** any ********* ******** *** to ********* ***.

********

*** ********, **** *** one ******** *****, ** tested *** *********:

  • *:* ** **:* **. Corridor ****
  • ******** **** ******** **. Wide **. ***** **** FOV
  • ***** **. * ** vs. **

*:* **. **:* **. Corridor ****

***** ******** *** **** longer **** **** *** wide, **** *:* *** 16:9 ****** ****** ****** in *********** ******* ** space ** *** *** wasted ** ******* ***** such ** ***** ***** (highlighted ** *** *** boxes *****).******** ********** **** ****** ***** to *:**, ********* **** coverage ** ****** *****, as *** ** **** highlighted ** ***** *****. 

************, ***** ** ****** rotates *** ****** ** degrees, ******** **** ********* the **** *** ** standard ****** ****** **** using *** **** ***** length, ** *** ** seen ** * ********** of *** *** *****:

**** **** ******** **** is *** ********* ** many ******* ** ****, limiting *** *******. ******* should *** ************* **** ** *** Do *** ******* ******** Mode *** **** ***********.

******* ** *** ** Corridor ****

** *** *** ****** field ** **** *** on ******** **** *******, we ****** ** ** four ********* ****** ** view, ******* **** ********** narrow ** ***** **** (134°). ** *** ******** FOV *****, *** ****** maintained * ***** ** view ******* ** *** 16:9 ******* *****, ***** 65-70°, *** *** ******* into ******** ****. *** was ************* *******, ** ~90°, ***°, *** ***° in ****** ** *** right.

**** **** *** **** beneath *** ****** ******* more *** **** ******* as *** *** ** increased, ***** *** ** useful ** *********** ********* subjects ******** ** **** move ******* *** ***. However, *** **** **** (118/134°) ****** ** **** offer ****** **** ********* value, ** ********* *** be ********** **** ** the ********* ***** ** view.

************, ******* **** ******* as *** *** ** widened, ** *** ** seen ** *** ***** below. ** **** ****, ability ** ******** *** subject ****** **** *** hall ******* **** ** 90° *** ******.

***** **. * ** vs. **

**** *** ******* ** the **** *** ** the *******, *** ************, all *********** *** **** to ******* ******* *****. Even ***** ** **** range ** ****** **** to ******* *********** *******.

** *** *** ***** of *** *******, ~**' from *** ****** ********, details ***** ** ****, though *** ***** ****** ***** provides ******* ******** ** recognize *** *******. 

*******, ** *** *** end ** *** ****, light ****** **** ********, from ~***** ** **. Due ** ********* ***** and *********, **** ** the ******* *** **** to ******* ******** *********** of *** *******, **** only * ******** ********* to ** **********.

Interior *****

*** *****, **** ** the ********** **** *****, we ****** *** *********:

  • ****** ********: ***** **. rear
  • ****** ******* **** ***** vs ****** ******* ******* panoramic
  • ***** **. * ** vs. **
  • ********** ** **. ***** low *****

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

*** ***** ******** ** locating ******* ** ******** rooms **** ** ***** is *** ******'* ******* purpose.

  • ******* ** *** ****, the ****** *** ** used ** **** ******* activity ** *** ****, but * **** ** entries/exits ******* *** **** may ** ****.
  • ******* ** *** ***** of *** ****, *** camera *** **** ****** capture ******** ******** *** exiting, *** ******** ** the ***** ** *** room *** ** ******.

******* ** ****, *** deciding ****** ** ******** location ** ****** *** the **** ** ****, i.e., ***** *** ****** are ******* ** ********** take *****.

***** *** ***** **** the ********** ******* ***** and **** ********:

***** **. *** **. 4K

** **** ******* ********** room (~**' * **'), 1080p ******** ************ ******* of *** *******, ****** they *** ******* ** higher ********** ******. **** legibility ** ******* ****** in * ** *** 4K ******.

*******, ** *** ***** with ** **, *** 1080p ***** ******** ******* similar ** *** ** model *** ******* **** the *** ******, *** to ****** ****** *** increased ***** ** ***** other *******. * ********* ******* have **** ******* **** in *** *****. *** *** *** ***** ******** Tested *** **** ***********.

********** ** **. ***** *** Light

*** ********** ***** ***** 1080p ********** ** **. super *** ***** *** conventional ***/***** ******. ** enclosed ****** **** ** the ********** **** ****, IR ******** *** ** walls *** ***** ********, improving ***** *******. ******* of *** ***-** ****** show ******* ** *** subject ** **** ***** at **** ***** ***** (lights ***, ~*.****).

***** **** ***** **. Panoramic

**** ********** ************ *** difference ******* ******** * single ****** ********* ** the ****** ** *** room **. * ***** wide ***** ****** ** one ***. *** ** the ********* ** ********* resolution ** *** **** few *****, **** ********** 8-9 ** ********* ****** are *** *********, ********* better ******* **** **** models *** ******* ******* when ******** ** * 1080p ************ ****** ** the **** ** *** room, ***** *****.

*******, *** **** ** fixed ******* **** **** become *********, ********* ******* over *** **** ***** 1080p ***** ***** ** further ****** ** *** room, *** **** ****** detail ****** ** *** camera.

*** ** *** ******* model's ***** ** **, details *** ******* ** the ** **** ***** IR **** ** *****, as ****, *** ******** to *** ***** **** angle *****.

Parking ****

*** ******* ****, **** the *** ******** *****, we ****** *** *********:

  • ***** **. * ** vs. **
  • **** *** *******
  • ********** ** **. ***** low *****

***** **. * ** vs. **

********* ********** *** ******* lots *********** ******* ** the ********/***** ** **** width ** ** *******. At ***-***** (~**' **** the ******), *** ***** camera ******** ***** ****** details ** *** *******, but **** *** ** model ******** ***** *********** (and ********** ** "****" on *** *****). ** ******** tests, ****** ********** ****** were ******* ***** ** handling ******** ********* ** this *****, *** ******* models ****** ***** *** effects.

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

** **** ****, ** narrowed *** *** **** about **', ***** ******** the ****** ***** ** our ******* ***, ********* the ******** ** *** right ** *** ****, to ***** **'. **** reduction ******* *** ******* to ******* ******** ******** and *******, ** **** as *** ***** ******* space ** *** *****, which *** ******** ** the ***** ***.

************, ******** *** **** not ****** ** **** practical **** ** *******, with *** ******* *** chart **** ******** **** discernible.

********** ** **. ***** Low *****

*******, *** ********** ***** shows *** ********** ******* a ******* ********** ** model *** ***** *** light *** ******** ***/***** models. **** **** ** this *****, *** ******* lot *** *********** ** about * *** ** target, ******* ** **** parking ****.

***** ** *** **** below, *** ***** *** light ****** ******** ****** easily (***** *******, **** parking *** *****) ***** the ********** ** ***** does *** *** *** standard **** ***/***** ***** is **** *********.

** ~**' *****, *** integrated ** ***** ******** the ******** ******* ** the ******* *** *****, but ** ***** ***********. The ***** *** ***** model ** ******* ******* and **** ********, *** color *********** ** *********.

********** ** *********** ***********

 

** **** *****, *****, 4MP, *** ** ******* provide ******* ******* ** the *******, **** *** recognizable ** *** ***********. However, **** **** ** noticeably ******* ** *** 4K *****.

*******, ** ****** *********, higher *********** *** ****** than *** ***** ******, making ********* ** *** subject **** *********, *** providing ** ******* ** legible ****. 

******* ***** *******

** *** *****, ********** has **** **** ********* than ***** ******** ********** in ******* ***** ******* applications, **** ***** ******* providing ****** ******* *** similar ******** ** ** models ** **** *****, despite ***** ****** *** foot. 

*** *******, ** *** low ***** ******* *** application *****, *** ** camera ******** **** **** adjustment **** * ******* 1080p *****, ********* **** fast */***** ********, ******* gain, *** ******** **. By ******** *** ***** camera ** **** ** use * ****** */**** exposure, **** ** **** adjustment.

 

Comments (7)

Great guide! Very well put together!

Great article guys. I realize getting all of these was a tedious task but your efforts contributed to the best application summary I've seen. I'll be sharing this with our video project teams.

Excelent job.

Great Article and very simple & helping for projects, even though that what i personally am experiencing with the clients is their perception on how they see the image & if its recognizable enough for them - for us the details could be very well  enough and could establish a recognizable to a person for example & enough coverage - but for client what they see is a non-clear image thinking that they need to see a clear view (specially in low lux) , trying to make them understand that surveillance is not sometimes in having a 100% clear view but to establish the needed coverage and recognition they need... not sure if my  perceptive is correct but this is what i have to deal with; hard minded clients!

 

good recommendation on hallways. 

It is great to see the side by side comparisons. 

Has this topic been revisited since 2017? Interested to know how technology has progressed with the same applications in mind.

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