Camera Application Selection Guide

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Aug 23, 2017

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.

*********, ********, ***** *** parking **** *** ******* the * **** ****** areas ***** ************ ** deployed. *** **** ** the **** **** ** camera *** ****? **** resolution, **** ******* *** FoV *** ****? ***** do ******* ******** **** WDR, ********** **, ***** low ***** ***? ***** is *** **** ***** to ******** *** *******?

** **** ******, ** share **** ******** *** recommendations ******* ********* ** different ****** ******* ** each ** ***** * fundamental ***** - ********, hallways, ***** *** ******* lots.

***** ** ** ***** of *** **** **** in *** **** ********* scenes.

Advances *** ****

***** *********** ******* ** **** guide ** ****, ******* ******* **** occurred ** *** ********, changing *** ***************:

  • ***/** ******** ***/****:** *** **** *-* years, *** *** **** cameras **** ****** **** less ******, **** *** and ** ******* ****** into **** *** **** cameras. (**** **** *** generation *** ****** *** now ******** *********, *** we **** *** *** tested ****.)
  • ********** ** ** **********:********** ** **** ** be * **** *******, but ** *** ********* in *********** ***** ************ line, ** *** *** and **** *** ******* and ******** **** *******, with ********* ** *********** ********** integrated ** ******.
  • **** *** ** ** longer * ******* *******:**** *****-******** *** ** now ***** ** **** low **** ******, ***** $200. **** ******* **** to ** ******* ** high *** ******, * significant ******* **** **** cameras. *** ****** ********: *** ****/**** End *** **** *******.
  • ******* ***** ******* ********:******* ********* ****** *** often *** **/**** *******, with ********* *********** ** 9MP ** ******, ********* much ****** ******* **** previous * *** *** models ****** * *** years ***. ************, ********** IR ********* ****** ******* fisheye *** ***** ***********, previously * *** ********.

[***************]

Key ********

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

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

  • **** ******* *********** *** the **** ****** ** performance ** ******* **** exterior ************, * ****** occurrence. ****** ********** *** is **** ****** **** increased ********** ** ***** areas.
  • *** ** *** **** 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 ***** ******* **** good *** *********** (** strong ************ ******). ******* beyond ***** *********** *** not ********* ****** *** entranceway ** **** *****, resulting ** ****** ******* and *********. ******* ******* WDR **** **** ****** due ** ************, ******** their ******* ** ******** subjects.

********

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

** ********, **** ********** is *** ****** ******. While ****** ********** ******** more ****** *** ****, these ******* **** ********* handle ***** ***** **** 1080p ******, ******** ****** image *******. ** ***** is ****** *** ****, and ******* ***** ** not * ***** *******, 4K *** ** ******.

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

** ******* ******** ****** such ** ********** *****, we ********* ** ***** 1080p ********** ** ****. Lower *********** **** ** provide ****** *****. ** contrast, **** *********** **** as ** *** ****** waste ***** ****** **** details ** ******** *** activities *** ********** *********.

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

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

******* ****

***** ******* ******** *** best ******** ******* *** light ********** *** ********** in **** *****. *** and ** *** ******* more ******* ****** *** day, *** ****** *********** roughly ******* ** ***** at ***** **** ** on.

** ********* ***** **** 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 ***** ********* ***** details.

*********

*****, ** ****** *** 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 *** ***** ****** still ******** ******* ******** to ********* *** *******.

*******, ** *** *** 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 *******. * ********* cameras **** **** ******* poor ** *** *****. See*** *** ***** ******** Tested*** **** ***********.

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

*** ********** ***** ***** 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 *** *****). ** previous *****, ****** ********** models **** ******* ***** at ******** ******** ********* in **** *****, *** current ****** ****** ***** ill *******.

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

** **** ****, ** 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 (6)

***** *****! **** **** put ********!

***** ******* ****. * realize ******* *** ** these *** * ******* task *** **** ******* contributed ** *** **** application ******* *'** ****. I'll ** ******* **** with *** ***** ******* teams.

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

***** ******* *** **** simple & ******* *** projects, **** ****** **** what * ********** ** experiencing **** *** ******* is ***** ********** ** how **** *** *** image & ** *** recognizable ****** *** **** - *** ** *** details ***** ** **** well ****** *** ***** establish * ************ ** a ****** *** ******* & ****** ******** - but *** ****** **** they *** ** * non-clear ***** ******** **** they **** ** *** a ***** **** (********* in *** ***) , trying ** **** **** understand **** ************ ** not ********* ** ****** a ***% ***** **** but ** ********* *** needed ******** *** *********** they ****... *** **** if ** ********** ** correct *** **** ** what * **** ** deal ****; **** ****** clients!

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

** ** ***** ** see *** **** ** side ***********.

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