Camera Selection Guide 2013

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 14, 2013

UPDATE: This has been replaced by Camera Application Selection Guide 2017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.

Free Example

Inside, we have more than 20 comparisons. Here's a free example:

This comparison demonstrates the difference between mounting a single imager panoramic in the center of the room vs. a super wide angle camera at one end. 

Below is that same scene, just zoomed in on our subject.

More than 20 others inside.

******: **** *** **** replaced ******** *********** ********* ***** 2017

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

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

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

Free *******

******, ** **** **** than ** ***********. ****'* a **** *******:

**** ********** ************ *** difference ******* ******** * single ****** ********* ** the ****** ** *** room **. * ***** wide ***** ****** ** one ***. 

***** ** **** **** scene, **** ****** ** on *** *******.

**** **** ** ****** inside.

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

Key ********

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

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

  • *** ******* *** ********* in ********* **** ****** backlighting, * ****** **********. 
  • ** ******* ********* (*-* doors) ******** ********** ******* provide ********** ****** ** identify * *******
  • *********** ***** **** *** unnecessary ** **** ********* and ***** ******** ********* and ******* ***** ******* adding ** ****** ******* delivered. ***** ****** **** rarely ******* ***.

********

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

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

  • ******* * ****** ***** wide ***** ****** (***° FOV) ** *** ****** of *** **** ******** approximately *** **** ******* as * ******* ********** panoramic ******. *******, ** our *****, **** ***** cameras ******** ****** ***** handling **********, ********* ** less ************ ** *** subject *** *****, ***** still ******** *** ****** room, ****** **** ********** to ********* *******.
  • *** ******* **** ********** rooms (**'***' *** *****), resolutions ****** **** ***** offer *** ********** *******. 720p ********** ******** ******** less **** ************** ******* video, ****** * ***** subject *** ***** ** recognized.
  • ********** ** ******* ******** higher ******* *** ***** images **** ***-** ******, providing ******* ** *** subject *** ***** ***** 1 *** ***** ****** produced ** ****** ******.
  • ********* ** ***** ** rear ** **** ******** purely ** **** ******** was **** ******* ** be ********: *****/**** ** general ********.

******* ****

  • * *** ** ********* cameras ******** ******* ******** in ******* ****** *** to ******* ***** ******** capabilities. ********* ***** ****** areas ** *** ***** to ** ****** ***, including ********, ********, *** our **** *****.
  • *** ******* ** **** details *** *******. **** angle ***** ******** ******** of ********** ** *** parking ***, *** * reduction ** *********** ** subjects *** ******* ******. Reducing *** *** ** about **** ******** ****** recognition ************, *** * full ******** ** ******** (cars *** ****** ****** and *****) *** ****, possibly ********* ********** ******* in *** **** *****.
  • ***** **** ******* **** have **** **** ** outdoor ******** *** ********* safety, ***** *** ***** cameras ******* ******* ******* to ********** ** *******. In ***** ** **** dimly *** ******* ****, integrated ** ****** ******* better ***********.

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

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

********* 

** ******* *********, ** recommend ** ** **** cameras **** **** *** performance (** ****** ************ exists). ******* ****** ***** resolutions *** *** ********* unless *** *********** ** very *****, ********* ** wasted ******* *** *********. Cameras ******* *** **** lose ****** *** ** backlighting, ******** ***** ******* to ******** ********.

********

** ********, **** ********** is *** ****** ******. While ****** ********** ******** more ****** *** ****, these ******* **** ********* handle ***** ***** **** 720p ** ***** ******, reducing ****** ***** *******. If ***** ** ****** and ****, *** ******* space ** *** * major *******, *** *** be * **** ********.

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

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

** ******* ******** ****** such ** ********** *****, we ********* ** ***** 720p ********** ** ****. Lower *********** **** ** provide ****** *****. ** contrast, **** *********** **** as * *** ** megapixel *** ****** ***** space ****** **** ******* of ******** *** ********** are ********** *********.

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

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

******* ****

***** ******* ******** *** best ******** ******* ***** handling *** ********** ** this *****. **** ********* ******* may ******* **** ****** per **** ** ******* lot ******, *** ***** should ** ***** ** possible ************ ****** ****** in ***** ******. *** light *********** ** ******* above ***** ** **** poor.

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

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

  • *****:** ***** ** * key **** ** *** scene, ** ***** ** identify ******** ** ********, low ***** ******* ****** be ****.
  • ****:** ***** ** *** needed, ********** ** ******* may ********* ** ********* for * ***** *****, while ***** ********* ******* on *** **** *** light ******.

*********

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

  • *** **. *** ***
  • ** **. ** **. Multi-Megapixel

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

**** ******* ********** ** essential ** ******** ****** to ********** *** ****** backlighting ****** ** *** sun ******* *** ********. In *** ********** *****, with *** **, *** subject, *****, *** **** outside *** ******** *** all ******* *******. **** WDR ****** ***, *** subject's **** ** ********* obscured, *** ******* ***** are ********** ****** ***.

** **. **** **. 1080p

** * ***** ** view **** ****** (~**'), even ******** ********** (******* in **** ****) ** sufficient ** ******* *********** quality ****** ** *** subject *** *****. ****** resolutions ** *** ******* a ********* ******** ** usable *******.

*** **** ** **** outside *** ****, ** well. **** **** ** this ****, *** * and ** ********* *******' lower *********** ***** ******** negatively ****** ***** *******, with *** ******* *** chart **** **** ****** out.

********

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

  • ** **. *** **. 10MP
  • *:* ** **:* **. Corridor ****
  • ******** **** ******** **. Wide **. ***** **** FOV

** **. *** **. 10MP

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

** *** *** ***** of *** *******, ~**' from *** ****** ********, details ***** ** ****, though *** **** ****** still ******** ******* ******** to ********* *** *******. **** that *** ***** ****** in **** **** *** 1080p *** **** ******* started ** ****** **** greater ******* ***** *** artifacting **** **** *** 5MP ******, ******** ***** quality.

** *** *** *** of *** *******, **** 720p *** ***** ******* PPF *** *** ** identify *** ******* ** make *** *** *****. Digital ***** ****** *** more ********** ** **** range.

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

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

************, ***** ** ****** rotates *** ****** ** degrees, ******** **** ********* the **** *** ** standard ****** ******, ** can ** **** ** a ********** ** *** two *****:


**** **** ******** **** is *** ********* ** many ******* ** ****, limiting *** *******. ***** should ****** **** ** **** Corridor ********* **** *********** ** the ********* ** ***** 9:16 ****** *****. 

******* ** *** ** 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° *** ******.

*****

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

  • ****** ********: ***** **. rear
  • ****** ******* **** ***** vs ****** ******* ******* panoramic
  • ** ** **** ** 1080p
  • ******** ** ***
  • ********** ** ** ***** only

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

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

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

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

***** *********** *** ** mitigated ** ***** ***** wide ***** ** ********* cameras, ****** ** * loss ** *** ********** the ***.

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

** **** ******* ********** room (~**' * **'), we ***** ***** ** be *** *********** "***** spot" ** ***********. **** was *** ***** ********** for *********** ***** ** our *******'* ****. ********** resolution ** * ** 10 ********* ***** *** practical ******* *** **** in *** ***** ******, but ******* *** ***** performance *************, ** **** below.

** **** *****, *** 720p *** ***** ******* offered ** *** *** best ***********. *** **** model *** ******** **** able ** ******* ******* on *** **** ***** compared ** *** ***** camera, *** ** ********* digital *****. ******* *** 5MP *** **** ******* provided ****** ****** ** our ******* ** *****.

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

**** ********** ************ *** difference ******* ******** * single ****** ********* ** the ****** ** *** room **. * ***** wide ***** ****** ** one ***. 

***** ** **** **** scene, **** ****** ** on *** *******.

********** ** **. ***** Only

*******, ** ****** *** 720p *******, *** ***** only, *** *** **** built-in **, ** *** what ********, ** ***, IR ************ ****** ** this *****. **** ***** compares *** ***** ** view ** ****. ** the ***-** ******, ***** is **** ********** ********* our *******, ****** *** chart *** ** ****** seen. *** ** ****** makes ********* **** ******.

******* ** ** *** subject, ** *** *** that ******* ****** ******** recognition ******* ***** ** this ********. 

Parking ****

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

  • ** ** *** ** 10MP
  • ***** **** ** ********** wide
  • ********** ** ** ***** low *****

** **. ***

** **** ********, ****** an ************* **' ***** of ****, **** ********** does *** ******* ****** sufficient *** *********** ** our *******. ************, *** chart ** ****** ******* past *** ***** ****. 1080p *** ***** ******* better *********** ** **** subject *** *****. *******, the * *** ** megapixel ******* *** ****** out ******** ** **** four, ***** *** ***** camera ** ***.

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

** **** ****, ** narrowed *** *** **** about **', ***** ******** the ****** ***** ** our ******* ***, ********* the ******** ** *** right ** *** ****, to ***** **', ********** PPF ****** ***** * parking *****. **** ********* removes *** ******* ** observe ******** ******** *** exiting, ***** ** ******** in *** ***** ***.

************, ******** *** **** not ****** ** **** practical **** ** *******, with *** ******* *** chart **** ******** **** discernable.

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

*******, ** ****** ** integrated ** ****** ******* two *** ***** ********* models ** *** ********* in *********** ** *****. Note **** ** **** scene, *** ******* *** was *********** ** ***** 2 *** ** ******, typical ** **** ******* lots. **** ***** ***** the ********** ** *********** across *** ***, **** the ** ******'* ************ pattern ****** ****** **********.

** ~**', *********** ******* low ***** ******* *** the ** ****** ** similar, **** ****** *** chart ******* ****** ***********. The ***** ****** ** this **** ** ******** washed *** *** ** the ******* *****, ********* in **** **** ** detail.

** **** ********, *** cameras **** ***** ***** similar ***********, ****** *********** ** ******* **** detail *** ** ********* in *** *** ******* noise ****** ** ********* gain.

Comments (15)

I really like this, thank you. Would you have had an opportunity to do situations like large workfloors like parts assembly areas. High ceilings open plan type arrangements.

Hi Vasiles, thanks, we are planning to do more of these. These areas were the most common and the simplest to take care of first. We're looking at maybe doing warehouses, loading docks, etc., because they're also readily available to us in our building. Other specific areas like you mention are definitely possible, but we'll need to find somewhere to shoot, so it'll take a bit longer.

Wow that's an excellent review John & team. Think you hit a lot of pertinent points and very graphical for us people with short attention spans.

Great reference gude!

"Corridor mode" is a great thing for indoor video surveillance. And not only for corridors.

Excellent guide .

Excellent guide! If possible, please list the camera make & models used in the testing.

Great content thanks

Nice tests. Comparision of images at 1/2/5/10MP resolution, at day and night conditions tell much.

Very useful! Re: Brandon's comment- I am interested in how you selected which cameras to use. Not as much in the make and model (although that is certainly important), but in whether you tried to pick the best of class for each type of camera, the average or just whatever camera came first to hand.

We tried to pick an average of professional models we have tested over the last 10 months. As for the specific models, the only one that's notable because it's rare is the 10MP and that's an Arecont - see our new 10MP vs 5MP vs HD Shootout

i appreciated seeing the differences on the side by side comparisons. Gives me a great perspective!

Great Job

Looking forward to more of these type's of comparisons

Thanks

Why is the 5MP camera for the hallway displays the eyechart significantly yellower than the other cameras?

That's a function of the sensor and/or white balance in that specific camera. Even trying to compensate for it by adjusting color gains, it was still yellow.

Four years later would you come to the same results? Panoramic fisheye imagers have developed with more features. Panoramic multi-imager cameras have continued to develop, low light cameras detect better at lower light levels and thermal has continued to price drop making them a real choice to the market.

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