Demonstrating the Value of Megapixel Cameras

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 19, 2008

One of the most exciting impacts of megapixel cameras is how they enable improvements in system designs that deliver better surveillance. This report reviews 3 of the highest quality megapixel demos available and discusses new designs possible and the benefits delivered by them. Also, see a 20 page in-depth comparison of megapixel cameras (premium only).

I recommend you review the following 3 demos:

These are fairly big areas - all between 100 and 300 feet wide and a few hundred feet deep.

In a traditional design, I would normally use 3 or 4 fixed cameras for choke points/key assets and a PTZ camera in the center to allow for active monitoring/general tour.

A single (very high resolution) megapixel camera provides roughly the same or better coverage than a collection of cameras. It eliminates a lot of dead spots that you are almost always forced into having due to restrictions on how many cameras that can be deployed. And as you can see from the demos, having one camera makes it easier to control.

I am especially excited about the higher resolution megapixel cameras.  1MP and 2MP are good for improving detail capture for existing camera locations.  But 5MP cameras (and up) can significantly transform how systems are design, simultaneously delivering lower camera count and improved coverage.


  • A number of vendors have 5MP cameras or higher: IQinvision, Avigilon (up to 16MP), Lumenera (up to 11MP) and ArecontVision (up to 5MP).
  • Bandwidth and storage are key considerations for 5MP cameras and higher. This requires a whole report itself.
  • Going above 5MP, the price of cameras jumps dramatically. A 5MP camera MSRPs for $1,000 to $2,000 USD but a 11MP MSRPs for $5,000 to $10,000.  Practically speaking, you may find it more cost effective to use (2) 5 MP cameras rather than an 11 or 16MP camera.
  • You must verify that your DVR/NVR vendor supports. They may not always support the higher resolution models. Also, Avigilon cameras only work with Avigilon NVRs.

I think very high resolution megapixel cameras are poised to make some of the most exciting and meaningful advances in video system design in many years.  Hopefully, these demos spark ideas in how to use megapixel cameras in future projects.

2 reports cite this report:

HDcctv: Non-IP Megapixel Coming to Video Surveillance? on May 16, 2009
Will non-IP cameras soon provide megapixel resolution? It sounds strange and almost a contradiction in terms. Today, only IP cameras provide...
Key Factors for High Quality Surveillance Video on Nov 23, 2008
Getting high quality surveillance video can be challenging. Indeed, many reports or surveys indicate that most users are not happy with the quality...

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