Demonstrating the Value of Megapixel Cameras

By John Honovich, Published Aug 19, 2008, 04:01am EDT

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:

  • Images from an actual theft solved by a 2MP IQinvision camera on Exacq's blog.
  • Recorded 16MP Camera from Avigilon in an airport [link no longer available]that shows recording of small detail very far away.
  • Recorded 5MP Camera from Avigilon in a foodcourt [link no longer available] that shows monitoring throughout a large area.

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.

Notes

  • A number of vendors have 5MP cameras or higher: IQinvision [link no longer available], 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.

2 reports cite this report:

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