SD vs. HD PTZ Shootout

Author: Benros Emata, Published on Aug 20, 2011

PTZs, like fixed cameras, are moving to megapixel. With PTZs, though, real questions remain about the value of going to megapixel.

Some people say that megapixel eliminates the need for PTZ, regardless of the PTZ's resolution. Our Fixed MP vs SD PTZ camera test results show that such claims are simply false.

Maximum Coverage Area Concerns

However, another major concern exists with Megapixel PTZ cameras: While SD PTZs commonly have optical zoom ranges of 30X - 40X, Megapixel PTZs optical zoom ranges are generally only 10X - 20X. This is not an accident. Today, and for the foreseeable future, technical and cost limitations exist in making MP lenses with the large zoom ranges common for SD PTZs.

While Megapixel PTZs offer more resolution than SD PTZs, their optical zoom range is much smaller. This raises a big concern: Which PTZ - SD or Megapixel - can see the farthest? If SD PTZs have a farther maximum coverage area, going to megapixel PTZs would bring a major drawback as maximum coverage area is a key concern.

Our Test

In this report, we tested an SD PTZ against 2 MP PTZs to better understand the tradeoffs involved.

The cameras included:

We did a series of test in a large parking lot to simulate real world conditions for PTZ deployment. The tests were done both during the day and at night to see how performance varied across lighting conditions.

We tested three scenarios that were likely to differentiate performance:

  • Wide Field of View - When the PTZs are zoomed out wide, with the same FoV, what difference between MP and SD can be seen?
  • Moderate Zoom and Tracking Subject - When the PTZs are zoomed in moderately to track a suspect in the middle of the scene, what differences are observable?
  • Maximum Zoom In - When all the PTZs are zoomed in as far as they can go, which PTZ can see the furthest?

Below is an overview image of the location we tested:

****, **** ***** *******, *** ****** ** *********. **** ****, though, **** ********* ****** ***** *** ***** ** ***** ** megapixel.

**** ****** *** **** ********* ********** *** **** *** ***, regardless ** *** ***'* **********. ******** ** ** ** *** ****** **** *********** **** **** ****** *** ****** *****.

Maximum ******** **** ********

*******, ******* ***** ******* ****** **** ********* *** *******: ***** SD **** ******** **** ******* **** ****** ** *** - 40X, ********* **** ******* **** ****** *** ********* **** *** - ***. **** ** *** ** ********. *****, *** *** the *********** ******, ********* *** **** *********** ***** ** ****** MP ****** **** *** ***** **** ****** ****** *** ** PTZs.

***** ********* **** ***** **** ********** **** ** ****, ***** optical **** ***** ** **** *******. **** ****** * *** concern: ***** *** - ** ** ********* - *** *** the ********? ** ** **** **** * ******* ******* ******** area, ***** ** ********* **** ***** ***** * ***** ******** as ******* ******** **** ** * *** *******.

Our ****

** **** ******, ** ****** ** ** *** ******* * MP **** ** ****** ********** *** ********* ********.

*** ******* ********:

** *** * ****** ** **** ** * ***** ******* lot ** ******** **** ***** ********** *** *** **********. *** tests **** **** **** ****** *** *** *** ** ***** to *** *** *********** ****** ****** ******** **********.

** ****** ***** ********* **** **** ****** ** ************* ***********:

  • **** ***** ** **** - **** *** **** *** ****** out ****, **** *** **** ***, **** ********** ******* ** and ** *** ** ****?
  • ******** **** *** ******** ******* - **** *** **** *** zoomed ** ********** ** ***** * ******* ** *** ****** of *** *****, **** *********** *** **********?
  • ******* **** ** - **** *** *** **** *** ****** in ** *** ** **** *** **, ***** *** *** see *** ********?

***** ** ** ******** ***** ** *** ******** ** ******:

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

Key ******** *** ***************

**** *** *** *** ********:

  • *** ** *** ** **** ********* ***** *** **** ***** of ***** ******* *** ******* ******* **** ********* ****** **** a *******/****** ~***** ****
  • *** * ***** ***** ** ***** *******, ** ** *** tends ** ******* **** ****** ******* ** ******** ***********, *** less **********/********** ***** ******** ******** ** ** ** ***
  • ******* **** ****** *** *** * ******** ****** *** *********** how *** * *** *** '***'
  • *** ********* *** ******* ** ***** ** * *********** ** two *** *******: (*) ******* **** ***** *** (*) ****** resolution. **** ********** (** ** **) ** ************ ** ********* the ******* ***** ** ****** **** *** ** ********* *** a ********** *** ******
  • ******* *** ****** ***** **** *** **/** ****** ***** ***** or **** ******** **** ********* **** *** **

** ***** ** ***** ******** ** ********* **** ***** ******** consider ** **** **** ** ****. **** ******* *** **** (or ******* ******** ******) ******* ******** ***** *** ******* ******** contextual ********* ** *** **/** *** *** ******* *** **** image ******* **** * ***** ***** ** ****. ******* ** similar ** ******* **** ****** *** ** * *******. ********* and ******* *** * ************* *** **** ** **** **** a ***** ****** ** * ****** *** **** ******* * to ** **** ********* **** * ***** ******, *** **** being *****.

Understanding ******* **** ******

** *** ** ******* **** * ****** ******* **** *****, e.g. ***, ** ********* ****** **** * ****** ***, *.*. 20x. ******* ******** *********** ** * *** ***** ** **** metric ****** ** ******* ** ** *** ** ******** **********. A *** *** ****** **** *** ***** *** ***** ** a *** ***, *** *** ***** *** *** ****** ***** imply.

***** ***** ** *** ******* **** *****. **** *** ********* be ***** ****** ** *** ************* ***** (*.*., - *** Canon ** ******** *.* ******* ** *** ******* **** ***** ** *** specification ********* *** ***** ** ******** *.* ******* ** *** ******* **** ***** ** *** specification ****.

** *** ****** **** ** ******, *** *** ******** **** two ***** ****** *******: (*) *** ****** **** (*.*. */*", 1/3" ***.) *** (*) *** ******* ***** ****** (*.*. *****, 94mm, ***.). **** ***** *** ****** *********** **** ************** **** *** **** *** *** ************* ******* **** *****.

*** ******* *** ** *** (***** **-***) ** ****** *** a */*" ****** *** * ***** ******* ***** ******. ***** on ***** *** ****** *** ******* **** ***** ** *.** degrees. ** *** ***** **** *** ** *** ** **** (Canon **-***) ** ****** *** * */*" ****** *** * 94mm *** ***** ******. **** ****** * ******* **** ***** of *.** *******. *** **'* ******* **** ***** ** ******* half **** ** *** **'*.

**** *** ** *** ** **** ** ******* */* *** horizontal *** **** ********* ******. ** *** ********** *********** **** the **** **** *** *.** ****** *** ***** ******* ******* twice *** *** ** *** *.** ****** ***. *******, **** is *** *** **** ** *** ** ******** ***** ************ and *** ** ******. **** *** ** *** *** ********* of * **** **** ** ~** ******** *** **** **** half *** ****** ** *** ** (*** ****** ****). *** HD ****** *** ** **** **** * ~** ***** ****, but **** ***** *** ****** ** ******. ** **** **** are ******* ********** ** *** **** ***** ****** ******* *** being *** *** *** ***** ***** **** ***.

Download ***** *****

Near ***** (******** ~****/**** ~****)

*** **** *** ********** ** ~** ****** **** ***** ** this ********** ***** ******** ** ~****. ** * ****** *** HD **** **** ***** *** ****** *** **** ** *** same *** ***** ** *** ** ***.

*******

*** *** **** ******* ******** **** *** ** **** ******* twice *** *** ** *** ** ***, *** **** ******* in * **** ******** *****. ** **** *** *** ** PTZs ******* * **** ********** ** **************. *** **-***** ******** a ******** ******* ***** **** *** **-***.

*********(*** ******** ********** ** */***)

*** ********** ***** ***** ******** ***** ******* ******** ****** *** board, *** ******* ** ***** ******** ******* *** *** *******/****** details **** *** ** ** **** ********** ***.

Mid ***** (******** ~*****/**** ~****)

** **** ******** **** *** ********* ****** ** ~**** **** at *** *******'* ******** ~***** ****. ***** **** ***** *** normalized, *** ** **** ******* ~** **** *** **** *** SD ***.

*******

**** ****** *** ******* ** ******* ~** ******* **** ****** the ******** '****' ********, ********* ******* **** *** ******* ** a ******* **** ********* *** *** ** ~** ****** *** board. ** * ******, ******* *** ****** ** *** ***** PTZ ******. *******, **** ***** *** *** **********, *** ** PTZs ****** ** ******* ******** **** ******* **** *** ** PTZ.

*********(*** ******** ********** ** */***)

*****, ******* * ~** ******** ** ******** ** ******* ****** the '****' ********, ***** ******* ** ************ ****** ****** *** board *** ** ********* ******* ** ** * ***** ~**** HFoV ****** *** ~**** **** ** *** '****' ********. *** HD **** ***** ******* ***** *** *** ** **** ********** HFoV **** *** ** *** ** **** ******* ******** ****** detail *** *******. ************** ** ****** ****** *** ** *** HD ***** ** **** ****** ****** ***. **** *** **-*** is ******** *****-******* ******** ** *** ** *** **-***** ****.

Far ***** (******** ~*****/**** ****** *** ******)

** **** ********, **** *** ** ****** ** ********* ** a ******* ~***** ****. *** ** *** ** **** ** obtain *** ********* **** ** ~*** (***** ***** ******/*.** ****** lens *****). **** ** ******* **** *** **** **** *** HD **** *** **** ** ******. ** * ****** *** is **** ***** (~******) ****** *** ***** ****.

*******

far ptz comparison

******* **** ****** *** **** ** ****** * ****** ****** HFoV **** ** **** ******** ** ~*****. ** * ****** ppf ** **** ****** *** ******* (~******) *** ******* *** strong ** *** *******/******. **** *** ** *** ****** * HFoV ******* ***-**** **** ** *** ** **** ** ***** to ******* ******* *******. ** ************ **** ******* ** * minimum **** ***** (*.**) **** ** ******* ***-**** **** ** the ** **** (*.**/**-*** *** *.**/**-*****).

********* (*** ******** ********** ** */***)

***** ****** *** ** ***** ****** ** **** ****** ** the ******* ****, *** *** * ***** ******** ****** ** image ******* ****** *** *****. ***********, ******* *** ******** ********** as *** **'* *****, ******* ******* *** ** *** ***, is ******** **** ********. **** ** *** ********* ******* ******** its ***** ******* *** ** *** **** *** ** ******. Secondly, *** ** ** ******** *****-******* ******** ** *** ** PTZs (********** *** ********* **-*****).

***********

**** *** *** **** **** ** '** **. ** *** Shootout':

  • ***** **-***(****** $****) - ** (*******); */*" ***; *.*-*****; *.*/*.* *** @1/30s (*****/**)
  • ***** **-***(****** $****) - *.*** (********); */*" ****; *.*-****; *.**/*.*** *** @1/8s (*****/**)
  • ********* **-*****(****** $****) - *.*** (********); */*" ***; *.*-**.***; *.*/*.** *** @1/30s (*****/**)

**** *** *** ******** ******** **** *** ******:

  • ***** **-*** - ******** ******* *.*.*.****
  • ***** **-*** - ******** ******* *.*.*
  • ********* **-***** - ******** ******* *.**

**** *** *** *** (*) *** *********:

  • ******* **** ***** (******** ~****/**** ~****)
  • ********* **** ***** (******** ~****/**** ~****)
  • ******* *** ***** (******** ~*****/**** ~****)
  • ********* *** ***** (******** ~*****/**** ~****)
  • ******* *** ***** (******** ~*****/**** ****** *** ******)
  • ******** *** ***** (******** ~*****/**** ****** *** ******)

*** **** **** ********** ** * */*** *** ******** ****** for *** ***-*****/********* **** *********. *** **** '****' *** '***' range ********* *** **** **** ****** **** *** **** **** (same **** *****). *** *** '***' ***** ******** **** *** was ********* ******. **** *** '***' ***** ****** **** * unique **** *** **** ************* ***.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Bluebeam Revu Security Floorplan Estimation App Test on Jun 15, 2017
Bluebeam Revu is a construction design markup tool that claims it is "used by 94% of top US contractors", but what role does it have for physical...
Mirai-like Botnet Persirai Attacks IP Cameras - Impact Analyzed on Jun 14, 2017
Mirai made headlines in 2016, exploiting weaknesses in cameras, including those from Dahua and XiongMai to create a massive botnet that was used to...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on Jun 08, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Samsung SmartCam A1 Totally Wireless System on Jun 06, 2017
Hanwha is keeping the Samsung brand alive in consumer cameras with the SmartCam A1, a new offering combining an autotracking 1080p camera with base...
Jeff Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Security Startup on Jun 05, 2017
Deep Learning is a rising trend in many commercial security products, and now one entrepreneur wants to bring deep learning to residential...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
48MP 180 Camera (Digital Watchdog) Test on May 10, 2017
Camera resolution continues to advance, with Digital Watchdog offering the MegaPIX PANO 48MP 180° camera, the highest resolution mainstream camera...
Panoramic Camera Usage Rising 2017 on May 08, 2017
Panoramic camera usage (including fisheye and multi-imagers) continue to rise rapidly. However, the race to the bottom is hindering even stronger...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...
45 Drives 'Lowest Cost' Enterprise Storage Company Profile on Jun 21, 2017
45 Drives claims the "lowest cost per Hard Drive Slot in the industry." But who or what is '45 Drives'? What started as a product design to...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...
Axis P3225 Mk II Tested Vs. Original on Jun 20, 2017
Axis has released a number of 'Mk II' versions of their cameras, which are the same fundamental camera but with specific improvements. We tested...
Directory of 40 IP Camera Manufacturer Discovery Tools on Jun 19, 2017
Locating the IP address of a DHCP client or factory defaulted device on a network is often a difficult task.  In another report, we discussed...
Dahua Demotes USA CEO on Jun 19, 2017
Dahua has demoted their USA CEO Tim Wang. Inside this note, we examine the move, Dahua's challenges and what lies ahead for the...
Avigilon Increases Prices In Canada, Europe and UK on Jun 19, 2017
While many video surveillance companies are racing to see who can cut prices the fastest, Avigilon is taking a contrary approach, actually raising...
VMS UI - Light vs Dark Preferences on Jun 16, 2017
Several VMS manufacturers have the ability to choose a user interface with either a light or dark color theme. 150+ integrators told us which they...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact