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.

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

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Our ****

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

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

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

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Download ***** *****

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

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*******

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

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

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

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*******

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

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

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*******

far ptz comparison

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

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***********

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

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

  • ***** **-*** - ******** ******* *.*.*.****
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**** *** *** *** (*) *** *********:

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