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

Camera Course Winter 2017 on Jan 05, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Avigilon Pro 4K Camera Tested on Jan 03, 2017
Avigilon is best known for their large sensor, high megapixel cameras. But with new offerings from Sony and soon Axis, the questions is how well...
The PPF / PPM Video Surveillance Guide on Dec 23, 2016
Pixels per foot / Pixels per meter is the most fundamental and valuable, though imperfect, metric for specifying video surveillance image...
Hikvision Discontinued 'Migration' Tested on Dec 16, 2016
In 2 weeks, Hikvision's online service web portal will be discontinued. Hikvision has now framed it as a 'migration', though the transition will be...
2017 Video Surveillance Predictions on Dec 15, 2016
2017 should be an active, if not rocky, year for the security industry, according to predictions from IPVM integrators. We surveyed integrators,...
No One Should Ever Use Simplisafe on Dec 12, 2016
Simplisafe, the upstart DIY intrusion alarm system, is increasingly Public Enemy Number One in the alarm business. Recently, Security Sales ran an...
Hanwha Wisenet P 4K Bullet Tested on Nov 21, 2016
Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsung) continues their push into H.265 cameras, now with the high-end P series, including 4K resolution and smart...
Samsung Wisenet Q 4MP Tested on Nov 03, 2016
The 4MP trend continues, now with Hanwha Techwin / Samsung in their latest Wisenet Q series. We bought one of these models, the QNV-7080R, to see...
Sony 35mm Super Low Light Camera Tested on Oct 31, 2016
Sony is making a big push for their SNCVB770 camera, touting its low light capabilities that they claim can deliver true color in pitch black...
Security Consultants Speak Episode 1 - Protus3 on Oct 21, 2016
This is a first of a series of conversations with security consultants. If you are a security consultant that wants to talk and can share frank...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Vivotek Favorability Results on Jan 20, 2017
Financially, Vivotek is doing relatively well. The company did ~$130 million in 2015 revenue and 2016 revenue (through Q3 reported) was up more...
PR Firm: Don't Scrap PR Spending on Jan 20, 2017
PR is not dying, warns pleads PR firm. Take 40+ year old industry PR firm LRG, who recently lamented the 'misconceptions' that: Traditional PR...
Getting Started With Your IPVM Membership on Jan 20, 2017
Here's how to get started and get the most out of your IPVM membership. Books for Members All members can download the 3 member-only books below...
Jim Cramer Sucks Up To Knightscope on Jan 19, 2017
Credit must be given to Knightscope. They are raising money right now and despite their $80 million pre-money valuation against a lowly sub $1...
ADT Launches Canopy - Professional Monitoring For DIY Devices on Jan 19, 2017
The intrusion industry has criticized DIY security systems for years, claiming systems like Canary or Scout cannot match professionally installed...
Dahua (Un)Favorability Results on Jan 19, 2017
Dahua, the mega-Chinese surveillance manufacturer not primarily owned by the Chinese government has been trying to break out of the shadow of...
Paxton Hosted Access - Disruptive Low Dealer Pricing on Jan 19, 2017
Paxton is entering the hosted access game, with BLU, at a cost that is a fraction of key competitors. The different approach could be very...
Geovision Launches Direct Cloud Offering on Jan 18, 2017
Add cloud, subtract integrator. Geovision has launched myGVcloud, an offering that allows consumers to buy cameras and cloud services directly...
Anixter / Bosch Sells Direct to Amazon on Jan 18, 2017
Anixter regularly says they do not sell direct to end users or that they do not do it anymore. However, over the past year, Anixter has sold Bosch...
Smart Power Tools For Security Installs on Jan 18, 2017
Installing a smart camera? Perhaps you should use a 'smart' drill. The intelligent appliance / IoT trend has hit power tools. In this note, we...

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