Multi-Megapixel Deployment Statistics

By Ethan Ace, Published Jan 01, 2012, 07:00pm EST

Megapixel camera resolution increases regularly, with manufacturers pushing higher and higher resolutions all the time. 2011 saw the introduction of new 29-megapixel, 51-megapixel, and even gigapixel cameras. The question, however, is how often these cameras are being used. Are integrators and end users really interested, or are increased bandwidth and storage needs an obstacle to adoption?

To that end, we asked integrators in our Fall 2011 survey the following question:

The Results

Of the 84 respondents, a little over a quarter (26%) answered that they were often deploying multi-megapixel cameras. The largest group answered "sometimes", at 40%, with "rarely" coming in at 19% and "never" at 15%.

Some unsurprising trends revealed themselves when looking at these numbers by favorite camera or VMS. Fans of Avigilon and Arecont were, not surprisingly, much more likely to often deploy multi-megapixel cameras, and much less likely to rarely or never deploy them. Other factors, such as geography, had little to no effect on responses.

Smaller System Preferences

For the most part, differences among integrators averaging different system sizes (fewer than 16 cameras, 17-32, over 32, etc.) were not strong enough to draw many conclusions. However, those averaging 16 cameras or below are much more likely to never deploy multi-megapixel cameras than other segments (26% versus 3% and 16% for 17-32 and 32+ cameras, respectively). 

Common Applications

Integrators cited a few common applications in which they were deploying multi-megapixel cameras. With few exceptions, these applications were large, outdoor areas, such as sports fields and parking lots. These areas have traditionally been a challenge, and required multiple cameras to cover with acceptable resolution, if they could be covered at all. Megapixel cameras are theoretically remedying this, though as our tests have shown, often at the expense of nighttime performance and image quality. 

Here's what integrators had to say regarding their applications:

  • "We are geared towards multi-family residential, most apps are interior, but we deploy 3MP and 5MP in larger spaces, primarily parking areas."
  • "The majority of the cameras we are deploying are in interior applications or for monitoring entrances. High megapixel cameras are not needed in these applications. We occasionally deploy them in exterior and parking lot applications."
  • "When covering a large area (e.g. parking lot, sports field, retail, the increase in resolution provides imagery that can't be matched by analogue or even HD CCTV."
  • "With 3 or 5 megapixel we can cover larger area (for example 3 or 4 fuel columns)"
  • "We like the multi-megapixel cameras for larger space or sometimes outdoor applications. It allows us to install fewer cameras with more coverage area."

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