Panoramic Cameras Wall vs Ceiling Mount

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 12, 2016

Panoramic cameras are almost always ceiling mounted, looking down for a general overview of the scene, but is this really the best location, or can wall mounting provide similar or better details and overview?

To find out, we shot out panoramic cameras in two scenes, indoors and out:

Inside, we see how mounting style impacts performance and answer the following questions:

  • Which mounting style provides better facial details?
  • How does overview performance differ?
  • Does either mounting type waste significant FOV area?
  • How do software and hardware dewarping impact these issues?

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Comments (28)

Great report!

What is the height of the camera in both configurations under test?

Hm. All panoramic cameras - its "waste of pixels". Single 90 degrees camera in corner has more pixels density, at the same scene.

But, for wall mounted camera you can use another lens, than for ceiling mount, and get more pixels per meter.

A single 90 degree camera will still have a blind spot below it in this type of indoor scene. Also, outdoors, you are limited to a single 90 degree view, or you will need more than one camera.

In general, we use panoramic cameras to cover large areas where subjects have already passed through a pinch point covered by an identifying camera. We never rely on the panoramic view for identifying features. As long as you keep that in mind when designing the system, you should be fine using them.

We have done quite a bit of testing with Panoramic cameras. Our end users do not fond of the overhead shots of the Pano's. However, they do like the wall mount shots especially for smaller areas such as patios and courtyards. We will be replacing many fixed cameras with fewer Pano cameras.

We really like the new Hikvision DS-2CD63C2F-IVS model (12 MP). It can either give you a 180 degree panoramic view dewarped on the camera or it can give you three PTZ dewarped views on the camera. The nice thing about the PTZ dewarped views is that you can move the view port around to crop out any ceiling shots.

We have used the Hikvision wall base mount that is offered with the Panoramic camera. I think it provides about a 15 degree angle. There are cases though we would like to mount them at a 30 degree or even 45 degree angle. However, with the PTZ views, we usually can move the viewport around to find the shot we want.

Great report thanks :)

[Note: Bosch Employee]

To solve the issue of "Wall Mount Wasted FOV", some manufactures provide a true 180 camera next to their 360 cameras; e.g. Bosch NIN-70122-F1. These cameras provide a 180 FoV and higher effective resolution (pixels on target).

Does it really 'solve' the issue?

According to the camera's spec sheet, it uses a 12MP sensor and delivers the following:

The highest resolution panoramic 180 output is 2.15MP versus a 12MP sensor?

2.15MP is the resolution for camera side dewarping in panoramic mode.

The 360 image circle has a resolution of 2640 x 2640 (7.0MP) and the 180 image circle has 3648 x 2160 (7.9MP). The image circle is optimized for 180 view.

What is the highest dewarped output resolution that one can get in the 'true' 180 camera?

Dewarped it could be anything, dewarping creates multiple output (stream) pixels from a single input (sensor) pixels, no?

What is a true 180 degree camera? How does it differ from a 360 degree camera, other than mounting orientation on a different plane? Isn't it just a perspective change, not something physically or programically different?

180 camera can use sensor corners, 360 camera - can not. Bosch 180 camera is an example.

The Samsung and Dahua fisheye cameras I have installed both use the full sensor in 360 mode. The Dahua streams a 4000x3000 image. The Samsung was 2048x1536.

If the Bosch is cropping to an ultra wide shot, reducing the sky out of a 180 degree view, then it is likely cropping the warped image to do so, which isn't using the full sensor.

Yes, but corners are "black", with no useful image on them ;)

Can you show me an image from the Bosch 180 degree cam then? You can simply link to the full res image if needed.

Better ask Bosch. Anyway, in theory, for 180 image you can use more "effective" pixels for image, than from 360 camera.

like this ?

Link to product please, I don't see it.

[Bosch] 180 camera can use sensor corners...

I'm officially calling Boschsh*t on this ;)

Yes. Typical 360 image. Panomorph lenses use sensor pixels better, but, 180 panorama lens can use them better.

Here is from the Bosch website:

This shows the effective pixel output of each mode. As you can see, the 180 mode is just a crop of overall pixels on this particular model. It isn't using the full sensor as you claimed.

Off course, there no possibility to use full sensor in both modes.

Anyway, for 180 view them can be bused more effective :)

180 camera can use sensor corners, 360 camera - can not. Bosch 180 camera is an example.

Isn't that exactly what you alluded to here? In reality, the Bosch 180 isn't using the sensor corners. It is simply cropping the image to give you the sense that they are using the pixels more efficiently, but in reality, they are possibly wasting more?

Can use corners better, than 360 camera. I'm not mentioned full sensor.

As i'm told in my one of previous post, one 90 degree camera is even better, than 360 or 180 camera, when you thinking about pixels density per distance, and covers the same square area.

Off course, all cameras should be used for specified areas, there no best cameras for all.

Here is a visual version of the crop sizes of the Bosch 7000 series fisheye cameras. Neither crop, 180 or 360, use the full sensor. Neither use corners of the sensor.

180 camera can use sensor corners, 360 camera - can not. Bosch 180 camera is an example.

Can we now put this theory to bed? There is no difference between the 180 and 360 versions of the cameras, besides the cropped image size. There is not more effective resolution post crop. There is only a small difference in recorded bitrate and storage due to not recording the unused space that was cropped out.

Excellent. Thats, what i'm told. One 90 degree camera has more useful pixels for the same square area :)

Of course it does, it's covering 1/4 or 1/2 of the AOV....

(assuming the same sensor size)

This image is correct and both cameras do not use the sensor corners. The cameras use a dedicated lens: 2.1mm for 180 and 1.6mm for 360. The 180 image crop results in a higher resolution. The 180 cropped area is bigger (more pixels) than the 360 cropped area. On top of that, as the 360 is a full circle, it has more black area within the square image than the 180 (as it's not a full circle).

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