Security Cameras 2016 Review

By: John Honovich, Published on Dec 23, 2015

In 10 minutes, this note explains the current state of security / surveillance cameras in 2016, reflecting new technology changes and market shifts. This will help you to avoid mistakes based on out of date information.

We cover:

  • Resolution - SD, SD+, 720p, 1080p, 4MP, 4K, Higher
  • IP vs HD analog
  • Image quality - WDR, Low Light, Integrated IR
  • Video analytics
  • Cost Falling

At the end of this article, you should have a solid appreciation of those options / issues.

** ** *******, **** note ******** *** ******* state ** ******** / surveillance ******* ** ****, reflecting *** ********** ******* and ****** ******. **** will **** *** ** avoid******** ***** ** *** of **** ***********.

** *****:

  • ********** - **, **+, 720p, *****, ***, **, Higher
  • ** ** ** ******
  • ***** ******* - ***, Low *****, ********** **
  • ***** *********
  • **** *******

** *** *** ** this *******, *** ****** have * ***** ************ of ***** ******* / issues.

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

**********

******* ** *** ********** is *** **** ‘*********’ criteria ** ********* ******** cameras, ** ** ********* the **** ******** *****. Also, ***** **** **** notable ******* ** *********** offered ******** **** *** important ** **********.

** *** **+ (******, 960H, *******, *****, ***.) Dead

**** *** **** *** years, * ******* ** SD ‘****’ ********* *******, with **** *** **** widely ********, ** *** cost ************ ** ****** NTSC / ***.

** ** ****, *** of ***** ************** ****, ***** ******* *** of ****’* ** *************. The ****** ** ** analog (********* **** ***, CVI, ***) *** ********* them (***** ** ******* later).

**** ***** ** *** SD+ ****** *** *** locked ** ** **** by **** ******** ******.

**** *** ***** **** Commonplace

***** **** ****, **** and ***** ******** ******* are *** **** ****** offerings ** *** ******. 720p ** *** ********* as ‘******’ *** *** visible ******* ********** ******* 720p *** ***** ****** are ********* ******** (******* the ******** ** ******). On *** ***** ****, the ***** ******* *** 1080p **** **** ** generally *******.

** ** ********* ** remember***** ***** / ************ **** *** ******* of ***** *******. ** particular, *** ***** *** WDR *** **** **** for ******* **** *** same '**********'. ** ******* this **** ***** ** the ******* *******.

*** - ***

****** ** **** ***** (2.1MP) *** ****** *******, ***** **** ** an ******** ******** ** 2016. ***** ******* *** still ‘**********’ **:* ****** ratio *** **** ****** the ***** ***** ** 1080p.** *** *******, *** ******* ********** is ****** **** *****, however, **** ** ***** 4MP ******* *** ***** sold *** ******* *** same ***** ** *****. These ******* *** ***** considering *** ******* ********.

*** - ** (*.***)

** *******, ********* (**) the ***** ***** ** 1080p ****, **** **** broadly ******** ** ****.

*******, ***** ** *******, ** ****** *********** varies ****** **** **** models ***** ****** ******** and ****** ********** ***** improvements **** *****. ** careful **** ********* ** cameras ** *** ***** generation ********* *** ********* are *** *** ******. In **********, ** *** are ***** ** ******* integrated ** *** ******* models, *** **** ** very **** *** ***** performance ** ****.

**** ** ******* **** support * **** ****, typically **** ****** *:* field ** **** (** 4K's **:* ****** *****). This ***** ******** ***** be ****** *** ** worth ******** ***. *******, 12MP **** ** ******* cameras ****** ****** ******** significantly ***** ***** **** than ** ******.

****** ** ** ******** to ** ** ***** 24fps, **** ************* *** marketing ****** ** ** with ***** ***** ** the * - ***** range. ** ***** **** is ********* ** ***, make **** ** ***** this.

**** **** ****

***** *** * ******* of ******** ******* **** greater **** **** **********. Be ******* **** ********* them ** ***** **** is ***** ***, *** light ** ***** ****, bandwidth *********** *** **** can ** **** ******. We ********* ******* **** cameras ** **** ****** 4MP *** ** ******* to ***** *** ** the ********** ** ***** it.

IP ** ** ******

** *** **** ****, HD ****** *** ******* as * ******** ********* to ** *** **** definition *****. **** ** perhaps *** ******* *** most ********* *** ********.

** ******’* * ******* advantages *** (*) *** cost *** (*) ***** simplicity *** (*) ******* backwards *************.

  • *** **** ** ** analog *******, *** ******* feature **** ** ********* ~30% **** **** **.
  • ** ****** ******* ** not ******* *** ** configuration, ******** ********, ******* discovery, ***., ******* **** SD ****** ******* **.
  • *******, ** ****** ***** allows ******* ******** ******* cabling (****** ***** *** and ****** *** ***** that).

** ******’* ******* ************* include (*) ******* ****-*** feature ****, (*) ******* vendor *********, (*) ******* resolution *** (*) *****************, though ***** **** ****** (at ***** ********) ** the **** **** ** two.

  • ** ****** ******* **** the **** *** *** - *** ****, ***** focal, ***** *******. ******* are ******** ** *** true ***, ***** *** light, ***** **, *********, etc., *** ** ** important ** ***** ** those ******** *** ********* in *** ******* *** are ***********.
  • ********, **** ** *** biggest ******* *** ******** brands *** ****** ******** HD ****** - *.*., you **** *** **** any ** ****** **** Axis, ********, *****, *********, Pelco, ****, ***. *** most ****** *** ***** in **** ** **** are ******* ** **.
  • ********** ** **** ** limited ** *****, ********* *********** ******** *** and *** ** ******* *** ** **** as *** **** **** showing ********** ** ****** 4K *********.
  • **** ** ****** ********* are *** ********** **** others, **** **** *** different ***** *** *** same ********** (*.*., *** is ********* ******* ** MPX *****, ***.). **** ********* the **** **** ********* cameras ***** *** **** recorders.

*** ****, ***** ****** ** ** Guide ****.

Image *******

**** ****** **** *** guarantee ****** ***** *******. Indeed, ** ********** *********, the **** **** *** and *** ***** *********** increases (*** **** ****** by ****** *** ** is ** ******** ******* guide).

***

**** *** *** ****** far **** *********** ** the **** **** ** lower **** ******* **** added ** '********', ********* true *** ************ **** only ******* ****** ******** to ******* ************. *******, true *** ** ***** not ********* ** **** low **** ******* *** manufacturers ***** *** ** trick ****** **** ********* WDR ********* *****. **** you **** ** ****** is **** *** ****** has ******** ******** *** and **** ** ******* in *** ****** ****** (see:*** ****** ******** *******).

** *** **** ******** of ********* ******* (*.*., faces) **** **** ******** behind **** (*.*., ******* or ******), **** *** can ** ***** ******.

*** *****

**** *** **** *** years, ******** ** ***** processing **** ************* ******* low ***** *********** ******* adding *** ***** (**** as ** ** ****** lights). ****, ** ****, quite * ****** ** new ******* **** ***** 1/2" ******* **** ******** image ********** **** **** on *** ******.** *** */*" *******, **** *********** *** provided * *********** ******** in **** ** ***** low ***** ***********.

*** **** ******** ** that ***** '*****' *** light *******, ********** **** 1/2" ******* **** ** be **** ** *** most ********* ** *** market.

********** **

********** ** ** *** most ****** *** **** way ** ******* *** light ****** ******* ****** to *** ** *** external ************. **** *** past *** *****, ********** IR *** ***** **** a ****** ******* ** 'cheap' ******* ** ** an ******** *** *********** every ****** ************, '****' end ** ***.

********** ** ******* *** vary *************. ***** (******** IR **** ********** **** camera) ********* ****** **** 5m ** *** ** more (****** ****** ** ***** Tool). ****, *** ********* (how **** *** ** covers *** ****) *** some ******* **** ***** hotspots ** *** ** beamwidth **** *** ***** up **** *** ****** / ****' ***. *******, some ********** ** ******* have '*****' ************ **** detect ******* *** ************* adjust ** ***** ** not ********** ****. *** more, ****** ** *****.

Video *********

***** ********* **** **** the **** *** ***** for ******** ******* *** more **** * ****** and********* **** **.

*************, **** ***** ********* (especially ******** ***** **** are ********* **** *******) work **************, ********* **** significant ***** ******. **** new *********, ******** ***** *********, **** released, *** ****. ** ** ******** to *** ***** ********* that **** ****, *** even ** ****, *** needs ** ** ******* about ********** *********** ** one's *** ************ *** for ***'* *** ***** (factoring ** *******, ********, ability ** ****** / respond ** ***** ******, etc.), ** *** ********** is *** ******* ******.

Cost *******

**** *** ********* *** least ** ****. ***** into ****, ******** ****** pricing ** *********** ** a ******** ******, ** rivals ******** ** *** costs, ** * '**** to *** ******'. **** is ******* **** ** debatable, *** ** ** certainly ***** **** ** Chinese *************, **** ******* ********** *** *** (Hikvision)** ******** ********** ** ********. **** **** ***** is *** ***** *** the ********** ** ****** to **** ***** * number ** ************* *** of ********.

*** **** **** ** that ****** ******** ******* can ** ****** ********** inexpensively ($*** ** **** ** commonplace). ******* **** **** sensors ****** ****** **** (e.g., **** *** *** 4MP *** */*" ***** sensors, ********* *****) *** it *** ***** **** better ** *** ******** cameras. ** *** ***** hand, ** *** ***** been **** ********* ** make ** **** ****.

Comments (8)

I tried to balance the post keeping it high level enough to help more casual industry followers understand big picture issues with enough critical details as evidence / references.

If there are important topics you feel have been omitted, feel free to mention them in the comments below. Thanks!

What is the outlook / acceptability of 5MP cameras? Bosch seems to have skipped 3MP / 4MP and moved from 2MP to 5MP.

Good question / comment.

Actually, a number of manufacturers are moving 'back' from 5MP to 4MP. The new 4MP sensors tend to have higher frame rates and superior WDR to older 5MP sensors.

That said, there are also 6MP sensors that are being used that are newer and better. For example, the Bosch super low light 5MP uses a 6MP sensor.

I did not mention 6MP sensors / cameras since they are a niche and there were not many new offerings this year with them and I wanted to keep the core post above tight.

What about software and the end user experience? While Hikvision and the other low cost Asian mfgs are dominating the camera game, cameras are only 1 component of a complete system. An end users opinion of the entire system is often based on how well (or not) the video management software works for them on their desktop or mobile device. Can the low cost business model companies beat Milestone, Exacq and other video management software companies at their game? Do end users really want the cheapest software that includes an inferior user experience, or is it that they do not know any better? I suspect that if end users (and integrators) were educated about the importance that software plays in their camera system, many would recognize the value in spending more on better software vs cheapest software.

"Do end users really want the cheapest software that includes an inferior user experience, or is it that they do not know any better?"

I think it is a combination of things:

  • Some end users really want the cheapest software.
  • The price gap between Hikua and Milestone is fairly large - the cheapest Husky is ~$1000, the cheapest Hik/Dahua is ~$100. If you are buying a 4 or 8 camera system, even if you acknowledge the Hikua is inferior, you may not see Milestone to be worth the specific premium.
  • Sold as a kit or package, many end users will find Hikua good enough. It's not as good as Milestone but it's bearable for most users with simple needs - Hikvision iVMS-4200 Tested

"Do end users really want the cheapest software that includes an inferior user experience, or is it that they do not know any better?"

Interesting perspective, but instead, what if it's the industry illuminati who "do not know any better?"

One of the most expensive vendors appeared to offer an even more inferior user experience. The best the industry has to offer, in mitigation, was:

-Open the Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> regedit)
-Export the entire Registry for backup purposes
-Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINES\SOFTWARE\Milestone\Installation
-Locate one or more keys with a name in GUID format like "D9C6E690-XXXX-YYYY...". Look inside each one and find the one which does NOT have a key named "InstallLocation"
-Now, either add an InstallLocation key (Multi-String Value / REG_EXPAND_SZ) with the install path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Milestone\Milestone Surveillance\", or delete the entire key found above
-Re-run the installer

So, what's your take ? ? ? Thank goodness for the innovation, friendly interface, and ease of use provided by the high end? Count me among those who "do not know any better."

Industry apologists might imply, "It's free software! What do you expect?"

Others might suggest, "Get an installer!"

Perhaps someday, this industry will catch up with the IT industry, which offers a tiered mix of capabilities from amateur-accessible home/SMB offerings, to the high end requiring a host of very specialized knowledge and support. Until then, Hikvsion, bring it on! The outcome will likely be natural tiers which make sense to the rest of us, not just to the the high priestesses who wish to maintain their control of the masses with artificial barriers to entry.

...not just to the the high priestesses who wish to maintain their control of the masses...

Personally, I'd like to see more women in positions of authority.

Maybe a little more context is in order.

Although IT is not my field, I've been learning about and supporting IT at the SMB level for many years. I've procured (through open channels <gasp!>) and installed a wide array of equipment, and have had very limited adverse experiences -- a KVM switch not working properly, and a NAS that couldn't recover a RAID drive failure because of a design issue.

I've had an overabundance of adverse experiences with IP surveillance.

In 2009, I purchased 4 Arecont Vision IP cameras to support a professional installation. The advertisement indicated they were PTZ cameras, so I chose a lens with appropriate magnification. They arrive with only manual PTZ adjustments and digital zoom. This were completely inappropriate for the task, because the lens I had chosen for PTZ detail was inappropriate to a fixed camera. The vendor demanded a 25% restocking fee, notwithstanding that only one box had been opened. That was a $1,000 premium for the privilege of learning that their online characterization could not be trusted. Strike one.

For education, I joined IPVM (a good experience), but stayed out of the video surveillance world for several years.

More recently, I purchased one Hikvision IP camera as a test case before purchasing a total of 8 for an SMB installation. While the picture was great (much better than Arecont's), it had partially functional Chenglish firmware. Strike two.

I tested Milestone XProtect Go, with results as referenced in the previous message. Strike three.

What did I learn?

Well, probably I'm not suited to IP video because of personal shortcomings. It's me, right?

My personal take-away is a persistent bad impression of the IP video surveillance industry. My impression is that it's like the wild west out there -- it's not really a mature industry. The sooner that changes, the better. For everyone.

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