Shootout: 4K vs 1080p vs 720p Video

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 17, 2013

4K is the next big thing in video. While 1080p has become the 'standard' for HD, the next step is 4K, quadrupling resolution / pixel count from ~2MP to ~8MP. It is already showing up in TV sets as well as consumer cameras. Indeed, the first 4K surveillance camera was announced this spring, with many more announcements certain to follow this fall.

Can 4K really make a difference for surveillance? Or is Axis right that the 'megapixel race is over'?

We bought a GoPro Hero3 Black camera that delivers 4k resolution (indeed up to 12MP). What is especially interesting is that they use the same chip manufacturer (Ambarella) used by cameras from many well known manufacturers (like Avigilon, Bosch, Pelco, Hikvision, Honeywell, etc.).

We took the Hero 3 Black and put it to the test at FoV widths from 20' to 160' feet to understand 4K performance.

We tested at 12MP, 4K, 1080p and 720p to determine what actually quality difference each resolution / pixel count delivered.

** ** *** **** *** ***** ** *****. ***** ***** has ****** *** '********' *** **, *** **** **** ** 4K, *********** ********** / ***** ***** **** ~*** ** ~***. It ** ******* ******* ** ** ** **** ** **** as ******** *******. ******, ******** ** ************ ****** *** ********* **** ******, **** **** **** ************* ******* ** ****** **** ****.

*** ** ****** **** * ********** *** ************? ** ** Axis ***** **** *** '********* **** ** ****'?

** ****** ****** ***** ***** ********** ******** ** ********** (****** ** ** ****). **** ** especially *********** ** **** **** *** *** **** **** ************ (Ambarella) **** ** ******* **** **** **** ***** ************* (**** Avigilon, *****, *****, *********, *********, ***.).

** **** *** **** * ***** *** *** ** ** the **** ** *** ****** **** **' ** ***' **** to ********** ** ***********.

** ****** ** ****, **, ***** *** **** ** ********* what ******** ******* ********** **** ********** / ***** ***** *********.

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

Key ********

** ******* **** * ******** ********** ** ***** ******* ** each *** ***** ******, ****** **** ********* ********* *******:

  • ** ***' ****, ***** **** ****** **** ** *** ********* an ******* ** ********, ********** ****** **** *** ****** *********** ones **** *****.
  • ** **' ****, ****** ******** ******* ** **** **** ** whereas *** ***** ********** ** *** ***** ***** ******** ****
  • ** **' ****, ****** ******** **** ***** ***** **** ** while **** **** ******** ******** **** ***** *****. ********, ******* characters **** ******* *************** **** ** ****** *** **** *****.
  • ** **' ****, ** ******** ********** ** ****** ******** ******* but *** ******* ***** ** *** *** ***** **** ******* sharper *** ****** ** **** ** ** **** *****.

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

** ***** ***** (** ** *** ****) ** ****** ** see *** **** ********* ******. **** ******** *******, ******* ****, long ********, ***. ******, *****, ****** ***** *** ****** ** get **** ****** *** ******* ***** *******. *******, ** ******* ranges (** *** *****), ****** ***** ***** ******* *** ** interest (**** * ****** ** *******'* **** ** *** ****** number ** * ****), ** ** ****** ** ** ********.

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

****** *** ******** ** ********** ** *****, ******* ** *** jump **** ******** ********** ** *********, ***** ****** ** ***** that *** ***** *********** *** ****** ** ** *******, ********** considering ** ******* **** **** ***** ***** ** ******* **** in *** ***** ** *** **** *-* *****. *** ***** performance ** ** ******* ******* ** ** **** **** ********** models ****** *********.

*** ***** ***** ***** *** ** */*.* ***** ** ***** high *** ************ ****** *********, ****** *** ***** ********** ********. Certainly, ************ ******* **** ******* ***** * ***** *** ** do *** **** *** ***.

12MP **. ** ***********

** *** ** ***** ***********, **** *** ** *** ****** close ** ****** *** **** (**** ********** ****** **. ****). However, ** ****** **** ** **** ********** ***** *** *** reasons:

  • **, *****, *** **** ****** **** ******** **** ******, ** slight ****** *** ******** ********* *** *****. **** ****** **** captured ** **** **** *** ******.
  • *** ***** ******* ***** ** **** *** ********* ******* ***** from *** ******. ****** *** ** ***** ****** ** **** were *** ** "****", ***** *** ****** ***********, * ****** of * *** ****** ** ****** *** **** ** ***** edge ** *** *****.

160' ***** ** ****

*****, ** ***** **** ** ********* **** ***' ********** ***** of ****.

** **** ***** *** ****** **** * ** ** ** resolution *********. **** *** ** *********** *** **** ** ******* some *******, **** ** ******** *** **** *****, ** **** as ***** *-* ** *** *****. **** * ** *********** readable ** *****, ****** *** **********, *** ******* ** *** subject *** ******* *********** ** **** ********** *** *****.

80' ***** ** ****

****, ** ******* *** ***** ** *** ***** ** **** by ****, ** **'.

** **** *****, *** *********** *** ******* ****/** *** ***** is **** **********. ******* ** *** ******* *** ****** ** see, *** *** ***** *** ** **** ** ** ***** line * ** ** **********, ***** **** ***** *-* *** be **** *** ** *****.

40' ***** ** ****

****, ** ******* ******* *** *** ** **'.


** **** *****, *** ******** ** ****/** *** ******** ******** to *****. ******* ** *** ***** *** ** **** **** to **** */** ** *** ** *****, ***** **** ***** 4/5 *** ** **** ** *****. *******, ******* ** *** subject *** ****** ******* **** ** ****.

20' ***** ** ****

*******, ***** **** * **' ***:

** * ***** ** **** **** ******, **** *** **** camera ******** **** ****** ** *** *******, **** ******* ** the **** ***** ******* **** ** **** */*, ****** ****/** likely ******** *** **** **** ******.

Low ***** ***********

** ****** *** ***** ** * ~* *** ***** ** gauge *** ***** ***********, ** **** *****. *******, ******* ****** not ******** **** * **** **** ** ** ************ *******, as *** **** * **** * ******** ****** *** **.* lens, **** ** ***** ********** ****** *** ***** ***********.

Test *********

*** **** ****, ** **** ****** **** * ***** *******. ****** * ******** ****** ******** *** "********* ******" ************, it ********** ****** **** ***** **** ******** ************ *******. ***** on *** ****** *** ** *******:

Comments (23)

** ** ** *********** **** * ***** *** ** ****** 8.3MP (** ****)? **** **** ***** ** * ***** *** of ****** *.**** (**** *********** ****)?

***'* ****** **** **'* **:*. ****, *** ****** ***** ** remember *.**** ** *.***? ***'* ** ****** ** ******** *** reference?

*'* *** **** ** ****** *** ** *** ** *** the ***** ** */* ****, ** *'* ******* ***** *** weather ***** ** ***** **** **%. * ** ****** ** probably * ****** *********** ** *** ***** *******.

**'* *** **** * ***** *** ** ********** *********. ****, 1080p *** ** *** ****** **** *** ** ******** ** defined ** *** *****. ******* ** **** ***** *** *** many ****** ***** ***. ** *** ** ******** ********* ** resolution (** ****** ******* *********), *********, ************ *** ******* ***** surveillance **** ***** **** *** ******** ********* *******.

*** *****,

*** ** ****** ********* ***? * ****'* ***** **** **** out *** ** **** ****'* *** *** ** ** ****** is **** ** **** **** *******?

*** **** **** ****** ** ******. **** ** **** **** low ***** *********** ** ******* ** ***** ****. **** *** another ** ****** *** ********** ************ (******** *** ******* ******) with ****** ****** **** ***** ***** ****** *** ***** ***********. A ****** **** ***** **** **** ** *** ******* *** in *** *******.

** ********* ** ******* ** ****** **?

*****, *** ** ** ****'* ** ***** ***** ******** ** to****@*****. ** **'* *** **/***** *** *** ***** ***** ****'* 4K/15fps.

******, ****.

**** ******* ** ***** *********** *** *******. *******, ** **** other ****** *******, *** ***** ** * ******** *******, *** an ********** ***** ************ ******. ** ** ******** ** **** a ***** **** ** *** ***** ** ******, ***** *** announced ** *** ******* **** ****? **** ***** **** ** more ******** ********* ** *** ****** ** ** ***.

**** ****, ** *** *** ** * ***** ** ****** will **** **! ;)

** ***** **** ***** ********. **** ***** **** *** ********* release **** *** ***** ** ****** *** **** ****** **** to ***** ****. **'** **** **** **** **** **** **** Bosch *** ****** *** *** ** ******* ** *******.

**** **** *** **** ** ********** *** *********** **********. **** said, ******** ********, ** **** *****, **** ** ** ******* indicators ** **** ********** ************ **** * **** ** *** later.

**** ** **** ****. ** ***** **** *** *** ********* barriers **** **** ****** *** ** ************ ******. *. ** lens; *. ** ****** **** ***** ***** ****; *. ** real-time *********** **** ********* ******** ****** (****?); ** ******* ***** 6G-SDI ** ** ** ******** *** *****?

**** ** ********** ****** **** ** *** ****** ** *** end ** **** ****?

** *********** ********, **'* **** *** ** ** *** ** before ** ***** ***** *** ******* ** *******, *** ***** performance, *** ***** ****/**** ******** **** *** ******* ******* ******.

*** ****** ***, ** ***** ** ** ******, ****** *** you ***** *** **** **** *** ****** *** **** ** the ***** ** ***** ** *** *** *** *** *******, that'll **** *** ********** ******* ** *** **, ** * wrong?

*********, *** ***, "** ***** ** ** ******, ****** *** you ***** *** **** **** *** ****** *** **** ** the ***** ** ***** ** *** *** *** *** *******, that'll **** *** ********** ******* ** *** **"

* ** *** **** ** * ** ************* *** *********. You **** ** ** ********* ****? ********* ****? ***** **** far **** **** *** ******? *** **** *******?

** *** *** *******, **'* ** ***** ** *******.

*** **** *, * ***'* ******* ** ******* *** ***** to *******/*.********** ****. ** *** **** ** **** **** ***** ***** with *.*** **** **** '*******' ** ******* ** *****. ** course, ***** ** ****/*.*** ***** ** ****** *** ** **** 1080p ***** *** ****** ***** *****.

****,

***** *** *** ********** ** ******* *******,

* **** *** **** ******* ** *** **** **** *** camera, *** ** ********* ****.

***** *.*** *** ****, ** **** ** ****** *** ***** H.264 **********, ******* *****'* *.*** ******** *** **** ******** ****** than ***** *.***, *** ***** ****** ****** ******** *** ******** encoding **********,

** ***** *.***? * ***** ******* ** ***** *.*** *** most ** *** ***** **** ***** **** ** *********** ** security ******** (**** *** ***** ***********) , * ******* ***** is ****** ***** *** ****** *** ** ** ***(******** *** traffic ******, ***** **** **** ***, ** *** ** ** used).

"* **** *** **** ******* ** *** **** **** *** camera, *** ** ********* ****."

****'* **** ** *** ****. ** **** ** ****** *** subject ******* **** **** *** ****** *** **** ********* ******* in. *** *******, *** *** ***' **** *** *** ******* really *** **** *** ****** *** ** ****** ** ** see **** ******* ***** ** *********.

* ** *** ***** ** **** ** ** *** ******* of *****. **** ****** **** ** ** *** **** ***** / ***** ** **** *** ** ********** **** *******. **** is *** ****** ** ** ** *****. *** ********, **** is *** ********* ** *** ******* ** **** / ** even ****** ** *** ** *** ****** (~**** ** ~****). Ultimately, **** ******* ** *** ****** ** ****** *** ********** of *** *****. *'* ***** ** ******* ** **** ** storage *** ** ** ***** (********** **** *****).

*** ***** *********** **** ****** ** * *********** *****. ** will ** *********** ** ***. ** ************* *** ******, **** will *********** ****** ** ********** ** ******* ** ******** ****. But ***'* ***!

** *** **********, **** ***** ******* **%-**% *********** ****** ********* to *.***, ** *** *** **% ** *******. ************, **** is ******** *** ** ****** ** *** ****** *** ****. The *********** ********** ***** ** * ******* ******* ** **** HEVC ******** **** **** ** ***** ********* *** **** ** delivered ****. * ***** *.*** ***'* ** ******** ** **** in *** *** ***** ** ***** ****, *** ***** ** be **** ******* ** *** ** *******?

*** *** ***** ***********, ** *** ******, ** **** **** sensors **** ****** ***** ****, *.*., **** *** *** (*''). There *** **** **** ***** ********* ****** ******* **** ********** we ***** ******. ** ** ***** ******.

****, * ** *** **** ** ***** **** ** ****** processing ***** ** ******* ******** **** ** * ** ******. I ****** ***** *** **** ** **** ** **** *********** on ***** **.

** *** ****** *******, *** ****** *** ********** ************ ******* bigger **** */*". ** *** *******, **** *** *****, ***** is * ****** ******* ******* **. * ***** ********** ** is * **** ****** ******** **** ****** *******. ** *** or ****** **** *** * ******* ** ********* ** **** integrated **?

* ***** ** ******* **** **** *** **** *********** ** their **** ***. *** **** ********, **** *** ***********, ******** the ******** ******* *** ********** *** ***********. ** * ******** encoder ***** ** ******** ** * ******* ********. ******** * dont **** *** ******* ** ***** **** *******, * ***** believe *** ***** ** *********.

*** ****** ** */* ****** ** ****** **** ** ******* surveillance ******, *** *** ** *** ** ****** *** (*********** Transport ******) ***********. ** **** **** ** ***** *** ******* camera **** */*'' *** ********** **** ** *** *** ******. As *** ****, **** *** *** *****, *** ***** ** around $****. *** *** ****** ** **** ********* ******* ****.

* ***'* *** *** ******* ***** ** ********** ** **** 4K ******. *******, ** ****** ***** *** *** *** ********* problems. ** **** ************ ************, ***** *********** ***** ** *******. In ********, ***** ** ****** ** * "***** **" ****-*** product, **** **** ***** ****** **** ****** ***** ******* *********, not **** *** ***** ****, *** **** ***** ***** *******. This ***** **** *** ** ****** ****** ******* *********.

*****, ***** **** ****** ** * *****. **** ***** *** fine **** ***** *** *****. ** ***** **** ** **** between * $**** ** ****** **** ********** ** *** * $2000+ *** **** * **** ****** ******, *** ***** ***** optimization, ***., **** *** ***** ** **** *** **** *********, integrated ** *** (********** ***** ******* *** **** ********* *** with ***** ******* **** ******* ** */* ** **** *** lux ******).

* ** **** ***** *** ***** **** *** ** ****. Beyond *****, *** ***** **** ** **** ***** **** *** it ******* (**** ** **, **, **) *** *** **** streams (**** * ** *, *, ***.). **'** ****** *** a ******* *** **** ******* ** ******* *.*** ******* ***** streams *** ***** **** ** *******.

**** ******** **** *** ****** ** *** **** ******* **** eye *****?

***, *** ******** **** *** ****** ****** **** ***' ** 20', ****** ** ********** ***** ** *** ****** *****.

***** **** **** ***** ** **** ***** ******** **? ** I ******* *********?

***, ***'** *****, * ** *****. ***, ***** *** *** FoV.

*****, **** ** *** ********(*) **** *** ******?

***, **'* * ***** ***** **** ** *****'* ** *********** to ***/********.

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