30fps vs 60fps Shootout

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on May 21, 2013

30 frames per second used to be the maximum practical limit for surveillance cameras. Now, it is becoming increasingly common for IP cameras to support double that, 60 frames per second. (For background, see our training on frame rates and industry statistics on average frame rate used.)

30 vs 60fps Testing

We took two identical cameras and kept all settings the same except one was set to 30fps and the other 60fps. We then filmed and analyzed 3 scenarios.

Rapidly flipping through a stack of 50 bills in 2 seconds:

Counting money:

Car driving 50mph:

We did this to answer three key questions:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

  • How much of a practical benefit did the extra frames deliver?
  • How much did bandwidth increase for 60 vs 30fps?
  • Was there any reduction in blurriness for higher frame rate?

Key Findings

These are the key findings from our tests:

  • More frequent frames rarely made any practical difference in our tests. In the fast driving vehicle and money counting scenarios, it made no difference. Only, in the super fast bill fanning scenario, was there a few more usable frames in the 60fps not found in the 30fps one.
  • If motion is fast but varies, like fanning bills, the extra frames in 60fps gave more opportunity to get a frame where the object was moving slower or momentarily stopped, increasing the probability of getting a usable frame.
  • Though both may use similar exposure settings, 60 FPS reduces perceived motion blur due to an increased number of frames on target over 30 FPS.
  • Bandwidth Increase: Bandwidth consumption increased by ~50% in our test scenes when using 60 FPS.
  • VMS Support: We had issues with multiple VMSes working with 60fps. Make sure to verify your camera / VMS combination works if you plan to use a frame rate higher than 30.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we believe 60 FPS will have little practical benefit in the majority of scenes and applications. Even fast moving traffic, one of the highest speed applications in general surveillance, may be reliably captured by 30 FPS. However, specialized applications such as casinos or process monitoring may find the added frames on target useful in monitoring minute movements not possible before.

Money Counting

In this first test, our subject counted fifty bills (45 $1 bills, two $5s, two $10s, and one twenty) directly beneath the cameras to see if 60 FPS offered advantages in spotting anomalies, such as the different denomination of bills, or multiple bills counted instead of one. We found little practical difference between 60 and 30 FPS. In this video we walk through differences frame by frame (download the original clips):

In our second money counting test, our subject fanned the bills, to see if we could spot larger denominations among the $1 bills at high speed (flipping through 50 bills took less than two seconds). We found that higher denominations were indeed easier to spot using 60 FPS, as it generally offered more than one frame on each bill. By contrast, 30 FPS captured two frames at best, with some bills moving so fast they could not be seen at all between frames (download these clips).

Traffic

Finally, we set up our cameras near a busy road to capture fast-moving vehicle traffic (40-50 mph), to see if there were differences in our ability to capture details of the car or license plates. Like other tests, we found that doubling the frame rate gave us more quality captures, increasing the chance of seeing vehicle make, model, and license plate. However, even using 30 FPS in a FOV this size with vehicles this speed provided usable video and license plate captures. At higher speeds, or in very small fields of view, the additional frames provided by 60 FPS may be of more use, or even necessary.

This scene is shown in the following screencast (download these clips):

60 FPS and Motion Blur

One commonly cited advantage to 60 FPS is that it reduces blur when compared to 30 FPS. This proved somewhat true if default maximum exposures are used (which is typically twice as long for 30fps as it is fo 60fps). Additionally, with twice the number of frames, the probability increases of capturing a usable frame. However, normalizing the exposure (i.e., setting the 30fps camera to a max exposure of 1/60s like a 60fps stream) will eliminate most of the blurring risk. We review these effects in the following screencast:

Bandwidth Differences

Our tests showed bandwidth increased by about 50% when moving from 30 FPS to 60. Note that these measurements were taken leaving the cameras' I-frame intervals defaulted (every two seconds). Measurements were as follows:

Bill Counting Scenes

  • 60 FPS: 3.5 Mb/s
  • 30 FPS: 2.3 Mb/s
  • Increase: ~1.2 Mb/s (~50%)

Vehicle Traffic

  • 60 FPS: 3.0 Mb/s
  • 30 FPS: 1.9 Mb/s
  • Increase: ~1.1 Mb/s (~50%)

The Test Procedure and Issues

In order to see differences between these two capture rates, we used two Bosch NBN-733V cameras with the same lens. Both were factory defaulted, then changed to either 60 FPS or 30 FPS. The 60 FPS camera's minimum exposure was automatically set to 1/60s, as well, to accommodate the higher frame rate (see our tutorial on shutter speed vs frame rate).

Note that in some of these samples, blur created by encoding or digital noise reduction artifacts may be seen. This is not due to longer exposure, as we reviewed, and neither camera was consistently better or worse in this area.

Finally, I-frame interval and quantization were handled automatically by the camera, and not fixed. In the samples, I-frames were generally sent every two seconds in both cameras. Quantization averaged around 30, though neither camera was consistently higher or lower. Instead, it varied by scene and was not a consistent factor in image quality in this test.

2 reports cite this report:

Frame Rate Guide for Video Surveillance on Aug 07, 2014
This is the industry's most in depth guide to frame rates in video surveillance. As a precursor, you need to know the speed of objects, most...
Training: Frame Rates for IP Cameras on Apr 18, 2010
This is the industry's most in depth guide to frame rates in video surveillance. As a precursor, you need to know the speed of objects, most...
Comments (23): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Bandwidth

Hanwha Wave VMS Tested on Jan 22, 2018
Hanwha has released their first open platform VMS, Wisenet Wave, an Network Optix OEM (see test results) enhanced with integrations and...
Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Multicasting Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 04, 2018
Network bandwidth can be a concern for some surveillance systems. While improvements in video codecs, such as smart codecs for H.264 and H.265,...
2018 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 03, 2018
The new IP Networking Book 2018 is a 228-page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
QoS for Video Surveillance on Dec 29, 2017
Along with VLANs, QoS is one of the most misunderstood topics in IP surveillance networks. Many purported "experts" claim it is required in any...
Hikvision NVR Load Testing on Dec 14, 2017
IPVM members recently debated Hikvision NVR's performance under load in Hikvision 30+ Cameras On NVR - Apps And Client Really Slow Down And CPU...
D-Link ONVIF Switch Tested on Dec 04, 2017
D-Link's surveillance switches claim to "enhance ease of use and streamline management" for network administrators, with simplified UIs and...
IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison on Nov 27, 2017
Despite the use of standards-based video compression (H.264/H.265), our tests show that default image quality settings for different manufacturers...
Camera Multi-Streaming Usage on Nov 22, 2017
IP cameras typically support multiple streams, allowing a single camera to transmit multiple streams at different resolutions, frame rates and even...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Intel Meltdown / Spectre Patch Tested on Avigilon, Exacq and Milestone VMSes on Jan 23, 2018
Significant concern exists about the impact on VMS servers and video surveillance systems of patching the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. Generally,...
Tri-Ed Is Now Anixter on Jan 23, 2018
Goodbye, Tri-Ed. As Tri-Ed's own website now makes clear: But what difference does this make for one of the industry's largest distributors? In...
Top ISC West 2018 Booth Moves on Jan 23, 2018
ISC West spending frequently signals market expansion and trend shifts. In 2016, the surge of Chinese exhibitors underscored the race to the...
Hacked Hikvision IP Camera Map USA And Europe on Jan 22, 2018
The interactive map below shows a sample of hacked and vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras across the USA and Europe. Hover over a marker to see an...
Hanwha Wave VMS Tested on Jan 22, 2018
Hanwha has released their first open platform VMS, Wisenet Wave, an Network Optix OEM (see test results) enhanced with integrations and...
Resolution Usage Statistics 2018 - Moving Up From 1080p on Jan 22, 2018
In 2016, IPVM statistics showed the most common camera resolution used was 1080p, rising from 2014's 720p. Now, new IPVM statistics of 200+...
PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial on Jan 19, 2018
Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.  However, access requires more power than cameras, and the...
If You Have 4 Cameras, You Can Throw Them Away, If You Have 400, They Throw You Away on Jan 19, 2018
Do users care about anything but price? Do user care about cybersecurity? Do users care about trusting their supplier? These have become...
Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Winter 2018 Camera Course on Jan 18, 2018
Learn video surveillance and get certified. Register now. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the 18th, plus get access to 2 class times...

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