Should you be using 20MP cameras? Once considered science fiction, 20 Megapixel cameras are now a reality for the video surveillance industry. This year, Arecont Vision announced a 20MP camera. That camera is now shipping so we bought a unit to find out how well it worked and what hidden problems it had.
Arecont Vision 20MP Camera
Arecont Vision is making a number of audacious claims for this 20MP camera including that it "can replace up to 65 conventional cameras" and that "one megapixel camera can view an entire parking lot ... taking the place of several PTZ cameras." Arecont has also added "binning for increased security."
Equally importantly, the Arecont camera is cheap. On a per pixel basis, it's actually cheaper than the $100 HD camera from Ubiquiti and that's saying something. Plus, like other Arecont cameras, it is designed to work with leading 3rd party VMS systems. Finally, it's H.264, rare for a camera with such high resolution.
Clearly, the Arecont 20MP has a lot of potential.
On the other hand, Arecont Vision was recently and overwhelmingly selected as the IP camera integrators have had the worst experience using. As such, Arecont cameras come with significant risk.
We did a series of tests to better understand the tradeoffs and competitive positioning of the Arecont 20MP camera, including:
- AV 20MP vs PTZ - We took an SD PTZ and compared its maximum optical zoom to the Arecont's maximum digital zoom to see who had the better range.
- AV 20MP vs Super Wide Angle Lens - We took a 1080p camera and a super wide angle lens to see what camera provide better usability and image quality.
- AV 20MP vs (4) 1.3MP cameras - We matched up a 1.3MP camera against 1 of the 20MP imagers to see how much additional image details the Arecont was able to capture.
- Low Light Performance vs MP/HD cameras - We examined how much better or worse the 20MP AV camera was compared to 'regular' Megapixel cameras.
Bottom line, our test results show the 20MP AV has a number of significant shortcomings and does not come close to Arecont's marketing claims. However, the results also show that the camera does have a potential complimentary role in video surveillance applications.