Testing Camera Height vs Image Quality

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Sep 27, 2013

A critical debate amongst surveillance professionals is how high should cameras be mounted. The higher the camera is mounted, the less likely it is to be vandalized, stolen or obstructed. But the higher it is mounted, the more likely image quality suffers as the angle of incident steepens (as shown to the right).

The recommendations vary tremendously. Many say never to mount cameras less than 12 to 14' off the ground (4+ meters). Others say, the camera needs to be as close to human height as possible to get full facial details.

The Test

In this report, we put these two competing positions to the test with a series of experiments.

We mounted a camera to an extended pole on our test rig, allowing us to adjust camera height from 17' to 5', as shown below:

We then positioned a subject at short, mid, and long ranges, in order to see the difference mounting height and resulting angle of incidence made in details captured.

Moreover, we did tests with a subject looking straight ahead as well as walking with their head tilted down, since many people naturally do so, or worse, try to avoid their face being captured on camera.

Questions Answered

The report answers the following questions:

  • For a subject 6', 24' and 48' from a camera, what is the maximum height a camera can be mounted while delivering clear facial details?
  • How much of a practical difference does a person looking downward have in selecting optimal camera height?
  • What is the maximum downtilt of a camera that allows a complete face to be captured?
  • What does a subject look like from different camera heights at the same position?

* ******** ****** ******* ************ ****************** **** ****** ******* ** *******. *** ****** *** ****** is *******, *** **** ****** ** ** ** ** **********,******** **********. *** *** ****** ** ** *******, *** **** likely ***** ******* ******* ** *** ***** ** ******** ******** (as ***** ** *** *****).

*** *************** **** ************. **** *** ***** ** ***** ******* less **** ** ** **' *** *** ****** (*+ ******). Others ***, *** ****** ***** ** ** ** ***** ** human ****** ** ******** ** *** **** ****** *******.

The ****

** **** ******, ** *** ***** *** ********* ********* ** the **** **** * ****** ** ***********.

** ******* * ****** ** ** ******** **** ** *** test ***, ******** ** ** ****** ****** ****** **** **' to *', ** ***** *****:

** **** ********** * ******* ** *****, ***, *** **** ranges, ** ***** ** *** *** ********** ******** ****** *** resulting ***** ** ********* **** ** ******* ********.

********, ** *** ***** **** * ******* ******* ******** ***** as **** ** ******* **** ***** **** ****** ****, ***** many ****** ********* ** **, ** *****, *** ** ***** their **** ***** ******** ** ******.

Questions ********

*** ****** ******* *** ********* *********:

  • *** * ******* *', **' *** **' **** * ******, what ** *** ******* ****** * ****** *** ** ******* while ********** ***** ****** *******?
  • *** **** ** * ********* ********** **** * ****** ******* downward **** ** ********* ******* ****** ******?
  • **** ** *** ***************** * ****** **** ****** * ******** ****** **********?
  • **** **** * ******* **** **** **** ********* ****** ******* at *** **** ********?

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

Key ********

**** *** *** *** ******** **** **** ******:

  • ~**° ** *** ******* ***** ** ********* ***** ****** ** used ** ******* ****** *******
  • ** ***** ******, ****** ******** ****** ** *******. **** ******* at *-*', ******* ***** ** ******* ********* ****** ****** ** close ******** ******* ********, *** ** *** ********* ***** ** incidence. ***** ****, *** ***** ** ********, **** *** ****** capturing *** **** ** *****.
  • *********** * ******* **-**° **** **** ** * ******* ******, cameras ****** ** ******* **** ***** ** **** **** *' high *** * **** **** *******.
  • **** * **-**° **** ** ****** **** ******** *** ****** to ** ******* *'-*' ***** ** *** *** **** ****** details ** * ***** **** ******* ******** **** **** **** their **** ********.
  • ** ****** ******, ******** ******'* ******* *** ******* ********. ** 24' **** *** ******, ***** *** **** ****** ********** ** image ******* *** ** ***** ** *********, **** ** ********* negative ******.
  • ** **** ******, ********* ******** ****** *** ****** ******, ** the ********** ** ****** ***** ** *******.

**** ***** ********** ***** *** *********** ** * **** **** door ******** ********:

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

****** ******** ****** ********* **** ******* ****** ** ******* "*** of *****" ** *******, ** ******* **** **** ***** ** at ***** ******, **** ******** **** ** ** **** ********* to ******* *********, ******* *** ********** ******* ********* *********** ****** details ** ***. ******* ****** ** ******* ** *** ** is ********* ** ***** ****.

*** ****** ********* ** ******, ******** ****** *** ****** ******, and ******* *** ** ******* ****** ******* ********* *** *******.

Recommended ******* ******** ******

***** ** *** ***** ***** ****, ~**° ** *** ******* angle ** ********* ***** ****** ** **** ** ******* ****** details. ***** ****, ****** ******* *** ****, **** **** *** top ** *** **** ***** ********.

***** **** ******** *****, *** ********* ***** ***** *** ******* mounting ******* *********** ** ************* ******* ** * *' **** ****** ** ******* *********. Note **** ****** ****** ****** ** *** ***** ** * maximum *****. ******* *** ** ******* ***** ** ****. **** note **** *** ************* ** * ***** **** ** ****** head ************* ******* *** ******* ****** ******. ** ********* *** use ** * ****** ****** **** ** ***** *** **** height ** **** **** *** ****** ** *** ****** ** capture **** ****** ******* ** ** ****** **** **** ****** down.

** *********** *** * ******* ******, *** ******** * *** number ***** (~*' *** *** ******), ***** ****** ******** *** difference **** *** ******* ****** ****** ** *** ***** *****. The **** ** **** ** ****** *******; ****** *** *** difference.

**** **** **** ***** ****** ** **** ** * ******** point ****, ** ** **** *** ******** ***** ******* ***** affect ***** *******, **** ** ********, **********, *** ***********, ***.

Angle ** *********

****** ****** ** ** **** *******, ***** ** ********* ****** be ******* *********. ** ** ** ********* ****** **** ******* the ******* ** ********* ****** ******* *** ** ****** ********* on *** ****** ********, ****** *** ****** ******. ** ************ of ***** ** ********* ** ***** *****. **** *** ***** of ********* ** *****, *** ******* *** **** **********. ** the ***** ******, **** ****** **** ********* ** ***.

Close ***** (****** ** *')

** ***** ******, *' **** **** *** ****** ** *** case, *** ****** ****** *** *** **** ******** **********. *** facial ******* ** *** ******, *** ** ******* ******** *****, were ******* ******* **** *** ****** *** ******* ** * lower ********, **** *** ******* **** ****** ** *' ** about *'-*' ****. **** *** ****** *** ***** ** ** 10'-11' ****, *** ****** ******* ****** ********* ** *********** *** to ********* ***** ** *********. ******* ***** **** ******, **** the *** ** ******'* **** *** *******, **** ** ****** recognition ***********.

** ****** ******* *** *********** *** ** ******* ****** ** incidence, *** **** ********* *****.

* ****** ******** ****** *** ****** *********** ** **** ********* on *** **** ********* ** *** ******. **** ****** *** walking, **** ********* **** ** **** ***** **** *********, ********* with ** ***** ** ****** **-**°, ******* ** ******* ********. Even **** ***** **** *** * *********** ****** ** *** angle ** *********, ********** ** ***** ******.

** ****** **** ****** **** * ******* ********, *** **** object ******* *** **** ******** ****. **** ****, ****** ** incidence **** ** **** ****** *** *** **** ******** ******.

**** *** *** ******* ** ******* ******** ******* *** ** comparison **** *** ****** ******* ******** *****.

**** *** ****** **** ** ******** *********, ****** ******* ******* to ******** **** ***** *** ******* ******** ****** ** *'. These ******* **** **** **** * **-**° **** ** ****** head ******** *** ****** ** ** ******* *'-*' *****. **** the *** ** ******'* **** *** ******* *** **** ****, when *** ****** *** ******* ** *' ** ******.

***** ** * *' ******, *' ****, ** *** ********* the ***** ** ********** *** ******* ****** *** ****** **** directions, ** *******:

**** *** ****** ***** ******** *****:

  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is *° (****** *********, **** ****** *******).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** ~*'-*', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (*** ****** ***** ***** ****** ******* *** still *******, *.*. ******** *****).
  • *** ****** ****** ** **', *** ***** ** ********* ** ~35°. (***** ******** *****, **** *** *** **** ** *** but **** *** ** ****** ****).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** **', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (**** **** *****, **** *** ** ******'* head ** *******).

***** *** ****** ** **** ***** ** *** ******, *** angle ** ********* ** **** ********* ** *** ****** ******. The ***** ** ****** ******* ****** ********* ** ***** **°, with * ****** ********* **** *' ** **'. *** ******** camera ******, ** *** ******* ******** ****** **** *** ******* facial *******, *** ******** ** ** ****** *'-*' *** **** case.

**** *** ****** **** ** ****** *********:

  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **° (***** *** ******** *****, **** ******* *** be ********).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **° (******** ***** *** ******** *****, **** ******* start ** ********).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** ~*'-*', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (***** ******** *****, **** ****** *******).
  • *** ****** ****** ** **' *** ******, *** ***** ** incidence ** ~**° *** ******. (**** **** *****, ** ****** details ** ***).

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

Mid-Range (****** ** **')

** **', ******** ****** *** * **** **** ********** ******. Only ***** * ******** ****** ** ****** **'-**', *** ***** of ********* ****** *** ******** ***** ** **°. *******, **** at *** ******* ****** ** **', *** ***** *** ***** not ****** **** **°. *** ***** ******* ******** *** ****** from ***** ********* ******** *******.

*** ********* ********* ***** ***** *********** ** *** ****** ***** down **** *' ** **':

*** ***** ** ********* ****** **** *° ** *' ** about **° ** **' ****** ******. ***** *** ****** *** much ******* **** ***** ** *** ***** *****, ***** ******* does *** ****** ** *************.

Far *****

** **', *** ****** ** ******** ****** *** *******. *** tested ****** ******* ********* ****** *** **** *****, **** ****** details ******** *********. *** ******* ***** ** ********* ** **' high *** **** **°, ***** ***** *** ******** *****. ******* delivered ** **** **** *** ******* *** ** **** ***** PPF **** ** ***** ******, *** ******** *****.

**** ********* ***** *** ********** ** ******* ** *** ****** is ***** **** *' ** **':

*** ******* ***** ** ********* ******** ** **' ** ****** only **°, ***** ** ** ********** ** *** ***** *** mounting ****** ******* *** ***** ******* *** ******* *******.

Walk ****

** **** * ******* **** ***** ********, ** *** ** the ****** **** ** ******** **** *** ******** *** ******* walking **, ****** ************* ** *** ******. *** ***** ***** the ********** ** ******* ******** ** ******* *******, **** *** subject's **** ****** ******** ****. ** ** ***** ** ***** tests, ****** ******* *** ************* **** **** ****** ******* ***** 6'-7'.

***** *********** ***** ** **** ********** *** *********** *** **********.

Comments (12)

* **** *** **** ** *** ****** ****** ********* ** make *** ******* * *** ****** ** ****, ***** * have ** ********** *********** *** *********. ** ***** ** **** appreciates ** **** ********* (********/******) ** ****** ********.

*'** **** ************* ** *** *********.

*** ******! *********** * ****! **** ***** ** **** *****, ***.

****** *** *** ******* ****. *** ****** * *** ****** Strip ****** ***** ** ******** ** ******* *** ***** ** camera ******. ***** ** ** ******** *** ******** ************, ,****** capturing ****** ****** ** * **** ****, ** ***** ** something *********** *** *** ** ******.

*******, ***, ** **** * ****** ****** **** **************** * ***** ********* **** ******* / ****** *** ******* face *****.

***** ****** ** ******. ***** * **** ** * ***** mounting ******, ** ******* * ******* ** **** ** ******** people *** ** *** *****. *** **** ***** *** **** a ****** ****** *** * ****'* **** ** *** ***** of ******** ****** ******** *** *****. * ***'* ** ***** 7 **** ** ** ******** ******* ****** * * **** person ******** *** ****. * ***** ****** * **** *** it ** *** ********* ** ********* ***** **** ** ** video ******** ******** ******. **** ***** ** ** ***** *** others ** ****.

****, ** *** **** ******** ****** **** ** **** ** multiple ****** *** ***** *** *****? * ******* *** **** the *****, *.*., * *'*" ****** ******** * *'*" ****** coming ****** ****? ***?

** *** **** **** ** **** ****** /********** ****.

**** *

*** *** ******, *** ** ***'* *********** *** ******* ** the *****, ** ******* ***** **** *** ** ** *** configuration *** *** *** ****** ******** *******, ***** ***** ***** are ******** ********* *** ***** *** **** ** *.

**** * ******** ******! * ** * *** *********** ******* and * ***** **** **** ***** ***** **** **** **** of ********* ****** ****** *) ********** ***** *** ******* ** B) ****** ***** ***** ** ****** "******** *******" ** ******* cameras *** ****. ***** ** ******* ***** *******!

***** ******* *** **** ** ** ****** ****** *******!

**** ** * **** **** *** ******* *********** ********** *** benefit/drawback ** *** ******* ********* ******.

**** ****** ** "**** **" **** "**** **."

*** ***** ***** ***** ******* *** ****** **** ** ****** that *** **** ** **** **** ***** ***** ****** ** obtaining **** ** ******. *** ***** **** **** ********* (*******) in ****** ********* **** *** ******'* ***** ** *** ****** from * *** ** ** * ****** *****...** ******* ******'* from ***** **********. ** *** ******** ***** **** ********* *** reading ******* ****** ** ****'* **** ****** *** ** ** the ****.

****** *****

*** **** *** *******, * *** ***** ******* **** ******* and ********,*** *** *** ***** *** *** **** ****, **** explanations, **** *** ******** *** ** ******* **** **** ** easy ** ********** **** ** ***** ** ****** * ******** CCTV ******, ***** ** * *** **** ** ** *** at *** *** ** *** *** ** **** **** *** your *********** *********. * **** ******** *** ******** *** *** API *** *** ***** *** * *** ******** **** *** refer ** *** ***** **** ******** ********* ***** "***********" ******* diferent **** ******/****/*********/**** *******. *** **** * ************ ** *** of **** ********** ** ***** * *** *****/**** *** *** results ***** ********* *** ********* **********. * ***** *** ***********/********* should *** "*******" **** ******/**** ********* ****** **** ***** **** INTEGRATIONS.

******,

* **** * ** **** ********** ** **** ******* ****, but **** *** **** * ***** ** **** ***********. ********* researching ******* ** ******* ******* ** ** ** ** * drive ****** *** *******.

*** **** ** ******* * *******; *** *** ******** *** one *** ***** ***.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Change Orders - Sometimes Necessary, Sometimes Unethical on Feb 19, 2018
Change orders are a common element in project sales. Sometimes they are a necessity and appropriate ways to deal with arising issues, but sometimes...
Bosch Merges Video, Intrusion and Access Businesses on Feb 19, 2018
Bosch is merging their "video systems, intrusion detection, as well as its access control and management software business units to form a single...
Why 3VR Failed on Feb 16, 2018
3VR destroyed transformed ~$65 million in VC funding into a $6.9 million exit. The reason they failed is simple. They bet on analytics. They...
"Fear Mongering": Hikvision USA Cybersecurity Director Dismisses Chinese Government Ownership Concerns on Feb 16, 2018
The facts are: The Chinese government created Hikvision and is Hikvision's controlling shareholder. Hikvision's Chairman, a Communist Party...
16:9 vs 4:3 Video Aspect Ratio Statistics on Feb 16, 2018
What aspect ratio do security integrators prefer? The 'standard' 4:3 or the 'wide' 16:9 one? 100+ integrators told us what they preferred, with...
Mercury Releases New Series 3 Redboard Access Panels on Feb 15, 2018
Mercury Security has their first major product release post-HID buyout, and things literally look different. The Series 3 SIO boards now are red...
Last Chance February 2018 Camera Course on Feb 15, 2018
This is the last chance to get into the Winter camera course, starts next Tuesday. Register now. IPVM provides the best education, live online...
Hikvision DeepInMind Tested Terribly on Feb 15, 2018
While Hikvision is heavily marketing deep learning and 'AI' as their next big thing, new IPVM test results of their DeepInMind NVR shows their deep...
Genetec CEO: You Cannot Buy Trust on Feb 14, 2018
Genetec's CEO, Pierre Racz, delivered a direct message at their channel partner conference: Racz has become a focal point in the industry debate...
Assa's Lowest Power Draw Maglock: Securitron M680E Examined on Feb 14, 2018
Securitron produces some of the most extreme maglocks on the market, including massively strong maglocks and even ones with integrated CCTV cams...

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