Testing 'Megapixel' Analog Camera

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Mar 26, 2014

Megapixel analog sounds like a contradiction in terms. 'Analog' by definition, or at least in common use, is constrained by 60+ year old NTSC / PAL specifications and cannot be 'megapixel.'

However, now manufacturers are starting to incorporate megapixel sensors into analog cameras. While the cameras must output NTSC / PAL analog, the imagers are capturing megapixel.

Many argue that this is nonsense, that there can be no image improvements and that it is simply manipulative marketing.

They are wrong.

We bought a 900TVL camera and tested it alongside our analog resolution setup (including 450TVL, 600TVL, 700TVL, 960H, etc.) matched up against true 1.3MP and 2MP IP cameras.

900TVL cameras delivered a clear improvement in image quality compared to all of the other analog cameras.

Questions we examine inside, with image comparisons:

  • How much better quality was 900TVL compared to 960H, 700TVL and 600TVL cameras?
  • What was the impact in bandwidth consumption?
  • How did quality vary between night and day?
  • How did 900TVL match up against HD / MP IP cameras? 
  • How did performance vary between moderate (~20') and wide (~40') Field of Views?
  • What should you use for specific applications?

********* ****** ****** **** * ************* ** *****. '******' ** definition, ** ** ***** ** ****** ***, ** *********** ** 60+ **** *** **** / *** ************** *** ****** ** 'megapixel.'

*******, *** ************* *** ******** ** *********** ********* ******* **** analog *******. ***** *** ******* **** ****** **** / *** analog, *** ******* *** ********* *********.

**** ***** **** **** ** ********, **** ***** *** ** no ***** ************ *** **** ** ** ****** ************ *********.

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

** ****** * ****** ****** *** ****** ** ********* *** analog ********** ***** (********* ******, ******, ******, ****, ***.) ******* up ******* **** *.*** *** *** ** *******.

****** ******* ********* * ***** *********** ** ***** ******* ******** to ***** *** ***** ****** *******.

********* ** ******* ******, **** ***** ***********:

  • *** **** ****** ******* *** ****** ******** ** ****, ****** and ****** *******?
  • **** *** *** ****** ** ********* ***********?
  • *** ********** **** ******* ***** *** ***?
  • *** *** ****** ***** ** ******* ** / ** ** cameras? 
  • *** ************** **** ******* ******** (~**') *** **** (~**') ***** ** Views?
  • **** ****** *** *** *** ******** ************?

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

******* ********** ******, ****** *********** **** **** **** * **** DVR.

Key ********

  • *** "**** *****" ****** ****** (*** ***) **** *** ***** ****** ******* tested (***,***,***,****/*** ***).
  • *** *** ******* *********, ******** ***** *******, *** *** ***** performance ******** ** *** ****.
  • ** *********** ** *** *** *** *** ********* ******* *** ****** cameras ******, **** *** ****** ****** **************** **** ** *** *****.
  • * "**** *****" ****** ****** ** ****** ** ******* *** **** level ** ****** **** * ********* ** ****** ** **** light, ****, *** ******* ****** (********** ** **** ******).
  • * *** *** ****** ********* ** * ** *** ******** significantly ***** ***** ******* **** ********* ** * **** ***.
  • ********* *********** ** *** *** *** *** ~** ***** **** the **** ** ******, *** ~** ***** **** *****. ****, 900 *** ******** **** ********* **** *** ****/****** ****** ******, *** theory ***** **** *** *** *** ***** ** ******* **** 960H ***, ********* ** **** ********* ******** *** *** **** pixel *****.

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

*** *** ********* ** ******** **** ** ** ** **** 'megapixel ******' ******** **** *** ******* (*.*., *** *** / 1.3MP ****** ****) *** *** ********* (****) ** ******* *** potential ******* ************.

*** **** ********** ** **** ***** ******* *** ********* *** relatively *********** (*** ** ****** *** ** ~$** ****, * 4 ******* **** ******** ** ~$***, **** ***, ***** ~$*** compared ** ~$*** *** * * ******* ** ** ***).

** **** ****** ** **** ***** ** ***** * ****** FoV ** ** **** ** ****, **** * *** ****** count *** ****** *****, ****** ***** ** ** * ****** choice **** ** ** *** * ********** ******* **** ********** less ********* *********** ****** ******.

"Mega *****" ****** **. ******

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

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

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

******** **** *** *** **. ****/****** **. *** ***, ** can *** **** *** *** *** ****** ****** *********** **** the *** *** *** ****/****** *******. **** * ** *** test ***** ** *******, ***** **** *** *** *** *** 960H/700TVL ******* *** **** ** ******* ***** * *** *. Also, *** *******'* **** ** *** *** *** ***** ** clearly *** **** ********, **** **** ****** ******* ** *** eyes, ****, *** *****.


** * **** *****, **** ** **, *** *** *** analog ****** ***** ********* ******* *** *** *** *** ****/******, **** *** amounts ** ******* **** *********************, ***** ***** **** ** ******* **** * ** *** test *****. **** *** *** *** *** ****/****** ******* **** high ******* ********************, *** *** ****/*** ******* ** **** *** *** **** chart **** ** ************.

"Mega *****" ****** vs. Mega Pixel IP

****, ** ********* *** "**** *****" (*** ***) ****** ****** to * **** *** ***** ** ******, *** **** **** of *** ********** ******* ****, ** *******.

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

** ***** **** ******* *** *** ****** ********* (*** ***) to * **** *** ***** ** ******. ******************* ** **** ** *** *** *** ****** ******, ** does *** ******* *** **** ** ***** *******, ***** *** distinguish ********** ** ***** *-* ** *** **** *****.

*** **** ** **** ** *** ***** **** ** **, with **** ** ******* ********* **** ******:

960H **. ** ********

***** ***** *** ** ******* ***'* **** *** ** *** not ********** **** *** *** *** ****** ******, ***** ****** note **** ********** * "**** *****" ****** ****** ** * lower ********** *** **** ****** **** ** ***** ********* *** clarity. ** *** ***** *****, **** ** *** **** *** TVL ****** ******, *** ********* ** **** * **** *** and ** ***.

** *** ********** *****, **** **** * ** *** ** DVR ***** ** *********, *** *** ******** **** ** ******* more *********.

Outside ******* ***

*******, ** **** *** ******* *******, ******** *** * ****** testing ***. ***** ** *** *** ** **** *** *******.

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

**** * **' ********** ***** ** ****, ****** **** **** ****** cameras *** ********* *** *****. *******, *** *** *** ****** is **** ** *********** *** ******* **** *** * *** characters ** *** **** ***** **** **** *** ****/****** ******.

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

******* ** *** ****** *****, *** **** *** ***** ******* perform ******** **** *** *** *** ****** ******, **** *** subject's **** *** ***** *-* ** *** **** ***** **** visible.

******* ****** *** *****, *** *******'* ******* ** *** *** TVL ***** *** *****************, *** ** ** ********* ** ****** *** ****** *******, such ** ******** ** *********.

**** *** ******* ******* ******* *** *******, *** *** *** camera ***** *** ********** ********* * ***** ***** ** *** subject, ***** *** **** *** ***** ******* *** ******** *** ****** features *** ******* ****** (**** ** *** **** ****** ** our ******** ******).

Bandwidth **********

** ****** ********* ** **** **** ***** *** **** ****** with ** **. *** ***** ***** ******** ********* *********** ** all *******. ** ****** ********* *** *** ****** ******* ***** off *** **** ****** *** **** **** *** ***** *-******* **** DVR to *****. * * ** ** *** **** *** *** cameras, **** *** *** ** **. ************ *** ***** *** Mb/s.

Overall ********** ***********

*** ***** **********, ** **** ******** *** ******** ** *** analog *** ********* ********* **** ***. ** **** *****:

** *** ****:

***********

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

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

  • *-*** ******* *** *** ****** ******
  • *-*** ******* *** *** ****** ******
  • *-*** ******* ****/****** ****** ****** 
  • *-*** ******** **** ** ****** 
  • ******** *.**-**-*** ***** ** ****** ******

**** ****:

  • ***** *-******* **** ***
  • ***** *-******* ** ***

Comments (33)

* **** * ******* **** *** ****** ******* ** * 900TVL ****** ****** *** **** *** *** ** *** ******. First ** ***, ******** ******** ********, *** **** ****** *** apply ** ** ****** *******, ** **** ** ****** *** 960H, ***** ** ** ****************** ****. ** *** *****, ***** is ** *********** ********** ** ********** **** * ****** ** a **** ****** ** *** ** * ****/****/** ******. * would **** ******, ******** ** ********** ****'* ******, **** ***** is ** *********** ********** ** ********** **** *** **** ******* are *** **/******* *** ***** ****** *******, ********* ************ **********, switchers *** ****** ********. * ***** **** ****** ** ******** UTP ****** ***** **** *** ******** ******?

** **** ** *** **** **** ** ** *********** **** gives **** ** *** ******** ** ** *** **** ******** specialized ********** ** ***** ** ** ** **** *******. ****** of **-***/******! ***** **** *** *** ******** ** *** & Pop ****** *** **** ***** **** ********* *********? ***** *** the ********? ********? *********?

* ** *** **** **** **** ******* **. ** ****** it **** ****.

*** ** *********** ** *** *** ******** ** ***** ********* not ***********, ** ** **** ** ** ** ********* **** the ******* *********** ** **** ********.

** ******* ** **** **** ** ******* "***" ********** **** offers ********** ******** *********** ***** ********* **** *** ******* *** a *** ***. *** ******** *** ****** *** ** ** arguable ******* ** **** **** ***, *********** *** **** ** IP *** **** ******** *******. ** *** ******* ******* **** approached **** *** ****** ********** ** ** ******* *** **** to ***** ** * ************* ***** *****, * ***** *** the ***** *** ** *****'*.

** ******* ** ** ***** **** *** **** - ******** that ********* ** ***** ****** ******* ******* ** **** ************* but ** *** ***, **** ********** ** ***, ****** *** HDTV. * ******* **** ** *** ***, ****** *** ****, like ***** **** *** ****, *** *** **** **** ** an *********** **********.

** ** *** ****, * ****** **** ** ***** ************ with ** *** ** **** ** *** ** *** **. This **** *******!

** ****, * ***** **'* ****** *** **** *** *** so **** ** ** ****, *********** **** ******** ******** ********* other "*********" ************.

"** *** ******* ******* **** ********** **** *** ****** ********** MP ** ******* *** **** ** ***** ** * ************* lower *****, * ***** *** *** ***** *** ** *****'*."

** **** ********, ********** *** ****** *** *** ******** ***** areas, **** ****/**** ***** **********. *** ** ** * ************* lower ***** ***** **** **.

****, * ***** *** ****** *** ******* ** *** **** ***** ***** ************ * **** ***** **** ** * ********** *********** **** goes ******* *** ****** ****** **** **** **** *** ****** cameras ***** ** **********.

*********** ********, *** ***** ** ********* **** ******... ** *** were ******* ** ******* ********* **** ********* ***** *******. *** of ******, *** *** **** *** ******* **** **********, ***** you **** ** **** ******** ********** ********** *** ***** ** see *** **** ******* **** **.

** *** ****** ****, ** ***** ** **** ** **** use ** ******** **************, ******** **** ******** **** **-***. **** you'd **** ** *** ***** **** **** *** *** ******, but ** ******** ** ********* ** ** ** ********, * single ***** ** **** **** ****** ****** ****** ******* *** same ******** ** ***** ** *******. (***, *'* ***** ****** in *****... ******!)

** ****** **** **** ** ************* **** **** '**********' ******* claims *** ** ******** ** *******, *** **** ***** **** is **** *** ****** *** **** ****** ************ ****, **** is * ***** ***********, *** ************ ****** *** *** ** IP ** *********** ** ******* ***** ****.

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

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

*** *** *** **-*** **** *** **** ***** ** **** kit.

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

****, * ***** **** **** *** **-*** *** ****** ********* looking *** * *******... **** ****, *** ********** ***** *******.

** *** **** ****** ********** **** **-*** ?

**** ******

***** **** ** ** *** *** ******** ****** $***-$*** ** it ******** ******** **** **** ********? **** *** ******* **** come **** ** ***** *** *** ********* ** ***** *********

* ** ****** * ** **-*** ****** $ ***

* ***** *** **** **'* *********

*** *** ** *** *** ** **** ** ** ******** :)

****, **** *** *** *** **** ****** ********. *** ******* knowing *** ** **, **'* ********* ** ******* ****** ** apples.

*****'* *** ** **** ** *** ****** **** **** ** get ***** ***** ******, ********* ****** / **** ** **** less **** **** *** *** ******.

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

**** ** **********, ** *** *****. **'* **** ****** *** can*** ** ******* *** $**, ***** ** **** *** ********** ******* **'* *** ********* apples ** ******.

******* ** ***, **** *** ***** ********, ***** **** ***** are ***** **** ***** ** *** ****. ** *** ********, please ******* **** * ***** ****** *** * **** ** their *********.

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

** ****,

**** ***** ** *********** ** *** ** ** ********, ***** be ** ****** **** * ****** ****** *** * ******/**** camera ** * **** *** *** *** ** ***** ** a ********** ********** ** *********/******* *******.

*********** **********, *** *** ******** *** ******* ***** ** *** analog ******. * ****** ** ******** ****** ******* ** ******* difficult ** **** ***** ********* ******** ** ******* *******, *** is ******* ************* ** **** ****** ********….

****, * ** ****** **** **** *** ******* *** *******. The ******* ****** **** *** ****** ** **** ********* ** an ****** ******, ** *** **** ** ** ****** ******, which **** ***** ** ** ********** ***. ** *** **** of * ** ***, *** ****** ******* ******* **********, ** well ** *********** *******.

* ******* ******* *** ***** **** ****** ******* ** *** wells (******) ********** ****** ****** ********. * *** ********* ** the *** *** ***** **** **** ************* ********* ** *********** analog ******* ***** *** ******* ***’* ***** **** **** ** higher *********** *** ***** ***** ** ******* ** *** ********** bottleneck ******* ** *** ****** (** *******) */**. *** * problem *** *** ** **** *********** ** ** ** ** fps *** ***** ** ***** **** *****. **** ******* **** a ********* */* ***** ****** ***** ***** ** **** ****** scale ** ****** *********** *** ***** *****. *** **** *** cheap ** *******, ***** **** *** ********: *** ****** ****** makers **** ******** *** *** ******* ********* *** **** ********* imager *********, *** **** ************ *** ******** ***********?

* ********* ***** **** ****. * ******* ***** *** *** reasons, *** ***** ** *** *********** **** *** ********* ***** are ************** **** **** *** ****** ***** *** *** ** such ******** **** **** ** ***.

*** ****** ** *** **** *** ******* ********* ******** ****** analog ***** (*** ****** ** ***** *** **** **** ******, but ****** ******, **** ** *** *** ****** ********* ***** look ****** **** ** *******, ******* ****** ********). ** ******** the *** *** ******** *** ********* ** *** *** ******* as ** *****'* **** **** **** ** ****** *** ******** the ***** ****** ******* **** ******* *** ****** ************ ** the ****. **** ****** *** ** ******* ****** **** ** digital ****, ****** ***, ***, ***. (**, **** **** ***** was ***** **** *** ****** ** ******).

*** *** ***** * **** ** *** **** ** **** an *** **** * ****** ******* ******* ** *** **** to ****** **** ** **** ****** *******.

*** ******. ******* ** ********* *** *** *** **** *** could ******** * ******** **** ** *** *****, **'* **** to *******. *'* ****** ********* **** ****** *** $** **** and *** *** $*** (** **, ** ******** *****, ** audio, ** */*) *** *** ***** ******* ** *** ********* camers ** ****** ** ** ***** ******** ********** ** ** Sony, ****, *********, ******* ******* ***** ********* **** **** ******** RTSP *******. ** **** *** ******* ** * ******* ***** setup */ *** ** * **** ** ~$****, **'* *** that **** **** *** * ******** ** ****** *** * days (**** *** ********* ***** ***** *** ****** **** ***). It ***** **** ** * ******* ****** **** *** ** costing **** $**** ** ****.

**** ******* ** ** ** ******** **** ** *** ** first ******* ***** *** **** ***** *** *** ****:

"***** ***** ***'* ** **** ****** *********, *** *********." *'* ****** *** *** "**, **** **** ******** ***** is ******** *digital signal on 10BaseT", he grab his scope and say "Looks like a varying voltage signal to me, ******". *'* *** "** *** ******* ** *** ** *** 0s". **'* *** "**** **** ** *** ** *** *** 0s, ******* *** ******* *******.

****** ***** **** ****** *** ******* *** ********* ** *********, but ****'** *** **** ********* ** **** *****."

*** **** ****** ******** "*** *** *** *****************, **** ******** ****** ***** **** ** ***** **** ***** what ** ********** ** ** ** **** * *******, ***'* forget **" *** * ***** ***.

*** ** ****** ********digital = ******* ****** ****** or A to D. So no I don't believe the analog cameras are doing a an A to D and then D to A.

** ****, ** ***** *** ************ *** *** ****** ******** from *** **** ****** **** **** *** *****?

****, *** ***** ***** *** * *** ******, *** ** indoor ****** **** *** ** ** ******* * ****** ****** out ******** ** *** **** *****. ** *** **** ** fine *******, ******, *** ***** ****** ******* ***** **** ***** of *** *****, ********** *******.

*** ***** *** *** **** **** **** **** *** ****** WDR *******?

*** ** *** ***** *** ** ****** ***** ** ** a ****** ********? *** *** ******* ***** ********* ** ** on * ******? * **** ** *********** ***** * ** selling * *** ******* ****** ******** **** ** ****** ******** - *** **** ** *** ****** ******* ***** ** ******* to ** ******** ***** **** *** *-* ** ******* * am ******.

**** ** ** *** ****** *** **** *** ****** *** analog ******* ** ****** **** ** **********.

* ** ** *** **** **** **** *****, ******* ** how *** ****** **. **** **. ****** ** **** *** looks ****, ***** *** ******** *** *** ***** **** ****?

****, *****,

***** ** *** *** *** **. **** **. *** *** (recorded ** * **** ***) ********** *** *********.

** **** ** *** **********, *** *** *** ****** ****** is ******** ** **** *** *** *** *** **** ****** cameras, **** **** ***** ******* ** *** **** ***** *** our ******** **** ** **** ********.

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

*****,

** **** ** *** *** ****-**** **** **** *******? **** I ******** ** **** * **** ****** ******** ********** ****** picture ******* **** * ****** ******, *** **** **** ******* with * **** ***. *** *** **** ****** ** **** labeled ****** ** *** *******.

*** * ****** ****** ******** * ****** ******* **** * 960H ****** - ***** **** **** ******* **** * **** DVR. **** * **** ****** ******** * ****** ******* ******* than * ***** ******.

** *** ***, * ***** **** ******* *** **** ** more ******** **** ***********..

* ***** *** ** *** **** ********* ******* ** **** I *** **** ** ********* *********** ** **** ** *** first *****. **** **** ** **? *** **** ** ****? What ************* ****** ******* *** ******* ******* ** ***** "**** resolution" ****** *******? **** *****************?

*** *** * ****** ****** ******* ****** ********** **** * 960H ******? ** *** ****** ****** ****'* *** ** **** or **** ***** ******? ** *** ***** **** **** **** it ******** * **** *** ** ****** *** **** ***** quality? *** ***** **** ***** ** ****(+) *** *******?

*********, ** ** ******* **** *** ****** ************ *** **** is ******** ** ****** ***** ************? ** **** *** **** a **** ** ************ ** *** *** ***** ********** ** the **** ***** *** ** **** ********* ******* *************?

"** ** ******* **** *** ****** ************ *** **** ** required ** ****** ***** ************?"

*** ****** ************ *** *** ****** **** ** *** ******, e.g.,

**** ** ******** ** * *** **** *** *** *** cameras, ** ********* ** *** ******.

******* *** ***** ******** ** **** **** ********* *** ******. For ********, **** * ****** ****** *** *** ****** *** are **** *******.

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

  • *** ********* ****** *****, ***** ** ******** ***** ** ****** stretches / ***** *** ******** ******, ** ******* ******* **** ******* ****** *****:

  • ******** ***** ******* / ******** ** ***** ** *** ****** above *** ****** *****:

****,

*** ******. ******** **** ****** *****: *** **** ********** ******** 16:9 ** *:* (** ********* ****)? ** *** ****** *** actually *:*, ****'* **** *** **:* ******? ****, * ***** like ** **** ***** ***** ******* ** **********:

  • ** **** ******* **** ** ******** ****** *******, ********* ************ amps, ********, *** ****** *** ****** *******?
  • *** **** ******* ******** "****" ******** ** ** **** ******* being *** ******* ***(*)?
  • **** *** *** ********* **** *** ******** *********** - *** same **, ** ********* ****, ****/*** ******?
  • *** *** **** ******* **** *****-********** *** ********* **********?
  • **** **** **** "****" ** ** *** ***** **** ** analog?

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

*** ********* ****** *****, ***** ** ******** ***** ** ****** stretches / ***** *** ******** ******.

* *****, ****** **** ***** ***** ** **** ***** ******** link *** ******* ********** ** *** ******** ****** *** ********, *** **** ** the ***** **** ** ****** *** *****, ***********, *** *** ****, *** ********, ** **** **** ******* with *** ****** **. ***** ** ***** ****** ** **** case ****** ******* *** ***** '********' ******* ** ** ****** more ****** **** *** ******* *********? ** **** ** *** look **** *** ** ***?

*** ****** **********: **** **** *'** ****, ***'** **** ******* of ***** **** *** ********** *******, *** *** *********** **** by **** ** ****** ** ********* *********** ** **** *****. Also ** ***** **** *** *** ********* *** ** ***** partially *********** ** **** ********. **** ** ****** ** ********* to **** ********** ******* *** ******* ******* *********. ***** * reorg **** *** ********, ** ** ***** * ************ ******** of ***** **** ****.

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