The Resolution of the Human Eye Tested Is 10MP

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Dec 04, 2013

All sorts of wild guesses and theoretical calculations exist about what the resolution of the human eye is, with 576MP a common claim.

In this report, we share our findings of testing various resolution IP cameras against the human eye.

Results Summary

Here's a summary of the full test results, explained inside the report below.

The Baseline

We used the Snellen Eye chart as a baseline. A human is considered to have 20/20 vision if they can read line 8 on the chart from 20 feet away. 

 

The goal then is to find what camera, with what resolution, could 'read' / 'see' the same line, same distance on that same chart to see if it could be as good as the human eye.

The Test

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

We took a series of IP cameras (720p, 1080p, 5MP, and 10MP) and set them to a 60° angle of view. While humans have wider peripheral vision, in our testing this 60° range represented the area of main vision.

Just like a human, we placed the cameras 20 feet away from the Snellen eye chart (pictured below) to see what the camera's "eyesight" would be and whether any cameras could match or beat the human eye.

The Results

We began with the four cameras in well lit room, about 160 lux. The image below shows the full field of view in this scene.

160 Lux

First, the 720p camera was only able to resolve about line 4 on the Snellen chart, equal to about 20/50 vision.

1080p resolution was able to read only one line further, to line 5, 20/40 vision.

And moving to 5MP,  one line is clearly gained, 20/30 though one may contend that the next line 20/25 is also readable.

Finally, 10MP provides a further jump in resolving power, able to read line 8, equal to 20/20 vision in humans.

So that's it. In ideal even bright lighting, a 10MP can match (or maybe even slightly beat) a human eye.

3 Lux

Dimming the lights in the room to approximately 3 lux, we tested again. At this light level, multiple human test subjects with 20/20 vision were able to make out line 6, 20/30 (EDFCZP), a two line reduction in ability from the brightly lit room.

720p resolution was only able to view down to line 3 (20/70) in this case, due to increased noise and a dimmer image.

The 1080p camera did not fare any better, with even more increased noise and artifacting obscuring lines below 3, actually making letters slightly less legible than in 720p.

At 5MP resolution, line 4 (20/50) was legible. Note that some letters of line 5 are clear, but noise and artifacts do not allow the full line to be easily read.

Finally, the 10MP camera was able to read down to line 5, 20/40. Again, some letters on line 6 are easily legible, but we cannot conclusively claim all of them are clear.

1 Lux

For our final test, we lowered the lights to approximately 1 lux, a very dark room. At this light level, only the 720p and 1080p cameras produced usable images of the chart. Human subjects were able to make out line 5 on the chart, equal to 20/40 vision (PECFD).

The 720p camera was able to resolve line 2, equal to 20/100 vision, with others below becoming unclear.

And moving up to 1080p resolution, line 3, 20/70, can be read.

The 5 and 10 megapixel cameras produced only a nearly black image and noise. So let's call them 'blind' in low light.

    

More Test Reports 

If you liked this, IPVM has over 200 other similar test reports, including favorites like:

1 report cite this report:

Resolution Tutorial on Dec 28, 2017
Understanding video surveillance resolution can be surprisingly difficult and complex. While the word 'resolution' seems self-explanatory, its use...
Comments (32) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Low Light

Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
WDR Camera Mega Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Sep 04, 2019
This is the biggest WDR Shootout ever, with 23 cameras from 8 manufacturers: We included true multi-exposure WDR and non-WDR models, ranging...
Uniview 4K Camera Tested on Aug 29, 2019
In our 8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout, Uniview's low end 8MP was firmly in the middle of the pack. Does their higher end Pro Series 4K camera...
Wyze Image Quality Tested vs Axis, Hikvision And Nest on Aug 27, 2019
With Wyze's new AI feature, it is strong at analytics, but how good is the camera's image quality? Is it just as good as incumbents like Axis,...
Anyvision Facial Recognition Tested on Aug 21, 2019
Anyvision is aiming for $1 billion in revenue by 2022, backed by $74 million in funding. But does their performance live up to the hype they have...
Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...
Hikvision 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 02, 2019
With their latest Smart Series 5 cameras, Hikvision is claiming cameras "fully loaded" with "state-of-the-art technology for high performance and...
Hanwha 4K Wisenet P Camera Tested on Jul 30, 2019
Hanwha claims "premium performance" and to "deliver the best in high resolution performance and efficiency" with their Wisenet P series 4K models,...
Bosch Starlight 8000i Cameras Tested on Jul 23, 2019
Bosch has released their new Flexidome IP Starlight 8000i cameras, claiming "exceptional detail even in extreme low-light situations." To see...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Schmode is Back, Aims To Turn Boulder AI Into Giant on Sep 16, 2019
One of the most influential and controversial executives in the past decade is back. Bryan Schmode ascended and drove the hypergrowth of Avigilon...
Manufacturers Unhappy With Weak ASIS GSX 2019 And 2020 Shift on Sep 16, 2019
Manufacturers were generally unhappy with ASIS GSX, both for weak 2019 booth traffic and a scheduling shift for the 2020 show, according to a new...
How Cobalt Robotics May Disrupt Security on Sep 13, 2019
While security robots have largely become a joke over the last few years, one organization, Cobalt Robotics, has raised $50+ million from top US...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
ASIS GSX 2019 Final Show Report on Sep 12, 2019
IPVM went to Chicago for ASIS GSX 2019, with many exhibitors disappointed about traffic and the exhibitor schedule changing next year. However,...
Installation Course - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 12, 2019
Last Chance - Register Now - September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. Thursday, September 12th is your last chance to register for the...
Commend ID5 Intercom Tested on Sep 12, 2019
Commend touts the new ID5 intercom as 'timelessly elegant' and the slim body, glass front touchscreen indeed looks better than common, but ugly,...
US State Department: "Chinese Tech Giants" "Tools of the Chinese Communist Party" on Sep 12, 2019
The US State Department has called out "Chinese tech giants" for being "tools of the Chinese Communist Party" in a blunt new speech that makes...
Uniview OEM Directory on Sep 11, 2019
This directory lists 20+ companies that OEM products from Uniview, with a graphic and links to company websites below. It does not cover all...
Yi Home Camera 3 AI Analytics Tested on Sep 10, 2019
Yi Technology is claiming "new AI features" in its $50 Home Camera 3 "eliminates 'false positives' caused by flying insects, small pets, or light...

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