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Differences in Camera Resolutions

Kieran

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Thread starter #1
Differences in Camera Resolutions
One of the most important and desired aspects of a camera is the resolution it can offer. A camera's resolution is vital for providing usable images capable of identifying people and number plates. A long-standing advantage of using an IP camera over an analogue camera has always been the ability to provide a much higher resolution than a typical analogue camera, although the gap is now being closed by HD analogue solutions.

Resolution is measured in pixels, and is often abbreviated to Megapixels or MP. One megapixel (1MP) is equivalent to one million pixels. Thanks to advancements in technology and the subsequent drop in prices, currently we like to begin all of our conversations at 4MP - the Hikvision 4MP R6 family of cameras for example are now priced lower than what a 2MP camera would have cost you a couple of years ago.

For the most part, a higher resolution is always preferable. There are a few caveats however, as a higher resolution video stream will require greater storage and bandwidth headroom for example, and typically low-light performance will begin to suffer. However, the quality of images will dramatically improve as you increase the resolution; a face or number plate will contain a greater number of pixels-per-foot, allowing finer details to be picked out and recognised.

Below is a list of common IP camera resolutions and their respective pixel Width x Height measurements based on a Hikvision camera, You may be familiar with certain resolutions when you consider your TV or PC monitors.

1MP = 1280 x 720 (AKA 720)
1.3MP = 1280 x 1024
2MP = 1920 x 1080
(AKA 1080)
3MP = 2048 x 1536
4MP = 2688 x 1520
6MP = 3072 x 2048
8MP = 3840 x 2160
(AKA 4K / UHD)

Many of our customers aren't aware that a 4MP camera actually provides a significantly higher number of pixels (double, in fact) than the 1080p TV and monitor they're typically used to dealing with. This is further compounded by the fact that most cameras will automatically resize their stream display in order to fit on a monitor that doesn't support the camera's resolution - you wouldn't be able to view the entire 2688 x 1520 stream on a monitor only capable of outputting 1920 x 1080 for example. It is almost always possible to view the stream at its native resolution, but you'd have to scroll around to view the entire image as some of it will be off-screen. The true benefit is seen when zooming in on a distant item of interest.

You can actually see this resizing effect below - our forum software automatically resizes the large captures to a smaller, more browser-friendly image. Clicking on them will expand the true, native image - try it on the 4K image!

You can get an idea for the differences between resolutions via the images below.
Clicking the image will allow you to view the capture at the native resolution.

1MP (1280 x 720)
- DS-2CD2342WD-I 4mm focal length


2MP (1920 x 1080) - DS-2CD2342WD-I 4mm focal length


3MP (2048 x 1536) - DS-2CD2332-I 4mm focal length


4MP (2688 x 1520) - DS-2CD2342WD-I 4mm focal length


8MP (4096 x 2160) - DS-2CD4A85-IZS



Images Overlaid to Show Relative Size

1MP = Green
2MP = Cyan
3MP = Blue
4MP = Yellow
8MP = Red



Further resolutions will follow shortly.

It's important you also consider what focal length you'll require when purchasing an IP camera. We made an article similar to this one where you can read more about focal lengths and see the differences in viewing angles they offer. Trying to cover a very wide angle with a low resolution isn't feasible, as an item of interest simply doesn't contain enough pixels to provide usable recognition (quite common on fisheye cameras unfortunately). The safest bet is to pick a high-resolution camera to cover only the area you need. This will provide the largest and most detailed image on screen of what you're interested in viewing. We recently made a YouTube video demonstrating the differences in focal lengths.

Previously, anything above 0.4MP was strictly the domain of IP cameras. As mentioned above however, advancements in technology have allowed the production of HD analogue cameras, capable of up to 5MP (and apparently soon 4K!). We're fans of Hikvision's Turbo HD analogue cameras which utilise HD-TVI technology - you can check them out at our sister site, turboCCTV.co.uk.


With 4K set to supersede 1080p and become the standard in TV and PC monitors, it looks set to become far more prevalent in the next few years for CCTV too.
 
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paul haughey

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#2
Hi how do i know what camera is best for round the house i have 5 4MP 2.8mm cameras but i think 2.8mm is to big
 

Kieran

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Thread starter #3
Many argue that 2MP is plenty enough for an indoor residential application, but manufacturers like Hikvision or Dahua now offer very attractively priced 4MP cameras for the same price as most other 2MP models from other manufacturers, if not cheaper, with higher specs. They've been very popular as a result, especially for residential applications, and it's what we'd recommend.

2.8mm cameras are good for scenarios where you simply need to monitor a very wide area, with limited requirements of identifying people at a distance. The angle is simply too wide and the pixels-per-feet too small with a 2.8mm camera to be able to reliably capture identification images at any reasonable distance. However, for indoor scenarios or camera installs where people are going to be very close to the camera (like a door entry cam), a 2.8mm is often ideal.

It's always best to use just the focal length / viewing angle you need to cover what you're actually interested in monitoring, as this will provide the largest and most detailed image of what you're hoping to capture.

Have a read through our thread on Hikvision focal length differences which has a few sample captures from various focal lengths to give you an idea of what to expect from some of the narrower focal lengths you could look towards.
 

paul haughey

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#4
I dont view its just round the house in ur video the 2.8 is very wide like mine i would say the 4mm would be a better option also in mine the ir dont fill the full picture theres dar round the edges
 

Keatano

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#5
I bought from a Company called Eagleview Security in South Africa. Used Hikvision before. Hikvision is not a bad product....but the detail was lacking.....but then again I am very specific.
 

raciti

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#10
I dont view its just round the house in ur video the 2.8 is very wide like mine i would say the 4mm would be a better option iTunes Mobdro TutuApp also in mine the ir dont fill the full picture theres dar round the edges
Many of our customers aren't aware that a 4MP camera actually provides a significantly higher number of pixels (double, in fact) than the 1080p TV and monitor they're typically used to dealing with. This is further compounded by the fact that most cameras will automatically resize their stream display in order to fit on a monitor that doesn't support the camera's resolution - you wouldn't be able to view the entire 2688 x 1520 stream on a monitor only capable of outputting 1920 x 1080 for example. It is almost always possible to view the stream at its native resolution, but you'd have to scroll around to view the entire image as some of it will be off-screen. The true benefit is seen when zooming in on a distant item of interest.
 
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mcdidloft

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#11
can any one help which type of camera can i use only for number plate recognition 2MP? accept ANPR
 
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