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How many megapixels do i need for a security camera




Deciding between different options for camera resolution might seem confusing or be limited by your budget. Ultimately, the number of megapixels of your security camera determines the quality of the captured image, so it's important to give it some careful thought. 

The number of megapixels you will need for a security camera depends on the surface area you wish to cover, how clear you need the footage to be, and how much your budget is. The more megapixels your security camera has, the greater level and depth of surveillance and zooming capacity you will have. 

So how do you figure all of this out? Let’s break down exactly what you need to consider in deciding what resolution is best for you.

What is Security Camera Resolution?

Resolution is a technical term typically used for digital photography and video, and it relates to the technical equivalent to the film grain in analogue photography. During the height of analogue photography, it was said that the lower the number of grain in an image the sharper it was or less “pixelated.”

Resolution is likely to be one of the top features you consider when looking for a good quality security camera as it determines the level of detail that is observed in an image. The number of pixels across the width and the height of an image is called the resolution, so IP security camera resolution is the total number of pixels that make up an image. For example, a very common display resolution for video would be a width of 1920 pixels and a height of 1080 pixels. 

There are one million pixels in a megapixel. If you multiply the width and the height of an image you get the total number of megapixels. 1920 pixels multiplied by 1080 pixels equals 2,073,600 so that is a 2MP image. The height of an image is used to symbolise the resolution; you can say 1080p resolution when referencing an image with 2 million megapixels.

What is the Best Resolution for A Security Camera?

Home security cameras come in a range of different resolutions depending on your needs and your budget. The most common ones you will see on the market include 2MP (1080p), 4MP (1440p), 5MP (1920p) and 8MP (4K/2160P). 

2MP cameras are already considered high definition (HD) cameras, while those that reach or exceed 8MP fall into the ultra high definition category (UHD). These are the security camera resolutions that are most widely used as they provide a high level of detail. By zooming in on a face or licence plate during filming, the chances of clearly identifying them are high.

When considering the number of megapixels you may need for your camera, first you must consider the spot you will be surveilling. CCTV Solutions can help to determine the best camera for you based on where and what you want to capture.


What Size Security Cameras Are Available?

It’s tempting to want all the best specifications when you’re looking at technical tools and the quality of good CCTV cameras have progressed by leaps and bounds, and with cheaper price tags. Although the standard for a good quality CCTV camera has been 1080 pixels, more and more people are opting for 2k or even 4k resolution. Generally, the higher the security camera resolution, the better the image quality and the details will be clearer. The obvious conclusion is that 4K IP security cameras deliver sharper and clearer images when compared to 1440p, 1080p, and 720p IP security cameras.

The truth is, you can still get high quality imaging with clear details from a distance with 2K security cameras, and they are especially good for monitoring entrances to your home, garages, walkways, front yards, backyards and small businesses.

Is it worth getting 4K security cameras?

4K cameras have a much higher resolution of 3840 x 2160p, equalling 8 megapixels, and are at the high end of surveillance video quality. They have a wide field of view and are effective for facial recognition and license plate recognition at greater distances. One of the challenges with 4K security cameras is that they require more bandwidth and space for storage. You will need to keep this in mind when budgeting for your surveillance needs.

On the plus side, if you have the budget for these top range cameras, newer video compression technology is making it possible to further reduce storage consumption. An example of this would be a surveillance camera that features H.265 video encoding. This codec can save up to 50% of available storage space compared to older H.264 encoding. 

For some businesses, 4K cameras are a no brainer. If you want to capture footage of the highest possible quality while monitoring larger areas under a single camera, 4K cameras will future proof your video surveillance system.

4K surveillance cameras are best for medium and large businesses, including parking lots, warehouses, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and other commercial and residential properties.

How many megapixels can the human eye see?

The human eye is not dissimilar to a camera, but we don’t see in pixels at all. However, if we were to compare, scientist and photographer Dr. Roger Clark assumed that in order to create a screen so sharp that you wouldn’t be able to see individual pixels, you would need 576 million pixels within your field of view. That's 576 megapixels. An incredible thought when you compare it to the 8 megapixels of an UHD security camera.

Why is the resolution of security cameras lower than that of smartphones?

If your security camera is recording 24/7, it can produce a huge amount of video footage in just a few hours, thus requiring an excessive amount of storage space. The more detail or megapixels a camera has, the larger the storage capacity it needs. Therefore finding a balance between the number of megapixels you need for your surveillance needs vs how much storage space you need is the key. 

Most security teams prefer to have cameras with reasonable and sufficient resolution, so as to cut down on storage capacity. You might prefer to buy a camera with a motion sensor to potentially decrease your storage needs. That way the camera is only recording when motion is detected, which would take up less storage space than continuous recording. Of course, this feature will not be ideal for businesses with busy areas to monitor or constant traffic and a continuous feed makes more sense. For a consultation or quote to help you find the best camera for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact CCTV Solutions. 


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