We have all seen the examples of the grainy, out-of-focus, dimly-lit video images taken from a convenience store or bank and shown on the evening news or over the Internet after a robbery event. Fortunately, the camera technology available today provides far better image quality than previous camera technologies at a much better value. So, is it time for you to upgrade your video surveillance system?
The three main features that you could utilize with the newer camera technologies are higher resolution, better low-light performance, and better wide-dynamic range. I will briefly explain these features and the benefits they provide.
First, the newest cameras available today are available with much higher video resolutions. At a minimum, the cameras we are installing provide two-megapixel images which are images comprised of two million pixels or pixel elements. With more pixels, you will see a much sharper, more detailed image. Four-megapixel and eight-megapixel cameras are now available and provide outstanding clarity and detail. But, there is a trade-off when using cameras with higher resolutions. With more pixels there comes a need for more network bandwidth and more storage to manage the additional detail provided by these high-resolution cameras.
The second performance improvement we are seeing with the latest cameras is better low-light performance. Many of the new cameras have infrared illumination capabilities which will allow the cameras to generate an image in complete darkness. In these conditions, the camera will turn on the infrared illuminators and the infrared light would reflect off of any objects in the field of view and then bounce back to the camera to create an image. Some manufacturers like Honeywell are building cameras with more intelligent infrared capabilities. With Honeywell’s smart IR technology, the infrared illumination is adjusted throughout the field of view based on the level of reflectance of the objects in the scene which provides a more balanced, evenly-lit view.
The third product improvement we are seeing in new cameras is better wide-dynamic range. The dynamic range of an image is the difference between the darkest parts of the image and the brightest parts of an image. Cameras that use wide-dynamic range (WDR) image improvement can lighten the darkest area and darken the brightest areas of an image to provide a more evenly-lit picture. WDR capabilities are quoted in decibels (db) with higher numbers equaling better WDR images. I have seen cameras listed with WDR ratings between 60db and 120db. So, it is important to know what you are getting when you upgrade to new cameras. The newest cameras that we source from Honeywell have WDR ratings of 120db.
The other great thing that comes with technology improvements is better value. As the camera technologies have improved, the prices have also come down making high resolution video more affordable than ever. If you haven’t upgraded your camera system in years, now may be the time to look at what the new technologies can do for you.
Let me know if you have any questions. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Scott Hightower, Verified Security