Choosing Image Quality for Commercial Surveillance Systems Leave a comment

Having the right image quality is important when you are deciding on which security cameras to use for your business. Having poor image quality could render your footage useless if faces can’t be identified or movement is blurry. A lot of people might automatically opt to use the highest quality available, but doing this can get extremely costly in the long run. In this post, we will go over some key points to help you determine which image quality would be sufficient for your business, but still cost-efficient.

Image Resolution

Image quality for cameras is typically determined by the camera’s resolution. Resolution refers to the amount of pixels that make up an image. When you look at a camera’s specifications, you may see the resolution written in 2 different formats. Let’s use 1080 or 2MP as an example. The 1080 refers to the image size; an image size of 1920×1080 will have 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically. In total, there will be 2,073,600 pixels, or roughly 2,000,000 pixels which means 2 megapixels (MP).

But how do the number of pixels relate to image quality? In the simplest terms, more pixels mean more high quality images and clear footage. If an image doesn’t have a lot of pixels, the pixels will need to be bigger in order to cover the entirety of an image. This could make images appear blurry and “pixelated”. More pixels mean a smaller pixel size which means clearer images.

Bandwidth & Storage

In recent times, image quality and resolution for security cameras have been improving, especially with the introduction of IP cameras. IP cameras can have up to 20x higher image resolution because they compress and digitize footage at the camera and then transmit it through a computer connection. Currently, the highest resolution that is available for security cameras is 4K, which is ultra high definition.

But before deciding on image quality, it’s important to look at how much bandwidth and storage each resolution takes up. The following figures are based on one hour of recording.

ResolutionBandwidthStorage
SD: 640×4800.3 Mbps0.135 GB
HD: 1280×7201.0 Mbps0.450 GB
HD: 1920×7202.0 Mbps0.900 GB
4K: 4095×21609.0 Mbps4.050 GB
Information from Security Instrument

Keep in mind that these amounts are only for a single security camera. Depending on how big your business is, your system could require anywhere from 8-32 security cameras. Cameras with super high image quality will rack up costly upfront expenses as well as long-run costs. The higher the resolution, the more expensive the cameras will be and the more you’ll have to spend on bandwidth and the storage space to handle the footage.

Which Image Quality Should You Use?

In order to answer the question of which image quality or resolution should you use, you should really just think about what your budget is and what you will be using the cameras for. For most commercial spaces, 4K resolution is not needed and will just be a source of unnecessary expenses. The most commonly used resolutions are 2MP, 3MP, and 5MP. If you are using the cameras for face recognition or for facial identification, 5MP cameras will show enough detail without the high costs. For all-around monitoring and surveillance, 2MP or 3MP would be good options.

For maximum commercial security, you could have a mix of different resolutions depending on the areas you will be placing them. For example, you could have 5MP cameras placed in front of entrances and exits to identify faces and 2MP or 3MP cameras around the building for general monitoring. If you need more guidance on which image quality to use for your business or want a quote, you can always get in touch with one of our sales consultants as well.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions. You can call us at 877-926-2288 or connect with us on social media
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