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How far can security cameras actually see?


Security cameras share common characteristics with camera technology so it’s no surprise they are not very different from their traditional counterparts in regards to major features. When it comes to how much detail a camera can pick up and how far a camera can actually see, this comes down to these main points:

Lens Capability

Focal Length

Focal length measured in mm is a measurement of the distance between the lense and image sensor of a camera and plays one of the biggest roles in the quality of the image you will receive.

FOV ( Field Of View )

Short focal lengths provide a wider point of view making wide angle security cameras ideal for tight spaces such as front doors and areas outside the home. Narrow point of view cameras like the Micron Bullet range allow greater distances to be shown.

Optical Zoom and PTZ

Optical zoom cameras have the ability to adjust FOV mechanically with the ability to zoom in on a subject optically. This allows the camera to maintain resolution of the image without sacrificing quality. In comparison, digital zoom only crops the Image itself reducing the overall resolution of the final image.

Sensor size / Resolution

Security cameras such as The Micron range of security products come in many different resolutions and sensor capabilities. The most common offer the following resolutions:

  • 720p
  • 1080p
  • 4MP
  • 5MP
  • 8MP / 4K

The higher the resolution, the better quality image you will receive. The biggest downside of this is the higher storage requirements for the recorded files.

Encoding Software

Not all encoding software is made the same. Due to the nature of constant recording in most security systems, camera software tends to opt for real time highly compressed video using common formats such as mpeg4 and HEVC. Some security systems such as the allow you to change the compression level on a sliding scale and the newer formats such as HEVC and VP9 provide far better quality compression.

Night or Day

Security cameras designed for Night Vision provide far better night time legibility than a standard security camera system at nightime. Popular products such as the Bosch NBE-5503-AL 5MP offer built-in infrared LEDs provide quality night-time monitoring with a 196' range.

Line of Sight / Location

While the average viewable distance for a standard home 1080p security camera is around 15 meters the ability to use the camera for Identification purposes rest solely on the tech specifics.

Ref -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aperture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_(optics)

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