This Is Why Security Cameras Have Low-Quality Video

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Security cameras are an effective way to keep your home and family safe. However, low video quality defeats the purpose since this makes it hard to make out important details of the recorded video. So, why do security cameras have such low-quality video?

Security cameras have low-quality video because of their low file resolution and high video compression levels, which allow them to store more footage. Moreover, most security cameras are not designed for close-up recording. Instead, they aim to capture as much as possible within their vicinity.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss security camera resolution, including how it affects the camera’s video quality. I’ll also cover how to change your security camera’s resolution for clearer video. Keep reading!

What Is the Resolution of Your Security Camera and How To Change It?

Your security camera’s resolution is an essential consideration when it comes to the quality of its videos. A camera’s resolution entails the total number of pixels captured in each frame: the higher the resolution, the higher the number of pixels and the clearer the image.

When installing a security camera, you want something that can display quality images at any given time. This is where resolution comes in.

The higher the resolution of a camera, the less likely its videos are going to pixelate if you try to zoom in. Such cameras are the best for security purposes, especially when trying to capture minute details like license plates.

Home security cameras are categorized into the following four resolutions:

  1. 2MP (1080P)
  2. 4MP (1440P)
  3. 5MP (1920P)
  4. 8MP (4K/2160P)

These camera resolutions have different features and capabilities in their image and video quality. Let’s discuss each resolution below:

1. 2MP (1080P) Security Cameras

Cameras like this one right here have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This means that the security camera can display 2,073,600 pixels in each frame. 

2MP security cameras are not the best for capturing tiny details. However, they can be good enough for identifying crucial details like facial features and clothing. Additionally, their file size is not too large, making them a decent option for storing multiple days of footage.

Some places you are able to use these cameras include:

  • Vacation homes
  • Small stores and restaurants
  • Offices

2. 4MP (1440P) Security Cameras

These cameras (like this one) have a 2,560 x 1,440 image resolution. This means they can display 3,686,400 pixels in each frame. The total pixels displayed per frame are rounded up to 4 million to get 4MP.

These are the most widely used security cameras in business and residential premises. Compared to their 2MP counterparts, 4MP security cameras produce clearer images and videos. However, they are more costly than the 2MP ones.

Due to their high-quality images and videos, these cameras are suitable for use in:

  • Driveways
  • Garages
  • Entrances and exits
  • Retail stores

3. 5MP (1920P) Security Cameras

These cameras have a 2,560 x 1,920 image resolution per frame. Thus, they can display 4,915,200 pixels in each frame. These pixels round up to five million to get 5MP cameras.

These cameras can be best for capturing minute details like license plates and facial features at a distance. For this reason, they are suitable for mainstream surveillance where crime prevention is crucial.

The higher resolution also means a bigger file size, which can be an issue for storage space. So, these cameras are best for places where the captured footage will not have to be stored for long periods.

Some places where 5MP security cameras come in handy include:

  • Bank entrances and ATMs
  • Schools and universities
  • Government buildings

4. 8MP (4K/2160P) Security Cameras

These cameras have a 3,840 x 2,160 image resolution per frame. Therefore, each frame displays 8,294,400 pixels, rounding down to eight million for 8MP.

These cameras are the true definition of high-quality video surveillance. They can produce ultra-HD images and videos, making them the best for capturing details at a distance.

However, they come with a hefty price tag that only a few people and organizations can afford. 8MP security cameras are crucial in places where high precision is needed while covering extensive areas. They are the best option for:

  • Airports
  • Stadiums
  • Hospitals
  • Banking halls

While it may be tempting to go for an inexpensive option, a camera’s resolution plays a significant role in capturing sharp images and videos. Therefore, it’s worth investing in a high-resolution security camera if you want clearer footage for surveillance purposes.

How To Change a Security Camera’s Resolution

You can change your security camera’s resolution by upgrading it to a higher model. However, this might not be an option if you’re on a tight budget. Luckily, modern security cameras have a setting that allows you to change the resolution. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to your security system portal.
  2. Navigate to configuration.
  3. Select the audio/video option.
  4. Click on “Camera.”
  5. From the displayed list, select the camera whose resolution you need to change.
  6. Click on “Resolution” and choose the option you want. Since cameras have different resolution capabilities, your type of camera will only display the options it supports.
  7. Click “Apply” to save the changes and exit.

Keep in mind that changing your security camera’s resolution to a higher one may cause complications with storage and streaming. Thus, you must adjust accordingly to avoid any issues with your surveillance system.

Expert Tip: Going for multiple high-resolution cameras can be a better option than investing in one ultra-high-resolution camera. This way, you can cover various angles and have clearer footage overall. Clear surveillance footage can make all the difference in preventing or solving crimes.

Final Thoughts

A low-quality video on your security cameras is the last thing you want for your surveillance system. However, it’s worth noting that a camera’s video and image quality is affected by its resolution. Thus, for clear footage and efficient monitoring, it’s crucial to consider resolution when choosing a security camera.

It’s also worth noting that the higher the resolution, the more expensive the camera. So, it’s essential to keep in mind where the camera will be used and the necessary resolution for that specific location.

Ultimately, investing in a high-resolution security camera is worth it for reliable surveillance.