A Guide To Choosing The Right Megapixels For Your CCTV

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CCTV can vary immensely with megapixels and resolution being one of the variations between CCTV cameras. Megapixels are what give CCTV cameras different resolutions, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image will be on the CCTV camera.

There are five main categories of megapixels for CCTV which are shown in the table below.

SizeMegapixelsResolution 
HD (High Definition)1MP1280 x 720 (720p) and 1280 x 960 (960p)
Full HD2MP1920 x 1080 (1080p)
Super HD or Quad HD4MP2560 x 1440
Super HD or Quad HD5MP & 6MP2560 X 1920 and 3072 x 2048
4K (Ultra HD)8MP3840 x 2160

Below shows a comparison of the different resolutions.

So what are the main differences between the megapixels when it comes to CCTV?

Image Quality 

In general, the higher the megapixels of the CCTV camera the better quality of image you will have when viewing.

1MP and 2MP (1080p) CCTV cameras are now becoming an outdated resolution as high-quality CCTV has become more cost-effective. The minimum megapixels we would advise is 5MP, this gives a good quality image for residential and small commercial premises at an affordable price. For larger commercial premises we would recommend 8MP CCTV cameras as these give superior quality, a very clearly defined image and best suit commercial CCTV purposes.

Below shows the difference in image quality from a 1MP camera to an 8MP camera, you can see how much clearer and defined the 8MP camera is.

Field of View 

CCTV security cameras come with either a fixed or a vari-focal lens, the fixed lens is ideal for internal and domestic installations, however, we would recommend vari-focal lenses for external use. These are better suited to provide greater coverage in areas such as car parks, holiday camps and large commercial buildings.

Zooming

Cameras with a zoom function will benefit from higher megapixels as it will allow for a more enhanced zoom which gives a clearer image when zoomed in. Being able to zoom in and still view a clear image means you have an increased likelihood of being able to identify intruders and read number plates at a further distance away.

Cost 

The higher the megapixels of the camera the more they will usually cost, as you are paying for a better quality product. We would advise that you choose the megapixels that are needed for the purpose of the CCTV is being installed.

Storage

Although most CCTV camera systems compress CCTV footage when it is stored on the hard drive, the improved quality footage from high megapixels cameras will take up more bandwidth and thus use more of the storage in normal circumstances. The systems we provide have the latest H265+ compression, which means that even the higher megapixel cameras will not decrease an internal network bandwidth or use up considerably more hard drive capacity.

The megapixels, the number of cameras needed and the time you wish for it to be stored are all things to consider when choosing the size of the hard drive for your CCTV system.

Helping you choose the right megapixels for your CCTV System.

Choosing the right CCTV system and CCTV cameras can be confusing given all the different types of systems that are available on the market. Our team of CCTV specialists can help advise you on the right system for your requirements and what megapixel cameras will best suit your needs. This can be done by a simple site survey and discussion with yourself to make sure we provide the most suitable system for your requirements.

You can call our team directly on 01492 547997 or send us an email to [email protected] and we will be happy to offer free CCTV advice.