IP security cameras come many types and have seemingly endless feature options. There are 3 popular IP security cameras on the market: 720p, 1080p and 1440p IP security cameras. (View the comparison of the 3 types of security cameras here: 1440p VS 1080p VS 720p security camera.)
Most IP camera companies currently offer 1080p IP security cameras. However, here comes the question: would 1080p IP security cameras be enough for identification of vehicles and the general information on people?
Calculate What You Can See with Your IP Security Cameras
If you want to know whether your 1080p IP security cameras can identify the license plate and the general information on people, a parameter --- PPF (pixels per foot) --- can tell. The parameter means that you need to calculate the proper lens and resolution combination for identification.
How does PPF work? How can you reach this figure? To arrive this figure, you simply divide the camera’s resolution height (e.g. a 1080p camera is 1920 x 1080 pixels, so the horizontal resolution is 1920) by the field of view. So the calculation formula is: PPF= the camera’s horizontal resolution/the field of view.
Important Note: The below tests are done by our tech team. The installation environment, the configuration of the cameras and other factors would affect the testing results.
You might not recognize the license plates if the installation is too dark, or the distance between your security cameras and the car's license plates is too far away.
Most experts agree that for proper identification of facial and license plate recognition, the minimum measurement should be no less than 40 PPF. In order to know clearly whether your IP cameras can identify a license plate or a person, let’s set the field of view of a subject (a car or a person) is 40 feet. If the PPF (PPF= the camera’s resolution height/40 feet) exceeds 40 PPF, this kind of IP security camera can be enough for identification of vehicles and general information on people at 40 feet field of view.
Well, now let’s calculate the PPF of 720p, 1080p and 1440p IP security cameras together to confirm whether these high resolution cameras are license plate recognition cameras (LPR cameras).
1. PPF of 720p IP Security Cameras
A 720p IP security camera is 1280 x 720 pixels. The horizontal resolution is 1280, and the field of view is 40 feet. So PPF of 720p IP security cameras is:
PPF (720p) = 1280/40 = 32 < 40
At 40 feet field of view, 720p IP security cameras cannot identify license plates and people.
2. PPF of 1080p IP Security Cameras
Just like the above, a 1080p IP security camera is 1920 x 1080. The horizontal resolution is 1920, and the field of view is 40 feet. So PPF of 1080p IP security cameras is:
PPF (1080p) = 1920/40 = 48 > 40
At 40 feet field of view, 1080p IP security cameras can allow you to recognize car/vehicle number plates and the general information of people.
3. PPF of 1440p IP Security Cameras
A 1440p IP security camera is 2560 x 1440. The horizontal resolution is 2560, and the field of view is 40 feet. So PPF of 1440p IP security cameras is:
PPF (1440p) = 2560/40 = 64 > 40
At 40 feet field of view, the PPF of 1440p IP security cameras is far more than 40. You can see car/vehicle number plates and the facial features of people clearly compared with 720p and 1080p cameras. Thus 4MP (1440p) IP security cameras are currently the best cameras for number plate recognition for residential use.
FYI: To help you choose the right megapixel resolution IP security camera of achieving your objective level of detail, you can get some reference in the facial and license plate recognition chart.
![Facial and License Plate Recognition Chart](/images/blog/facial-and-license-plate recognition-chart.jpg)
From the above analysis, you can see that whether your cameras can identify vehicle and the information on people mainly depends on the camera’s resolution height and the field of view.
720p and Full HD (1080p) IP cameras have definitely made a significant contribution to security and surveillance. However, with more and more IP security models having upwards of 4 megapixels and the cost of the technology dropping, why do you stop there?
Keep it in mind that no amount of security video will help you if it’s blurry, jittery or otherwise distorted. Look for a camera that offers the highest possible resolution. Most security camera companies currently offer 1080p (often referred to as Full HD), but some top security camera brands begin to offer 4K Ultra HD security cameras, which means pictures and videos captured by this camera are 4X clearer than 1080p HD.
In terms of pure resolving power, I think it’s safe to say a higher resolution is definitely better.
4K PoE IP Camera with Person/Vehicle Detection
Smart Person/Vehicle Alerts; 4K UHD Day & Night; 100ft Night Vision; Time Lapse; IP66 Certified Weatherproof; Audio Recording.
With updates of new production technique, more security cameras of higher resolution have shown up, which offer a better user experience and protect users' safety more effectively.
If you want to get more information about camera resolution, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts. I’m out of get some cupcakes, maybe 3 of them. Do you want to join my afternoon tea?