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Hit the Target — How to Choose the Best Megapixel IP Security Cameras

Elvia8/4/2022
Hit the Target — How to Choose the Best Megapixel IP Security Cameras

OK, so after being frustrated to hell and back at choosing the best megapixel IP security cameras, now you are here — killer guide for you to choose the best megapixel IP security cameras. Here you’ll the details of what megapixel IP cameras are, how many megapixels exactly do you need for security cameras.

Here is the key information regarding how to choose megapixel IP cameras:

Resolution 1080p/2K/5MP/4K
How to Choose Depends on the scenarios
Features Night vision/optical zoom, etc.
Questions & Answers Where to buy, etc.

Part 1. Megapixel IP Security Cameras Explained

Like calories, megapixels are a measure of the quantity of the security camera image pixels, not the quality.

Just as the number of calories in a meal doesn’t say much about how nutritious it is, the number of pixels in security IP cameras doesn’t say much about the image/video quality.

A megapixel (MP) is a million pixels. Megapixel IP security cameras can capture images containing at least a million pixels.

For example, cameras that make 1920X1080 pixel images (2,073,600 finished image pixels) are usually called 2-megapixel (2MP) IP security cameras/systems.

Read More: Top 10 benefits of megapixel security cameras

There are a great number of megapixel HD IP camera types available in the security camera online store now, including 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc. megapixel CCTV resolution cameras.

Those 10, 16, 20 or 29 megapixels are often used in the photography industry.

You can check the below chart to see how many pixels are included in 1080p, 2K, 4K, etc. security cameras.

Megapixel Cameras Resolution Pixels Name by Vertical Pixels Name by Horizontal Pixels Camera Examples
1MP Security Cameras 1280*720 921,600 720p Security Cameras
2 Megapixel Security Cameras 1920*1080 2,073,600 1080p Security Cameras 2K Security Cameras Reolink Argus 2E
3 Megapixel Security Cameras 2304*1296 2,985,984 1296p Security Cameras 2K Security Cameras Reolink E1
4 Megapixel Security Cameras 2560*1440 3,686,400 1440p Security Cameras 2K Security Cameras Reolink E1 Pro
5 Megapixel Security Cameras 2560*1920 4,915,200 1920p Security Cameras 3K Security Cameras RLC-511WA
8 Megapixel Security Cameras 3840*2160 8,294,400 2160p Security Cameras 4K Security Cameras RLK8-800B4 4K PoE Kit

So do higher megapixels in an IP camera mean better image quality?

Not really!

The lens, the image sensors and the image processing algorithms of a security camera jointly play the most important roles in producing superior image quality.

If these elements are the same, higher megapixel security cameras will produce better images.

Take Reolink Argus 3 Pro as a typical example. Though it’s only a 4 megapixel IP camera, it can produce extremely clear images because of 1/3" CMOS image sensor and high-quality lens (with IR cut).

The image quality is even much better than other 4MP security cameras with low-quality sensors.

Reolink Argus 3 Pro

2K 100% Wire-Free Spotlight Camera

2K 4MP Super HD, Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 5/2.4 GHz Dual-Band WiFi, Color Night Vision, Two-Way Audio.

You can take a look at the video captured by Reolink Argus 3 Pro to get more details.

So after reading the megapixel IP security camera comparison, now we go straight ahead to the point:

What megapixel security cameras do I need? How many megapixels should I choose?

Part 2. Buy the Most Suitable Megapixel IP Security Cameras

Do you really need 4K, 12-megapixel security cameras and even higher megapixel IP cameras? Probably not!

A good rule of thumb is to put enough resolution where it is required, not automatically upgrade your security cameras to the highest resolution simply because they are available.

Now check how many megapixels in IP cameras you will need:

#1. For license plate and face recognition

#2. For covering wide areas of your property

#3. For limited bandwidth and storage space

#4. For your budget (check the price range)

#5. Bonus tips for choosing megapixel IP cameras

#1. Choose 2-Megapixel (or Higher) IP Cameras for License Plate and Face Recognition

If you want to capture license plates and recognize people’s faces, buy at least 2-megapixel security cameras — based on the multiple tests of our R&D team.

A 1080p Full HD IP security camera (fixed camera lens: f=4.0 mm, F=2.0) is able to identify license plates and faces within 13ft.

You can check the formula to calculate whether a megapixel CCTV camera can read the license plate here.

But wait. The calculation doesn’t take into account the angle of the subject relative to the camera, which could make license plate recognition and facial identification more difficult.

So for ensuring that you can identify license plates and faces from a certain distance, buy higher megapixel outdoor/indoor IP security cameras.

Helpful Guide to Best License Plate Security Cameras

Besides 2-megapixel IP cameras, there are 2 popular types: 4MP and 5MP IP cameras:

  • 4-megapixel H.264 IP cameras can capture extremely clear images compared with 1.3 or 2-megapixel IP security cameras. (You can see the 4MP, 2MP & 1MP security camera comparison here.)

  • 5-megapixel high definition IP cameras can provide even better and sharper images compared with other lower definition counterparts.

5MP VS 4MP VS 2MP IP Cameras

A Facebook user posted a video captured by an RLC-511WA that a gang of thieves stole her packages. This camera captured the thieves’ clear images and the license plate of their car, which makes the case investigation much easier.

Reolink Camera Caught Package Theft

#2. Buy 4 (& Higher) Megapixel Security Cameras for Covering Wide Areas of Your Property

Higher resolution means greater coverage and fewer cameras needed to monitor your property.

If you want to monitor a wide range of your property, such as your farm, barn or yard, buy at least 4MP IP security cameras (systems).

One of the most compelling advantages of 4 and other higher megapixel IP cameras is the combination of situation awareness and image details, which allows you to view wider areas and see more image details.

However, if you just need to monitor an entrance of your property, such as your front door, or porch, a 2-megapixel security camera is totally enough.

#3. Purchase Lower Megapixel IP Cameras When Bandwidth and Storage Space Are Limited

Indeed, higher megapixel security cameras can offer you many detailed images and videos. However, it’s important to balance the image resolution with the requirements of bandwidth and the data storage space.

If you have limited network bandwidth for accessing your megapixel IP security cameras, and limited storage space for recording the images/videos, you can buy a 2-megapixel IP security camera system.

Higher megapixel security cameras, especially those 12-megapixel types, require special network video recorders (NVRs) that can be capable of handling so much video/image resolution.

In another word, you need more hard drive space to store videos recorded by 4K or higher megapixel IP cameras. As a result, the NVRs become costly, making it a less feasible storage solution than initially expected.

Images upload and transmission in 4, 5, and higher megapixel security cameras requires better bandwidth, which would be a burden for your home network.

Luckily, the megapixels in modern megapixel security camera systems can be adjusted based on your applications.

You can lower the megapixels to 1920x1080 when in bad network situation, and adjust the security camera megapixels to 4 or 5 megapixels when in good network situation.

#4. Megapixel IP Camera Prices: Purchase the Suitable One Based on Your Budget

Megapixel IP camera prices vary greatly among brands, camera types and megapixels.

You can take a look at the below chart to get an overall impression of megapixel CCTV security camera prices.

Megapixel Security Cameras Price per Item Best Budget Pick with High Quality
1MP Security Cameras $30 — $100
2MP Security Cameras $50 — $150 Reolink Argus 2E (ONLY $69.99)
3MP Security Cameras $50 — $250 Reolink E1 (ONLY $35.99)
4MP Security Cameras $50 — $300 Reolink E1 Pro (ONLY $52.99)
5MP Security Cameras $50 — $400 Reolink RLC-511WA (ONLY $129.99)
8MP Security Cameras $100 — $500 Reolink RLC-810A (ONLY $94.99)

You can also check some best inexpensive megapixel security cameras with high quality here>>

Hope I’ve covered the important details on choosing the most suitable megapixel security cameras for your specific needs. If you have other suggestions, shoot me in the comment below.

There are some important points you need to consider when buying the best megapixel security cameras.

Part 3. Bonus: Other Important Points to Consider When Buying Megapixel IP Surveillance Cameras

View other important elements when choosing the best megapixel IP security cameras.

1. Megapixel IP cameras with night vision

Infrared night vision megapixel security cameras offer you super clear vision even in low-light conditions, which enables you to recognize the license plates and people both day and night.

If you want megapixel outdoor day night IP security cameras, you can take a look at RLC-823A megapixel IP PTZ dome camera.

The 190ft night vision distance of RLC-823A 8-megapixel IP camera really stands out among its counterparts.

What also distinguishes this camera from other IP cameras is its powerful PTZ function. You can cover a wide range of your property simply with just this standalone IP security camera.

Reolink RLC-823A

Smart PTZ PoE Camera with Spotlights

4K 8MP Ultra HD, Person/Vehicle Detection, 5X Optical Zoom, Auto Tracking, Manual Pan & Tilt, Two-Way Audio, 190ft Night Vision, Live View.

2. Megapixel security cameras with optical zoom function

Lens in a megapixel security camera really plays an important role in capturing clear images/videos.

Remember to choose a high megapixel CCTV security camera with optical zoom lens. The image will stay focus when the focal length is adjusted, so you can zoom in/out to get more image details or wide viewing angle without image quality degraded.

Try a 5X optical zoom high megapixel security camera. You will get much more perfect images/videos with the 5X optical zoom and auto-focus function in an all-in-one megapixel IP camera.

Keen to know more about megapixel security camera lens? Click here >>

Wanna get comparison details of security camera optical zoom VS digital zoom? View it here >>

3. Megapixel wired & wireless IP cameras with waterproof

Waterproof in HD megapixel IP (cloud) cameras offers you almost no limited installation environments. You can install your megapixel surveillance cameras outdoors and indoors to capture everything happening outside or inside your home.

Don’t forget to buy IP66 outdoor megapixel security cameras. This type of megapixel CCTV security cameras can stand against dust and powerful water jets.

4. Megapixel IP surveillance cameras compatible with Third-Party Software (optional)

If you want to view your megapixel security cameras on NAS, Blue Iris and other third-party software, make sure that your megapixel security cameras are compatible with third-party protocol. You can ask the security camera staff directly to check if the megapixel IP cameras support third-party software.

However, the best megapixel security camera viewers should be the software that comes with your IP cameras, since you can enjoy all the functions with the app installed on your iPhone and Android smartphones, and client software downloaded on your Mac or PC.

Part 4. Bonus: Top 6 Megapixel IP Camera Questions & Best Answers

You can check some hottest Q&As here to get deep insights on megapixel CCTV surveillance cameras.

Question 1: Where can I buy megapixel security cameras?

Answer 1: You can buy suitable megapixel security cameras on security camera official online store, no matter where you are, US, UK, Australia, Canada, India, etc.

You can also search for suitable megapixel IP box cameras on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, etc.

Question 2: What is the megapixel IP camera default password?

Answer 2: Well, the default password of megapixel security cameras is totally different. And you can ask the security camera company staff for the default password, or you can follow the megapixel IP security camera manual, demo or quick user guide to reset the password of your security cameras.

Question 3: How to calculate the megapixel IP (Qube) camera bandwidth and storage?

Answer 3: You can use megapixel IP camera bandwidth and storage calculator, or you can get useful calculation formula instructions below to calculate the megapixel security cameras’ bandwidth and storage.

Question 4: What is megapixel IP camera RTSP URL?

Answer 4: Different megapixel IP security cameras contain different RTSP URLs.
RTSP stands for Real-Time Streaming Protocol, a network protocol live video streaming. Megapixel IP camera RTSP URL enables you to view live feeds on RTSP-enabled media players.

Don’t miss this complete guide on RTSP security cameras here.

Question 5: What is megapixel IP camera P2P?

Answer 5: P2P stands for peer-to-peer. It’s a technology that makes it simple to link the megapixel IP cameras with your smartphones. You can download the security camera app to your smartphone, scan the QR code and start the live streaming via the P2P technology.

We have a post that explains all the details about P2P megapixel IP security cameras. Check it now!

Question 6: Megapixel VS analog security cameras, which one is better?

Answer 6: Megapixel IP security cameras undoubtedly outsmart analog security cameras. Megapixel IP security cameras can offer clearer images compared with analog security cameras. And megapixel IP cameras can send you real-time notifications when there are motion events.

Check this post to view details on megapixel IP cameras VS analog security cameras.]

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment below! We will add your questions to this list!

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When not diving into writing about home security, Elvia spends her time watching movies, hiking, reading, etc. Also, she is a big fan of Star War and Orphan Black.