I'm looking for a weatherproof (or waterproof only) IP Camera capable of covering long distances like 500 meters or more for 24/7 surveillance in industrial areas. I've searched among popular brands but none of them had this specification. most camera lens sized I found are:

  • 3.6mm →15 meters
  • 6mm →20 meters
  • 8mm →26 meters
  • 12mm →40 meters
  • 16mm →60 meters

The only Important specifications for the IP camera is having a good video quality and at least 500 meters of straight coverage, so it doesn't matter whether it uses mechanical zoom or digital but it definitely must be a PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera. Thanks!

UPDATE: the camera's video quality need to be HD and 10 pixels per inch.

  • Observation: at 500m range, you won't get any kind of detail from any unzoomed camera. The resulting footage wouldn't be admissible in a criminal trial, except for proving that someone broke in. – ArtOfCode Sep 11 '15 at 16:43
  • I don't understand the question: What do you mean to "cover" a distance? Are you talking about imaging something at a given distance with some minimum resolution at that distance? If so then you need to incorporate both focal length and sensor resolution into the equation. – feetwet Sep 11 '15 at 17:37
  • @ArtOfCode Yes I know, I wasn't looking for an unzoomed camera either. I'm looking for a camera which utilized both mechanical and digital zoom in order to provide clear realtime video footage. – user137 Sep 11 '15 at 17:37
  • @feetwet What I mean by 500 meters coverage distance is exactly what the camera manufacturers specify about their camera details. – user137 Sep 11 '15 at 17:39
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    Maybe none of the popular brands do it because it would be misleading. E.g., what do you consider "reasonable" resolution at a distance? Enough to see the presence of a vehicle? Or enough to read its license plate from an angle? This is not a small point of discussion: Holding the lens and even sensor size constant, higher sensor resolution and quality can offer vastly different zoom potential. – feetwet Sep 11 '15 at 17:57
  1. The AvertX 30X HD provides pretty much everything you're looking for, but it only covers ~105m. This brand tends to not specify optical or digital zoom on their website which makes things difficult.

  2. The 3S N5012 has a lot of very appealing features. Specifically, 94mm max focal length paired with 12x digital zoom can provide long view distances. This could reach close to 500m, but digital zoom severely affects video quality, so that's your call.

I'll update this as I find more options.

  • Thanks, 3S N5012 is the best one so far, the lens module are good too for digital zoom. I'm going to find a way to get the prices too. – user137 Sep 12 '15 at 7:13
  • The 3S N5012 will meet the requirement of 10 nominal pixels per inch at 500 meters, but won't really do what the OP is asking for. This is what a car will look like at 500 meters. Yes, the six-inch-high license plate is the requested 60 pixels tall, but there's no way you'd be able to actually read it. – Mark Sep 12 '15 at 19:32
  • @Mark That's why I included the part about digital zoom severely affecting video quality. I'm 90% sure there are no IP cameras with a sane price tag that can cover 500m (by any means) without the use of digital zoom. – Adam Sep 13 '15 at 6:26
  • This is so weird. digital zooming shouldn't decrease the quality this much. is digital zooming in IP cameras the same one in phones, compact cameras etc? because they don't decrease the quality so much. (e.x. in a compact camera when you use digital zoom the quality doesn't decrease a lot but the camera becomes so sensitive against vibration.). this picture of that IP camera in 500m is abnormal and clearly tells us that the camera does not support 500m in anyway. and you said that it's very rare to find such an IP camera, is it easier to find such thing in normal surveillance cameras? – user137 Sep 13 '15 at 7:04
  • @Saeed I have to say it's extremely rare or even nonexistent in any kind of IP or surveillance camera. Firstly, the optical zoom number (e.g. 3x or 4x) doesn't really mean anything. It's just the max focal length divided by the minimum focal length (e.g. 18-55mm = 3x). Now, digital zoom takes the video and scales it up instead of shifting the lenses to optically zoom in. If you've ever zoomed way into a picture and it becomes extremely pixelated, that's exactly what digital zoom is. It's the same thing across any kind of device. – Adam Sep 15 '15 at 9:02

Your requirement – to be able to read license plates at 500 meters – is pushing the outer limits of commercial technology. You are talking about a camera that will cost thousands of dollars, and may be a custom-built item.

Therefore, you will have to contact higher-end camera manufacturers directly to discuss whether existing products meet your requirements, or what they would charge to build one.

Alternatively, you may be able to hack one together using a "tethered" higher-end consumer digital camera and lens with waterproof housing. But that's still going to cost 4-figures per camera.

  • Thanks but that's too much of a work and I'm not going to do that for my needs. In my question I just added information about video quality, not being able to read license plates. – user137 Sep 12 '15 at 14:31
  • @Saeed - the problem is that you didn't clearly define the resolution/quality/coverage you're looking for. In the question comment discussion I explained that 10px/inch at target distance would be a reasonable minimum to read license plates at that distance. You ask for "coverage" to 500m. What do you want to be able to resolve at 500m? Because technically a single-pixel camera "covers" all the way to the horizon, but it doesn't provide useful coverage. – feetwet Sep 12 '15 at 14:38
  • I know, because of the fact that it is hard to find such a camera with this exact details I said I'd be satisfied with what camera manufacturer is told about its camera, I assume when they say a camera supports a specific distance that would mean that it gives a reasonable video quality at that distance, not necessarily being able to read license plates. It would be good if there was some demo videos for the camera too. – user137 Sep 12 '15 at 16:00

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