I plan on installing a security camera on my house.

I want the security camera to be wide-angle so that it can capture my porch, driveway, and sidewalk all on video.

My house is two stories with 9 foot ceilings, with a slab that's roughly 3 feet high in the front. So the eve of the roof is approximately 25 feet above ground level at the front of the house -- this is about the height the camera will be mounted at.

I'm on the edge of a cul-de-sac, so while one corner of my house is about 30 feet from the curb, the other corner is nearly 50 feet from the curb. This longer corner is where my driveway is located - making my whole driveway from garage to street nearly 50 feet.

I want this camera to be able to identify a human subject in low-light conditions (night time or rain) at any point on my property -- meaning the maximum distance will be 50-60 feet from the camera.

For this purpose, what type of camera should I be looking at? Is 1080p sufficient, or do I need to spring for 4K?

  • Not sure if I'll be able to give a full answer, but I think you'll find that low light performance is actually independent of resolution, and that the security camera market is far, far less concerned with resolution than other requirements (reliability, FOV, etc.) – JMY1000 Jan 10 '18 at 2:06
  • The reason I mention low-light is because I read an article that said 6 pixels per inch is sufficient to identify a human subject "in ideal conditions" but that 12.5 pixels per inch were required "in poor conditions". Although how this number was determined I don't know. – stevendesu Jan 10 '18 at 20:05
  • @JMY1000, actually, for a given sensor size, low-light performance is inversely proportional to resolution: the more pixels you have, the less light each one can catch, and the lower the image quality will be. It's also why professional cameras produce far better low-light images than cell-phone cameras for the same pixel count: a sensor the size of a frame of film can catch far more light than a sensor the size of a grain of rice. – Mark Jan 10 '18 at 22:06
  • @Mark True, but because of a bunch of other things that ultimately impact low light performance, it's not a straight "4K cameras have worse low light than 1080P!" An a7S II will beat an EOS 5DS. Of course that's nowhere near an apples-to-apples comparison, but that's the point: you can't just compare resolution/sensor size and get a complete idea of low light performance (though, of course, these are important factors.) – JMY1000 Jan 10 '18 at 23:42

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