720p vs 1080p security cameras

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Do you want to know which security camera is better for you between the 720p vs the 1080p security camera system?

A very important question to be is answered is; what is the difference between the 720p and 1080p security cameras. Generally, the difference between these cameras is not very noticeable to the naked eye, the stark disparity, however, becomes very apparent when you zoom or try to capture specific details.

How many megapixels do I need for the best security camera?

Pixels make up what is called resolution. Why is pixel resolution important for a security camera?  Well, pixels are square in shape and these tiny squares make up a single image. Therefore resolution is the number of pixels that make up an image.

Ever wonder why your video or picture quality deteriorates when you zoom out?

It is because pixels are square in shape and have no smooth or rounded edges, so this means that your camera has to fill in those gaps. It does this by taking the square pixels and making an illusion of smoothness visible to you. The higher the number of pixels the better the security camera will be at eliminating the blurriness that you usually see when you zoom out.

This blurriness in technical terms is referred to as jaggies which are little glitches or irregularities that appear when you zoom out your camera to the maximum. Because pixels are square and don’t display rounded edges very well if the resolution is not sufficient these glitches become more visible.

What you need is a security camera with more megapixels that way you can capture more detail at the maximum zoom level, additionally, a higher pixel count means that your camera is able to capture more details within a larger frame. So something as simple as identifying someone from across the street or a few blocks away is better with a higher pixel count.

What resolution should a security camera be?

Any resolution lower than 720p will probably not work well as a security camera. However it is 2020 and technology is getter better, so is the 720p good enough?

Both the 720pixel resolution and the 1080pixel resolution are part of the High Definition (H.D) range, which is a pretty good megapixel count for a security camera.

The 720p being an earlier version is cheaper and probably a good enough choice if you are not willing to fork out a lot of money or if you want to secure a small space. Though more expensive, 1080p cameras are typically better in terms of image quality.

What is the difference between 720p and 1080p?

720p Specifications

The exact specifications are measured by counting the number of pixels displayed along the horizontal and vertical axis of the display. Therefore the 720p has 1280 pixels moving across the screen and 720 pixels moving down the screen, coming to a total of 921,600 pixels.

1080p Specifications

The 1080p has 1,920 pixels moving across the screen and 1,080 pixels moving down the screen. This brings it to a total of 2,073,600 pixels

A Side by side comparison of the 720p vs 1080p security camera specifications

720p security camera1080p security camera
  Video width: 1,280 pixels     Video width: 1,920 pixels
  Video height: 720 pixels    Video height: 1,080 pixels
  Frame rate: 23,976    Frame rate: 23,976

Below is a comparison of the exact same image displayed on the earlier Standard Definition (S.D) resolution, the 1080p resolution, and the 720p resolution just to give you a better perspective of the image quality and range of detail captured.

600TVL & 720p & 1080p. Is there much of a difference?

Resolution comparison of the 720p vs 1080p security camera

How do these two differ in performance?

The 720p was the first to come out of the H.D product range,unsurprisingly demand for the 720p camera is gradually dying down due to the development of better resolution cameras. But let’s not count it out yet. 720p camera quality is still very good and when recording in 720p vs 1080p the difference is not very noticeable unless as we said before you zoom out or you are trying to capture details that are quite a distance away from the location of your camera.

The 1080p has a higher definition than the 720p, which means it produces better quality images suitable for general video surveillance.1080p cameras have better function and performance due to sharper image quality compared to the 720p cameras. When the 1080p is zoomed the image looks a lot smoother and overall more rounded, essentially making it look more life-like, have less jaggies and preserve a lot more detail. This means that your camera is not working quite as much to fill in the gaps for a smoother image.

In conclusion, when it comes to resolution the 1080p is by far the more superior camera, however it might not be suitable for small spaces such as a single booth or a home. Where it lacks in resolution, the 720p can be upgraded using other methods (which will be discussed below, so please read on) to produce a better quality security system that will be suitable for your needs and for your budget.

Is resolution the single most important thing to consider?

Simply put, not it is not. Your focus should not be sorely on resolution, some of the factors stated below are equally as important. In fact they work together to help you make a choice and they are universally applicable to all of the resolution ranges currently available.

Type of Camera and Camera Features

All security cameras are not created equal. In fact, do not let the fact that a security camera is labelled as 1080p or 720p fool you. A lot more goes into ensuring that you get the quality security camera that suits your needs.

You will find many cameras on the market labeled 1080p or 720p but a closer look will show you that the same pixel count does not necessarily create the same image.

So what is the difference you ask?

It comes down to a lot of elements for example; the quality of the camera itself, the material used during manufacturing, the type and quality of the camera lens and the type of technology used in the camera as a whole. For instance, some cameras use advanced resolution optics that allow a lot of light and detail to pass through the lens and thus produce a better quality image compared to others in the same resolution range.

Some added functions and features on certain camerasalso determine image quality. Added technological features that cameras on the higher end of the price spectrum have such as wide dynamic range assist in offering you a better security camera.

Not forgetting also the kind of video analytics built into some cameras and not others allow certain things to be seen by some cameras and not by others. For example some basic security cameras only have motion sensors or motion detectors, whilst others offer advanced video analytics.

So as you can clearly see it is not just about the resolution, the type of camera and it’s built in features also make a significant difference.

Bandwidth and Network Capabilities

Another factor to consider is the compression technology being used by your system and whether this technology is reducing the bandwidth signal. What we mean by compression technology is; at times compression or more specifically data compression is utilized to reduce the size of files so that less disk space is used and you have more storage for your security recordings.

This compression ensures that the data is transferred to various other systems more quickly and sufficiently. The advantage of this compression technology is that useless and redundant data is eliminated and this ensures that you can store more videos for a long period of time.

There is however a disadvantage that can occur occasionally, as is the case with most technology. If the video becomes too compressed, the quality of the image can be compromised. It is therefore important to ensure that you choose the right technology in order to strike a balance.

Your location, environmental and personal factors

Equally important is the factors that are making you think about installing a security system in the first place. Whether it is the 720p vs the 1080p security camera that you eventually decide on, these factors remain the same.

As stated before, if you run a very small business, or if you want some added security in a confined area or if you are looking to install the security camera at your home then you could get away with buying a quality camera with the latest technology or added features and have it at 720p resolution.

You really do not need a security camera with the latest technology and fancy features like wide dynamic range or analytics in such areas. On the flip side if you are looking at securing a large area that has high traffic, or suffers from low light, or if you want to be able to capture as much detail as you can like number plates, eye color, and tattoos and so on, then cameras with 1080p resolution should be your only consideration.

It is therefore advisable that before you rush to your nearest security or online shop to buy a security system, that you spend some money getting a security camera specialist to come to your location and take a look at all the possible influencing factors such as lighting, traffic, blind spots, field of view and many others and assess for you what you need because the security of your home or your business is worth investing in.

Storage Space

Let’s talk space.

The 1080p being of higher resolution does require a lot more storage space or memory and the low resolution 720p will obviously take up a lot less memory, meaning that the720p security camera can record video for twice as long as the 1080p security camera.

Another advantage of the 720p over the 1080p is that if you so happen to be away from your location for long periods of time, the 720p has enough storage to cover the time that you will be away, this takes the pressure off you from worrying about storage of your security files.

If our bid for the 720p security camera for home or small location use has not convinced you and you still want the higher resolution camera, fear not! There are certainly some ways you can circumvent this issue.

Firstly, if you get a higher resolution security camera with a built in motion sensor that triggers it to record only when it senses movement as a feature, then you can save on storage. Secondly, some modern security cameras come with an option to store and upload the recorded data onto cloud storage hosted by other third parties. Your storage issues could literally be a subscription away!

So now that you are familiar with the different specifications, advantages and disadvantages of the 720p vs 1080p security cameras let us take a look at how much this might cost you.

How much will it cost you?

Camera nameNight Watch Security 1 Pack Analog HD 720p Wired Bullet CameraZOSI 720P HD 1280TVL Hybrid 4-in-1 TVI CVI AHD 960H CVBS CCTV Security CameraAmcrestProHD 1080P WiFi CameraWireless Outdoor Security Camera, KAMTRON 1080P
Camera image

Price*about $ 25.99about $17.99about $ 74.99about $ 75.99
Field of view70 degreesNot specified90 degrees130 degrees
View CameraCheck price hereCheck price hereCheck price hereCheck price here

*List of Prices on Amazon as of 10/13/2020 14:08 GMT+2

As the above table shows, the 1080p security cameras do cost a bit more than the 720p security cameras. Therefore it all depends on your personal needs and your budget.

So now that you know about the advantages and disadvantages of these two cameras, what network system will work for you?

CCTV Systems vs Lifestyle Systems

There are two main systems that currently exist when installing a security system. The options are; a closed circuit television system (CCTV) and standalone Wi-Fi camera system also known as lifestyle systems.

CCTV System

Usually meant for high traffic big areas like retail shops, outdoor environments and commercial properties, this system offers 24/7 recording and a comprehensive system that works together to ensure that your location is as safe as reasonably possible. Although no technological system can ever cover every possible situation, CCTV systems gives you a better chance and capturing important details like an image across a dark parking lot or a number plate across the street.

It is important to choose cameras that can withstand harsh conditions and possibly attempted vandalism. The network video recorder (NVR) of an IP CCTV system can be connected to up to 256 cameras, can integrate with home automation systems and extract important data. An additional bonus is that this system can accommodate up to 30 megapixels of resolution.

Lifestyle System

Lifestyle systems are easy to install and the set up allows you to see any live feeds or saved recordings remotely using any device. The great thing about this system is that you can receive push notifications or emails on your device wherever you are. They are an affordable option and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the different type of features and specifications that you can get on these cameras.

Which security camera should you buy? : Recommendations

After all this detail that we have supplied to you, your head must be spinning so let’s simplify it. The key things to remember are:

  • Resolution is important but it is not the only important factor.
  • Consider your needs, location, budget and the many advanced features available on camera models.
  • Think also about what will save you money in the long run.

Final thoughts

That said, which is better, the 720p vs 1080p security camera

Being an earlier model is the 720p still good in 2020? Whilst the 720p resolution is still a good choice especially with added camera features to improve image quality, in the long run, our money is on the 1080p. Not only does it offer better resolution therefore enabling you to capture important details, it is one of the best competitive surveillance cameras currently on the market. The 720p is slowly being phased out. It will not be a wise decision to buy a 720p security system that you will have to upgrade sooner than is necessary.

Ultimately the choice is yours, remember that not all cameras are equal and that the whole point of installing a security system is to hinder or deter criminals and if they unfortunately do manage to exercise their agenda you will want as much detail as possible to try and identify them. Take advantage of the current technology and invest in your safety properly.

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