Calderon talks sensors and pixels

For some, 40 megapixels is just right
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Arecont Vision’s 40-megapixel, multisensory, 180-degree panoramic camera, which the company announced at ASIS last year, is now shipping. The new camera doubles the resolution available in the 2011 version. So how many megapixels is enough?

“People ask how many megapixels is too much. It depends on what you want to see,” Raul Calderon, Arecont Vision SVP, told Security Systems News.

The new camera, called AV40185DN SurroundVideo, is good if you “want more detail, at greater distances, at wider angles,” he said.

Arecont has been manufacturing panoramic multisensor cameras since 2006, Calderon said. “It’s a core competency,” he said, adding that it also “generates even more revenue than any other singular [Arecont] product line.”
 
“First we had an 8 [megapixel, panoramic, multisensor camera], then we had a 20, and recently we added a 40. They all solve the same problem. [It’s for those who want] a massive, wide field of view, [delivering] total situational awareness. And the [cameras] do it all the time, covering 100 percent of the area—now with greater resolve.”

Calderon pointed out that this camera houses four 10-megapixel sensors—as opposed to a single 40-megapixel sensor. “But the panoramic picture is 40 megapixels [total],” he said.

Having four sensors means the resolution is optimized across the entire image, he explained. With a single-sensor camera, you’d typically use a fish-eye lens “which would have less resolve as you move toward the edge … in our case you have 10 megapixel [resolution] throughout the entire range.”
 
The trade off with higher resolution, of course is the frame rate. Arecont’s 8-megapixel, panoramic, multisensor camera can do 22 fps; the 20-megapixel product can do 14 fps; and, the new 40-megapixel camera does 5 fps.

“The [lower] frame rate is a trade-off for the resolution, but you get that resolution 100 percent, all the time and in a contiguous frame of view,” Calderon said.

“We’re expecting big things. In the panoramic space we don’t have much competition,” he said.

The applications for this type of camera are typically outdoors, but varied. “It could be a parking lot, in front of a school, in a football stadium, in the front of a financial institution,” Calderon said. And it’s not limited to outdoor applications. “We recently closed a banking application that used 750 cameras inside the bank, not outdoors, and they were 360-degree cameras,” he said.

Arecont is developing other panoramic technology that “also plays off the multisensor solutions,” which it may be demonstrating at the ASIS show in September.