What is a 4K Security Camera? How to pick the right 4K Security Camera!

What is a 4K Security Camera? What to know before purchasing a 4K Camera!

A picture of 3 Home Security Cameras on a house

If you have been looking at surveillance systems or are familiar with the security market, 4K 8MP security cameras are the latest craze and are becoming more mainstream everyday. 4K security cameras come with many perks, such as highly improved resolution, H.265 and H.265+ high efficiency video compression, color and contrast adjustments for adverse lighting conditions, and the ability to zoom in on finer details.

The worries some people have over 4K cameras are starting to dwindle as technology keeps improving. The cost of 4K IP security cameras are coming down, the compression of the video is increasing with H.265 and H.265+ compression, thus reducing file size, with the increase in compression less bandwidth is needed to transmit the video, and the image sensors and technology such as WDR are helping improve the quality of the 4K video.

In this article we will go over the following items regarding 8MP 4K security cameras:

  • What is a 4K security camera
  • How is the 4K security camera different
  • How does the 4K IP camera compare to 2K 4MP security cameras or even 1080P (4K vs. 2K resolution, 8MP vs. 4MP)
  • Top concerns about a 4K surveillance camera
  • Where 4K cameras can be used to get the most value out of your camera
  • Other options and alternative solutions to using a 4K surveillance camera
  • Why support and where you purchase your 8MP 4K cameras is important
  • Where to purchase a quality 4K surveillance system for your home or business

What is a 4K security camera?

4K security cameras have extremely high resolutions of 3840 x 2160 pixels, meaning there are 3840 horizontal pixels by 2160 vertical pixels, resulting in an overall 8,847,360 pixels overall. That is double 2K resolution security cameras which are approximately 2688 x 1520, resulting in 4,085,760 pixels. The 4K surveillance cameras have double the amount of pixels in the images, resulting in higher resolution clearer images. So we have 8-megapixel cameras which are 4K with 8 million pixels, and 4-megapixel cameras which are 2K which have 4 million pixels. These 4K security cameras can also be called 8MP security cameras, ultra HD CCTV cameras, or 2160p security or surveillance cameras.

How is the 4K security camera different?

With over 8 million pixels in the image, 4K security cameras give you the ability to zoom in on the finest details, more so than lesser resolution cameras. The ability to digitally zoom in and look at the finest details is drastically improved with more pixels in the image, that is why 4K security cameras are so beneficial. You are able to zoom in on faces, license plates, clothing and not lose the clarity like you used to with 2MP 1080P cameras or 2K 4MP cameras. So overall, the 4K IP camera is going to provide you with the most clarity, the ability to digitally zoom in on the finest details, and provide you with the best color and night vision on the market.

On top of that, the actual components of a 4K 8MP security camera give rise to why the image is so great. It comes down to technological improvements in the image sensor, the 8MP high-resolution image sensor is larger in size than other image sensors, which improves it’s light sensitivity and gives it the ability to produce a true 4K video.

4K 8MP Security Camera vs. 2K 4MP Security Camera vs. 2MP 1080P Security Camera

Obviously, there are lots of benefits of going with a 4K security camera, but you may wonder, is the 4K security camera at a higher cost worth your investment, is it maybe overkill for your application, is there something better that’s going to come out soon?

Those are all real concerns when deciding on what surveillance system to go through. The 4K security camera is totally worth the investment if you want to see a clearer video and be able to see finer details. Although, a 2MP and 4MP camera will still perform great if you want the best go 4K. Or, if an all 4K security system is out of the budget, mix, and match between 4K and 2K cameras.

Top concerns about purchasing a 4K surveillance system

Most people can agree that having a 4K security camera is beneficial to their security needs, some people get concerned about the higher cost, bandwidth use, storage problems, and compatibility issues with their NVR’s. These concerns have all been addressed with changing market conditions, prices, and technological advances.

  • Cost is coming down substantially with 4K cameras as market volume increases and technology ages.
  • With the release of H.265 and H.265+ high-efficiency, video codec compression the bandwidth and storage needs have dramatically decreased.
  • 4K cameras will be compatible with NVR’s that record up to 4K, and then 4K NVR’s can record from 4K resolution down to 720p and even lower.
  • Things to check when looking at purchasing 4K security cameras

    Check the resolution of the 8MP 4K camera:

    Sometimes companies will falsely advertise a 4K camera, so make sure to check the resolution, and ensure that it is truly 4K (3840x2160). Make sure they aren’t advertising a 4K camera image sensor that only records at 2K or lower. There are companies out there that do that.

    Lens of the 4K 2160P Security camera:

    Not all 8MP security cameras are created equal, some 4K cameras include cheap 4K image sensors that are not going to produce high-quality video. Montavue 4K IP camera lens are of high quality and the focal length is made to give you a wide angle to cover more distant areas. Not only is the 4K resolution important, but it’s the quality of the 4K sensor and focal length.

    4K Video Codec - compression of the surveillance footage:

    Quality 4K surveillance cameras will be equipped with High-Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC). The terms for high-efficiency encoding will be H.265 or H.265+. Make sure they are equipped with either of those compressions, as that will keep your file sizes low for storage and bandwidth use while maintaining crisp 4K image quality. In general, H.265 or H.265+ compression will save about half the bandwidth and storage compared to H.264 compression.

    Make sure the NVR is a 4K NVR and actually going to record a true 4K video from your 4K security camera:

    This is a very common marketing gimmick. The company may say it is a 4K security system with 4K cameras, but the NVR will only record them at 4MP 2K, meaning you are wasting your money and you should just buy a 2K surveillance system at that point. 4K cameras can record in 4K resolution, but can also record in lower resolutions so they can be compatible, but don’t waste your money if the NVR can’t handle it. At Montavue, we won’t advertise 4K security cameras without a compatible 4K NVR, and all of our NVR’s can handle recording 4K at 30fps on all channels.

    Night vision of the 4K surveillance camera:

    In general, 4K cameras have larger image sensors than lower resolution cameras meaning that they need lower light to produce a color image. This gives the 4K camera an edge. But, not all are equal. Make sure that you compare the Lux rating needed to produce a color image. Quality 4K cameras will be equipped with 3D DNR, that is 3D Dynamic Noise Reduction. This reduces the noise and static in a night time video that is caused by the infrared lights.

    4K 8MP Recording Rate or Fluency:

    If you have been browsing surveillance systems you have probably heard of frames-per-second or FPS. Frames per second is exactly what it says, how many still image frames it captures in a second to create a fluid video. Anything from 15fps to 30fps will give you pretty fluid and clear video with movement. Make sure the 4K camera is at least 15fps, and that is the most common FPS for 4K cameras on the market today. Within the next year or so, the FPS should increase to around 30.

    4K Camera Warranty:

    When it comes to purchasing a 4K security camera or complete 4K security system, make sure to compare the warranty and the support behind the product. Lots of cheap manufacturers will only offer a 1-year warranty, but for security cameras, you should be looking for at least a 2-year warranty. At Montavue our standard warranty is 2 years and you can extend to 3 or 5 years.

    4K Camera support:

    Products are only as good as the support behind them. Make sure to choose the correct 4K camera or security system backed up by a great support team. Lots of manufacturers sell cheap 4K cameras with no support, email support only, or support from foreign countries. With Montavue, you will be taken care of for the life of your product with all U.S. based tech support agents that are eager to help.

    It’s time to get a 4K 8MP Security Camera

    Now is the time to get yourself a 4K security camera. At Montavue we can help you with your surveillance needs, from comparing our cameras to other brands, recommending placement, how many cameras, size of hard drives, etc. We will also help you after the sale with U.S. based tech support to help get you up and running.

    Be careful about where you shop for your 4K security cameras. There are some very budget and cheap 4K security cameras and systems in the US and Canada. There are many cheap 4K systems at membership clubs and retail stores like Costco, Walmart, Home Depot and more. Be careful with these, because for the most part lots of these packages and cameras are stripped down to include only the cheapest components and features, also, they shorten their warranty time periods. For example, a Lorex 4K camera directly from their website carries a 2-year warranty, but from Costco, it only carries a 1-year warranty, same with other manufacturers as well. This is a result of them lessening the cameras to sell to retailers so they can keep their margins healthy.