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When image quality matters

 

Image quality is clearly one of the most important features of any camera, if not the most important. This is particularly so in surveillance and monitoring applications, where lives and property may be at stake.

By developing image processing chips and sophisticated algorithms tailored for network camera applications, image quality has been improved to a degree never before seen at lower cost levels. As digital technology becomes commonplace and replaces analog solutions, there will be further advances in areas such as high resolution and advanced video compression, but success will ultimately depend on how well the initial information is captured and handled. 

In the fast-growing segment of network cameras, which are used for surveillance and remote monitoring, there are many factors that influence image quality. Integrated Intelligence, which set the standards for network cameras in 1996, identified right from the start the need for advanced image handling, and has continued to invest in research in its Superior Image Quality initiative.

Superior image quality enables the user to:

bullet more closely follow details and changes in images, making for better and faster decisions concerning the safety of people and property
bullet with greater accuracy use automated analysis and alarm tools, such as face recognition, with fewer false positives.

What aspects of good image quality should I look for?

More about image quality

Unlike traditional analog cameras, digital network cameras are equipped with the processing power not only to capture and present images, but also to digitally manage and compress them for network transport. 

Image quality can vary considerably and is dependent on the choice of optics and image sensor, the available processing power and the level of sophistication of the algorithms in the processing chip. 

There are two types of image sensors:

bullet
1/3-inch CCD sensor 1/4-inch CMOS sensor

CCD (Charged Coupled Device)

bullet CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor)

CCD sensors are produced using a technology developed specifically for the camera industry, while CMOS sensors are produced by the same technology used for the chips used in computers. Read more: CCD vs. CMOS

Low light capabilities:

A camera might deliver reasonable image quality in bright light conditions, but it may be unsuitable for typical indoor situations.

Lens replacement:

A high quality lens can deliver better images. Most professional level cameras use a so-called C or CS mount, and some lenses feature auto-iris control for improving the dynamic range.

Image resolution:

Higher resolution means more detail, and as cameras now deploy megapixel sensors that make it possible to capture even more detail, analog CCTV cameras--which are bound to resolutions used in TV standards--are being surpassed.

Backlight compensation:

While a camera's automatic exposure control tries to get the lightness of an image to appear as the human eye would see a scene, it can be easily fooled. Think of the case where a person walks into a fairly dark room with a flashlight in her hand and directs this flashlight to the camera. Although the light source is quite small, it makes the camera believe the scene has become brighter and the camera's exposure control automatically adjusts to it, resulting in a darker image. To avoid this, a mechanism called backlight compensation is introduced. It strives to ignore small areas of high illumination, just as if they were not present at all. With backlight compensation, the image from the example above would have the same exposure regardless of whether the flashlight was present or not. The resulting image enables the person to be visually seen and identified. Without backlight compensation, the image would be too dark, and identification would be impossible.

The ability to correctly capture moving objects:

In addition to good light sensitivity, another key feature to look for is progressive scan. That the camera has progressive scan means that images do not suffer from the "saw" effect that hampers interlaced video technologies The interlace mode is used in TVs and traditional analog CCTV cameras in order to enhance the image frequency in moving images. The "saw" effect becomes apparent when the picture is frozen. View examples

Additional image enhancements:

The functions that drive these reside in the chip that handles the image processing, and affects color, sharpness, exposure and the white balance.

File size and bandwidth requirements:

Digital cameras use image compression. There is a trade off here between high quality images and compressed images that require much less bandwidth. The JPEG standard is used to achieve the highest possible quality, and MPEG is optimized for lower bandwidth requirements.

Why is Integrated Intelligence image quality superior?

Integrated Intelligence has ever since the development of network cameras first began, introduced a stream of image enhancing technologies and patents. One of our key goals is to continue to innovate and focus on our image quality market leadership.

From a technical point of view, Superior Image Quality rests on three pillars: 
bullet Advanced signal processing, image enhancement algorithms and video compression technologies
bullet Our custom-designed image processing and video networking chips
bullet Careful selection and matching of the latest high-end image sensors and lenses. 

All told, this means that Integrated Intelligence has the best image quality in the world when comparing cameras in the same price range. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it - the best way to experience Integrated Intelligence' superior image quality is to test our cameras and see for yourself.

 

 

 










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