Q&A: Sony's Mike McCann on IP video surveillance

McCann shares thoughts on HD v. megapixel, lens choices, pixel density

Sony has been selling image sensors for years to other manufacturers, but what has been happening in the area of digital signal processing from Sony?

Sony is very well known as a supplier of CCD and CMOS sensors in the security camera industry. However, Sony DSP technology in Sony brand cameras is often taken for granted. Wide dynamic range, digital noise reduction and true color reproduction are accomplished by integration of the sensor and DSP. Sony Exmor CMOS sensors found in Sony Gen5 IP cameras delivery new levels of sensor and DSP performance in 720p/1.3MP and 1080p/3MP models.

How important is pixel density when it comes to image quality?

The spec sheet will tell you how many pixels are on the CCD or CMOS sensor but it is very important to understand how to set up the lens field-of-view to meet customer expectations. Many people assume they can simply use an "ultra wide angle" lens when using an HD or megapixel camera. However, this can often lead to disappointment when they realize the "pixels per foot" or "pixel density" in the scene becomes very low as you move away from the camera. While pixels per foot are important, let's not forget that there are many other variables in getting good video. It takes more than just pixels on a sensor to make a good camera. In addition to pixel density, cameras need to perform in low light and the wide dynamic situations without washing out and without excessive AGC signal noise and slow shutter.

[To hear more of McCann's thoughts on IP video surveillance, register to attend SecurityInfoWatch.com's Aug. 6, 2010, webinar.]