Help improving image setings IPC-HFW5241E-Z12E setup as a LPR

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n3wb
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I set up a IPC-HFW5241E-Z12E as a LPR on the main point of entry into my street. So far I'm pretty impressed but I'm looking for advice on fine tuning my setup.

My main issues are,
  • Some times the images are great but other times they are unreadable
  • The cars leaving side of the street is noticeably worse
  • At night the images can be kind of funky. I'm not sure what the correct word is. See images below.
For these screen shots I selected the most readable frame. The plate is usually less readable before or after.


Cars coming during day are pretty easy to read.
LPR_East.20210508_094742859.23.jpg


Cars leaving are usually only readable near the center of the frame but sometime it's too fuzzy.
LPR_East.20210508_094841331.22.jpg
LPR_East.20210508_103659356.21.jpg
LPR_East.20210508_104049116.20.jpg

At night sometimes plates look awful like this. I don't know what setting I need to adjust to correct or limit this.
LPR_East.20210507_222429370.24.jpg

Other times they are perfect
LPR_East.20210507_222950998.30.jpg
LPR_East.20210508_004520281.27.jpg
LPR_East.20210508_032141694.28.jpg

Cars leaving are significantly harder to get
LPR_East.20210507_222401129.25.jpg
LPR_East.20210507_233342802.29.jpg
LPR_East.20210508_013600184.26.jpg

I am including my settings and would appreciate advice for fine tuning.

Screenshot_2021-05-08 Setting.pngScreenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(1).pngScreenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(2).png
Screenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(3).pngScreenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(4).pngScreenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(5).png
Screenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(6).pngScreenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(7).png
Screenshot_2021-05-08 Setting(8).png
 

bigredfish

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Couple of thoughts
1- What bitrate are you running. Try at least 8192 and CBR with Iframe set to same as FPS
2- I see an obvious focus issue. What is the max distance you are trying to get the plate? It appears to be zoomed pretty far
2B - Daytime image #1 and 2- there appears to be at least 12-15 ft maybe a bit more difference in distance to plate between those two images. The 1st is where the camera is focused, the 2nd (depending on the zoom level) is outside the prime focal point. In other words, you cant pick two points very far apart when zoomed and get clear image in both places. This also explains why you get better images in one part of the view (closest to camera). I'm guessing there is at least 25 ft difference from right to left in that far lane FOV.
3 Daytime is washed out from too much Gain. 30-50 for Day should be fine. Maybe even a bit less for night if you get your IR turned up
4- Night images- You really should use schedule and have independent control over your day and night settings. Both can be B&W but different image needs
5- Back sharpness down to 40 or so
6- IR- seems you'd want both at 100, certainly the "Far" lights. I run both at 100 at 100ft
7- HLC at 100 means you're making things real dark, then trying to correct it by blasting Gain to 80. Try 75-80 max HLC
8- DNR- way more than you need for daytime. Cut back to 25 and less than 40 at night
 
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bigredfish

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Each location is a bit different, but here's some settings I'm using on various 5231 Z12's to help get you in the ballpark
EntrTagDay-0307-2021.jpg EntrTag1030.jpg EntrTag0930-4.jpg EntrTag0930-Day.jpg EntrTag0930-3.jpg EntrTag0930-2.jpg EntrTag0930.jpg


HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210419212423_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210419212105_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210419205033_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210419203749_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210419203032_@3.jpg

HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508154032_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508140902_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508191703_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508181621_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508175722_@3.jpg HOA Entr_EntrTag_main_20210508105010_@3.jpg
 

wittaj

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+1 everything @bigredfish said.

Further, I have found that the newer Z12s use a different chipset the the older 5241s and the settings on my recent one I got are completely different from my older 5231-Z12 or neighbors 5241-Z12 settings (that are using my identical 5231 settings). So the baseline settings you may see referenced on the site are different with the newest batch.

I have pitch black and these are my settings for the Z12 to get plates with the newer batch of Z12 cams (gain has to be soo high on mine for some reason), but also cannot give it a range for shutter or gain. Mine struggled with any range.

1617940553443.png
 

Autonomous

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The distance is 125' to 150' approaching and 150' to 180' departing. I could try aiming farther down the street to have a more even focal plane but getting cars turning towards the camera approaching is important.

I upped the bit rate.

I'll have to mess with day night mode again. I was having issues with the focus changing when it switched to day. I probably forgot to disable auto focus on one unless Day and Night have their own focus zoom values.

I turned farlight down because I the plates were blowing out as cars drove accross the center of the view. I could try turning it back up.

I'll mess with HLC some more but I've had issues with headlights blasting into the camera hiding the plate.

I'll try and follow the advice I got over the next few days. Thanks.
 

wittaj

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In many instances, the focus number is different between color and B/W. This model allows you to set a manual setting for the focus between day and night, but I still prefer to use the utility that bp2008 wrote.

I have found the newer chipset in this camera to be a lot more sensitive to the parameters, so all the older settings folks here have posted that would be a great starting point are almost tossed out the window at this point. I got another 5241 a couple months ago and was shocked how much different the settings are, like I legit thought it was a bad camera until I finally found the right mix to get the plates.

@FlipNJ just got this camera as well and documented how much sensitivity he was seeing as well. The older 5231 and the first runs of the 5241 seemed to not be as sensitive as the newer batch of 5241s

 

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In many instances, the focus number is different between color and B/W. This model allows you to set a manual setting for the focus between day and night, but I still prefer to use the utility that bp2008 wrote.

I have found the newer chipset in this camera to be a lot more sensitive to the parameters, so all the older settings folks here have posted that would be a great starting point are almost tossed out the window at this point. I got another 5241 a couple months ago and was shocked how much different the settings are, like I legit thought it was a bad camera until I finally found the right mix to get the plates.

@FlipNJ just got this camera as well and documented how much sensitivity he was seeing as well. The older 5231 and the first runs of the 5241 seemed to not be as sensitive as the newer batch of 5241s

Mine came with 2019 firmware from the factory. I'll look for a more exact date when I'm not on my phone.
 

wittaj

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I think the more important number is the build date rather than firmware - I believe there are differences in the hardware/chipset between an older 5241-Z12 and a newer 5241-Z12 - probably a result of vendor changes. My newer one has a build date of October 2020. My older 5241-Z12 had a build date of October 2019.
 

bigredfish

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The distance is 125' to 150' approaching and 150' to 180' departing. I could try aiming farther down the street to have a more even focal plane but getting cars turning towards the camera approaching is important.

I upped the bit rate.

I'll have to mess with day night mode again. I was having issues with the focus changing when it switched to day. I probably forgot to disable auto focus on one unless Day and Night have their own focus zoom values.

I turned farlight down because I the plates were blowing out as cars drove accross the center of the view. I could try turning it back up.

I'll mess with HLC some more but I've had issues with headlights blasting into the camera hiding the plate.

I'll try and follow the advice I got over the next few days. Thanks.

Yeah as @wittaj mentions the newer 5241’s will have slightly different settings. And settings for IR etc will have different requirements at widely varying distances.

But you confirmed my first impression. With distances varying between 125 and 180ft, (180 being what I consider max for LPR on this camera though some have had success further out) you have a difference of 60ft. You’re simply not going to get consistent images across that
wide of a fov. This explains the first 3 images. It also explains your IR blowout problem at closer distances.

Covering two lanes at those distances with that much variation is hard with this camera. More specialized LPR cams are available that can help but at a much higher price point.
Notice most of the good plate read examples you will see here using this camera are much tighter focus and a single lane.

Speed vs the zoomed focal point also matters. I run 1/1000 with vehicles generally 20-30mph, but get blur with 35+ , open up the fov like you have and this becomes even more of an issue.

If anything, I’d be looking to reduce the distance variable by aiming for a closer yet more severe angle and a tighter zoom on a single lane , zoom of no more than a full car length.

This will also help your image settings as you’ll be adjusting to a smaller fov with less variation. Otherwise you’ll constantly be fighting the IR blowout and Gain at closer shots (120) vs longer at 180 along with I assume speed differences between the two
 

biggen

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^^+1

Agree with @bigredfish on the focus issue. Your distances are too great between both lanes. Probably need to focus on one lane and since the approaching lane is closer, I'd focus the FOV on that lane as at the closest distance possible. You really want to try and fill the frame with as much of the vehicle if you can:
3MA9T4W4589NVG27S28IHI7ZF665RF0U1B3BVZF0-254963574-1620599259121.jpg 3MA9T4W4589NVG27S28IHI7ZF665RF0U1B3BVZF0-254963574-1620599299281.jpg
 

Bitslizer

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if you are deadset on needing to cover both lanes, here are somethings you can try, some of these are counter intuitive, counter best practices preached, but what have you got to lose by trying?

1) 150ft seem to be the common point, NAIL down a day focus value and a night focus value for that distance
2) Counter to what other said, the plates already look fairly big, zoom out a bit, the less zoom the greater the depth of field (range that are in focus) and bigger area to get a clean shot.
3) Closing down the IRIS as much as the light would allow, usually somewhere in the middle is the best compromise between Depth of Field, Lights/Exposure, and Clarity/Sharpnes
100% open IRIS, most light/best expsoure, image tend to be soft and SMALLEST DoF (least area in focus) think portrait pictures with blurred background
99% closed IRIS (100% closed would see nothing lol), Least light (dark image), Image tend to be soft again, greatest DoF
30-60% IRIS, midway light and DoF, focused area tend to be the Sharpest
4) Increasing the horizontal angle.... up to 45...50 degree, this MAY help expand the overlapping distance between the coming and going lanes

In photography terms a F1.4 Lens tends to be the sharpest somewhere around F2.8 to F8 with F1.4 being 100% open and F22 being 99% closed (like a pin hole)
 
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pozzello

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turn DOWN sharpness, gain and DNR. Make sure your IR LED's are on full blast at night...
 
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