IPC-T5442T-ZE as an LPR help

ahlan

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Hi all, new member here. Kinda a long post, sorry.
--INTRO--

I have been lurking for a few years and finally decided to sign up and join discussions. Right off the bat, I want to thank all of you for the amazing knowledge and info you have shared on this forum. Especially bigredfish, looney2ns, Wittaj, and many others.

You all have really has helped me learn and understand the world of CCTV. I still have many questions and am still learning. I have noticed many of you prefer Dahua cameras and theres an amazing seller here (Empiretech Andy) that is a trusted vendor. I started out with HDCVI years ago and upgraded to Amcrest 8mp IP cams without knowing much about what Im looking for. Now most of my main cameras are Dahua rebrands (Montavue) and have gotten most everything where I need it.

--Backstory-- I recently became interested in having an LPR on my street. We have had many spikes in crime (as many other cities in California are having). I live on an outlet of my neighborhood and on a corner house. Horrible. All of my cameras are dome because I like the concealment and people wont necessarily be able to see where its pointed without getting really close. I am aware that many here do not recommend dome cameras for multiple reasons. I have a few angles im trying to capture which from my research should be attainable with my placement. I have cars that turn onto my street which will be almost directly facing the camera for many frames, then I have cars exiting my street. This angle may be a bit harder but I believe it to be possible. Camera is mounted above my garage facing the outlet.

To start, I made a mistake of purchasing a Chinese generic IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS off Amazon for $85. Not a bad camera actually but for LPR, its not good enough for night even after many days of different settings. I am trying to zoom in to about 65ft (5x zoom was near perfect). After unsuccessful results, I then tried out a IPC-T5442T-ZE from Andy. The zoom is less (4x) but has a 1/1.8 sensor. However, I'm getting a ton of noise/ artifacts day and night no matter what I do. Set at 4mp, CBR max, I have also tried VBR and it was worse. Reading plates on this seems decent about 15% of the time but utterly horrible the rest. I've tried multiple settings, played with just about everything and still cant get clean shots. To be honest I almost feel the knockoff amazon camera to be clearer.

My question is, Am I doing something wrong? I feel like its a megapixel problem and not enough physical zoom. I understand the go-to cam is the IPC-HFW5431E-Z5 OR Z12, but Im trying to stick with a dome or turret style camera for this. Am I chasing my tail? Current settings linked below. I have edited a zoomed crop on each photo, done by taking two different screen grabs- one wide shot and one digital zoomed direct from my NVR. Then photoshopping them together in the same picture. As such, the quality shown here is accurate to what I see on my playback.
 

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ahlan

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possibly more zoom?

Welcome to :welcome:
I definitely think i'd benefit from more physical zoom. Im having to digitally zoom in to read plates and I think 4MP isnt enough for the distance i have. Im now wondering if an 8mp 13mm lens (4x zoom) would solve my issue. I did notice this camera to have excessive noise though, even in good lighting.
 

dudemaar

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could also be focus too. I know some guys use a app dusk till dawn to schedule focus of camera
 

ahlan

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could also be focus too. I know some guys use a app dusk till dawn to schedule focus of camera
I thought focus might be giving me trouble as well but even after playing with focus, Im still getting fuzzy shots on this cam
 
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I'm not an LPR expert, but....you could use more zoom. Going to 8MP won't help because an 8MP will require more light. You could try adding an auxiliary IR light which may help as well. The general, go to, camera is a 2MP 24mm or 32mm. I think it's the 5441. Have a look in this thread -

 

bigredfish

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Actually the Z5 may be enough. What’s the distance to that corner target?
 

ahlan

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Gotcha. Thats what I was thinking. So more optical zoom should hopefully net me the results im after. I was looking at the
IPC-D5442E-Z4E 4MP which would allow me to keep my dome camera appearance but offers a 1/1.8 sensor and 8mm-32mm lens. Worst case would be the IPC-HFW5241E-Z12E with its 60mm lens, but id like to stay away from bullets.

I cant find any dome 2mp with a 30+mm lens unfortunately.
 

wittaj

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So you read everything we have said and still bought two separate cameras that nobody recommends and neither is doing the job LOL...

Yep, do not chase MP in general and especially not for LPR.

As others have said, you need more zoom. And it has to be optical zoom, not digital. You also need a faster shutter - look at the stop sign you cannot read it. You will get some reflective plates that will be all white. And that high of HLC is likely causing artifact issues as well.

You need to have the field of view be not much larger than a vehicle.

@biggen went with the Z4E and it wasn't enough for the distance that I thought was 80 feet or so and he went with the Z12E - I'd suggest waiting for his comments before you purchase yet another camera and be disappointed!

And keep in mind with a dome, you will get headlight glare off of it with cars coming around that corner...

I get you prefer the dome style, but sometimes we need to decide do we want high accuracy or lower accuracy...if you are worried about people seeing it, people are oblivious...paint it to match your house and they will not even see it. I tried a dome as a redundant to my Z12 and more times than not the glare was right where the plate was and missed it.

Or get the turret a lot closer...
 
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ahlan

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So you read everything we have said and still bought two separate cameras that nobody recommends and neither is doing the job LOL...

Yep, do not chase MP in general and especially not for LPR.

As others have said, you need more zoom. And it has to be optical zoom, not digital. You also need a faster shutter - look at the stop sign you cannot read it. You will get some reflective plates that will be all white. And that high of HLC is likely causing artifact issues as well.

You need to have the field of view be not much larger than a vehicle.

@biggen went with the Z4E and it wasn't enough for the distance that I thought was 80 feet or so and he went with the Z12E - I'd suggest waiting for his comments before you purchase yet another camera and be disappointed!

And keep in mind with a dome, you will get headlight glare off of it with cars coming around that corner...

I get you prefer the dome style, but sometimes we need to decide do we want high accuracy or lower accuracy...if you are worried about people seeing it, people are oblivious...paint it to match your house and they will not even see it. I tried a dome as a redundant to my Z12 and more times than not the glare was right where the plate was and missed it.

Or get the turret a lot closer...
Lmao, Yeah this is the sad story of my life. I do some research, buy what I think to be correct and adequate, then do more research and realize how wrong I was. haha BUT to be fair I thought a 4mp starlight would have done it!

My issue is that Im stubborn and impatient. As such, I want a dome or turret cam instead of a bullet since the bullet sticks out like a sore thumb on my house. I'll for sure wait on biggen to chime in since it seems he's got a similar distance covered and has tried both cams im currently looking at. Also very interesting on the reflecting headlights off the domes. I never thought of that! :oops:
 

samplenhold

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I live on a corner also. From what I can see, at night, you are suffering from not enough optical zoom, not enough IR, too slow a shutter speed, and issues with foreshortening.

For a case study on LPR see my threads:

Most have seen that to get useable plates at night, a shutter speed of 1/2000 is necessary to freeze the frame. One of the reasons the 5241 Z12E works so well is it has great IR for the distance, plus the max optical zoom gets your FOV where it is needed. Some views, like the small SUV taking a right at the stop sign, may never be able to decipher since the plate is so foreshortened.

You may desire domes or turrets, but to get the job done you may need to go the bullet form factor. Maybe you could find a better place to put the cam that is more hidden to your liking?

I have a B5442E-Z4E that is used as an overview cam to give info on make, model, color, etc of the cars my LPR cams pick up. This cam does a good job during day light of getting plates and some plates at night if they are going in the right direction. But there is a street light at the stop sign.
 

ahlan

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I live on a corner also. From what I can see, at night, you are suffering from not enough optical zoom, not enough IR, too slow a shutter speed, and issues with foreshortening.

For a case study on LPR see my threads:

Most have seen that to get useable plates at night, a shutter speed of 1/2000 is necessary to freeze the frame. One of the reasons the 5241 Z12E works so well is it has great IR for the distance, plus the max optical zoom gets your FOV where it is needed. Some views, like the small SUV taking a right at the stop sign, may never be able to decipher since the plate is so foreshortened.

You may desire domes or turrets, but to get the job done you may need to go the bullet form factor. Maybe you could find a better place to put the cam that is more hidden to your liking?

I have a B5442E-Z4E that is used as an overview cam to give info on make, model, color, etc of the cars my LPR cams pick up. This cam does a good job during day light of getting plates and some plates at night if they are going in the right direction. But there is a street light at the stop sign.

Gotcha, yeah I had to use 1/500 shutter for night to get any sort of readable reflections back into the camera. I dont mind adding an external IR if needed too. I think it would actually be decent if I had more optical zoom as many others here have told me. I definitely appreciate you linking those posts. Im gonna read through them.

As you stated some of the cars turning right out of my street will be hard to capture due to the foreshortening. I plan on adding a secondary LPR on the side of my house more parallel to the traffic on the main road so that should help getting those plates. If I can pick up at least the majority, I'd be happy.

As much as I don't want to put up a bullet, from everyone's advice here, I may have to since it offers superior zoom. i did think about adding one very close to the street near the block wall you can see in the day shots, but that requires running wire under the yard and will require quite a bit of work to get it unnoticeable. We have a lot of foot traffic to and last thing I want is one of these crackheads stealing or breaking it. In any case, I really appreciate your input. Im a little torn between the 5241E-Z12E or 5442E-Z4E. I might need the zoom of the z12
 

ahlan

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Both of those threads address the 5442E-Z4E cam. You may have to scroll through them to find discussions on it.
Wow! A lot of great info in those posts and very detailed. Thank you for posting your experience with everything and sharing it. By the way, I really like the little box you made for your LPRs. In fact, your whole setup is very clean! I thought about doing something similar to put the LPRs very close to the road but unfortunately my time is very limited and I dont think i can take on that project anytime soon.

I did see you are using the 5442 as an overview cam and the shots looked pretty good. I think having those street lights helps a lot. I do have some overview cams but they are in IR at night since my lack of natural light. Your 5442 looks way better than the picture I was getting from it. Mine looks pretty subpar even on day default settings. Strange.

I think your LPRs are pulling plates around 80 ft? Ill be at right around 60ft. Still unsure if the 5442 could pull that off.
 

biggen

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I had a Z4E bullet out to about ~75 feet and for the most part it was "ok". Sometimes it was hard to distinguish between a "5" and a "S" or a "Q" and an "O" from that distance. At shorter distances you may be "OK' with a 32mm focal length. I think you will still struggle on some vehicles with poor/dirty plates. I'm also not sure how concentrated the IR is on the D5442E-Z4E dome is compared to a bullet like the Z12. That is a @bigredfish question but it could be a concern since you really need a high concentrated beam of IR light for LPR and not really a flood. In the end, the extra resolution the 4MP cams just don't give you any benefit over a 2MP cam for LPR duty. With the zoom limitations of the Z4E vs the Z12 it makes even less sense.

I ended up selling mine here on the forums and "downgrading" to a 5241-Z12. I'm so happy I did that. Having all that zoom makes a massive difference. When I sold the Z4E, I decided I wanted to reduce the angle of capture so I changed the camera location when I installed the Z12 so now I shoot out to about ~115 feet. Here are two shots as examples out to approx ~115'.

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I don't think I have any of the older images of vehicles taken with my Z4E. Don't be concerned about a bullet vs a dome. The Dahua bullets aren't large and 99% of people won't even know there are there. It took my in-laws months to even see mine and that is only after I told them they were on the house so they could go look for them.
 
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