Surveillance equipment has been increasingly popular for individuals in recent years, widely used for household or business purposes. One of the primary specifications is resolution(or pixel), such as 1080P, 2MP, 4MP, 8MP, 2K, 4K, etc. Many may hesitate when they pick an ideal security camera between different resolutions such as 1080p vs 4MP, 5MP, 4K, etc. – So, what do they mean? Do they differ a lot in image quality? Which is better for me? You’ll find the answers in this article.


1080P vs 4MP vs 4K, Basics About Resolutions

What is a 1080P Camera?

1080P, also known as HD 1080p or Full HD, is a video display format with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. How many megapixels is HD 1080p? – It indicates approximately 2 million pixels. Hence, 1080P is also a type of 2MP. The letter “P” means “progressive scanning”. Under the “progressive scanning” format, HD 1080p is a typical FHD output standard for cameras and video streams. The aspect ratio of HD 1080p cameras is 16:9. HD 1080p resolution is widely applicable for TV shows, video streaming, network videos, network recorders, sports meetings, and many other domains. Images and videos displayed on an FHD 1080p camera appear to be more vibrant and sharp than in lower resolutions. It is widely applied in the surveillance industry.



  1. HD 1080p security cameras can sufficiently provide clear video streams for most indoor scenarios. They work with a wide range of devices and are particularly suitable for non-professional users.
  2. Cost-effective and do not require very large bandwidth.
  3. HD 1080p requires less storage space to store videos and images compared to higher resolutions like 4MP or 4K.
  4. Playing back 1080P videos is smoother since decoding video feeds of 1080P is much easier for the security camera’s CPU.
  5. HD 1080p requires less bandwidth and ensures less time for video loading.



  1. Cameras of HD 1080pmay not offer ultra image details as these higher-resolution cameras.
  2. Images of an HD 1080P security camera being zoomed might lose many details and be pixelated when you want to see distant targets. For security cameras which enable face recognition, a 1080P HD might not be sufficient to capture ideal details by zooming.

Application Scenarios of HD 1080P

HD 1080p is suitable for general monitoring solutions that do not require a high demand for image details. Besides, it is commonly used in standard online video streaming, and video gaming.

What is a 4MP Camera?

4MP stands for 4 million pixels. The most common standard of a 4MP camera is 2560×1440, indicating approximately 3.68 million pixels. Besides, there’s another term we usually witness, 2K. “2K” refers to the resolution when an image horizontally has nearly 2000 pixels regardless of the aspect ratio. Technically, 2K exerts the same image effect as 4MP. Because 2560*1440 is exactly four times the number of pixels in HD resolution (1280×720), 2K security cameras are also described as, Quad HD, or QHD cameras.

But be aware: 1920×1080 resolution roughly has a horizontal resolution close to 2000 pixels. Some businesses will promote it as 2K in commercials. This is an over-promotion. 1920×1080 resolution does not fall into the category of 2K. It is is still HD 1080P. The total pixel count of 1920×1080 is only 207,300, which is 1.61 million less than 2560*1440.

Common 2K resolutions:

  • 2560 × 1440 (WQHD)
  • 2048 × 1080
  • 2560 × 1600
  • 2320 x 1740


Advantages of 4MP Resolution Cameras

  1. A 4MP camera provides higher video detail than HD 1080P, allowing for more precise monitoring.
  2. More vivid colors thanHD 1080P.


  1. 4MP resolutionvs HD 1080p requires more bandwidth and may happens with video latency under the same bandwidth as a 1080P camera needs.
  2. 4MPvs HD 1080p requires more storage and may need additional hard drive or cloud storage with a security camera system.


Application Scenarios of 4MP  

Compared to HD 1080p, 4MP is suitable for general monitoring solutions that need more image details under specific functions like zooming or face recognition. It can also provide better experience for users who deal with high-performance video gaming. Because it offers better image details than  HD 1080p, it might also be employed in professional visual work.

What is a 4K Camera?

“4K” refers to the resolution when an image horizontally has roughly 4000 pixels regardless of the aspect ratio. This means that a camera is a 4K camera as long as its horizontal pixels reach nearly 4000. Currently, there are two main 4K resolution standards: 3840 x 2160 (8,294,400 pixels), and 4096×2160 (8,847,360 pixels). Under standardized 4K resolution, video footage can achieve 4 times the resolution of 1080P HD. As a result, when you want to zoom in on a 4K camera, you still keep fine image details. This is significant for security cameras to perform to recognize faces, license plates, or other important details. Paired with bright colors, a 4K camera can bring completely different visual vividness and image details. 4K is also referred to as 8MP since they perform the same pixels.


Application Scenarios of 4K

4K is an emerging video resolution standard widely employed in photography, gaming, and many other fields. You can also witness 4K Ultra HD video signals in broadcasting, television shows, and sports events. 4K resolution programs can deliver audiences with more details and an immersive experience. In some scenarios such as product education or remote meetings, 4K resolution wields its unique advantages. Higher display resolutions can improve the visibility of products during the demonstration.

Security cameras are indispensable in public areas. However, video images recorded under broad areas by ordinary security surveillance cameras are usually blurry. Once placed in wide locations such as stations or shopping malls with large human flow, their monitoring effect will be greatly reduced. Therefore, ultra-clear 4K security cameras are very necessary in these scenarios.

In the surveillance camera industry, 4K security cameras are also at the high end of surveillance solutions. For individuals or businesses, 4K security cameras make it possible to deploy more complex and smart surveillance solutions.



  1. 4K has twice the resolution of 4MP. 4K security cameras are usually equipped with 8MP lens sensors. They offer much higher image quality and details from different distances.
  2. 4K security cameras typically have wider fields of view. It allows them to monitor more space and consequently reduce the number of cameras needed.
  3. 4K cameras with H.265 or H.265 tech. enable efficient video decoding and allow less bandwidth utilization and storage consumption.



4K cameras require more storage and bandwidth than 1080P and 4MP. Under the same bandwidth, latency is more likely to happen when you watch a video live feed or playback footage of 4K resolution.


 1080P vs 4MP vs 4K, Comparison of Specifications

Resolution HD 1080P 4MP 4K
Image Size 1920 x 1080 2560 × 1440 3840 x 2160
Pixels 2,073,600 3,686,400 8,294,400
Scanning type Progressive Progressive Progressive
Aspect Ratio 16:9 16:9 16:9
 Applications  general monitoring,  online video streaming and video gaming  general monitoring, high-performance video gaming and professional visual work. High-end monitoring, broadcasting, television, high-end video gaming and professional visual work.

1080P, 2K or 4K, Which Is Better For Me?

HD 1080P provides enough clear video output for the very general surveillance purposes. If you require extremely high-quality images and have a large budget, 4K is obviously the best choice. 4MP(2K) vs HD 1080p will be an ideal choice in between.

Besides, the quality of video output can also be determined by other factors such as video encoding, bit rate, frame rate, etc. Videos with HD 1080P might deliver different image effects depending on different decoding and parameter settings.

Resolution 4MP
Sensor 1/3” 4 Megapixel progressive scan CMOS
Fixfocal/Varifocal   2.7-12mm motorized varifocal lens
Smart Detection YES
WDR 120dB
IR LEDs Range  50m
Smart Detection YES



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