Understanding

4MP vs 4K - What's the Difference? Are 4MP and 4K the Same?

4MP is 2x1080P. 4K is 4x1080P.


What are 4K and 4MP?

Although they both have 4 in the name, 4K is double the quality of 4MP. 4K is about 8 million pixels, while a 4mp image is closer to 4 million.

But, what does this mean in terms of a camera's ability to identify a person or read a license plate? Let's do a shootout and showcase the difference.

Shootout: 4MP vs 4K, Reading a License Plate at 25 feet

Scroll your mouse pointer over this image to see the Digital Zoom for 4MP
This is the scene at 4MP
scene at 4MP 25 foot distance
This the license plate area at 4MP magnified 32x
max zoom on 4MP
Scroll your mouse pointer over this image to see the Digital Zoom for 4K
This is the scene at 4K
max zoom on 4k
This the license plate area at 4K magnified 32x
max zoom on 4MP

Shootout: 4MP vs 4K, Reading a License Plate at 50 feet

Scroll your mouse pointer over this image to see the Digital Zoom for 4MP
This is the scene at 4MP
max zoom on 4MP
This the license plate area at 4MP magnified 32x
max zoom on 4MP
Scroll your mouse pointer over this image to see the Digital Zoom for 4K
This is the scene at 4K
max zoom on 4k
This the license plate area at 4K magnified 32x
max zoom on 4MP

Shootout Comparison without digital zoom: 4MP vs 4K

Because a 4K image is typically larger than a web-browser's ability to showcase its resolution, let's run another experiment: imagine that you took two very similar 4MP and a 4K images and cut a 400 x 400 pixel section of each one. What would you get?

You can really see the pixel per foot difference is very significant between 4MP and 4K. The 400x400 image segment at 4MP resolution shows both the license plate and the subjects face at 10 feet, meanwhile you need two 400x400 pixel cuts to see both things at 4K.

Note: If you are viewing this on a tablet or mobile phone, you may need to view these images on a desktop, as your phone may be downsizing them.

A face at 10 FT, recorded with a 4MP IP camera with a 101-degree lens

4MP at 2.8mm

101 degrees view

2.8mm lens setting

A face at 10 FT, recorded with a 4K IP camera with a 92-degree lens

4K at 2.8mm

80 degrees view

2.8mm lens setting

A face at 10 FT, recorded with a 4K IP camera with a 92-degree lens

What is 4MP, technically?

1080P TV is 1920 by 1080 pixels or about 2 Million Pixels. 4MP stands for 4 Million Pixels.

4MP is 2560 x 1440 or 3,686,400 total pixels, which is close to 2x the size of 1080P*.

*editors note: despite having a 4 million pixel sensor, 4MP cameras record approximately 3.7 million pixels so that it can fit correctly on a monitor. This is a strange quirk on how images are displayed on screens, but it is industry standard.

What is 4K?

4K is 3840 x 2160 or 8,294,400 total pixels, which is a little more than 4x the size of 1080P*.

4K is twice as wide as 1080P and twice as tall. This means that the area is 4 times as large. In other words, if all the pixels were exactly the same size, you can fit four 1080P TV's in the space of a single 4K TV.

How many megapixels is 1080P?

1080P is 1920 x 1080 or 2,073,600 total pixels.

A face at 10 FT, recorded with a 1080P IP camera with a 110-degree lens

1080P at 2.8mm

110 degrees view

2.8mm lens setting

So, What Camera is Right for You?

Resolution isn't the only factor when trying to recognize people or license plates at distance, you also need to consider the angle of view, level of optical zoom, and the ability to absorb light in low or variable lighting situations.

Comparison of SCW Bullet Cameras: 2MP, 4MP, and 4K

Comparison of SCW Bullet Cameras

Comparison of SCW Dome Cameras: 2MP, 4MP, and 4K

Comparison of SCW Dome Cameras
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