I'd like to be able to identify licenses plates as they enter our cul-de-sac. My question is triggered by a comparison between an Arlo Pro 4 and an iPhone 12. The iPhone produces extremely high quality images and I think acceptable for what I want. The Pro 4 produces poor images. I believe my iPhone has a 4K camera vs the Pro 4, which is a 2K.

I realize I'm not showing an exactly fair comparison. Both of these pictures were downsized to 1024 width and I tried to disable compression; dropped colors to 256 using Irfanview. Visually, these look similar to the originals, though.

Can you speculate on the reason for such poor image quality from the Pro 4? Would moving to a 4K model be sufficient? Because the field of view requirement is maybe 45 degrees am I thinking about things properly? For instance, would a 2K camera with a small field of view be better than the 2K with a ~150 degree field of view?

Pro4 iPhone 12

  • \$\begingroup\$ This simply isn't a security question at all in any way. This is a phone camera hardware question. \$\endgroup\$
    – schroeder
    Sep 26, 2022 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @schroeder, thanks for moving it to a better place \$\endgroup\$ Sep 27, 2022 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ The iphone is not recording that quality video 24/7 over a network on a box is it? stored months at a time? Most consumer CCTV or even retail CCTV look rubbish compared to our phones because they are the result of the requirement to record continuously or for very long periods of time - so the quality of footage is compromised in order for it be recorded and stored more effectively. There are cameras that do record vehicle plates, and LE use them for example, but I don't think i've seen them in the consumer market, so the technology is there. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 27, 2022 at 0:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Surveillance cameras generally record video, not still images, which is what this community concentrates on. The site for video is Video SE. The difference between your two examples is almost certainly due to the amount of compression used to store the video output from the Arlo more compactly compared to what appears to be a still image taken with your iPhone. (Rather than a frame grab?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 27, 2022 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RobertLugg I think the 2K/4K only describes the resolution you get in the end product, and it does not say anything about the resolution that the camera works with internally. The iphone is capable of 12MP, while the arlo can only do 4MP. Additionally the sensor on an arlo is physically smaller than on an iphone and perhaps the optics are not as sophisticated as on an iphone. So if your question is: how can I capture a licenseplate with my arlo 100 feet away, I'm afraid the answer is: you can't. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2022 at 17:26


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