License Plate Camera

License Plate Capture Cameras by CCTV Camera World

Choose from LPC, LPR, ANPR Cameras

License plate cameras (also called LPR cameras) are a type of surveillance camera that can capture video and extract numbers and letters from a license plate on a moving vehicle. LPR cameras can capture number plates during day or night with accuracy thanks to special features such as variable shutter speeds, high contrast video, and headlight compensation. ANPR cameras (Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras) go a step further by using optical character recognition to retrieve and store plate numbers. A regular security camera can only record clear video of license plates on parked vehicles during the day; it cannot filter the light reflected from a license plate at night, resulting in grainy, washed-out video that is unusable.

Learn More about License Plate Capture Cameras CCTV Camera World's license plate security cameras have all been field-tested to reliably produce clear footage with visible plates every time a vehicle passes by. A high-quality license plate camera is a crucial tool for any business or residential community experiencing rampant crime because it helps identify culprits using their license plate numbers, resulting in swift justice and acting as a deterrent. While these cameras can be expensive, they are a sure way to catch criminals red-handed.

If you'd like to learn more, continue reading below.

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What is a License Plate Camera?

License plate cameras use infrared illuminators or ambient light to record the numbers and letters on a license plate. During the day, most cameras can see license plates on parked cars. Motorized zoom lenses are used by many to get the best field of view of an entry point so that the full width of the lane can be seen. Regardless of whether the vehicle is near or far, you can use the same camera to set the preferred zoom distance.

At night, it is easier to tell the difference between a regular security camera and a license plate camera. Without infrared, regular surveillance cameras produce grainy or noisy video in low-light conditions, making it impossible to discern the characters on a license plate. With infrared or night vision activated, a night vision security camera produces video with the plate overexposed. The plate appears like a white slate without any discernible detail because the infrared light emitted from the camera reflects off of the metal surface of a license plate. 

At night, LPR cameras benefit from better shutter rate control, headlight compensation technology, and high contrast video to capture clear video of number plates from moving vehicles.

The below image compares the difference in quality of plate capture at night by a regular security camera vs License Plate Capture Camera.

Regular Camera vs License Plate Camera at night

Security cameras, like any other technology, are always evolving. Advanced license plate reader cameras feature enhanced Artificial Intelligence and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to detect license plates. ANPR cameras have the ability to store images of license plates. For access control, license plate images are stored to whitelist or blacklist certain plates, and email alerts can be sent when a saved plate is detected.

What is the difference between a regular camera and License Plate camera?

When it comes to capturing license plates, customers frequently ask, "What is the difference between a regular camera and a license plate camera?" 

Regular security cameras aren't as good as license plate capture (LPC) cameras because LPC and LPR cameras are the best at capturing plates on moving cars by using high frame per second (fps) video, in various lighting conditions by using adjustable shutter rates, and at a greater distance using a powerful zoom lens.

Regular Camera vs License Plate Camera in daylight

Types of License Plate Capture Cameras

License plates can be captured by two different types of cameras. 

  1. License Plate Capture (LPC) cameras, as the name suggests, capture license plates in recorded video. However, they typically don't come with any fancy features.
  2. License Plate Recognition, or LPR, cameras are equipped with extra analytical tools, artificial intelligence, and ANPR / ALPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras) technology.

Cameras for license plate capture (LPC) systems are limited in that they are only capable of recording footage of plates to a NVR recorder. A cloud license plate camera can also be used to record straight to an SD card or to the Internet. For the most part, LPC cameras don't offer any further analytics or artificial intelligence. Smart Detection rules, such as digital tripwire or intrusion detection, are included in some LPC cameras and help in minimizing recording when a car passes by. However, smart detection does not do any of the things that LPR cameras can do.

For commercial security purposes, LPR cameras are the best option. The most recent and most advanced software is used by license plate recognition cameras. Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) is only one of the many functionalities that are found in these devices. Both ALPR and ANPR refer to the same type of camera technology that automatically captures an image when it detects the presence of license plates.

The below image is an actual example taken from one of our LPR cameras. Note it shows automatic plate number recognition on a US plate in Virginia from a moving truck as it enters a parking lot.

Demo of ANPR Camera capturing license plate numbers

Using ALPR and ANPR tech, LPR cameras can do a lot of different things for security. Vehicle profiling uses a database to figure out a car's make and model and sometimes its color. With the help of LPR cameras, vehicles can be added to a whitelist or a blacklist with ease. Besides that, they can also keep an eye on the entrance and exit gates to set rules for entry control or send out email alerts.

Picking the Best License Plate Reader Camera

Purchasing the best license plate reader camera is a challenge and depends on 5 key factors:

  1. If you need ANPR ALPR License Plate Recognition features
  2. Capture Distance
  3. Lighting - Is there ambient lighting?
  4. Vehicle Speed
  5. Mounting Height and Angle

ANPR ALPR License Plate Recognition Cameras

If you are interested in the best security features for license plate cameras you’ll definitely want to consider purchasing our ANPR camera. As shown above, ANPR cameras use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to capture license plate numbers and store pictures of the plates.

Our ANPR camera is capable of catching plates up to 90 feet away during the day, 80 feet in total darkness, and up to 45mph with the ANPR camera's 5-50mm zoom lens. Plate numbers are automatically recognized by the camera and stored in an on-board database using a memory card. Additionally, you can use one of our NVR recorders to record video and pictures of plates from detected vehicles. In the event that the plate number is not correctly detected, the camera automatically records a small video fragment of the car as it appeared.

Plate capture up to 150ft away

Numerous customers have had a great experience using our High Speed Capture 3MP Starlight Camera for distances up to 150 feet away, day or night. Every time it has been used by police enforcement or HOAs, a license plate has been captured without a problem. Although this camera does not have ANPR features, it has outstanding LPC capabilities that are unmatched by any other camera we carry. With its infrared LEDs, it can see better in the dark and capture a general description of a car and its license plate in both day and night.

Plate capture up to 50ft away

Our 3MP dual shutter license plate camera with 2.8-12mm lens provides consistent performance in day or night up to 30mph for capture distances under 50ft. There are no ANPR features, however the video with car description and plate numbers is reliably captured in any lightning. As IR LEDs are utilized to illuminate the field of view in black and white mode, the color of a vehicle cannot be discerned in total darkness.

Capture in well lit conditions only

Installing a license plate capture security system is less expensive when a nearby street lamp or flood light provides adequate ambient lighting at the vehicle location. The Super Long Range Security Bullet Camera can capture moving cars up to 10 mph, from as far away as 100 feet away. Video analytics like the Intrusion Box and other tools let the camera focus on recording only when a vehicle appears in a certain area.

Vehicles traveling over 45mph or farther than 150ft away

Depending on the model, the professional cameras we offer can capture plates at speeds of up to 45 mph. The cameras all need to be able to see an approaching or outgoing vehicle clearly. As a security camera company, we do not have the specialized equipment required to record license plates on cars traveling at speeds of over 45mph. That type of capture is only possible with a high shutter rate still capture camera, and the least expensive one will set you back at least $2,000. Capturing plates on moving vehicles from more than 150 feet away is another difficult task that most cost-effective LPC, LPR, or ANPR cameras are incapable of.

When can you use a regular IP security camera for plate capture?

Using a regular IP camera for plate capture usually results in poor outcomes. The only time it would work is if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. here is ample ambient lighting at the location of the vehicle at all times to help illuminate the plate for the camera in color mode. The camera cannot switch to black and white mode with its IR LEDs activated as that would provide a washed out image.
  2. he vehicles come to a full stop; rolling stops are tricky and will result in blurry captures.
  3. he camera is mounted looking directly in a straight line at approaching or exiting vehicles, and an elevation no more than 15 degrees from the plates.
  4. he distance for capture is within the focal distance of the camera's capabilities. You have to make sure the plates occupy at least 1/3 of the video frame of the camera to capture discernible plate numbers.
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