Reading license plates with your cameras

Great place to get words, pictures or letters printed for shirts or other things.

So on this picture you get a nice view of the front of the store and the cars and even when you zoom in you may not be able to read a plate so this article will help you understand some of the factors you will need in order to view license plates with your cameras.

Contact Larry Love at Peak Alarm for more information or if any corrections need to be made to this blog. (801) 428 1384

So you want to read plate numbers from cars with your camera system. There are several factors that will determine if you can do this with your current system:

DISTANCE TO THE CAR – Using a lens calculator we can determine how wide a view you will need and the lens
LIGHTING – IR LED system on your cameras (check the rating- often it will say 30 feet but will only work at about 20′)
ANGLE OF CAMERA(S) and how high the camera is mounted – If the camera is mounted high on the building and the cars drive into the driveway on an angle or in a dip this could cause issues
MP RESOLUTION OF YOUR CAMERAS (2MP, 4MP or 4K cameras are all great cameras, understand that the higher the MP the more storage they use)
LENS ON THE CAMERA – most cameras are fixed at 2.8 or 3.6mm and some are verifocal 2.7-12mm and other more expensive cameras have higher mm adjustment capability.
There are other factors but for this article I will keep it simple



I have a customer that wants to see plate numbers 120 feet from his building at the driveway entrances. Lighting and the proper choice of camera is essential.

Using a 2MP High Definition camera you will need a 28mm lens on your camera at 120 feet and your camera view will be 22 feet across and 12 feet high and you will get 85 pixels per square foot.
If you don’t have the right IR and lighting then it may be difficult at night to see plates. Using a 4MP camera would require a 13mm lens to see 44 feet across to view a plate. Keep in mind that you are not guaranteed to see plate numbers even when you use the right lens and do the calculations properly since most cameras are not license plate cameras. We can install actual license plate cameras that are made for this purpose and then you have a much better chance of seeing plate numbers. In the above situation it would be much better to move the cameras closer to the cars and move the camera down on a pole looking directly at the plates rather than mounting the cameras on a building at 13 feet in the air.

You will need a minimum of 60 pixels per square foot to view a plate number and it would be much better at 100.

Purpose Min. Required px/ft
Detect activity 8
Observe behavior 16
Recognize person 30
Identify person 60
Read license plate 60
Identify USD 150
Read 10pt text 1200

Most cameras from big box stores now are fixed lens cameras at 2.8 or 3.6mm giving you a very wide view. Using them in residential application is ok but looking 120 feet away would give you a view of 80 feet across and 60 feet high so you would not be able to see a plate number.

My cameras at my home are 500 TVL and 700 TVL or 700,000 lines and the newer 2.1MP cameras are 3 times the resolution so your chance to see plate numbers is better with a 2MP or 4MP camera but there are other factors.

With the understanding of the different factors please know that a $30 or $50 dollar camera is not going to cut it. Hikvision has a great camera that starts at $850 and the Q Series AXIS camera starts at $1,850 for the camera, you would then need to purchase the NVR that has the ability to log plate numbers. We have less expensive cameras that very well could see plate numbers that are much closer to the home or business and it also depends on how fast the cars are going as to which cameras you decide on.

Understand that you can purchase cameras just for reading plate numbers and the NVR recorders have the ability to log those plate numbers and you can actually buy a list of plate numbers that your system can compare the data to in order to determine if a stolen car is in your area or lot or if they are behind on their car payments. Some tow companies use these programs to repossess cars.

This may seem complicated and sometimes it can be but just call me (Larry Love) and I will walk you through it. If you want to see plate numbers that are say 50 feet away in your parking lot you can do so for much less money using a high definition camera (2MP) with a 6mm lens that will give you a view of 40 feet wide and 30 feet high. Often I recomend verifocal cameras that are 2.7 to 12mm allowing the tech to adjust to your needs. So if you need to look at a parking lot that is 100 feet wide then you would need 3 cameras to do it well depending on what you are looking at. If you want to recognize a face you need 60 pixels per foot which is the same as a plate number. You could go from a 2MP to a 4MP and widen the view a bit and use less cameras but it also depends on the angles. A nice verifocal camera costs about $400 and that is a 2MP and nice 4MP camera costs about $600. Then you need to add the cost of the wire, installation, recorder, monitor, UPS and network connection to have a complete system but remember you get what you pay for. Call an expert when you want it done right. (801) 428 1384 Larry Love – cell is 801 898 6003

Hikvision Utah Idaho Salt Lake

Employees over 300 local people

Contact Larry Love (801) 428 1384 Larry@peakalarm for Hikvision pricing in Utah & Idaho. Hikvision web site

Larry Love can come to your home or place of business and help you with the best pricing for Hikvision.

Check the BBB Better Business Bureau before doing business with any company.

Camera system for my business or home

Peak Alarm web site ask for Larry Love

Viewing cameras from your smart phone

What you should understand before buying and installing a camera system in your home or business

1. Buy two systems if you buy a kit from a big box store so you have replacements.
2. If you are buying a $30 camera understand that you get what you pay for. Spend a bit more for a decent system.
3. Have a Professional do the installation so the cable and equipment is installed properly.
4. Peak Alarm can install 4 cameras for as low as $1,800 with 1TB NVR and 4 of the 1.3MP coax cameras (MPX)
5. Peak Alarm can install 4 IP cameras for as low as $2,300 with 2TB NVR and 4 of the 2.1MP IP cameras
6. The four camera system I would recommend have motorized zoom cameras w/4 3MP cameras and a 6TB NVR for $4,321.00
7. Go with verifocal lenses rather than fixed lenses, the motorized allow you to adjust from a narrow to wide angle view.
8. We can do a lease with an extended warranty or you can buy the equipment out right.
9. All the above systems allow you to view the cameras from your smart phone but your upload speed should be at least 2.5mbps
10. Recently a customer told me he had put in 2 of the bigbox systems and now he wanted a real system. They work but the quality is different.
11. When you compare a $30 dollar camera to a $420 dollar camera there is a massive difference. Often the IRs will go out early on the least expensive units.

Peak Alarm is a professional company that has been in business for 48 years, licensed, insured and factory trained Peak does it right the first time.

Peak Alarm only has had one complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau in the last 3 years. BBB web site check with name and your ZIP

Peak Alarm is the only Alarm company that has a UL listed central station and a full service Guard Patrol division.

Call Larry Love (801) 428 1384 for quotes

Genetec VMS Video Management Utah

Viewing cameras from your smart phone

Viewing cameras from your smart phone

Genetec Video Management VMS is a very robust system that can expand to a large number of cameras.

PST, Alphacorp, AVTEC (Division of Cache Valley Electric) and Security101 are the main Genetec dealers in Salt Lake City. Peak Alarm uses Salient which is also a very powerful VMS that can expand to a large number of cameras.

Cameras tied to the internet

Peak Alarm, Peak Guard, Peak AV, Peak Central Station

Peak Alarm, Peak Guard, Peak AV, Peak Central Station

If a company ties cameras into your internet and they tell you they will work fine without checking your upload speed I would not trust them. First you should look up your UPLOAD speed because if it is not at least 2.5mbps you may have problems seeing your cameras remotely.


I just tested my speed here at my company and it was 19.34 Download and for the UPLOAD it was 14.81mbps so we could install IP cameras and view them from our smart phones just fine.

I view my cameras that I have at home remotely using my phone but sometimes it takes longer for them to load and I have to load 4 at a time rather than all 12 of my cameras. That is because my upload speed is not as high at home as it is at my office.

If your upload speed was say 1.4mbps your cameras might not work very well so make sure it is at least 2.5mbps

Peak Alarm can install many different brands and help you with your systems. call Larry for more information and NO COST site visit evaluation. We can also help you so you can store video on the cloud as well as at your NVR or DVR at your home or business

Viewing cameras from your smart phone

Viewing cameras from your smart phone

Call Larry Love 801 428 1384


Main Site Check our web site out

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Big Box store camera systems

Commerical Camera Systems

Install camera systems to reduce theft

A customer has requested that we install a camera system because he has already installed 2 different big box camera systems that don’t work well.

I tell people that do this to buy 2 or 3 of the kits because many times cameras or the NVR will stop working and sometimes the cable connectors are not universal so you can’t find parts because they get them from Asia where they make so many and then move on to a different type of product and no longer support the older product.


Stay away from $50 dollar cameras because that is exactly what you get.

We have some very nice AXIS cameras that cost over $1000 dollars and they are well worth the money.

We also have some FLIR cameras that are $400 dollars (Then you would need to pay for the cable and installation) and these are IP cameras 3MP with 2.8-12mm lens and IP66 rated for the weather so they are a much better bet than a $50 dollar camera.

Think about it, you are going to pay the same installation and wire cost but if you put in poor quality cameras you will need to pay for installation twice and the camera twice as well.

Peak Alarm has been in business for over 46 years, has their own UL listed Central Monitoring Station, Installation Department, AV Division, Guard and Patrol Division and holds a current A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. In the last 3 years Peak Alarm has only had 3 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Better Business Bureau click here

Call Larry Love in Utah and Idaho for IP camera systems (801) 898 6003 on my cell or Direct at work (801) 428 1384

Ask for Larry Love x384

You get what you pay for. When you have an event you want to be able to see the video and give it to the police. You want to be able to recognize people and cars and when you decide to go cheap often you can’t do either.

Peak Alarm sells quality systems with a professional installation.

Peak Alarm sells quality systems with a professional installation.

Peak Alarm can do that !

Protect your assets with updated technology don't stay stuck in the past

Protect your assets with updated technology don’t stay stuck in the past

Peak Alarm offers Interactive services (Elite Control) meaning you can control the following items using your smart phone:

1. Alarm System

2. Lighting control with schedules and remote control of lights

3. Thermostats also on schedules and remote control of temp, air etc..

4. Lock Control – Unlock, Lock remotely and even disarm your system when the doors are unlocked.

5. Garage door control. Did you shut the garage door or not? If you are not sure just get on your cell phone and your system will tell you if it is open or shut and if it is open you can automatically shut it.

6. GEO FENCING – We can help you set up the system so when your phone gets into a certain range like a half mile from your house the system will turn down the house temp, turn on the lights for your and even unlock your doors. These are relay logic strings that we can program into your security system. The same holds true for when you get a half mile from your house the system will lock the doors if they are not already locked and turn off the lights and adjust the temp all without you even doing anything.

7. Some of the items we can connect to your security system are as follows:

Smoke Detectors, Heat detectors, Temperature sensors, Water bugs or flood sensors in your laundry rooms, by the water heater or water softener or in the basement where your sump pump is, Carbon Monoxide sensors (can’t see this gas or smell it but it makes you sleepy and if there is enough of it you don’t ever wake up) We install these just outside funace rooms, just in the home by the garage or near sleeping areas.

Call Larry Love for more information and a free site visit: (801) 428 1384 direct number or cell 801 898 6003

Ask for Larry Love

Peak Alarm is an Alarm company, we don’t sell phone or cable service we sell alarms. We won’t make you wait on an endless phone system Q but we put you through to a live person. Peak Alarm has been in business for 46 years, has an AV division, Guard and Patrol Division and a UL listed Central Station and we are locally owned and operated which is becoming very rare. Peak Alarm is also 5 diamond certified which is an honor that only 7% of Central Stations in the US can claim.

Comparing camera system pricing is like

Quite often people ask me what the cost of a camera system is. I want to respond with “How much does a car cost?” Which is really the exact same question because without comparing the brands, features, warranties and specifications you can’t give an accurate price.

Can you compare something like this if you don't know what it is?

Can you compare something like this if you don’t know what it is?

1. How long would you like to store the video? 7 days, 2 weeks a month? This will be a large factor in the price of the system especially if you get a professional system with commercial redundant drives that are backed up.

2. High Definition mega pixel cameras allow you to zoom in after the fact getting a very clear and detailed picture where analog cameras often fall short. A 2.1 MegaPixel camera can have 3 to 5 times the resolution as many analog cameras.

3. A camera that sees in the dark (Day Night) costs more than one that does not have that feature. (The big box cameras with the little LEDs see about 15 or 20 feet in the dark but this is not a true day/night camera)

4. A camera that has an outdoor heater blower costs more than one that does not have this feature.

5. A camera that has a verifocal lens that adjusts from 2.8 to 10mm normally costs a bit more than one that is just a fixed lens. Do you need to recognize that there are people there or do you need to identify them?

6. A vandal dome or vandal resistant camera costs more than one that is not vandal resistant.

7. The IP66 weather rating give you the assurance that the camera is weather resistant compared to a camera that does not have the rating.

8. Choosing the proper lenses is very important even when using megapixel cameras. Combined with camera placement it can make all the difference in the world. Even dropping the camera below a light fixture in a warehouse using a piece of EMT can make quite a bit of difference in your picture and view. South facing cameras should be avoided when possible. There are many features that you can get depending on your needs for back light compensation etc….

9. The price of the system will also be affected depending on if the company needs to drill through walls, rent a lift to do work up high, mount cameras to poles etc….

Once the companies that are bidding have a complete list of your expectations, budget and needs then you can get a good idea of what a system should cost.

Now I will mention that you can go to a big box store and purchase a camera system for a very low price but you need to know that these cameras are not the same as quality commercial cameras. Even within commercial and industrial levels of cameras there are different grades of equipment with different price levels.

Here are a few of examples:

We have analog cameras as low as $140 each which are 600TVL

We have good quality analog camera that is 700 TVL 5-50mm for $500

Peak Alarm has a nice analog PTZ that is 26X zoom for just under $2,000

Other PTZ cameras with auto tracking from Bosch cost over $6,000 each

An 8 channel 2TB DVR is as low as $1000 dollars

Then power supplies, cable, wall penetrations, lift rental and labor needs to be added to the camera cost. We can also add an extended warranty when that fits your needs. We can offer leasing options for a lower initial investment although it will cost more in the long run.


Peak Alarm has Mega Pixel cameras as low as $230 dollars each

A nice Vandal outdoor rated 2.1MP dome with the IP66 rating and 65′ IR range and SD card is only $569

Peak Alarm offers a wide range of NVR units to meet your recording needs

starting at $455 dollars for the 4 channel unit that is 2TB.

A great quality 16 channel NVR with 8 Poe ports and 6TB is only $1,812

Adding labor, cable and the equipment often you can have a great quality system installed for around $1,000 dollars per camera depending on how many cameras you need and the package.


Years ago when I first started selling camera systems we would sell a good quality analog camera that was 320 TVL for $400 dollars, the labor to install it was $200 dollars and the cable was $30 or $40 dollars and the by the time you added a recorder, power supplies and everything else you were up to around $1,000 per camera installed and that was 20 years ago with analog systems.

The cost of storage has come down and the quality of the cameras has increased. I would still advise against purchasing the $50 dollar cameras because you do get what you pay for.

We do have higher end systems as well where the entry level NVR starting cost is just over $5,000. We have gate keeper Axis cameras that will zoom in automatically on your gate to see the plate number on the car and when any other movement occurs in your lot the camera zooms back out to see the full view. This is just one of the many features you can get with the AXIS cameras. A great quality Axis 5MP IP camera that is 2.5 to 12mm and vandal resistant is only $1,794 so the $140 dollar camera really should not be compared to the $2,000 dollar camera because it is like comparing apples to oranges, it just doesn’t work well.

When your alarm company designer knows your budget and your needs he or she can help you design an incredible system that will last for many years that is expandable. If they are only concentrating on LOW BID then you won’t get the best system but you may get the cheapest system which never is the best option.

We have some very good hybrid systems that will allow you to use your old analog cameras and the coax and begin to replace them with IP/High Definition cameras.

We have a friend that got our advice of which cameras to install and he bought them off of the internet (often B stock or refurbished) and he installed them himself and they are not working well at all and now he is complaining about the type of cameras. We pointed out that he should have had the installation done professionally and purchased the cameras from a reputable source because we have a great deal of those same cameras installed and working perfectly. There are tricks to the trade when installing and when you guess or try to do it yourself often errors are made and the system will not work properly. We found owners that installed the wrong cable even cable TV cable for their cameras and if the runs did not go over 100 feet the picture was ok but if they used the aluminum RG6 cable on cameras often the picture was horrible when they should have used the RG59 (95% copper) cable which costs quite a bit more but is made specifically for analog cameras.

If you decide to buy a cheap system through a big box store buy two or three of the systems because you will need those replacement parts soon. Peak Alarm is not out looking to be low bidder nor are we looking for companies that want the least expensive system installed. When you need a system done properly and you need quality equipment please call us. My number is 801 428 1384 and my email is our web site is

Peak Alarm has been in business for over 45 years, has an A+ rating with the better business bureau and five offices to serve you in Idaho and Utah. Peak Alarm has the only UL listed Central Station in Salt Lake and we offer full service guard and patrol as well.

The least expensive options are often poor business decisions

American Security & Fire Installs Camera Systems

Camera Systems in Utah

Cameras are like cars they come in different brands, different qualities and prices ranges. Price will vary with warranty or lack thereof.

All the following examples may look very similar to the picture but the prices are all different the the functionality will vary greatly. Get help from an expert rather than just buying from a big box store. Would you buy your new I-PHONE from a swap meet for $100 even thought it said new in the box?

1. Analog camera 420 lines resolution 4mm lense (Dome)

2. Analog dome camera 700 TVL lines 2.8-12mm lens

3. Analog dome camera 700 TVL lines 2.8-12mm lens with vandal resistant outdoor housing. (Some come with heater and blower)

4. 2.1 MP IP camera dome (Takes up 3-4 or more storage space on your DVR/NVR)

Camera will look the same but the four options can vary greatly in price although the labor and wire will cost the same so it is best to have a decent camera installed the first time.

Keep in mind that you can even match the above specifications and have a large price difference if you buy from a no name brand compared to a good name brand like Axis or Bosch. Not only is the price different but the quality is different as well.

Don’t go with the least expensive purchase and make a poor business decision. Get your options and make a good decision. You may not purchase the most expensive but it is best not to purchase the least expensive option either.

You have heard the saying “You get what you pay for” In Spanish they say “Lo barrato siempre sale caro” Or the least expensive things always cost more in the long run. (Not exactly but similar). Cheap always come out expensive.

Learn about what options are the better choices for your facility. I would suggest a midrange camera not the $4000 dollar Bosch unit but not the $50 dollar camera either. Just holding the $50 dollar camera in your hands and the $350 dollar camera you can feel a difference in weight and in how it is built. Then there is a marked difference in the $600 or $700 dollar camera from how the $350 one feels.

camera cost + cable cost depends on length and cable type (CAT6 verses RG59 with power wire) + labor cost to install camera
Add cost of Power Supply or switch/router etc..
Add cost of drilling if we need to mount outside
Add cost of wiremold or conduit if needed to hide or protect cable
Add cost if you need heater blower in outdoor cameras. (Some come with a heat strip)
Add to cost if you need a vandal resistant camera
Add to cost if you need day night capability
Add to cost if you need other special features
Avoid going with just a 4mm camera especially if it is outside. Best to go with a 2.8 to 12 or even a 5mm to 50mm so you can adjust the camera after installation.

If you get PTZ then understand there is a price range from about $1000 to $8000 depending on your needs and brand and features 10 times zoom or 36 times zoom and day night options or tracking options or if you need a camera that can read license plates and enter the plate numbers into a computer program then that will cost more.

Add the cost of a DVR or NVR. Make sure it is expandable if you need to cameras. Make sure you get enough storage to save what you need

Setting the cameras to record on motion will help save some storage capacity as will planning on the camera resolution.

Do you need to see faces and zoom in after the fact? If so then IP Mega Pixel cameras would be best.

What is the distance you are looking at and how far across? I have a special program and a hand calculator to figure out lense sizes and there are even verifocal lenses on IP cameras. can help you find a good solution for your home or business. 801 428 1384

Peak Alarm is my new home

ABOUT PEAK: Peak Alarm has been in business for over 45 years, Peak has over 270 employees and five offices, 2 in Idaho, one in Saint George, one in Park City and our Salt Lake office as shown in this picture. I have been in the Alarm industry for 18 years and in the Guard industry for a few years as well. So I have been in the security industry over 20 years.

ABOUT CURRENT PACKAGES: Peak Alarm has experts in Fire Alarm, Intrusion Systems, Access Control, Door Control and cameras. We have entry level options in each area and mid range then enterprise systems for large facilities. Peak Alarm’s new PeakLink and PeakView packages make it easy to get the newer technology with a low monthly monitoring rate. We have packages that start out at $99 installation and $39 per month monitoring. We can add Elite control for only $5 per month that allows you to arm and disarm your security system from your smart phone. You can also control your temperature controls, cameras, lights, garage door and even locks from your smart phone through your security system.

CAMERAS: We have great packages that allow you to view and control your cameras from your smart phone. We have analog systems still, although IP cameras will allow you to zoom in after the fact much better than the older technology. If you have color cameras that are 700 TVL (some of the higher resolution cameras) know that the small 2.1MP cameras are much better although they also take 3 to 4 times as much storage but the DVR/NVR units are getting much more affordable now. We have entry level systems in both IP and analog and DVR/NVR in both and even ones that are Hybrid allowing you to have both IP and analog cameras on the same unit.

MONTHLY MONITORING : Peak Alarm has a UL listed Monitoring Central Station (Only one of 2 UL listed Stations in the State of Utah) Peak Alarm offers monitoring of your home security systems, business security, fire alarm and monitoring of elevators. We have an extensive radio network that will allow you to cancel your analog phone lines and install a radio, cellular or high supervision cellular to monitor your fire alarm and or security systems.

SPECIAL PRICING : I can get special pricing for friends and family on the monitoring. Most of our contracts are 36 months although we offer options for 24 months, 12 months and even month to month. When the contract is changed to lower the months the amount of the equipment that we can subsidize is changed so the equipment would be more expensive if you did not want the longer monitoring contract.

GUARDS AND PATROL : Peak Alarm has a Guard and Patrol division. Our prices are very competitive and in Salt Lake City where the Police do not respond to Alarms unless they are panic alarms Peak can help protect your residential properties and businesses at an affordable rate.

AUDIO VISUAL: Peak also has a full service AV Audio Visual division that installs home entertainment or full size theater systems for businesses. We have special speakers that can be built into your walls and big screens as well as very large touch screens that allow interactive use just like a tablet but much larger.

Call Peak for all your security needs

Call Peak for all your security needs