Even since the OG Telephoto was announced, I’ve been wondering how well it might work for license plate capture (LPC). I just got my OG Telephoto yesterday and decided to put it to the test. I aimed the OG Telephoto at a spot on the roadway 70 feet away from my home. I have a Dahua varifocal camera recording that same spot for my LPR system, so I have a good idea of what to expect in terms of optical performance.
Here is what I found:
(1) A license plate recorded by the OG Telephoto can be read in daytime, provided the plate is stationary. The 3X optical zoom is sufficient to make it legible at 70 feet, but I’d say it’s close to the limit of distance. A 5X or 7X option (which Wyze experimented with) would do much better.
(2) A license plate on a moving vehicle is entirely a different matter. The problem isn’t motion blur, but compression. The OG Telephoto provides a sufficiently fast shutter time in daylight to easily capture a vehicle going 30 mph at 70 feet distance without blurring, but the lossy compression washes out the detail of the plate itself.
Optically, the OG Telephoto is capable of recording the license plate of a vehicle driving by a typical residential home, at least during the daytime. While I recognize the necessity of a highly compressed video stream for reducing bandwidth over a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection, this is one of those situations where you can only say: “I wish Wyze had done it differently”.
I’d love to see an option provided for adjusting compression at the expense of increased storage, at least for video stored on the internal SD card. Wyze could also solve the bandwidth problem with a PoE camera option.
Here’s the thing: Wyze could own the residential LPC market with just a few tweaks to the OG Telephoto. Increasing the zoom to 7X and adjusting the compression would give them a product that every homeowner concerned about mail theft would buy in an instant. No other cloud camera manufacturer (to my knowledge) has even attempted true optical zoom, but if Wyze offered an LPC camera for under $50, they could transform neighborhood security, at least for daytime operation.
Nightime operation is another matter, as effective LPC would require a strong IR illuminator coupled with shutter speeds on the order of 1/1000 to 1/2000 seconds at night. That would be more difficult, but by no means impossible. So maybe the price of a Wyze Cam LPC goes to $80 or $90, but that would still be a bargain compared to the competition.