If you are trying to choose a security camera, the choice can be mind-boggling. Here are some tips to help you out.
Understand the variety of security camera types available:
- Infrared (IR) security cameras.
- Dome cameras
- Pro box cameras
- Pan tilt zoom cameras
- Hidden cameras.
Consider the advantages of using an infrared (IR) security camera. This is a popular type of camera for both business and home.
- Infrared Cameras produce high resolution color video during the day. In low lux (light) or no light conditions they are the preferred camera type.
- They are able to “illuminate the area” by automatically switching from color to black and white. The infrared illuminators turn on and allow you to see much cleared that the human eye in both low light and no light.
- Whether being used indoor or outdoor, they provide a huge advantage in low light or no light situations.
- They can be weatherproofed and can withstand hot and cold temperatures without any additional camera housing needed.
- Indoor infrared cameras offer a clear video image in the light and in the dark.
Consider the advantages of a dome camera. The different styles of domes include infrared domes, indoor domes, outdoor domes, vandal proof domes, and pan tilt zoom controllable domes. Classic “smoked” dome cameras offer an additional
degree of surveillance as friends, customers, employees, and burglars have a difficult time seeing where the lens is actually pointing. The smoked cover does not affect picture quality.
- Expect a clear color high resolution picture with the dome camera.
- Most pan tilt zoom cameras are in a dome type housing as well.
- Professional “box type” cameras are used both indoor and outdoor with a camera housing.
Consider the advantages of a pro box camera. These cameras are known for their high video quality. Pro box cameras are often found in banks, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.
- Lenses can be changed on the pro box camera based on the viewing angle and zoom that is required.
- Some Pro Box Cameras are called day / night cameras as they can switch from color during the day to black and white in the evening or in low lux (light conditions).
- The lower the lux, the better the camera can see in complete darkness.
- Infrared cameras are considered night vision cameras and have a 0 Lux rating.
- You might prefer a box camera if you do not need or want infrared and are more concerned with quality daytime video.
Consider the benefits of a pan tilt zoom camera. These are cameras that can be controlled through the DVR, remote viewing software, and/or a joystick. They can go up, down, left, and right. They also have zoom capability.
- For example, you can capture a license plate or zoom in on a face from far away.
- You can also program them to do preset tours where you can have them monitor certain areas while you are away.
- Airports, casinos, large department stores such as Target or Walmart are examples of places that use PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras).
- Pan tilt zoom cameras are expensive, starting at $500 and up. The question is, “do you need a pan tilt zoom camera”, or can you use fixed cameras to get the desired solution?
- Pan tilt zoom controllable cameras require one additional cable for operation. A CAT5 cable is needed in addition to the power/video RG-59 Siamese coax cable in order to control it live and over the internet. Simply run a CAT5 cable next to the RG-59 to control your pan tilt zoom camera.
Consider the benefits of hidden cameras. These offer perhaps the highest degree of surveillance. If you do not want someone to know that there is a camera, use a hidden camera. Fake smoke detectors, motion detectors, clocks, sprinklers,
EXIT signs are examples of the type of hidden cameras that are used.
- The main disadvantage is that hidden cameras do not have infrared capabilities which limit their performance in low light.
- In addition, many hidden cameras are not weatherproof, so they take are not as useful as infrared bullet and dome cameras when being used outdoors.
- Pharmacies, hallways of hotels, assisted living facilities, and homes are examples of some of the applications in which hidden cameras are used.
Decide whether you want wired or wireless cameras. Wired cameras offer a larger selection of cameras and more importantly, much better video quality than wireless cameras. Wireless cameras can somewhat be misleading as they need to be
powered at the camera location. In addition, they require a line of sight with no obstacles, which often poses an issue.
- Reliability and video quality are the main reasons that you should use a wired camera. Wired cameras are powered back at the DVR location and only a single cable (RG-59 Siamese coax power/video in one) needs to be run from the DVR to each individual camera. You can run cameras up to 800 feet (243.8 m) away with this particular cable. If going over 800 feet (243.8 m) you will need to use CAT5 cable with video baluns and/or amplifier.
- Expect a much longer lifespan and much higher quality with wired cameras.
- Obstacles are not an issue with wired cameras. With that in mind, occasionally you may have a location of two that absolutely need it. In that case, you can plug the transmitter to the back of the DVR.
- Always prefer high resolution cameras that you can expect to have superior quality to many other cameras on the market. Cameras with 480 lines or more (called high resolution compared to normal resolution 380 and 420 lines cameras) are good value. And there are now super high resolution cameras with over 500 lines of resolution.
- Choose the cameras according to your application. Infrared Weatherproof Bullet Cameras are most popular for outdoor, and dome cameras are popular for indoor applications.
- All of the cameras vary and offer outdoor, indoor, or infrared capabilities. This will be explained to you when looking at different cameras. Ask about the most popular cameras, with high ratings from customers and installers.