Security Cameras Are Not Created Equal
Sep 09, 2019
The Difference in Security Cameras
Cameras are one of the most critical components in your security arsenal, and not all security cameras are the same.
Why you ask? Consider these differences:
With any investment, it’s critical to do your homework so that you ensure you are getting the most from your purchase.
- Indoor vs. outdoor cameras
- Various sizes of security cameras
- Indoor cameras
- Outdoor cameras
- Cameras that are easy to camouflage
- Cameras that provide high-quality video footage
- Wired cameras
- Wireless cameras
- And many more
Types of Security Cameras
These are some of the most common types of security cameras we install for home or business use; however, they are not the only options available.
- Video doorbell cameras – See who is at your front door without leaving the couch or even when you aren’t at home. Read more about this in our blog, How Video Doorbells Work.
- Bookshelf cameras – Designed to be placed on shelves so that they can blend in with the surroundings.
- Dome cameras – Offer a wide dynamic range for adjusting to natural changes in light.
- Bullet cameras – Have small housings that are unobtrusive and also offer options for infrared light.
- 360 Fisheye cameras – Allow for a panoramic view of the surroundings.
- Pan-tilt-zoon cameras (PTZ) – Can be moved with a joystick or mouse directly from a security desk.
- Turret cameras – Designed like a ball-and-socket and can be easily moved around in the socket.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
There are two main features consumers should consider when evaluating a camera for indoor and outdoor usage:
To learn more about the importance of lighting for cameras and the different options available, read our blog, How do security cameras work at night?
- How does the camera adjust to different lighting conditions; this is important in both indoor and outdoor settings.
- Is the camera weather resistant or waterproof?
Cameras that are placed outside need to be designed to withstand rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Many cameras today are marketed as weatherproof or weather-resistant. Make sure you find the Ingress Protection (IP) rating, on the camera, this indicates how well that camera will hold up to the elements.
PC Magazine has a fantastic summary of how to understand the score. The IP rating tells you how well the camera casing is built to withstand against dust or water entering a product’s enclosure. There are two numbers in the rating; the first number in the score is for dust, and the second number in the rating is for water. The ratings range from 0 – 6 for the dust protection and 0 – 9K for the water protection. The lower the number, the weaker the protection, so 0 offers no protection. Thus, a camera rated IP67 offers complete protection from dust and can withstand immersion in water less than 1 meter deep for up to half an hour.
When it comes to the quality of the image you can see from the camera, in addition to how the camera handles different lighting conditions, there are two other essential features you’ll want to consider: field of view and resolution.
Field of View
The field fo view on a security camera refers to how much of your surroundings the camera can detect. Field of view is usually expressed as angular size, so anywhere from 90 degrees to 180 degrees. If you are monitoring a small area, such as a front porch, a narrow field of view on your camera may be fine. However, if you are trying to monitor a large area, such as your backyard, you will need to look for a camera with a broader field of view. A larger field of view will allow you to see a more broad area, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be clearer. You also need to consider the resolution.
The resolution of a camera is the amount of detail a camera can capture. It is measured in pixels. The more pixels a camera has, the more details it can capture and the larger the pictures can be made without becoming blurry. The standard definition is defined as a pixel size of 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels high. High definition is a camera that captures 1280 x 720 pixels, and full HD is 1920 x 1080.
Shooting in full HD is nice, but remember, these videos take up a lot more storage space.
Storage is a big issue for security cameras. Where are you going to store all the video shot by the camera? Do you want your camera shooting video all the time or only when the camera senses motion nearby? If you want the latter, your camera needs to be outfitted with motion detectors too.
Some cameras have internal storage devices. Some cameras allow you to install an external hard drive for storing camera footage. Of course, with either of these options, the footage can easily be stolen or destroyed.
Another option might be connecting the camera to a digital video recorder or wiring it to route straight to your home computer.
You also have the option to use wireless or cloud storage. Cloud storage is when the video footage is uploaded from the camera via an internet connection to either your personal computer, a network video recorder, or cloud storage. Cloud usually has a monthly fee. You’ll also want to consider if your internet bandwidth is adequate to support your camera’s needs in this scenario. Read more in our blog, What upload speed do I need for a security camera?
Wired vs. Wireless
Wired vs. wireless refers to how the communication signal is transmitted from one piece of security equipment to another.
Communication signals can be transmitted using an analog or digital format. Then they are routed through a wired connection, like a telephone or cable line. Or by a wireless connection that uses radio waves to send the transmission, such as cellular, laptops with WLAN card, fiber optic communication, etc.
When it comes to security cameras, there are pros and cons to each type of transmission method. We’ve detailed all of the those pros and cons in our blog post, Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras.
You will also need to consider how you want your security camera to be powered. Just because it is a wireless camera, it doesn’t mean there are no wires involved. How will you get get electricity to your camera? You either must power the camera into an outlet to charge, or it has to run on batteries.
Other Features to Consider
Other features to consider when choosing a security camera include:
In today’s ever-changing video surveillance market, FSS strives to stay on top of all the industry trends and provide recommendations on the wide variety of equipment available, from reputable manufacturers with proven track records.
- Can the camera record audio or does it allow for two-way audio?
- Does the camera have app support?
- Can the camera be integrated with a smart home automation system?
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and learn more about the best way to protect your home or business.