Basic human needs have always been food, shelter, and clothing, and of course security. Home burglaries have been on a steady rise, with break-ins being among the biggest crime concerns in America, according to the findings of a 2020 safety survey. You cannot be in your home or office all the time, but you want that peace of mind that your loved ones and your belongings are safe.
Security systems, and more precisely, security cameras are a logical way to safeguard your home and office. Choosing your home or office security camera seems like a relatively straightforward decision, but it is far from it. This is because the broad range of options on the market might confuse even the most informed buyer. This article contains tips and tricks to navigate the security camera market and to help you make an informed buying decision.
1. Bullet Cameras
Bullet cameras are so-named because of their long cylindrical shape that vaguely looks like a bullet. Their casings are made of weather-resistant materials that make them the best choices for outdoor use. The primary advantage of a bullet camera lies in its ability to handle long-distance viewing. Most cameras on the market also have compact size aid installations, IR night vision, and high-quality image resolution.
- The long shape makes this camera highly visible and deters intruders.
- Resistant to the dust and moisture in most environments.
- The casing protects the lens from the sun’s glare.
- The camera’s visibility might motivate intruders to tamper with it.
Bullet cameras make the best choices for security surveillance in farming, property management, and factories. In these cases, they often focus on one point, such as entry or exits. You, however, can have several cameras for multiple fixed views.
2. Dome Cameras
The dome camera is so-called after the dome-shaped casing in which the camera sits. The casing makes it hard for people to know the direction in which the camera is pointed. This creates an uncertainty that deters intruders from all angles. Dome cameras are installed indoors or outdoors on walls and ceilings.
- Have wider viewing angles than bullet cameras thanks to their 360-degree rotations.
- More resilient to vandalism and tampering compared to bullet cameras.
- It is hard for intruders to detect the camera.
- The unobtrusive design makes it an easy fit.
- Might not deter would-be intruders because it is mostly invisible.
This is the perfect camera for hotels, shops, and casinos where all-round visibility is essential.
3. PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) Camera
The PTZ camera allows its movement to the left or right (panning) and upwards or downwards (tilting). The camera can also be zoomed to focus on particular objects or zoomed out of focus of specific areas. The PTZ camera works best for places where there is a security guard to monitor the live video feed and manipulate the camera.
- Provides a 360-degree view of your surroundings.
- It can be programmed to a time-based auto scan and motion-based auto-tracking.
- The image resolution is typically impeccable, meaning you can distinguish facial features.
- The security team has full control of the camera and can react to issues immediately.
- Short lifespan because of many moving parts.
- You might deal with surveillance blind spots.
- High malfunction risk.
The PTZ camera will be your best buy for remote viewing. It works best for large retail environments and places like museums with highly valuable objects in specific locations.
4. IP Cameras
Internet protocol (IP) cameras receive control data then send image data via an IP network. As such, people can access the images from anywhere and on any device with internet connectivity. With this operation mode, the IP camera is often classified as one type of webcam. It can be wired (the traditional type), wireless (collects and sends data over a wireless network) or wire-free (needs no cables for installation, is battery-powered, and its recording is stored in the cloud).
- The footage can be archived on secure software or NVRs (network video recorders).
- The footage is accessed easily from any location.
- Low maintenance needs.
- High image resolution.
- Easy and inexpensive scalability of its video system.
- Easy to set up.
- High bandwidth needs.
- Higher cost compared to analog cameras.
The IP camera is the perfect choice for people who work in offsite locations since they can remotely check on their sites.
5. C-Mount Cameras
These work best for people looking for cameras that they can adapt to their fields of vision. C-mount cameras have removable lenses that can be switched so that they monitor varying distances. While standard cameras cover approximately 30ft, C-mounts can capture images beyond 40 feet of their mounting height. The cameras are generally bulky and will be visible to intruders, thus acting as deterrents to those who are thinking of vandalizing your property.
- Weatherproof housing allows its use outdoors.
- The rugged casing protects the camera in cold environments.
- It can provide color videos in low lighting. Low lux ratings for the C-mount camera denote its ability to operate optimally in low lighting.
- Supports diverse technological advancements.
- Needs special care and protection when installed outdoors.
The C-mount works well when observing a long stretch of road. As such, it is commonly used in the logistics and utility industries where it monitors the flow of materials.
6. Day/Night Cameras
These are specially designed to operate in all lighting conditions. They will record clear images during the day as they will at night hence their name. The lack of image obstruction in different lighting conditions for the day/night camera arises from the use of extra sensitive imaging chips. Therefore, they are ideal alternatives for outdoor environments in which infrared cameras are unable to generate sharp images.
- Can record colored and black/white images.
- Protects the camera from the damage that might be caused by outdoor elements.
- Some have an infrared capability that increases as lighting levels decrease. This means you can still get clear images, even in dark surveillance areas.
- Come in diverse styles and sizes that can be mounted to ceilings or walls.
- Are expensive.
The day/night camera is the choice product for residential and business premises that need surveillance throughout for outdoor areas with varying lighting conditions.
7. High Definition (HD) Cameras
HD cameras have unrivaled image qualities and will give you very clear surveillance images. Depending on your budget for the camera, you can get one that delivers 720p in resolution or as much as 4k resolution. Thus, there is no danger that your images will be grainy or blurred irrespective of how far the camera is mounted.
- You can get extra clarity with the camera’s zoom function.
- Available in dome and bullet variants.
- Guarantees maximum security in high-risk environments.
- You need about five times extra storage space for footage when using HD cameras than when using standard definition cameras.
HD security cameras are mostly used in casinos and banks where there is a high risk of theft. In these cases, the footage is clear enough to serve as undeniable proof of a crime and correctly identify a perpetrator.
8. Night Vision/Infrared Camera
This is designed to work optimally in pitch dark conditions through the use of infrared technology. Infrared cameras are generally more expensive than day/night cameras because they generate sharper images in pitch darkness compared to the latter. The cameras work by converting ambient light photons into electrons, which are then amplified by electrical and chemical processes. These processes change the photons into visible light.
- It has an infrared cut filter that is activated in the daytime. The filter allows clear images in well-lit conditions.
- Captures clear images in foggy and smoke-filled environments.
- Will record colored images during the day and black/white images at night.
- It cannot accurately capture images behind glass or shiny objects.
Infrared cameras work best for farms, banks, and manufacturing plants that need an ultra-reliable recording in darkness.
Deciding the best camera among the ones above for your premises will boil down to three key considerations. These include:
- Your desired image quality and clarity.
- Field of vision.
- The environment of use.
Security cameras are mainly self-sufficient and will need minimal maintenance. Even so, if yours is connected to the internet for cloud storage of the footage, you should invest in periodic software updates to keep hackers from breaching the footage or interfering with your camera. It would also be best to clean your camera’s lens more so if it is installed outdoors to maintain a clear image. The lens can be cleaned using a microfiber cloth, lint-free paper towel, or non-ammonia-based cleaner.
Most of the security cameras on sale are touted as easy enough to install with no expertise. Though the DIY installation means cost savings for you, this might not be the best choice even if a product’s manufacturer touts it as such. Have a professional install it to guarantee it works as well as it should and has minimal repair issues.