So if it’s your first time to buy a security camera, you may get overwhelmed by a sheer variety of types, features, shapes, sensors… of cameras available in the market. In this post we will look at a few basic things to help ‘first-time-buyers’ to find their way.
1. Internal or External
First, have a think whether you need a camera for outdoor or indoor use. If you need an outdoor camera, check if it has “IP66” or “IP67” rating, which basically means “weatherproof” (pssst… IP67 is better than IP66). Also, have a look at whether it is “vandal-resistant”, which would be marked “IK10” (again, the higher the figure, the better).
2. Types (shapes)
a. Dome camera – better for indoor than outdoor, as a dome glass shape may reflect the sun-light creating glares and affecting footage quality. On the other hand – dome cameras are more discrete, which makes them a good choice for residential use.
b. Turret/Eyeball camera – as a dome camera but with no glass housing, which addresses the sun reflection or water drops problems.
c. Bullet camera – a camera with a long, cylindrical shape, which makes it perfect for outdoor use. It is a preferred option for commercial clients, although there is no reason why it cannot be used for outdoor home security. Bullet cameras tend to have extended IR capabilities which help to ‘see’ better in poor lighting conditions.
d. Panoramic/Fisheye camera – gives you a 360ˇview. The main downsides is… price.
A PTZ camera gives you control over the camera’s positioning, you can remotely pan, tilt and zoom the camera as and when you need it. Such cameras often come with advanced tracking and patrol features, which makes them a great choice for commercial premises, such as shops or car parks, and large residential properties.
4. Fixed or motorised lens (we will look at this in more detail in our next post)
Security cameras with fixed lenses (typically, 3.6mm lens) are good for monitoring a specific area - say an entrance to your house/garden. Once you have set the camera, it will stay in the same position till you manually change it. Motorised (zoom) cameras normally allow you to remotely control your camera’s focus (zoom in and zoom out) as and when needed.
5. Sensor type
CDD or CMOC. CDDs are more expensive than CMOC but also provide a clearer and better image making it ideal for face-identification. CMOC is more typical for residential video security.
6. Lighting conditions and IR
The more megapixels the better, right? Well, it depends. 4K/8/12MP cameras are great in daylight and would give you a clear and sharp picture. However, a simple 2 MP camera may be as good, if not better, for low light conditions and night recordings. Always check what the camera’s Lux features are, does it have a “low-light”, “star-light” or “darkfighter” functionality and what its IR distance is.
Do you want to say “Hiya” to a burglar breaking into your house? :) Then you may need an in-built microphone and audio output. You can also use a pre-recorded audio as an early deterrent mechanism even when you are not in.
8. IP camera (i.e. Network camera) or Analogue camera
Yes… We come to this again and again. You can read more about the differences and key features of each in our previous posts. In short, IP cameras are easier to setup, better in quality and have more enhanced functionality, which make them a better investment ;)
We will look at some of those features more detail in our future posts.