Choosing the Right Security Camera System
Debunking the Confusion
How to Decide the Number of Cameras
Deciding on the right coverage
How to Assess the Requirements
Walk around your property and identify the essential areas that need monitoring. Here are a few ideas of where security cameras are best deployed.
Doors and Windows
Entrances to your home are obvious places for coverage. Consider the best placement of cameras to cover as many front, side and back entrances with a single camera. You can choose to install security cameras either indoors or outdoors for most entrances.
Placing a security up high provides a wide range of coverage for front and backyards. The sides of your house could are also be a good place to cover if there are ways to enter your property without crossing the front or back areas.
You may want to install security cameras to monitor valuable items such as cars in your garage, rare collectables in your basement, or perhaps a jewelry box in a safe or closet. These cameras are usually best to be installed in discreetly so they are not easily seen.
Dome vs Bullet Cameras
In general, bullet cameras are typically installed outdoors while dome cameras are usually installed indoors. There isn't much difference in functionality.
Ideal for out of reach installations, easier to see so good deterrent. Great for mounting on a wall but can also be installed on a ceiling, soffit or eaves. Easy to adjust field of view. Some cameras have removable weather shield for indoor applications
Small body and more discreet. Direction of lens is more hidden and is highly vandal resistant. Best for ceiling, soffit, or eaves mounting. Ideal for "within reach" installations, corners of ceilings and blends in with interior designs
What type of System & Technology
Deciding on the Technology
Choosing the Right System and Technology
There are generally two types of camera systems; Internet Protocol (IP) based systems which uses an NVR (network video recorder) and can be wired or wireless and digital video recorder (DVR) based systems which uses coaxial cable.
Several important considerations factor into this choice; accessibility for installation, number of channels, cabling, resolution, frame-rate and hard drive size.
IP camera systems are considered the best and offer the highest amount of channels (32), the highest resolution (4K), and the highest frame rate (30fps @ 4K). They can also record audio on every channel with the option to expand the total amount of hard drive space. The power to the camera is carried on the same Ethernet cable cable as the video signal, using PoE - Power over Ethernet. The maximum distance the camera can be from the recorder is 300ft. If more distance is needed, you will need to add a PoE switch.
Wireless cameras are also IP cameras except that they do not require an ethernet cable and are much easier to install and setup. They can transmit video to a receiver up to 500ft away with a clear line-of-site. This makes them particularly effective when monitoring large open areas or detached buildings. The wireless security camera however, do need to be powered either by an AC outlet or by battery. Having a constant power supply allows for wireless cameras to provide 24-hour monitoring and more powerful night vision.
MPX security cameras are really good for larger properties and uses an DVR. The camera using a single BNC cable can be up to 800ft away (for video signal only). Some DVRs, such as the Lorex DVR, allows you to use your old analog cameras or more updated analog security cameras. In comparison to an IP camera equipped with an NVR, the highest resolution for this system is 1080p with a lower frame rate of 15fps at 1080p. 2K DVRs and MPX security cameras will be on the market, so check if they are available.
What is MPX Technology
FLIR MPX is a video format that delivers megapixel picture quality over coax. This allows you to upgrade your existing analog systems to HD resolution over a single coax cable (existing RG59 & RG6 compatible). It is ideal for upgrading systems using existing cables, to HD without the expense of re-cabling. MPX facilitates powerful functionality previously unattainable over coax with full duplex communication.
Choosing the Resolution
The finer details
How much detail do you need?
The higher the resolution, the finer the details and the larger the video. The larger the video, the more detail you will see and the better the likelihood of capturing useable evidence. Resolutions typically run from 720p HD all the way to 4K Ultra HD security cameras. Higher resolutions such as 4K will provide the best chance to capture specific details, such as license plates or facial features but the better the camera the more expensive they are.
Resolution is determined by the quality of the image sensor within the camera and these sensors are classified by their number of megapixels (megapixel = million pixels). The higher amount of pixels allows for greater digital zooms. The following are some important factors to consider when deciding on theresolution that is right for you.
If you are planning on installing a camera very high to cover a broad area, then you might want to consider a higher resolution camera. Not only will these cameras provide you with higher clarity at this distance. Higher megapixels allows more details as you zoom in. The details won't together as quickly as you zoom closer on the action.
Another important factor is how much movement will be within the camera's field of view. The more movement within the frame, the more hard drive space will be needed. 4K cameras use cutting-edge H.265 encoding, which keep file sizes manageable. Cameras in high traffic areas, especially if they are not very high up, might not need to be 4K.
Frames per Second
Frames per second indicates how smooth the motion within the video will be. IP cameras can typically record 30fps at 4K, 2K, and 1080p resolutions. MPX cameras, on the other hand, typically record 15fps at 1080p. 15fps is still quite smooth, but if your camera is in a high traffic or extremely important area, an IP security camera will deliver the smoothest HD video.
The higher the resolution, the larger the video
Resolution Quick Reference
|# Megapixels||Pixel Ratio|
|1mp | HD 720P||1280 x 720 |
|2mp | Full HD 1080P||1920 x 1080 |
|3mp | Extreme HD 2K||2048 x 1536 |
(3,145,728 pixels) 1.5 x 1080P
|4mp | Extreme HD 2K||2688 x 1520 |
(4,085,760 pixels) 2.0 x 1080P
|5mp | Extreme HD 2K||2560 x 1960 |
(5,017,600 pixels) 2.5 x 1080P
|8mp | Ultra HD 4K||3840 x 2160 |
(8,294,400 pixels) 4.0 x 1080p
They are Not all the Same
Understanding the Features
Night vision cameras come in a have different features. A Day / Night mode security cameras require external light for night vision. Infrared security cameras, on the hand, do not require any ambient light at all (although the ultimate night vision range will not be as far without any supporting light). Ambient light is also required to achieve Color Night Vision. In total darkness, these cameras still have long range black and white night vision capabilities.
Day / Night Low-Light mode
Some cameras have a day-night mode that automatically switches the video to black and white in low light conditions. These cameras do not contain infrared lights and need some kind of ambient light (such as streetlights) in order to see at night.
Infrared LED cameras, flood the area in front of the camera in infrared light. The camera's built-in receivers see the reflection of the infrared lights on the objects in the scene.
Color Light Vision
Color Night Vision (CNV) cameras require ambient light to be effective. They use the same technology as infrared cameras, but use advanced image sensors that absorb more light, which allows them to continue to provide full color video through the night.
Thermal Night Vision
Thermal security cameras do not rely on any light at all. They sense minute differences in heat temperature and display the video as shades of grey. Hotter things, like humans or machines, glow brighter than cooler areas.
Types of Cameras
Different application require different solutions
Different Cameras for Different Applications
Different situations require a different approach and different configuration of security cameras can be used to meet different needs, including specialty security cameras that can be used in different situations.
Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Cameras
PTZ security cameras are ideal for large, open areas. They are able to rapidly pan and tilt, and can spin 360°. Most PTZ camera models come with preset or fully customizable viewing ranges to maximize your coverage area. Optical zooms also allow you to use the zoom within patterns without losing video quality.
IVarifocal cameras have built-in motorized varifocal lenses have the ability to zoom in and out. The camera's field of view can range from a narrow 33° (for a smaller area) to a wide 93° (for larger areas). These changes can be easily made remotely from a connected smartphone or tablet.
Ultra Wide Angled Cameras
Ultra-wide security cameras have a wide field of view aspect, increasing the horizontal view up 120° horizontal and the diagonal field of view up to 160°. These cameras are perfect for large areas, entranceway monitoring, and wide indoor rooms. One ultra-wide angle cameras can take the place of multiple standard viewing cameras.