Select the Perfect Cameras
In conducting your site assessment, you have already determined how many cameras you need, and the general requirements of each camera, including: placement, field of view, and lighting conditions. Based on that information, you should be able to narrow down your selection of the perfect camera for each position.
There are several primary features of each camera that you will need to consider:
Image resolution measures the level of detail an image holds, and can play a pivotal role in the successful identification of a suspect or details of a criminal activity. So, don't skimp; invest in a camera that produces higher resolution, especially for your cameras positioned to capture specific details.
Tip: Some cameras, like our bullet and dome cameras, come with lenses built in. Other cameras, like C-Mounts, require you to purchase the camera and lens separately. This gives you the option to build the perfect camera for your needs.
A camera's lux is a measure of the light required to capture a viewable image. The lower the lux, the better the camera can see in low light conditions.
Infrared (IR) cameras, for example, can see in complete darkness, so they are measured at 0 lux when in IR mode. Crime most often happens in low light situations, so we encourage you to select cameras with the lowest lux possible.
The focal length of a camera lens determines how wide or narrow the camera field of view will be. Lower focal lengths or wider fields of view are normally used to cover broad areas so that activities can be documented. Higher focal lengths are used to obtain greater detail of people or vehicles passing through choke points such as doors or gates.
Additionally, higher focal lengths are useful when the area to be viewed is far away. To calculate the exact focal length you need for a specific camera location.
Fixed vs. varifocal lenses
Fixed lenses cannot zoom in or out, and offer a perfect focus for a pre-determined focal length. Vari-focal lenses can be adjusted to customize your field of view during installation.
Adding a high quality microphone to your system can add another dynamic to your surveillance capabilities. A well placed microphone can record culprits giving away details about themselves, where they live, names, and more.
Some cameras feature audio capabilities, or you can purchase an independent microphone separately and integrate with your system.
There are several different form factors to select from in most camera categories, each offering unique advantages based upon the application.
For instance, box cameras are often mounted to provide a visible deterrent for criminals, while dome cameras are often used for applications requiring the camera to blend into the environment.
Box cameras (also called fixed cameras or security style cameras)
Our security style cameras afford you the ultimate in flexibility. They will accept well over 2000 different lens sizes and work with all industry standard mounting brackets. Enclosures are available to make them discrete, vandalproof or weatherproof.
Because security style cameras have that classic look, they are typically used as a crime deterrent, clearly announcing to people that they are under surveillance.
Dome style cameras are designed for subtlety, and are perfect for any application requiring inconspicuous security, such as upscale restaurants, office spaces, or homes. Dome cameras now offer virtually every feature available in a single housing – so they are extremely easy to install.
Tip: The newest cameras in the security market are Internet Protocol (IP) cameras. While relatively new on the scene, they show a promising future in the security industry with smart features — like the ability to compress video built right into the camera.
Like domes , bullet cameras are available with a variety of options and come in a single housing ready for quick installation. Bullet style cameras can be very discrete, available as small as ¾" in diameter.
Bullet style cameras are an excellent choice when the mounting location requires a small camera or the camera to be articulated at unusual angles.
Bullet cameras are also available in larger sizes, allowing for more powerful zoom lenses and long range infrared illumination.
Indoor cameras are typically smaller and less conspicuous. They are designed to be lightweight so that even ceiling tiles can support them, and are usually not weather or vandal-proof.
Indoor cameras are typically less expensive than their outdoor counterparts, but are still designed for years of reliable service.
Outdoor surveillance cameras are also referred to as weatherproof or vandalproof cameras, as the heavy duty materials and construction required for resistance to the elements typically makes it resistant to vandalism as well.
Screws and adjustments on all of our weatherproof cameras are tamper-resistant, and the housings are able to withstand severe blows from the most determined criminals.
The D/N feature improves low light sensitivity, delivering a sharper image in low light conditions, and enabling the cameras to see in the dark with the help of external IR illuminators. D/N cameras work like color cameras, and upon sensing lower light levels instantly switch to a more light sensitive black and white mode.
Infrared lighting is invisible to the human eye but very visible to many surveillance cameras, allowing you to watch suspects who feel protected by the darkness. IR illumination can provide your camera the benefits of traditional lighting, while conserving electricity & light pollution.
IR cameras are not designed to illuminate vast areas. They are designed to be focused on key areas and should be pointed at critical points of entry such as doors, gates, and other likely avenues of approach. When selecting an IR camera , be sure to get one with more range than you need. If your subject area is 60 ft away, get an IR camera that will see up to 75 ft.
Tip: If you're putting up outdoor cameras in an area with extreme weather conditions, consider using a camera housing. These tough metal enclosures can include heaters and blowers to keep cameras functioning in any weather.
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
Wide dynamic range enables the cameras to deliver video with near perfect exposure in the harshest of lighting conditions. To accomplish this, they use advanced digital processing to capture two images at different exposures, and then combine them into a single image.
WDR cameras are ideal for challenging lighting situations, such as doorways or windows, looking into car headlights, or any application looking into a direct light source. They are also ideal in opposite conditions, looking from a well lit area into a darker area.
Wide angle cameras offer a much higher field of view than standard cameras, allowing you to use a single camera to cover areas that would otherwise require more than one. Wide angle cameras are commonly used in entryways, small rooms, courtyards, and inside vehicles.
The cameras shown here are some of our best selling cameras for the applications provided. Other cameras available include:
Telephoto cameras capture long range details, including license plates and traffic funnels.
PTZ cameras can automatically tour areas you specify, and can actually track the movements of suspicious people or vehicles when optional video analytic devices are used. Learn more about the benefits of PTZ cameras .
Internet Protocol (IP) or Digital
IP cameras offer higher image quality than analog cameras. They provide up to 25% more resolution than analog cameras with similar imagers. The fundamental difference between an IP based and an analog camera is that an IP camera is truly digital from end to end.
The camera takes on the role of a DVR for compression, video motion detection, and image adjustments, and transmits a fully digital stream back to your recorder across your IP network. IP recording software may offer some additional features, but the camera does most of the work.
Conversely, cameras used in traditional analog systems use coaxial video cable to transmit their images directly to a digital video recorder, and typically require a dedicated cable for every camera. While the video is recorded digitally, there are multiple conversions from analog to digital signals before storing, often resulting in lower image quality than IP.
Larger IP projects will often deliver a reduction in overall installation cost, as the cameras can operate over existing network infrastructures which eliminates costly labor of pulling thousands of feet of cabling.