One of the most important features of a security camera is whether it’s been rated weatherproof and waterproof. However, there are several other factors to consider when choosing an outdoor surveillance camera for your home.
The cameras need to be discreet or act as a visual deterrent: The location and what you need to monitor will determine whether obvious or discreet cameras are required.
Will the security cameras be used indoors or out?
Whilst most modern cameras can be used both inside and out, it’s important to consider features such as mounting and housing. For use in extremely cold environments, choosing a camera which has a durable design and an inbuilt heater means it will have the ability to start up and operate despite the temperature.
How much surveillance coverage do you need?
The camera’s viewing angle determines how much space the camera will cover. Wider angled lenses help cut down on the number of cameras required for overall coverage of your property. Depending on the coverage you need and each camera’s viewing angle, you may need to purchase multiple cameras or multi-packs to monitor more space around your home.
Does the camera have high-quality video resolution?
Another factor to consider when outdoor surveillance camera shopping is the camera’s resolution. The higher the camera resolution, the clearer and easier the images will be to see. Ideally, you’ll want 1080p or higher resolution for the clearest images. Keep in mind that if you connect your camera to a DVR or other recording device, it will also need to be HD compatible in order to keep the image at a high quality. The size of the area you want to monitor will determine the resolution you need. For example, wide retail spaces will require high resolution cameras to ensure image quality isn’t compromised when zooming. Alternatively, smaller areas such as offices or reception rooms will typically only require low resolution cameras. It’s not always the case that the highest resolution camera is the best for every situation.
Does the security camera have night vision?
Monitoring at night is one of the most common uses for outdoor surveillance cameras, and in order to get a high-quality image, you’ll want to purchase a camera with infrared (IR) technology. Many models have a built-in IR cut-switch that automatically enables and disables the infrared technology depending on the lighting conditions. The number of infrared LEDs used in a camera will help determine how far of a night vision range a camera has.
What’s the best camera style for your needs?
There are two main styles of outdoor security cameras — dome or bullet. Both camera styles are fairly obvious to potential intruders, however, it is more difficult to determine which direction a dome-style camera is pointing, which may help deter a potential intruder. Another thing to keep in mind regarding camera style is whether you want to mount it on the ceiling or wall.
Dome cameras are the best to use for discretion due to their small half spherical-shape – the ultra-compact models are so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand. PZT (Pan Tilt Zoom) cameras are good for monitoring expansive areas and following subjects easily. PTZ cameras work best for larger areas given their large range of view and ability to zoom in on particular activity.
In comparison, smaller areas are only likely to require static cameras. There are also different types of networks which are required depending on the area size you want to monitor. Most businesses will only require a LAN network; however large networks will require a WAN network.
Does the camera have sufficient recording capacity?
If you want to watch a playback of the goings-on around your home, you’ll need a camera with on-board storage capacity or cloud recording capabilities. Most cameras with recording capabilities have an on-board SD or microSD slot that allows for sufficient recording space.
Some systems also record to DVD or mini-disc, but most are now transitioning to DVR (digital video recorder) technology. A computer-based camera system records your video to the PC’s hard disc, making it fast and easy to review your video history.
Do you want to access your camera with a mobile device?
Many outdoor surveillance cameras available today are able to live stream a feed directly to your mobile device. If you want to be able to check in during the day or while away for extended periods, this is a valuable feature to have. Be sure to choose a camera that is compatible with your device.
What are the lighting conditions?
It’s important to test cameras to see which models work best in the lighting conditions present at your premises. Areas inside and outside will experience different amounts of sunlight throughout the day, not to mention throughout the year as seasons change.
Thinking about where the light will be is vital. For example, will there be a reflection off the floor?
Is there strong backlighting creating a glare? For environments such as nightclubs, strobe lighting can have an effect on the camera.
Thankfully there are a variety of technologies which will ensure you capture usable footage in a range of lighting conditions. Light filtering technology such as IR filters and artificial illuminators can amplify or reduce the amount of light reaching a sensor, creating clearer images during the day and night.
Is audio important?
Integrating audio into a surveillance system makes it possible for personnel to hear and speak with possible perpetrators. It can be easily integrated with video management systems.
From a surveillance point of view it can also be used as an independent detection method triggering recordings and alarms when audio passes a certain threshold.
Browse our selection of indoor security cameras, outdoor security cameras, and video doorbell cameras. Choose a home or work security camera option that is best for your security needs.
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