Simple Guide to Choosing the right CCTV Camera

CCTV camera or closed-circuit television camera is used primarily for surveillance. As there is a remarkably wide range of brands in the market utilizing an impressive range of technologies that are still evolving and being developed, deciding on the right CCTV camera can be a mind-boggling task.

Basic Dome CameraFirstly the choice of CCTV camera to purchase largely depends on the main objective of the surveillance be it to observe employees at work or to monitor the security of an area.

Secondly, the budget and surveillance location is important. For example, installing a CCTV system in a large premise would be more cost efficient using IP cameras than with analog wired CCTV cameras.

Wired and Wireless CCTV cameras

Like cordless telephones, wireless CCTV cameras do not require cables to be linked to a monitor(s). They are more mobile than wired cameras but most cameras would require an electrical outlet for installation. For analog wireless camera, the quality of signal may deteriorate with distance and most cameras work well within 150 feet or less from the monitor(s) but some can even work up to about 200 feet.

Wired CCTV cameras on the other hand are connected with coaxial cables. Similar to the wireless camera, the quality of signal may deteriorate with distance. For longer distance of more than 500 feet, the quality of signal can be sustained by using more superior quality cables such a RG59 cable (for distance up to 600 feet) or CAT5 cables (for distance from 600 feet to 2,000 feet).

IP Cameras

IP cameras short for Internet Protocol cameras can transmit signals through an IP network, thus allowing images to be viewed on the computer or other mobile device in real time. IP cameras can also be linked to wireless network, and can be operated wherever there is a network connection. A few IP cameras can also be linked to a digital video recorder (DVR) to form a video surveillance system, and it is flexible enough that more cameras can be added to the system if required at later time.

One of the attractive features of IP camera is its two-way audio capability enabling the user and the viewer to communicate, for example when a customer orders at a fast food drive-in counter. IP cameras generally have higher resolution megapixel providing better quality images but it also requires a high network bandwidth.

IP cameras are significantly more expensive than analog cameras, but for large premises like military camps, schools, tall buildings and large factories, the cost of installing IP cameras will be much lower than wired analog cameras.

Low Light Cameras

Many IP cameras have low light features that have extra sensitive imaging chip to capture a good picture in situations where there is minimal light, such as outdoor night applications. Some security cameras can be used for both day and night, where the lens can automatically change from color to black–and-white image depending on the lighting in the surroundings.

High Definition Security Camera

Many IP camera manufacturers have further improved the quality of images through High Definition technology offering resolutions of 1280x720 pixels or 1920x1080 pixels. HD cameras can cover a broader area in greater details, so there is no need to install many cameras for an area which is often the case when image quality is poor. This is ideal where detailed surveillance is required such as a casino or even a manufacturing process floor.

IP Camera with built-in SD Card

Some cameras come with in-built SD memory card that can store video and audio signals without linking to an external recording equipment or software. This will eliminate the hassle of set-up and programming needed for conventional CCTV cameras.

There are myriads of products in the market that incorporate one or more of the feature types mentioned above with different price ranges. It is important to read product features carefully and compare with similar products from other manufacturers to ensure a wise purchase.

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