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Security Camera Buyer's Guide
This is a quick guide on choosing the best surveillance camera for your system. There are a few key elements to consider when choosing your outdoor camera:
- Camera Shape:
- Bullet Cameras
- The most popular shape for a cctv camera for outdoor use is a bullet or cylindrical shaped. Compared to a fixed dome camera, bullet camera casing allows a lot of infrared to be built-in to the camera to achieve infrared distances above 100ft for night vision in complete darkness. You can find cameras without infrared, or with infrared night vision ranging from 60ft to 300ft. They also offer mounting flexibility with the 3 axis mount that allows camera mounting to a wall, pole, ceiling, eaves or overhang.
- Dome Cameras
- Dome cameras are ideal for locations where they may be subject to tampering, or a surveillance camera with a small footprint is needed to make it less conspicuous. Vandal proof dome cameras are by far the most popular type for such use. Infrared night vision distance is limited to a maximum of 130ft since dome casing is small. Camera size varies from 3 - 5 inches in diameter, and can be mounted on a wall, ceiling, or underneath an eaves.
- Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras
- PTZ are larger cameras ranging 5 to 9 inches in diameter. Their main use is in surveillance applications where there is an actual guard controlling the camera and monitoring passersby. Their large size is due to a motorized assembly within that moves the camera in 360 degrees, and zooming capability with the motorized lens. Best use scenarios are retail stores, shopping malls, train stations, and airports. Auto tracking PTZ cameras also allow the camera to follow persons in low traffic scenarios to track trespasser movement.
- Box Cameras
- Box cameras are professional cameras that are composed of a camera and lens inside a enclosure camera housing to protect it from the weather. They are particularly useful in demanding weather, and have also shown to outlast dome and bullet cameras. If the camera were to fail, it is very simple and cost-effective to replace the actual camera component. Likewise, if the cctv lens inside were to malfunction or the housing got damaged, only the part needed can be replaced. Box cameras are available with heater blower housings to withstand extreme hot or cold temperatures, with infrared & fan housings, or a simple outdoor housing without a fan or heating element. Box cameras with housing are also a great fit for customers wanting to build their own outdoor professional wireless camera. Simply add a wireless transmitter and use its matching wireless receiver to transmit video wirelessly up to 3 miles.
- Bullet Cameras
- Camera Construction Material
It is extremely important to have a metal camera for outdoor use. All outdoor security cameras sold by CCTV Camera World are composed of metal and have a weather proof (IP) rating of IP66 or higher. Sadly there are many companies that sell plastic cameras with IP65 or lower ratings advertised for outdoor use, but these types of cameras have inadequate weather proofing and succumb to moisture easily when placed outdoors or even indoors in a humid environment. Moisture buildup leads to condensation of the camera lens and failure of the electrical circuit board. Secondly, the metal construction of dome or bullet cameras is often accompanied by a vandal proof feature, which makes it almost impossible to alter the camera direction, or tamper with the camera wiring once installed; only the owner can adjust the camera with a special allen key.
- IP Weather Proof Rating
As mentioned above weather proof ratings are important for outdoor security cameras and are related to the construction material of the camera. All outdoor cameras sold by CCTVCameraWorld have an IP66 rating at the least, meaning the camera can withstand direct contact with water, rain, snow, and sand up to a certain pressure level. You can be confident that our outdoor cameras are built to last in common outdoor environments, and we also offer security cameras with higher weather proof ratings up to IP68 that can withstand more exposure to rain or water, and in some cases submersion.
- Analog Security Cameras up to 1000TVL
- Non high definition CCTV cameras that use BNC video connectors are also referred to as analog cameras. These types of cameras are now available in resolutions up to 1000TVL (TV Lines). At a 80 degree viewing angle, you can expect facial clarity up to 10 feet away from analog cameras and general detail up to hundreds of feet. Of course you can obtain more clarity by using a analog cctv camera with a higher mm lens like 22mm or 50mm to see further.
- HD Security Cameras
- For situations where more clarity than a Analog CCTV Camera is needed, we recommend using a megapixel camera which is also referred to as a HD security cameras. You can expect facial clarity up to 20ft away with a 1 megapixel resolution camera at an 80 degree angle of view. The higher the megapixel (MP) resolution, the farther the camera can see. There are two main types of HD surveillance cameras that we carry:
CCTV cameras are available with fixed or variable zoom lens. Variable zoom lens are also referred to as Varifocal Lens, and unless specified as motorized, they are manual lenses that can be adjusted by hand at the camera using a screw driver or allen key. When choosing a camera it is important to consider how far will the subject(s) be from the camera. A 2.8mm or 3.6mm lens combined with a 1/3" CCD is used for a 90 or 80 degree angle of view, respectively. If you are looking for a long range camera to see a face 40ft away, we suggest using a varifocal bullet camera with a lens of 9-22mm or 5-50mm. Facial detail up to 100ft away can be capture using a 50mm lens, and up to 140ft away using a 100mm lens.
Night vision for a camera is provided by infrared LED bulbs located concentrically around the camera lens. Infrared light is only visible to the camera, and invisible to the human eye. Passersby would see only a slight red glow from the IR LEDs in darkness when they are near the camera. Night vision distance is determined by the intensity of the IR LEDs and the number of LEDs. For example, we carry bullet cameras with 72 IR high intensity LEDs that emit the same amount of night vision as the ones with 10 SUPER IR LEDs. Both achieve night vision up to 260ft away.
Video connection type needs to be considered when choosing a cctv camera for an existing system. There are two common video connections in the CCTV industry, i.e. BNC and RJ45. BNC is shared by 3 video signal types so it is very important to make sure you are buying the right type of camera for your system. Professional analog cameras use BNC connections. New technology such as HDSDI and HDCVI cameras also use BNC and send high definition video over coaxial cable, but these HD cameras are not compatible with DVRs that accept analog CCTV signals.
RJ45 connections are network connections used commonly by IP cameras that support limitless megapixel resolution capability. RJ45 connections allow IP cameras to be connected to a computer network and recorded to a NVR recorder or computer server.
- Analog Cameras
- HDCVI Cameras
- HDSDI Cameras
- TVI Cameras
- AHD Cameras
- IP Security Cameras
- 12V DC - Most common in the CCTV industry
- 24V AC - Popular with professional CCTV installers for its ability to carry power over distances upwards of 300 feet compared to DC 12V cameras
- POE - Power over Ethernet is a power transmission method for network IP cameras over network cabling