With the number of options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed shopping for CCTV cameras. How do you know if you need a specific option or if it’s just a waste of money? Here are some aspects to consider to help you choose the best CCTV monitoring cameras for your home or business.
What Do You Want the CCTV Cameras to Monitor?
The first thing you need to consider is what the cameras will be used for. Just because it’s the most expensive or feature-filled camera on the market doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best for your needs. Your answer to the question will influence the rest of the decision-making process.
If you’re looking to monitor a tiny storeroom in the back of your office, buying an expensive high-end thermal camera doesn’t make any sense. Choose a camera that fits the intended application.
Understand Camera Capabilities
Before you dive into the shopping, it’s important to understand the basics of camera capabilities. That way, you’ll know what you’re looking for instead of aimlessly wandering through countless webpages and vendor brochures, hoping something jumps out at you.
There are two important numbers to look for when shopping for CCTV cameras:
- Focal length – how far the camera can see. In general, the size of a camera’s lens in millimetres is equal to its focal length in metres. For example, a camera with a 4mm lens will be able to identify a target up to four metres away.
- Field of view – the angle of a camera’s peripherals. A camera with a 60-degree angle lens will be able to see within 60 degrees of center on both sides. A wider-angle lens will be able to see more, but in less detail.
Consider the Lighting
CCTV cameras are just like any other camera: they need light to work, so it’s important to think about the lighting in the area you wish to monitor. Cameras monitoring areas with poor lighting conditions, especially at night, need low-light solutions:
- Support lighting – Add lights to monitored areas. This can save you money on fancy night-vision cameras but will also increase your energy bill.
- Low-light imaging – Cameras equipped with low-light imaging are designed to perform in dim conditions. They won’t work as well as infrared or thermal cameras in complete darkness but are considerably cheaper.
- Infrared (IR) – the most popular low-light choice. IR cameras use infrared light to create a clear picture even in the darkest areas. Infrared light is invisible to the naked eye, so you won’t annoy your neighbors with blinding spotlights.
- Thermal – uses heat instead of light to create a picture. Thermal cameras are the best at detecting movement at long distances even in total darkness, but that power comes at a cost. Thermal videos aren’t very detailed. You’ll be able to tell if someone is present but not who they are.
Analog vs. Internet Protocol (IP) CCTV Cameras
CCTV cameras can be split into two groups: analog and IP. There are pros and cons to each, so it’s important to choose the one with the benefits that correspond to your home or business’s unique needs.
- Analog cameras – traditional security cameras. They’re hardwired into your building’s power and are connected to on-site recording equipment like a DVR. Analog cameras are generally cheaper than IP cameras but lack modern features.
- Internet protocol (IP) cameras – operate and store data using the internet. They typically have much higher resolution and are more flexible than analog cameras, but at a higher per camera expense. IP cameras are quickly becoming the most popular CCTV option due to their scalability and ease of use.
Think About the Future
It’s not always wise to choose the most cost-effective option. Down the road, it might end up costing more money. As your needs change, you might need to upgrade or add to your security solution, which could mean replacing your cheaper solution entirely.
Think about what you might need in the future and select a CCTV system that can scale and upgrade with you. Although it might not be the cheapest option right now, you’ll save money in the long run.
Consult the Experts at Four Walls Security
If you’re having trouble selecting the perfect CCTV cameras for your home or business, it can be helpful to consult an expert. At Four Walls Security, we have years of experience working with Brisbane area home and business owners, helping them find customised security solutions to fit all their needs. Contact us for more information or for a free, no obligation quote today!