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Home>Selecting a Security Camera

What You Need to Know When Selecting a Security Camera

With all the different security cameras available it can get a little confusing on which one you need. The first thing to consider is do you just need an overall view of an area to see what is happening or do you want facial recognition of anyone in the area. For general surveillance of a large area the standard 3.6mm wide angle lens cameras are a good choice. They provide a nice wide field of view and a general idea of what is happening but facial recognition becomes difficult after 20 to 25 feet from the camera. It doesn't mean that you can't see someone or something at 50 feet or more feet away it's just they appear quite small on your monitor making facial recognition difficult or impossible.

With standard security cameras up to 700 lines of resolution in order to get facial detail a person standing will need to take up at least one third the height of the image you see on the monitor. For instance if a 6 ft. person is standing 50 feet away from the camera the lens in the camera will need to be 9mm in order for them to take up 1/3 of the image on your monitor and appear large enough to see facial details. The farther away the camera the larger the lens size you will need and the closer they are the smaller the lens size you will need. Many of the cameras we sell have vari-focal lenses in them which allow you to zoom in or out manually to get the desired image size. We have a lens field of view calculator to help you determine the right size lens for your situation.

Now that you have an idea of the view you are looking for another factor to consider is lighting. Most cameras can give you a good image in daytime or well lit areas, however if you need to see in very low light or nighttime darkness you will probably need a camera with infrared illuminators or one with a very low lux rating of .001 or less. For some additional information on infrared security cameras check our What is an Infrared Security Camera and how does it work? Another option is to install some extra lighting or motion lights that only come on when someone approaches them, this will provide the light needed for a standard color camera to see.

The environment the cameras are being installed in is another factor to consider. Indoors where weather is not an issue and temperature extremes are not great you can use just about any camera you like whether they are designed for indoors or outdoors. Indoors is more an issue of aesthetics or ease of installation. Outdoor installations however requires the use of weatherproof cameras or camera housings. If security cameras will be installed in areas that receive a lot of wind and rain as opposed to under an eve or porch you want one with a good weatherproof rating.

The IP rating (Ingress Protection Rating) is most helpful, without getting into the specifics of the ratings just look for a rating of IP66 or IP67. We should also mention that many times you will find one camera will not provide all the coverage you need so multiple cameras and where to place them should be considered. There is no point in trying to cover to large an area with a wide angle lens just to find out that when something happens you don't have enough detail of the individual for evidence. Since every security camera requires power and all except wireless cameras also require running video cables to your monitor or recording device hiding wires is usually the hardest part of installing. As always if you have further questions or need some advice in choosing the right security camera feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to help.

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