8 Facts You Must Know Before Buying a Security Camera
So you’re feeling the itch to install security cameras around your property. Maybe there have been a few robberies in the past few months, and you want to protect yourself. Perhaps someone has been painting graffiti on your walls, and you want to stop that troublemaker. Or you just want to know who’s rummaging in your trash bins every night.
There are more than a few reasons why you’d want to install CCTV on your property, and it’s never a bad idea to do so. But what do you need to know before you start monitoring the perimeter? Keep reading to find out!
1. General filming restrictions
You can use cameras in your home or business, but there are some limits regarding where you can legally use surveillance. The specifics may vary from country to country. Still, the general rule is that it is illegal to use any kind of surveillance in areas where people would expect privacy, such as in changing rooms, locker rooms, or toilets. There can be exceptions made when there is a legal issue, but only after it has been approved by the police.
The general rule is that any place viewable to the public is fine to film. But any place where other people would expect to find privacy is a big no-no when it comes to surveillance.
2. Which parts of the property do you want to cover
Deciding exactly how much of your property you want to keep under watch may be challenging. Sure, you can get cameras pointed at every little corner of your home, but will it be financially viable for you in the long term? And do you want your house to end up looking like a high-security prison?
Take a step back and try to think like a potential intruder – where would they try to break in from? What are the weak spots of your home? Are there any dimly lit areas where a potential burglar could hide? Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a good idea of what areas you want to keep within view of your cameras.
3. Types of cameras
There are more than a few different types of cameras, so having a good idea of what they are can get you one step closer to choosing the right surveillance equipment for your needs. The most common types are:
- Dome cameras: This type of camera has a dome-shaped housing and is commonly used in indoor settings. They can be mounted on walls or ceilings with a wide viewing angle.
- Bullet cameras: They are cylindrical in shape and are often used for outdoor surveillance. They are weather-resistant and can be mounted on walls or poles.
- PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras: A PTZ camera can be remotely controlled to move up, down, left, right, and zoom in and out. They are often used in large outdoor areas and are ideal for tracking moving objects.
- Thermal cameras: These cameras use thermal imaging to detect heat signatures and are often used in low-light or nighttime settings. They are commonly used for perimeter security.
- 360-degree cameras: Such cameras provide a complete view of an area in all directions and are often used in large open spaces like airports or shopping malls.
- Wireless cameras: This type of camera can transmit their video feed wirelessly, which makes them easy to install and move around. They are commonly used in small businesses or homes.
4. Quality and output resolution
Gone is the age of the fuzzy surveillance footage that shows nothing more than a jumble of pixels, which will serve no real purpose for identifying anyone or anything. Modern security cameras provide high-quality video, with the most common resolution being 1080p (1920 x 1080).
Of course, cameras are available with lower and higher quality video, but what you choose to buy depends on your budget and needs. Do you need to see crystal-clear footage of people’s faces, car number plates, and so on? Or do you just need to know whether someone or something has been rummaging around your property?
5. Lens size and sensors
Surveillance cameras come with a plethora of different lens sizes and sensors, which affect the camera’s field of view, focal length, and image quality. Lenses can be fixed, varifocal, or zoom lenses. The size of the sensor also affects the camera’s image quality. Generally, a larger sensor provides better image quality than a smaller one.
When choosing a security camera, the right lens size and sensor for your situation depends on the application, lighting conditions, and required image quality. Consider these factors to make sure that your surveillance needs are adequately met.
6. Night vision
You might not be able to see in the depths of the night, but a night vision camera definitely can! As most crimes are often committed under cover of darkness, a camera that can see when there’s little or no light can prove crucial for your security.
There are different types of night vision technologies available. One of the most common is infrared illumination, which is used in many cameras for low-light or nighttime conditions. Another technology is thermal imaging, which detects heat signatures and can provide clear images even in complete darkness.
7. Cloud or local storage
Whether you choose to store your recorded footage locally on an NVR or in the cloud depends on your needs, circumstances, and budget.
With local storage, you have complete control over your footage, and you do not need to rely on an internet connection to watch your videos or worry about bandwidth issues messing up your quality. On the other hand, local storage is limited in size, can be stolen or damaged during a break-in, and offers no redundancy to protect your recordings.
Meanwhile, cloud storage offers scalability when it comes to storage space, allows you to access your footage remotely from anywhere, and automatic backups protect your videos from being lost. The main issues are that you have to pay a monthly subscription and have a stable high-speed internet connection for this type of storage.
8. Additional features
Depending on the model of camera you choose, there can be many different additional features available, such as:
- Motion Detection
- Two-Way Audio
- Facial Recognition
- Vehicle Number Plate Recognition
- Mobile App Integration
- Advanced Video Analytics
- Smart Home Integration
Some of these features might prove helpful for you, while others might just increase your hardware cost needlessly. Decide what your situation warrants and what it doesn’t to avoid overpaying.
Home and business security should be taken seriously, and one of the most important steps is to add video surveillance into the mix. Tactically placed cameras can offer a clear view of anyone trying to get into your property illegally. And now that you’ve read this article, you know the basics, all that’s left is to decide what you need and how to set it up!
Still feeling stuck – don’t know where to start or how to get it all up and running? If that’s the case, then it might be best to make use of the locksmith services of a professional in all things CCTV!