Let’s get in depth with security cameras and their various forms and functions that many people are unaware of. As you see above there are 5 different looking cameras, but that’s obvious. What isn’t obvious is that each camera could have the exact same lens, or they could all be different, and even then, there would be more to the camera’s true functionality. Keeping it somewhat simple, the cameras we typically use here at DNA are either going to be a 2mp, 4mp, 5mp, or an 8mp camera. In lamest terms a 2mp camera is going to give you 1080p definition and an 8mp camera is going to give you what’s known as 4K resolution. Another big difference that can honestly make or break a system is if you decide to go IP or TVI. Reason I use the terminology of breaking a system is because if you go the IP route and your network isn’t strong enough to support the extra bandwidth the IP cameras will put out you can run into malfunction of the cameras functioning properly or even worse affect your internal bandwidth.
With that basic understanding though there’s a deeper thought into why you choose what resolution your camera will be in and that all has to do with your scene type. A 2mp camera in an office setting is great because there’s typically low ceilings and not as much ground to cover so when you need to perform a digital zoom, where you zoom into the image the camera is catching, your image will pixelate the further you zoom no doubt, but you should be able to make out a person’s face clearly even 30ft away based on some scene factors and angles. An 8mp camera in the same scene could yield facial recognition up to 100ft away. This is very important to understand if you’re going to accomplish what you’re expecting out of your video security.
Lens size is a major factor as well because a 2.8mm lens will bring a 90-degree field of view angle while a 3.6mm will only bring 69-degrees field of view. The difference in the lens type is also the distance of the shot its going to capture. The larger the lens size the smaller field of view, and further the shot. This is where a varifocal lens comes into play. They can be pricier, but typically nowadays they are all motorized and can be controlled from the DVR or computer software and allow you to take one camera from a 2.8mm to a 12mm in a matter of seconds! There is what I like to call the chief of all cameras, the PTZ. A PTZ camera can be very expensive and overkill to put up everywhere, but in areas where multiple scenes may need to be covered in various times of the day a PTZ is perfect. PTZ stands for Pan Tilt Zoom, meaning you can control practically all the factors of a camera we’ve already discussed. You can change the viewing angle of the camera and you can change the lens size by zooming into areas all the way to 50mm even 120mm on some PTZ’s. They also have various resolutions available and again like the varifocal lens can be controlled from the DVR or software. If remote access to the system is enabled, you can even control the cameras from your phone or tablet!
Accessories also have a variation and option you will see with cameras that your vendor should be aware and knowledgeable about like the mounting options. Some cameras can be surface mounted, or ceiling mounted, but also can be put on an armature that will extend it off the wall or surface its being mounted to. This is important when there’s a corner of a building needing to be caught or if there’s a gutter in the way of a shot. Some cameras are already built on an arm to pivot on while others like a vandal dome camera may need to use an accessory to get the best shot possible.
The list of differences in cameras and their variations can go on for pages and pages, but this should give you a better understanding of a little more in depth look to why it’s important to know your options and the difference it will make to get your best bang for buck, but also your best possible shot at catching what you desire your system to catch. We would love to answer any direct questions you may have that are not covered in this article so feel free to reach out to us!