What to know before buying a security camera system… March 30, 2016

Camera

More than you ever wanted to know about buying a security camera (CCTV) system….

Business as usual,

After seeing a recent uptick in requests for CCTV systems and security cameras, I decided to go over the most common questions, issues and misconceptions I have encountered from EZ Switch’s customers. Those include Hotels, Hospitals, Home Owners’ Associations, COOPs, Condos, Private Home owners, and even renters.

Questions came from first time buyers as well as owners of existing systems.

Plus, you will get some idea of the considerations that an EZ Switch integrator puts into designing and installing your system.

Analog or digital, what’s the difference? IP or AHD or IPoCOAX? IP65, IP66, or IP67, which one do I need? The number of options can be overwhelming.

Lights, camera, action, CCTV is all about the lights…

That says it all. I can end the paragraph with the title. The security camera accepts, converts, and processes light. As far as action, the CCTV camera is little more than an intelligent piece of film, accepting light and creating an image.

Light can be our friend, or our enemy,

The amount, the “temperature” and the direction of light are the camera’s only tools. A camera that stares into the sun for 8 hours a day will produce a worse image than one looking away from the sun. Likewise, a camera that is pointed away from a light source will produce a better image, and last longer than one that has a bright light source in it’s field of view.

Ideally, the camera should be above or behind the light source…

If your phone has a camera, experiment with it. If you like taking selfies, take one with a light right behind your head. Then try one with a source of light (table lamp, flashlight, etc.) between you and the camera.

Ok, try this – look at a lamp, now put the phone up so that its above the light and take a pic.

Compare the pictures you took. Ideally, the camera should be above or behind the light source!

Even for the worst images the results may not be so bad, some phones can compensate for bad image composition, but you can already see the difference. Your phone probably took a second or two to process the image. Now picture your phone trying to handle between 15 and 60 of those images per second.

When figuring out where to mount the cameras, don’t just think about what you want to capture, or where the cameras will look their best. Take a look at what will be in the image that will ruin the picture. Check the compass, which way is South? How does the sun travel across the camera’s field of view? Is there a street lamp that will be shining into the lens at night? Is the camera trying to look into a dark alley and down a bright sunny street at the same time?

These are all important considerations before “where will our camera look best,” even enters into it.

Next we will take a look at Deciphering MegaPixels…

 
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