The rate at which consumer technology is advancing is truly mind-blowing. The advancements weâ€™ve made in just the past 10 years are tremendous, and we only make more and more progress with each and every day that passes.
One of the electronics thatâ€™s seen huge improvements during this time is the security camera. The devices arenâ€™t exactly revolutionary, but theyâ€™ve seen a number of upgrades throughout the past few years that have made them sleeker and secure than ever before.
They arenâ€™t exactly the most glamorous product to shop for, but they can prove to be extremely helpful additions to your home. Whether you want to keep tabs on your house while youâ€™re away on a vacation or business trip, track pesky raccoons that keep invading your home, or even watch out for possible robbers/burglars, security cameras can help keep an eye on everything when youâ€™re asleep or out of town.
If a security camera sounds like something you want to get for your home, thatâ€™s great! But do you know what to look for in a security camera when it comes time to shop?
If you arenâ€™t quite sure and need some help with knowing what to look for, take a few minutes to read through our guide for picking out the best security camera for your needs!
Types of Cameras
Not all security cameras are the same. There are five basic types of security cameras in general, but if youâ€™re looking at outdoor security cameras specifically, two out of those five are the types that will serve your needs best.
The first type are bullet cameras. Bullet Cameras are the most common type of outdoor security camera out there, with their large array of lights and cylindrical shape. These cameras are often your best choice when you have a specific area that you want to get video surveillance of, and can easily be mounted to the side of your house.
The second type are dome cameras. These types of cameras are generally mounted to the underside of an awning or roof and are great if you want a â€œeye in the skyâ€ point of view. Some dome cameras are fixed in place, while others can be remotely controlled to zoom, pan, and tilt to get the ultimate view on your subject.
Optics and Resolution
Just like with point-and-shoot cameras, the type of lens used on an outdoor security camera will make a world of difference as to what your security footage will look like.
A camera that records 720p HD video will be most cost effective and deliver clear video, but one that is capable of capturing 1080p Full HD video will generally cost more while offering an even better picture.
You also want to look at how many frame per second the camera is capable of capturing, as this will determine how smooth your video playback will be. 30 frames per second (FPS) is the most common type and will deliver smooth video playback, whereas something with 60 FPS will have smoothness you just canâ€™t get with 30 FPS.
Another key factor you want to keep in mind is whether or not you want a security camera that is capable of capturing color images and video.
Cameras that can capture color are most effective when itâ€™s bright outside or there is ample lighting around it, and the benefit of having color video can be huge if you need to accurately describe perpetrators to the authorities.
With that said, color cameras struggle in the dark. Thatâ€™s where black and white security cameras come into play. As a general rule of them, these are the best options when recording in the dark, and will be your best bet if you do a lot of surveillance at night.
To further how well your security camera can see in the dark, youâ€™ll want to make sure that the camera you choose has low-light imaging technology to make sure you donâ€™t miss anything just because the sun goes down.
Outdoor security cameras that are made for nighttime use often have light-gathering image sensors with sensitivity levels that are measured in lumens. With lumens, the smaller number a camera has, the better it will perform when recording in the dark.
One of the bigger cost-deciding factors with security cameras is whether or not the camera is fixed. A fixed camera will be lighter on your wallet, but also limits you to how large of an area you are able to keep an eye on.
Cameras that can pan, tilt, and zoom (often referred to as PTZ cameras), have a steeper price tag but also allow you to get a much better perspective on your surroundings. These cameras do require a human operator to adjust them, but thanks to recent advancements, many security cameras can be operated directly from your smartphone or tablet. That means that even if youâ€™re living it up on a family vacation or doing business overseas, you can still adjust your camera and keep an eye on your home no matter where youâ€™re at.
If you plan on doing a lot of recording with your security camera, youâ€™re going to need a place to store all of that video (keep in mind that the higher the resolution of your camera, the greater amount of storage those files are going to take up). Some security cameras can be used with memory cards that allow you to increase how much video your camera can capture. Keep in mind that memory cards can fill up quickly if you record a great amount of video, and shouldnâ€™t be used as your only method for storing all of your video. However, when used in conjunction with your computerâ€™s hard drive or online cloud storage solutions, they can prove to be great assets.
Security cameras are excellent tools to keep an eye on your home when youâ€™re not able to, and as you can see, thereâ€™s quite a lot to consider when deciding what security camera will be the best for you. The process may seem like a daunting one, but it can be stress-free with some good-planning and strategic thinking.