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Security Cameras: Types, Housing & Features

Shopping for security camera systems may seem like a one-size-fits-all deal, but, unfortunately, it is not. Because there are a plethora of security camera types and surveillance features to be considered, it will take some time to decide. Evaluate your security needs, do some research and weigh your options. To make it easier, we will break down the different types, housing, and common features of security cameras.

Types
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of common security camera types.

  • Fixed – As the name suggests, fixed cameras are positioned to capture an image and are always pointing in the intended direction. Because these do no move, they are more reliable than PTZ cameras and can be optimized with different housing and features.
  • PTZ Cameras- PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom, thus, these cameras can be remotely positioned (thanks to specially designed motors and gears). These cameras may be set to automatically patrol an area, but they seem to be most effective when manually controlled.

For zoom capabilities, 32X is fairly common, although some higher end cameras may have a greater zoom range. While a greater zoom range is helpful when covering a large area, it is not always necessary.

However, there are some downfalls. Because PTZ cameras can adjust its viewing range, there are chances that they may miss something. Also, zoom decreases the size of the area being covered, and the camera can only be facing one direction at a time.

  • 360-Degree Cameras – Also known as virtual PTZ, the 360-degree camera utilizes several high resolution fixed cameras in a single housing (usually dome). The images are then stitched together and can be zoomed in on after recording (zoom capabilities depend on the cameras being used). Because this type of camera can face in all directions, it can be an effective forensic tool.

Unfortunately, these cameras are often oversold as a universal solution, despite the fact that very few rooms allow for an unobstructed view in all directions. In applications where this camera is necessary, it often does wonderfully. However, a standard fixed camera can be paired with a lens to give it a 120-degree to 140-degree view. Also, many rooms are better monitored with cameras in corners (which only require a 90-degree field of view).

Housing
Once you have chosen the camera type, housing will come into play.

  • Outdoor – Because of changing environmental elements, outdoor camera housing will be more weather resistant and include heaters and blowers.
  • Dome – These are designed to obscure the direction of the camera to outsiders. This is often the best deterrent, making it a high priority and often a default selection. Most people assume dome cameras cover the entire area, making a fixed dome camera covering a door entrance more effective.
  • Bullet – These are named for their sleek, cylindrical shape, often times resembling a bullet. This housing clearly shows the direction of the lens and generally provides a better picture. The front of the housing is close to the camera lens, decreasing reflections and making it easier to maintain. These act as deterrents as well, but are not as effective as ambiguous housing.
  • Discreet – These completely disguise the camera as something else, such as a smoke detector or motion sensor, or as nothing at all, with pinhole or flush mount lenses installed in a wall or ceiling. Because they are hidden, they are not designed to be deterrents. These are often favored by architects looking to achieve a certain aesthetic.

All types of housing can be made to be vandal resistant, which is a step up from weather resistant. These types of housings are most commonly dome shaped and are designed to withstand unfriendly environments while still providing a usable image.

Features
The selection of features for your security cameras will depend on the application and your individual needs.

  • Resolution – Resolution is measured in megapixels (millions of pixels) and is a major factor in picture and video quality. The higher the resolution, the more space required to store the images and processing power to manipulate it.

To demonstrate the differences in resolution, an old analog camera is about ¼ megapixel, an HDTV screen is just over 2 megapixels, and the highest resolution projected image in movie theaters (4K) is 8.8 megapixels.

While higher resolution cameras may be appealing, these do not respond as well as lower resolution cameras in low light situations. Thus, it is possible to buy more resolution than you need, unnecessarily increasing storage costs while decreasing performance.

  • Low Light – Cameras with day/night capabilities are able to automatically adjust modes in various lighting situations. With advanced technologies, these cameras are able to produce usable images in near total darkness.

There are also cameras with infrared illuminators, which provide their own light source to obtain better images in low light settings. As mentioned, in order to improve low light performance, you will need to sacrifice some resolution.

  • Lens Features – Varifocal lenses allow the installer to manually adjust the image magnification when installing the camera. However, many fixed cameras now come with remote zoom and focus (allowing the user to adjust the camera without physically going to the camera site), as well as auto-focus.
  • Advanced Options – Other options to consider include wireless signal transition, ultra-high resolution, thermal imaging, explosion proof housings and more.

No matter what the application, there’s likely a perfect security solution thanks to the comprehensive options available. And while the selection process may seem overwhelming, we are here to help. Feel free to browse our CCTV surveillance systems online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative.

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How Much Do Home Security Surveillance Cameras Cost?

Shopping on a budget for a security camera system? It doesn’t have to be that hard. Let SecurityCamExpert.com help you find smart solutions without breaking the bank.

Our selection of security cameras includes a variety of different styles with varying specifications. We carry security cameras starting as low as $20-$60 and reaching up to $250-$400 depending on specifications. You can pay for better quality and features, or you can get good quality for a decent price. It all depends on how much you can or are willing to spend.

For the most basic security system solutions, you can opt for dummy cameras. Our dummy cameras don’t exceed $30 so you can build a pseudo security system for cheap. Check out this SecurityMan Dummy Indoor Camera, it has a convincing look for a reasonable price.

If you want a functioning security system, dome security cameras and bullet security cameras are common types and low in price. Ours range from $40-$175, all dependent upon picture resolution, special features like night vision or audio components. Still, a great camera can be found for a cost-effective price. Our box cameras hover around the same range, but also require a separate purchase of camera lenses, which can add to overall cost.

As we move up the price ladder, our specialty security cameras like HD-SDI, high resolution, network IP and PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) start around $100 and go up from there. It should be understood that you are paying more for performance and abilities. These cameras offer much better picture and allow you to better manipulate your viewing range. License plate capture cameras have magnificent zoom abilities along with solid resolution, so they can start north of $200.

While SecurityCamExpert.com offers individual security cameras, we also offer great packaged deals which can significantly assist those on a tight budget. Our camera packages include the basics: DVR (with & without hard drives), cameras, cables and power supplies. Our 4 camera packages range from $249 up to $549, while our 8 camera packages range from $329 up to $567. Our 16 camera packages range from $836-915, but we also offer wireless camera bundles that start as low as $139 and up. Our 4 camera IP/hybrid camera package starts at $399 and you can add more cameras or accessories from there. You can explore our packages options here.

Shop our inventory online and you’ll find security cameras or systems that fit within your budget. Would you rather get a quote based on your needs? Fill out our Free CCTV System Quote and work with our staff to create a security system within your means. Feel free to call us at 1-888-203-6294 with any questions you may have.

The Evolution of the Kodak Box Camera

Box security cameras have come a long way and still hold their own within the security camera realm amongst the advanced items currently available. The simple design and execution of the box cameras provide performance without the daunting price tag. Box cameras began as a plain cardboard or plastic box with a lens on one end and film on the other. With advancing technology and ever-changing innovation, box cameras and their relevance in the photography, film and surveillance world has been well established. No need for all the bells and whistles; box cameras and box security cameras get the job done.

Early on, photography was rather expensive and time-consuming. In 1888, the Kodak Box Camera was introduced with the tagline being “You press the button – we do the rest.” Simply take a picture with your box camera and Kodak would do the rest. Thus the concept of the “snapshot” was born. However, because of its clear-cut design, there were limitations to the box cameras. Daytime was the best time to utilize box cameras since the entrance of light was restricted. Kodak became a household name and the major contender for photography, film and cameras all thanks to George Eastman. The affordable Kodak Brownie camera was a new type of box cameras introduced in 1900, allowing more people the ability to take up photography as a hobby, thus increasing the market demand.

The 20th century was a fruitful time for Kodak and the box camera, which produced many milestones for photography and motion picture. The first 8mm amateur motion-picture film was introduced while color film, motion picture cameras and projectors also made their debuts. These items, along with improved technology, set the tone for box cameras being used for security and surveillance purposes.

Box security cameras today still maintain the elementary build. The boxy shape makes box security cameras easy to mount, eliminating most complications with installation. For use indoors or outdoors, box security cameras are versatile and durable, making them great additions to any surveillance system. No longer utilizing actual film, the box security cameras are likely to be connected to a digital video recorder (DVR). Box security cameras do not come with a lens; you must purchase that part separately. While some may find this inconvenient, it can be noticeably beneficial. By selecting your own lens, you are free to find the lens suited to your needs. Also, you may purchase various lenses and interchange them with your box security camera as necessary. The advancement of lenses allows for more light to enter, as well as improved focusing due to specified viewing ranges for each lens.

While box cameras and box security cameras have evolved over time, the basic concept has remained. The box cameras are reminiscent of simpler times, providing consumers these days an affordable yet sophisticated product utilizing fundamental elements in the form of box security cameras. Consumers seem to fancy the idea of mixing a little old school with new school technology.

Looking to add box security cameras to your surveillance system? Browse our box security camera selection at SecurityCamExpert.com or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294 and our staff will gladly provide assistance.

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