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Night Vision Cameras

Building The Ideal CCTV Surveillance System

When it comes to securing your property, CCTV cameras can be very effective. However, because there are a wide variety of CCTV cameras suited for different applications, if they are not properly implemented, their effectiveness may be compromised.

Before choosing your surveillance system, review the different types of CCTV cameras and the application for which they are best suited.

Different Types Of CCTV

Dome Camera

  • Commonly used for indoor surveillance
  • The ambiguous shape & design acts as a deterrent as criminals are unsure which way the camera is facing
  • Ease of installation
  • Vandal-proof features
  • Infrared capability

Bullet Camera

  • Long, cylindrical shape ideal for long distance viewing
  • Better suited for outdoor use
  • Protective casings safeguard against dust, dirt, and other natural elements
  • Compact size makes for easy installation and mounting with bracket
  • Fitted with either fixed or varifocal lenses depending on the requirements of the intended application
  • Adaptability (can be used indoors and outdoors)
  • High quality image resolution

C-Mount Camera

  • Detachable lenses allow for simple lens changes to fit different applications
  • Specialized lens use allow these cameras the ability to cover distances beyond 40ft
  • Can support changes in technology
  • Effective for indoor use
  • Bulky design and presence acts as a deterrent

Day/Night Camera

  • Can operate in both normal and poorly lit environments
  • They utilize extra sensitive imaging chips (instead of infrared illuminators)
  • Ideal for outdoor applications in which IR cameras do not function optimally
  • Record in both color and black & white
  • Wide variety of sizes available
  • IR (Infrared) capability

PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) Camera

  • Used with live guard or surveillance specialist operating the security systems
  • Pan and tilt rotation
  • Smart tracking features
  • Powerful zoom and autofocus

What To Consider
Choosing the right CCTV camera for your property is important. You want to evaluate your needs to determine where you will place these cameras as well as their primary use in that location. Some factors to consider when choosing include the lens, sensor, and output resolution.

  • Lens

The lens will dictate the quality of the image. The appropriate lens will allow your camera to focus and bring in enough light to the sensor, providing clarity and the ability to better identify things such as faces and license plates. A zoom lens will allow for further detail since it can adjust the light as it reaches to sensor for enhanced pictures and flexibility.

  • Sensor

There are two types of sensors:

  1. CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor)
  2. CCD (charged coupled device) cameras

CCD are more expensive than CMOS and produce clearer images (ideal for identifying faces and license plates).

  • Output Resolution

Generally speaking, the more pixels, the better the picture. The highest resolution you can get is 700TL, but most cameras range between 300-550TVL. Be sure to match a resolution that your camera can produce because anything more is unnecessary.

Other Things To Consider:

  • Discreet Vs. Visible

Box cameras are easier to be seen and clearly tell passersby that they are being recorded, which acts as a great deterrent. Dome cameras, on the other hand, are smaller and more discreet, making them ideal for monitoring larger areas such as front or backyards.

  • Indoors Vs. Outdoors

Consider where you will place your cameras both indoors and outdoors. If you plan on placing them outdoors, you want to ensure they are in the best location and well protected (weatherproof and vandal proof housing). For indoor cameras, you want to make sure it will not be affected by things like grease or steam from the kitchen.

  • Lighting Conditions

Whether indoors or outdoors, lighting will always change so it is advised that you test different camera models to see what works best with your lighting conditions. You also want to check for any reflections or backlighting during day or night.

  • Image Clarity

This will depend on the size of the area you want to monitor. Thus, a camera situated in a small room need not be of high resolution. The resolution of your CCTV camera should reflect the landscape in order to provide effective images.

  • Audio?

This depends on your personal preference (you should also look into the laws regarding audio recording if applicable). Some CCTV systems allow you to speak to the intruders, or you can have audio or alarms sound automatically when they reach a certain point. These tactics are meant to scare the intruders away before they can cause damage.

If you need help choosing the right CCTV surveillance system, call 888-203-6294 and we will be happy to help! You may also browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Low-Light Security Cameras

There’s something to be said about low-light security cameras. Because lighting conditions in different environments are not always ideal for surveillance, low-light security cameras enable us to capture respectable footage in these situations. And with new technology, the quality of low-light camera images has vastly improved.

But before you invest in low-light security cameras for your home or business, here are some important facts and tips to know to make the most of your security systems.
Here’s some important information in order to make the most of your security systems.

First and foremost, you should know the related terms you may come across:

  • Low-Light
  • Day/Night
  • Starlight
  • SenseUp
  • Night Vision
  • Light Finder
  • Light Toucher
  • Dark Finder
  • Light Catcher
  • Thermal Imaging

All of these terms refer to the same classification of surveillance cameras. And while some of these terms are trademarked by manufacturers, the most commonly used terms for these cameras are “low-light” and “day/night.”

How It Works
Despite the sometimes confusing terminology, the basic components remain the same for all low-light cameras: a lens and sensor and some level of image processing. And to be clear, low-light cameras are different than thermal cameras (which track heat rather than motion or images) or cameras with IR illuminators.

A majority of low-light cameras use an IR cut filter, which is a mechanical filter that sits between the lens and the sensor (CMOS chip). The name is derived from its ability to “cut out” or filter out IR illumination during the day to improve color quality. At night, as available light diminishes, it slides out of the way to allow more light to get the sensor, thus improving low-light video quality. In order to help the video quality, it is also captured in black and white. In most cameras the filter is mechanically driven by an algorithm, however, some cameras allow manual control.

Optics
Because nearly all the cameras contain IR cut filters, it comes down to the lens and the processing to set these items apart from one another. The lens transmits light to the sensor and then the data on the sensor is processed by a processor. The variance among cameras is often in the optics. You want to be sure that both the lens and the sensor are of great quality, otherwise the potential for stellar images will be wasted.

Processing
Aside from the optics, processing is an important factor in determining the best low-light camera for you. Most manufacturers employ the same OEM processor yet make their own adjustments to them. The ability to control the tuning of an image is crucial as the tuning of an image during daylight will likely not hold up at night or in complete darkness.

Pay close attention to image toning, noise suppression, and the ability to maintain color and contrast in low light as these often differentiate one camera from another.

Lux
Typical IR cameras will capture images between 1 lux and 0.1 lux, however, the latest technologies can allow .01 lux to 0.00001 lux. This means that what would have been a completely black image a few years ago now looks like a near-daytime picture thanks to new low- and ultralow-light sensors.

While this achievement is impressive, in reality, there will rarely be any situations where there is complete darkness. Some ambient light will likely be present, whether it is from street lamps, the moon, or even the stars.

Spec Sheets Vs. Live Demo
As discussed, the impressive low-light sensitivity and lux will likely be included in the spec sheets, along with other important features. However, these spec sheets often represent technical specifications as opposed to actual performance.

Instead of simply relying on spec sheets, try to find a manufacturer or company that will provide you with a live demo and comparisons. This will give you a better idea of the low-light camera’s performance and whether or not it lives up to your requirements. In addition, third party reviews can give you more insight as well.

Resolution
Just because a camera boasts a high megapixel count does not necessarily mean it will produce a better low-light image. With higher resolution and higher megapixels, each pixel becomes a smaller percentage of that sensor. For example, image the sensor has a fixed size, yet the resolution is doubled. The pixels are smaller, thus, the sensor for each pixel is also smaller, increasing the amount of sensitivity needed to maintain the same level of quality.

Lens Speed
The speed of the lens is important and investing in a fast lens and better optics is crucial. The lens determines what information reaches the sensor, and, because of this, you get what you pay for when it comes to lenses and optics.

Positioning & Distance
Proper positioning of your security cameras is critical. Focus on what you want to capture and the level of detail you need when choosing the location of your cameras.

Position surveillance cameras so that the common range of motion is moving across the field of view rather than having common movement coming toward the camera. Also, avoid bright light pointing directly at the lens – this can cause flare or “fog” on the image.

Consider the field of view in terms of distance. The level of detail from the camera is highly dictated by how close the camera is and how much it’s zoomed in.

And when it comes to distance, you want the right combination of lens and camera that factors in the distance from the area you are trying to monitor. If you need to detect motion from long distances, your best bet would be to switch to thermal cameras. Activity will be detected, however, it will be harder to determine whether it is a person or an animal.

Share your own knowledge of low-light surveillance cameras with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To shop our selection of quality CCTV surveillance systems and security cameras, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!

Night Vision Cameras Vs. Thermal Cameras: Which Is Better For You?

When it comes to securing the perimeter of your home or business, you want a surveillance system that can perform in various conditions. For 24-hour monitoring, night vision cameras have been the popular solution. However, the emergence of thermal cameras has provided a more advanced solution. Learn more about the different types of night vision cameras and how thermal cameras differ from them.

Low-Light Cameras
These are also known as day and night cameras and electronically and automatically adjust lighting capture settings based on the time of day to produce optimal video images. During the day, IR cut filters are used to “cut out” IR illumination, allowing for color images. At night, the filter is removed entirely to allow the maximum amount of visible and IR light to reach the sensor and produce a monochrome image. The downside to these cameras is that they are completely dependent on lighting conditions. That is, too much light or no light at all will result in unusable images. Thus, the amount of visible light available drastically affects the image.

IR Cameras
IR cameras have a lens that is surrounded by LEDs which emit a beam of near-infrared energy to bounce off objects in its field of view. The image sensor is then able to create a picture; however, distance plays a crucial role in performance. Because the reflected IR light can only reach so far, these cameras are often limited to short-range applications.

Night Vision Cameras
Night vision goggles (NVG) and cameras capture visible light photons. As the photons penetrate a photocathode tube (which acts as an image intensifier), they are converted to amplified electrons that pass through a phosphorous screen and converts them back to visible light to create a picture (often in a greenish hue). Because these devices need just the right amount of visible light to function, they are virtually useless when there is ample light outside (ex. twilight) or in conditions where light is blocked (ex. smoke) or no light is available.

Thermal Cameras
Rather than performing based on light availability, these cameras produce video surveillance images based on the measurement of the electromagnetic heat radiation emitted by all objects and individuals. Their performance is unaffected by bright lights, complete darkness, foliage, and light fog. No matter how small, differences in heat are picked up and produce images with high contrast, which are essential to the success of video analytics and intrusion detection. These cameras may be better suited for properties which require strict perimeter security (ex. oil and gas industries, data centers, mines, power stations), and are often combined with other layers of protection (ex. fence sensors, microwaves, PTZ cameras).

Thermal cameras also boast long-range detection capabilities, thus, reducing the number of cameras needed. They can also be a good substitute for fences where fence installation is not possible. For example, ports and oil refineries have acres of water and land to secure and monitor. Thermal imaging and video analytics can create “virtual fence” and can be a more feasible and affordable solution than installing a physical barrier.

Do you use night vision cameras or thermal cameras to protect your property? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you need help deciding which night vision or other security cameras will best suit your surveillance needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!

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