Security cameras are wonderful video recording devices used to increase the safety and security of any given space. These type of surveillance cameras were mostly used in professional security settings — this is no longer the case. There are models available for domestic use, even to monitor your kids and pets when you’re away.
The use for these devices has shifted. They are still used to help you feel safer, by allowing you to always know what’s going on in your house or business space. However, people are now using these devices to stay in the loop when their kids and pets are home alone.
- Surveillance cameras help you monitor your home or business by continuously recording a specific area. They also work as a deterrent to criminals, since they capture video evidence of such their illegal activity.
- Security cameras can be distinguished by their signal transmission, their recording and storing capacities and by their shape and design.
- The use of some of these devices can sometimes be complicated, for this reason, we suggest you keep in mind all the factors that can influence their quality before choosing a model. Image quality, night vision, tilt, and rotation angles are a few of the things to consider.
Our selection: The best security cameras
Speed and convenience are very important aspects of today’s world. For this reason, more and more people are now opting to make purchases online rather than going to a store. This alternative shift in the way we shop has come to include shopping for surveillance cams. Check out our ranking with the best security cameras available to you from the comfort of your own home.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about security cameras
These devices are key to the safety of your home or business, for this reason, deciding which camera to buy is not a simple decision. Having all the relevant information at the time of purchase can help you keep your home, business, kids and/or pets safe. This next section includes answers to the most frequently asked questions consumers have regarding security cameras.
What are security cameras exactly?
Surveillance cameras can provide you with peace of mind, by allowing you to know that your home or business is safe when you’re not there — and by allowing you to monitor your kids and pets remotely and in real-time.
”There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.
How do security cameras work exactly?
In general, all security or surveillance cameras work by recording and sending the footage to a recording apparatus and then to a viewing mechanism such as a television, monitor, computer (analog cameras or digital cameras with a recorder) or directly to a mobile or tablet device(IP cameras).
What types of security cameras are there?
- Older type of surveillance cameras, it previously measured resolution in lines — new models measure in pixels.
- Image quality and resolution are not the best, making them more affordable.
- It’s image output format is in analog (alternating current signal).
- Coaxial cables are required for installation, operation, and storing footage.
- These devices use different cables for each function; one for audio, one for sound and one for power, which can increase the cost of installation.
- They usually use a DVR (digital video recorder).
Digital or IP cameras
- These were created with the intention of viewing the images over the Internet via a local or wireless network.
- These cameras can operate wirelessly or via coaxial cable/twisted pair cable (UTP).
- They offer more viewing possibilities, such as zoom, facial recognition, and motion detection.
- They usually store footage in an SD memory card or a cloud service. An NVR (Network Video Recorder) can also be used.
- They provide much higher image resolution since they usually offer high definition (HD) or 4K video recording.
- These are easier to set up and can be operated wirelessly, and if cables are used, its usually only one cable for everything.
Surveillance cameras are also disguised by their design, check out the different types in this next table:
|Dome||The most popular model used domestically or in small businesses. They are “dome” shaped with a lens in the centre. Cameras with night vision will have infrared LEDs built around the lens.|
|Bullet||These are elongated in design and popular for a home or small businesses. They are suitable for outdoor use. Their lens is located in the centre and they offer infrared LEDs to monitor at night time.|
|Box||These are slightly elongated but rectangular in shape since the box and lens are separated. They are usually used by larger businesses or government organisations. In some choose the lens it uses.|
|PTZ||The acronym stands for “Pan” (rotate horizontally), “Tilt” (rotate vertically) and “Zoom” (look closer at the subject). These cams are controlled remotely by a control centre or device applications. These cameras are intended for professional use such as in department stores, prisons, parks, and airports.|
What video storage and recording capabilities do security cameras include?
|Digital Video Recorder (DVR)|| Used to record images from an analog security system.
Requires coaxial cable to connect the camera to the video storage unit and from there, send the images to a monitoring location.
Converts an analog signal to a digital signal.
Some models allow you to connect a DVR system to the Internet to monitor the camera remotely.
|Network Video Recorder (NVR)|| Connects to the digital or IP camera via a network or twisted-pair cable.
Preferred method if the camera does not have an SD memory card slot.
Signal conversion is not required.
Can be connected to the Internet to enable remote monitoring.
|SD Memory Card|| Used only by digital security cameras.
Typical security cameras support 64GB to 120GB SD cards.
The recording remains inside the camera which requires the memory to be cleared once full.
Very practical as no additional wiring or video storage system is required.
It is possible to store the recording in a cloud service, either private or hosted cloud such as AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Who should be using surveillance cameras?
However, security cameras are not only limited to monitoring and recording the activity of your business. Nowadays, the use of surveillance cameras domestically is becoming more popular since they help keep our homes and loved ones safe and looked after. Today, there are simple, low-cost security cameras that are great for using at home.
Aside from helping you watch over the contents of your business or home, surveillance cameras are also great if you want to keep an eye on your kids or pets while you’re not home. With some models, you can even monitor an area from a mobile or tablet device. Some emerging tech makes it possible for you to interact and speak to your child or pet while away.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of security cameras?
You may think that surveillance cameras are just meant to detect movement, record and send some kind of alert. The reality is that technological advances have changed the way these devices perform, allowing for functions that go much further than the simple ones stated above. To make the best purchase, review the following criteria before choosing one model over another:
- Alerts and applications
- Facial recognition
- Resolution and night vision
- Viewing, tilt and rotation angles
- Storage method
- Motion sensors
- Two-way audio
Alerts and applications
The model you choose should be able to send you alerts when it detects abnormal behaviours or movements. This feature allows you to check-in only when something is going wrong, allowing you to step away from continued surveillance. Some security cameras now work with an application to monitor and control the camera from your mobile phone, tablet or computer.
The advantage of a specialised application is that you can watch a live feed from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Moreover, certain applications allow you to perform real-time actions like stop or activate recording or changing the direction of the camera lens to have a better view of the space.
On the market today, you can find surveillance cameras that have facial recognition software. Through this advanced software, the security camera is able to analyse and compare video segments to identify the physical or facial features of a person, and with this, their identity.
Facial recognition software allows for alarms to be disabled if the security camera recognises the person as a known or approved an individual for the location — decreasing the number of unnecessary alerts. On the other hand, if the system is unable to identify the person, an alert will be triggered immediately.
Resolution and night vision
With today’s technological advancements in image resolution and recording quality, you can now find cameras that film in full HD or 4k resolution. It can, therefore, be reasoned that the better the image resolution, the easier it will be to recognise intruders or to see exactly what’s happening in the recording.
Keep in mind that video resolution is often lowered when files are uploaded to the cloud. To save space and decrease file transfer times this type of set up usually decreases the video quality to 720p.
Since crime is prone to happen at night, we would suggest that whatever camera you choose has the capacity for night vision. Some models will automatically switch to this mode when they are unable to detect enough light to record. Moreover, certain models allow you to pre-set the night vision setting to start with a timer.
Viewing, tilt and rotation angles
Panning, tilting and zooming (PTZ) capabilities will determine how many different angles you can shoot and how accurately you can record the happening of specified space. The level of PTZ will vary from model to model as some cameras have a much wider viewing angles than others — make sure to review the viewing range of each camera.
If your camera can rotate and zoom, you can cover a larger area by directing the camera specifically in the direction you want to see. The surveillance cameras that have a custom application are often great since they allow you to control the camera movements remotely and in real-time.
Opting for a model with at least 130° viewing angle and that is also able to rotate up to 80° will allow you to have a viewing scope and range of motion to see cover almost 360°, enabling you to have control of the area under surveillance.
One advantage of local storage, whether it’s on a memory card or a separate storage device, is that the resolution of the recording will not be altered. The biggest drawback of this type of storage is that if the device was to be stolen, there would be no way to retrieve the information on the device.
An important feature to look for when buying a security camera is that it has motion sensor technology. If someone brakes into your home or business, motion sensors will notify you as soon as it happens. Some devices with more refined technology will include features that help decrease the number of false alarms.
For example, some security cameras are able to differentiate between people, animals or cars before triggering the motion sensor alarm. The level of sophistication of the motion sensor will depend on the price of the device, as well as the sensitivity of the sensor itself.
Even though this is a feature that usually only professional surveillance systems have, it is still worthy of mention. Despite the fact that the main function of surveillance cameras is to record images, it is even better if it also records audio. A security camera with audio capabilities will enable you to see and hear absolutely everything that’s going on.
In addition, security cameras that have the ability to record sounds may also have the ability to emit sounds through a small built-in speaker. This can be useful for communicating with the room to deter or intimidate an intruder or to communicate with your child or pet while away.
A security camera is an investment towards the safety and security of your home, business, and loved ones while you’re away. This type of technology has become much more affordable in recent years, making it more accessible for domestic use. If buying a security camera is within your means, we strongly suggest opting for this tech.
It will not only bring you peace of mind — it may also save you a lot of grief and money by helping you prevent intrusions and illicit activities in your home or business. As a business owner, you will not only be able to monitor your business premises, but your employees and customers will feel more secure and protected.
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(Source of featured image: Leenanuruksa: 27825618/ 123rf.com)