Choose Camera

Choosing the Right Security Camera

Application. Ask yourself for what purpose you intend to use a security camera or camera system for: real-time viewing, store surveillance (which means recording and storing video footage), one room of a house, access doors for an office building, etc.

Color vs. B&W. How important is it to have camera images in color? Black-and-white security cameras generally have greater sensitivity at low light levels and thus are cheaper than an equivalent color cameras.

Indoor vs. Outdoor. If the camera is mounted outdoors, be sure and get an appropriate enclosure for the environmental conditions likely to be encountered. This can include rain, snow, heat, cold, sun glare, humidity and corrosive atmosphere.

Fixed lens vs. zoom lens. Fixed-lens cameras are much cheaper than zoom lenses. Ask yourself how important it is to be able to remotely zoom in or out a scene.

Fixed mount vs. pan-tilt camera mount. Similar to the lens issue, ask yourself how important it is to be able to move the camera up, down, or side to side.

Note: One pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera can replace the job of several fixed mount, fixed lens security cameras.

Open vs. hidden camera. Do you care if the security camera is visible or is covert operation of the camera important?

Real-time vs. later viewing. Do you need to be able to view camera images in real-time or is storing images on a video recorder for later viewing acceptable?

Local viewing vs. remote viewing. Do you want to be able to view images from anywhere? This would mean getting a network IP camera that can be accessed over the Internet.