Understanding Security Camera Features

As with any photographic equipment, you want to make sure that your security camera has the right features to capture all the action. But just how to choose the camera among the many on the market?

Start by considering the use of the camera. Will it be covering small, tight spaces or large expansive ones, like your back yard? What is the lighting most of the time? Are you more concerned at night, during the day while you’re at work, or a combination of the two?

Next, familiarize yourself with camera terminology and what it means. You’ll find most of this listed on the specifications on the models you are considering. Understanding the features will help you choose the camera that best fits your needs.

CCD Security Camera Sensor

CCD is the image sensor of the camera, related to the field of view. As far as CCDs go, the larger the number, the greater your field of view. When you couple this with your lens, if your camera is ½” CCD, you need a lens of ½” (12.7 mm) or larger.

Security Cameras & Lens Size

Lens sizes are expressed in millimeters (mm). The smaller the number, the wider the angle of coverage, but with less detail. Larger numbers mean than you have a smaller area of coverage, but with a greater degree of detail.

Some of the more popular security camera models come with varifocal lenses. Think of a varifocal lens as the zoom on your camera. You must focus the lens manually. If the area covered doesn’t give the detail you need, you zoom in until what you want is in the frame. There are zoom lenses that adjust the focal length electronically (autofocus), but they are generally more expensive.

Security Camera Light Needs

Your camera needs a certain amount of light to “see” at night. Most dome and bullet camera styles have built in infrared (IR) illumination. It’s a camera “night scope”. IR light is invisible to human eyes, so the criminals won’t know to not look at the camera.

Iris & F-Stop

A security camera’s iris is the mechanism that determines how much light comes through the lens. You usually have two choices – fixed (manual) or automatic. Use a fixed iris in places where the lighting doesn’t change. Automatic iris lenses adjust according to light.

Some security cameras list F-stop in the camera specifications. The F-stop is the aperture (opening) the iris makes to let light in. Lower number F-stops mean indicate a larger aperture which gathers more light. A word of caution. Lower number F-stops also decrease depth of field (detail), which also must be considered when choosing a security camera.

Lux in Security Cameras

Simply put, lux means the ability of the camera to use available light. This means that the camera will use the light from floodlights, streetlights, even nightlights to capture the image.  The lower the lux number, the more efficient the camera is in using any available light to see and capture an image. A camera with a 0 lux rating can see in total darkness (which usually means it uses IR lighting).

Security Camera Resolution

All resolution means is how sharp the image will be. Analog cameras use vertical lines; we’re all familiar with resolution on our computer monitors or TVs. 1920 x 1080p means there are 1920 color points horizontally and 1080 color points vertically. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image will be. If your camera only lists horizontal resolution, resolution increases with higher numbers.

Understanding security camera features will help you get the best camera for your needs and your budget. There are many factors to consider before buying your camera. The professionals at Safeguard Home Security can help you make the selection that is right for you.