Today, we’ll talk about what type of features to look for in that camera.
Check out the resolution.
One of the most important specs on a camera, resolution tells you the size and clarity of the images produced. As a general rule, the higher the resolution number, the bigger and clearer a picture will be. If you’re looking at older, analog security cameras, the measurement will be in TV Lines (TVL). New, digital cameras show resolution in pixels (p). While most security setups won’t need an ultra-HD resolution, most homeowners will prefer the clarity of a high-definition 720p or 1080p resolution over a 480p option.
Verify low-light capabilities and range.
Once you’re sure you can get a clear image on your camera during daylight hours, turn your attention to its low-light capabilities. While there is some variation in the way security cameras record in darkness, all night-vision cameras use special technology to capture images that might otherwise be lost. Some function best in situations with a low level of atmospheric lighting, some cast infrared (IR) or near-infrared beams—invisible to the naked eye—to read surroundings, and some use thermal sensing to provide a visual heat-map of an area. Generally, the cameras that use IR technology are the most versatile and functional for consumer-grade cameras.
Whichever method a camera uses to capture images in low light, you’ll want to check the range it can read. If you need your camera to cover a large, fifty-foot area, then a camera with a night-vision range of twenty-five feet won’t work.
Factor in field of view and pan/tilt capabilities.
As you’re figuring out your camera setup, make sure there aren’t any blind spots by looking at the camera’s field of view. The wider the angle, the greater area the camera sees. A ninety-degree-angle, for instance, will record a smaller segment of a room than a camera with an angle of 180 degrees.
Even if a camera has a relatively narrow field of view, it can still cover a wide area if it has pan/tilt capabilities. This feature allows users to remotely control where the camera focuses—tilting it up and down, or panning left and right. This feature does require a bit more action on the user’s part, so it’s not the best option if you want your camera to record a large area on its own.
Look at other features like audio and video storage capabilities.
When you’ve made a decision about some of the more important camera elements, you can turn your attention to preferential features. If you want to communication between your mobile device and your home, look for two-way audio options. This is a great feature if you plan to use your security camera to check in on the kids when they get home from school.
Another element that comes down to user preference is the camera’s storage method. Some cameras record only when a motion event triggers them, while others constantly record to an external SD card. The former option is a good fit for those who simply want to be notified if there’s an intruder, while the latter is better for users who want a complete visual record of what goes on in their home. No one specific option is intrinsically superior—you’ll just need to figure out which setup will give you access to the video you need.
Keeping your home secure is a big task, but an indoor security camera can help handle some of the responsibility. Carefully consider the specifications you need using the information above, and you’ll be able to pick the perfect camera.
~ Sarah Brown