Part 2 in our short series on picking the right security camera.
In part one, I went over some features to look for in a security camera, like motion detection, receiving notifications, and how your camera can be powered. In this article, we will go over what considerations to consider that will affect your final image.
When you think of camera placement, I am sure the first thing that comes to mind is where. Inside the house, outside the house, door coverage, the back patio, etc. As you continue to read, you will see that the lighting and general area you want to watch will play a big part in your camera placement.
Vivint goes into more detail in their article.
You need light for a security camera to see what is going on, but there is more to it than the amount of light. During the day, there is more than enough light to get good image quality. Still, if the sun shines directly on the camera lens, it may wash out the image completely. A quick, simple solution might be to mount the camera higher, so it is pointed at a downward angle. At night, there may not be enough light for some cameras. Other cameras have built-in infrared illuminators that allow the camera to pick up images with virtually no ambient lighting.
The field of view or angle of view of a camera refers to what the camera's lens captures. Cameras will come with a width and height angle. The typical width, or the horizontal view, can be anything from ninety to one hundred eighty degrees. The standard height, often known as the vertical view, can range anywhere from sixty to eighty degrees.
Eufylife has a great in-depth article discussing where to best place a doorbell camera.
The term "image quality" can get really confusing fast. Different manufacturers will use terms like HD, 1080p, and 2 MP. That is where the confusion begins because they are all very close to the same image quality. The most common resolution for an entry-level home security camera is 2 megapixels (MP) or 4 megapixels (MP). The higher the megapixel, the better the image quality and the more details you can pick up, like a license plate number or facial features.
The image quality at a specified frame rate is something to look for in the specifications. The frame rate is how many "snapshots" the camera takes in a second. This is where the term "frames per second" (FPS) comes from. The image quality decreases as the number of frames per second increases on some cameras. Ideally, you want something that will capture any event at a high FPS and a high megapixel image. Most of the consumer-grade cameras you see online are 30 FPS. Still, you can often adjust them to record at a lower frame rate with higher image quality.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when you are buying security cameras. Some of them come with trade-offs like a lower image quality but more images per second.
Brian Armstrong grew up in a small farm town in rural Indiana and learned to shoot before he learned to drive. His career began as a firefighter and medic in Ft Wayne, IN. Throughout the years, he has owned multiple businesses, from construction to technology. His life has come full circle, and he is back to his emergency services roots, teaching emergency first aid and firearms courses.
Brian believes that the best way to learn “HOW” to do something is to first answer “WHY” you do something. He is an average guy with views like yours and is now sharing the knowledge gained from teaching, learning from others, and researching the topics you don’t have time to explore yourself. Follow him at @LetsTalkDGU
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