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Security Cameras for Your Home

By: Anthony Neary

A simple observation of the city will tell you security cameras are everywhere these days. The reason is quite clear: they are one of the best options available to monitor your home or business operations and ensure safety. Security cameras provide you the ability to record and monitor whoever enters your home and nearly everything they do.

With dramatically improved digital technology and diminished operating costs, security cameras are found not only in banks or department stores anymore. In fact, if you look around, you will find them in every conceivable place, making them among the more widely-used closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems.

Types

A security camera comes in many different styles including dome, bullet, infrared and c-mount. Each serves a different purpose and to find the one best suited to your needs, you should consider several factors, such as whether you will use the security camera inside or outside, during the day, night time, or both.

Bullet style security cameras are the most popular option nowadays. They can be used either inside or outside. These cameras are available in black and white or colour and come with all of the required mounting hardware. The security cameras casings are weather-resistant and do not require added external protection. Most security cameras have a fixed 4mm lens that allows you to see facial features out to about 35 feet and offers a 70 degree angle of view. This is the widest angle one can have without distorting the picture.

Resolution levels for black and white security cameras extend to about 400 lines, any higher and the benefits are minimal. For colour cameras, higher resolution implies better picture.

Infrared security cameras are also very popular nowadays as they allow an image to be seen in little or no lighting conditions. Most such cameras are bullet style and can be used inside or outside. The cameras have infrared lighting installed around the outer edge of the lens, which permits the security camera to see in no light for up to 25 feet and even further with a little bit of light (like street lighting or an outside light.)

A relatively new type of security camera is the day/night security camera. This particular type of camera has an extra sensitive imaging chip that allows it to capture a good picture in low light situations without using infrared LEDS. This is especially handy in outdoor applications since infrared security cameras do not work well outdoors. Unless the infrared security camera is installed all the way up to the glass of the housing, the infrared lights can reflect off the glass and subsequently degrade the image.

A major advantage of c-mount security cameras is that their lens can be changed. You will require a special camera lens if you need to see further than 35 ft. The colour c-mount security camera, by providing the option for change of lenses, allows you to zoom into a particular area. Varifocal camera lenses allow you to adjust the focus from 5 to 50mm. These lenses can be used inside only unless they are housed in special cases for outdoor use. Security Cameras

Dome security cameras are excellent for those worried about tampering; it can withstand a 10 lb sledgehammer blow and can be used inside or outside, daytime or night time.

Important Factors to Consider

There are several questions you should ask yourself before integrating security cameras into your home security system.

(1) Where are the best locations to place your security cameras?
(2) Do black and white or colour security cameras better fit your needs?
(3) Do you want hard-wired or wireless security cameras?

Location

To get the most effective surveillance of your home, the placement of your security cameras is of paramount importance. Firstly, all entry points should to be monitored by high resolution security cameras of superior quality, permitting the recording of close-up face shots of everyone entering your house. Inside your house, wide angle colour security cameras should be placed in all high traffic areas and rooms in which valuables are located.

The proper placement of security cameras allows you to maintain a record of many activities in your home, and you will be able to easily identify a person by the colour of the clothes he or she is wearing. By having a high-resolution, close-up shot of a perpetrator's face, knowing the colour of his/her clothes, and possessing a video recording of his/her activities is extremely valuable as evidence in court.

Black and White or Colour Security Cameras

Black and white security cameras are most often more cost-effective and can "see" better in lesser light. Colour security cameras give you the ability to obtain a more identifiable image of people and activities taking place in your house. If you have a tight budget, remember that installing black and white security cameras, which are lower priced but not as detailed as some colour security cameras, are better than no security cameras at all.

Wireless or Hard-Wired

Choosing between wireless and hard-wired security cameras can be a daunting task. Here are a few reasons wireless security cameras are often preferred.

(1) They can be quickly installed wherever you need without a professional

(2) You can take them with you when you are on the move

(3) They are extremely inconspicuous, without wires attracting attention

Hard-wired security cameras are ideal for permanent areas that need constant monitoring, or if your current security system is hard-wired and wireless security cameras are not compatible. Wireless and hard-wired security cameras both are equally capable of monitoring your house, and ultimately you decision should be based on what you feel fits your needs best.

Other Features

When you're shopping for a security camera, you'll find that there are lots of options available. You can get cameras that can also capture sound, cameras with night-vision abilities, and cameras that simply capture time-lapse still shots rather than motion video.

The signal from your security cameras can be fed to your TV for convenience—you don't have to go to a special monitor to see the picture. Some systems even have motion detectors that will automatically switch your TV to the proper channel if they sense motion. These motion sensor cameras can also be configured to automatically activate a VCR to record the video when movement is detected.

Newer types of security cameras can be connected to the internet as well. These let you check the video feed from any computer connected to the internet, even if you're halfway around the world. If an alarm is triggered, the internet camera can also alert you by e-mail.

Fake Surveillance Cameras

Fake surveillance cameras are considered by some as a cost effective way of deterring criminals from your home, office, or storefront. Most people cannot afford an adequate amount of surveillance equipment; in addition to the upfront cost of security equipment, one is also faced with maintenance costs. Dummy cameras can be a cost-effective solution to your problem of being an easy target.

Most crimes are not impulsive, hence criminals usually canvas an area before they strike. If they see a security camera outside your house, it can deter them from robbing your place.

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