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Best Outdoor Surveillance Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Best outdoor surveillance cameraThe best outdoor surveillance camera depends on your situation and your budget. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way to the best outdoor surveillance camera for your situation.

Tip #1 Coverage Area

The first step in buying the best outdoor surveillance camera is to do a survey of the area that you want to cover. Some states have very stringent laws about recording scenes on property that does not belong to you. Decide where you want to put the cameras. The outside of most properties will need more than one surveillance camera to cover the whole area.

Ask yourself if you were a criminal where you are most likely to go on your property. These are the areas that you want to make sure to cover. If you have outside storage on your property, then you will want to make sure to cover those areas. Most people want to make sure and cover the doors of their homes. In most circumstances more than one camera will be required.

Think about covering your whole area, but pay special attention to certain areas. The front door of your home may need a point, tilt and zoom camera so that you can see who is at the door from a remote location. The driveway may need a high resolution camera so that you can see the license plate of a car. The storage area may need a fixed camera that records who goes in and out of that area of your property.

Tip #2 Width of View

The next step in determining the best outdoor surveillance camera is to determine the width of the area that you need each camera to cover. Knowing this will help you determine exactly where you need to place the camera. Many people find it helpful to actually stake out the area with small stakes or use chalk lines to make sure each of the vital areas are covered. It is good idea to have the most important areas covered by more than one camera.
Security cameras come equipped with different lenses. Knowing how wide an area you need each camera to cover will assist you in buying the correct lens for each camera. It takes some experience to look at a picture that has a very wide width of view. The picture is smashed together and seeing details may be hard. In some areas a fisheye camera may be the right choice. This camera records its images right under the camera. These pictures record a full circle and can take real talent to observe the details.

Tip #3 Distance

By now you should have a pretty good idea of where you want to place the cameras. Take out your tape measure. Measure the distance from where you are thinking about placing each camera to the most vital place. This will help you further determine the type of lens you need each camera to have.

Security cameras come with four types of lenses. Some cameras come with lenses that are meant to record objects up close. Some cameras come with lenses that are meant to record objects that are far away. Some cameras come with lenses where the recording distance can be focused at the time of installation. Other cameras come with lenses where the distance can be controlled from a remote location.

Cameras can be brought that will record at different lengths. Most manufacturers like to expand the distance that their cameras will adequately record. Look for the top number and subtract 15 percent. If the camera says it will record at 100 meters, then expect the camera to record a great picture at up to 85 meters.

Tip #4 Style of Camera

Security cameras come in four basic styles. Choosing the right one will help you choose the best outdoor security camera for your situation.

The first type of security camera is the box camera. These cameras are the largest of the surveillance cameras. They are difficult to hide. There presence may be a great deterrent to thieves. Thieves may move on to a different place when seeing one. The box camera is great for outside use because the lenses can be changed easily depending on the unique circumstances. These cameras must be placed in a special housing when used outside.

The second type of security camera is the bullet camera. These cameras are shaped like a tube of lipstick. Most bullet cameras come with one type of lens. The advantage of a bullet camera is its small size. This allows the camera to be easily hidden. These cameras also have to be placed in special housing to be used outside. It is easy to tell where the bullet camera is pointed. Therefore, thieves often figure out how to operate where the camera is not pointed.

The third type of security camera is the dome camera. These cameras are circles. They generally record the action that happens under them. These cameras must be placed in a special housing to be used outdoors. It is difficult to tell exactly where the camera is pointed. Therefore, criminals have a hard time telling exactly what is being recorded. Dome cameras are often equipped with fisheye lenses. It is harder to interpret a picture taken with a fisheye lens.

The fourth type of security camera is the pan, tilt and zoom camera. These cameras can be controlled from a remote location. The camera can be tilted up and down to catch action that occurs above or below the cameras normal position. This can be useful to observe someone wanting to get into your home or a package left at your door. The camera can also be panned from left to right. This allows you to follow the action as it moves. The camera can also be zoomed to allow you to see details of a scene better.

Tip #5 Resolution

Resolution on an outdoor security camera is measured in two ways. The first way is called television lines. This is the number of lines available to record the action. For the best Best outdoor surveillance camera resolution you will need at least 540 television lines.
The second way is megapixels. Most of us are familiar with megapixels on digital cameras. These tiny points make up the picture. Today, outdoor security cameras with ten or more megapixels are very affordable. The higher the megapixels number, the more details you can see in the photo. This is especially important where you need to see the tiniest details.

While you may buy a high resolution camera, the camera’s resolution is only as good as the resolution of your whole system. If the recording device or the monitor will not support the resolution, you are wasting your money spent on resolution.
The best camera for outdoor use has a built-in memory card. This memory card allows the camera to store photos as well as sending it to the recorder. This will assure that you still capture the footage if something happens to the network.

Tip #6 Wired or Wireless Security Cameras

Outdoor security cameras come wired or unwired. Most people prefer the unwired versions for outdoor use. Just as the name implies, wired security cameras are hooked by wires from the camera to the recording device. When using wired outside many things can happen to the wire causing it to stop working. For example, the wind may blow down the wire or a tree limb may break the wire.

When using an unwired version remember to check that nothing will interfere with your signal. In the best of circumstances the signal will only travel so far. The length varies by the quality of the camera. The signal will not travel as well through walls. Other objects in the environment, such as cordless phones and microwaves can also interfere with the signal.

Tip #7Networking

Your camera depends on your network. You will need a recording device and a monitor to view the photos. As mentioned earlier, both will affect the resolution of your system. The recording device will have a built in memory. It is important to decide how often you want the recorder to dump the old pictures.
Compatibility can be an issue. Make sure all components of your system will work together.

Tip #8 Housing

Most outside security cameras must have some type of housing. It is important to buy the right housing. The conditions in your environment will determine the right type of housing. If you live in a wet environment, then the moisture can do damage to your system. If you live in a dusty environment, the dust can ruin your camera without correct housing. Extremely cold and extremely hot environments can hurt your security camera. Make sure that you consider all these factors when buying housing for your outside surveillance system.

Tip # 9 Lighting

It is important to consider the amount of available lighting when buying your security camera. Security cameras generally come in three types.

The first type of camera is meant to be used in daylight conditions. It will record beautiful pictures during the day. When the camera does not get enough light it will stop recording.
The second type of camera is the night vision camera. These cameras magnify the available light to record a picture when darkness sets in. They still rely on a certain amount of light being present. As the light gets less, the footage recorded is a green color.

The third type of camera is the infrared camera. These cameras produce their own infrared light. They can record a black and white photo when absolutely no light is available.

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