Posts Tagged ‘ IR ’

What is the Best Security Camera Type?

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Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Security cameras are made and used on a daily bases for a number of reasons. They can be used anywhere from gas stations to military personnel vehicles. Specifically, security cameras are used to view or record any person, place, or thing without being there in person. There are many different types and styles of cameras and they are all used in different settings. Learning about the different types of security cameras available can give you the upper hand when needed for a specific task or location. Deciding which is the best security camera for you will depend on your situation.

Types of Security Cameras

There are many types of security cameras in the security world today. They all fall into a few main categories including Analog, Network IP, and HD-CVI. Even though it might not sound like much, each side offers many different options and capabilities which can affect camera quality and your wallet. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type and overall get the job done.

Styles of Cameras

Cameras come in many different shapes and sizes and, depending on where you place them, can give you better understanding of what you will need.

Box Cameras

Box Security Camera

Box cameras are very customizable and offer many different lenses sizes. You can either have them mounted as is, or you can put them in a case called a box, hence the name. Box cameras are also capable of being mounted in extreme weather because some of their boxes have heaters and blowers built in. Most box cameras are dual voltage and have the capability to support alarms and strobes connected. Downsides are they are bulky and require more experience for setup and installation.

Bullet Cameras

800 TVL Bullet Security Camera

Bullets are also a great choice because they have a greater viewing angle then most other cameras. Bullets can also have larger range of different lenses built in so you can zoom in close on a shot or have a wider viewing angle. The downside is they are not vandal proof and very noticeable.

Dome Cameras

700 TVL Vandal Dome Security Camera

The most common camera used is the dome. Domes can be used in many different locations and can take a punch or two. Domes have wide viewing angles for greater versatility. They are also more discreet, when it comes to hiding your cameras, then when it comes to a bullet. They also can take a couple of hits because of their robust structure.

PTZ Cameras

700 TVL PTZ Security Camera

PTZ’s can give you more coverage than a conventional pre-positioned camera. P-T-Z (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras are made for you to control the camera so you can see what’s happening even if it moves out of your typical viewing area. Some PTZ’s can also track objects or people so you don’t have to move it yourself. Downside is that they can be pricy and bulky.

Hidden Cameras

Hidden Mirror Camera

Hidden cameras are made for you to know where they are but no other person will. They can be just about anything: clocks, smoke alarms, phones, mirrors, and many others. Disadvantages are they typically can’t see or record very well at night.

License Plate Cameras

License Plate Camera

License plate cameras are built to capture a license plate at high speeds. These cameras are used for highways, entry gates, business, parking garages, and more. They offer advanced technologies that allow you to focus on the license plate in light or dark conditions.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal Imaging Camera

Thermal cameras are designed to allow you to see heat signatures in any light setting. This can help you distinguish differences between important and non-important things during motion detection. For example, branches blowing in the wind and a person walking. This may not give you the best image but it can trigger a separate camera to record the situation.

What is IR?

There are also other features that security cameras can have. Cameras can be indoor or outdoor depending on the camera. Some Cameras come with IR (Infrared Technology) that allows them to see at night. IR is a light that is invisible to us but is like a flood light for a camera. IR is usually built onto the cameras themselves, but can also be placed separately for cameras that have the capability to view the light. The style of camera can give you your best view and placement for anywhere they need to be.

What is IR

Analog Cameras

Analog cameras have been used for many years and have done its job very well. The way that it works is by the type of signal it sends to its receiving end. It sends an analog picture of what it views and it can either record by tape or by digitally converting it to record on a hard drive. The old way would be the tape, but now we have either a computer with a card that receives the signal and converts it to be stored on a hard drive or a standalone unit called a DVR that does the same thing, just without using your personal computer. DVRs are recommended because they can be hidden and require half the power (electrical and processor). Over the years, analog cameras have improved profusely by increasing frame rates and quality of resolution. The latest technology for analog cameras is called HD-CVI. This is an analog technology that allows you to record 720p-1080p resolution.

Network IP Cameras

Network IP Cameras are starting to become more affordable and practical for business and homes. Network IP cameras are cameras that function all on their own and don’t require any standalone unit to view and in some cases record. The way they work is through your new or existing network and is given a IP address (Internet Protocol) which allows it to be accessed through your network for viewing or recording purposes. Network IP cameras can be controlled also through a web based program for initial set-up and to adjust and control the camera like a PTZ. IP cameras are also usually in High Definition. They can record as high as 10MP (Megapixels) in resolution but average cameras record at 1080p. Megapixel is one million pixels in a specific image, so 2MP is similar to 1080p. The downside to using Network IP cameras is they run through your network to be viewed and/or recorded. This is a problem if you have a lot of cameras or if your cameras are recording in 1080p or above. Networks can only handle a set amount of send and receive data before bogging down. This drag increases when you are recording and viewing simultaneously inside your network and out. There are ways to overcome this problem by either getting a managed switch or making separate networks for specific amounts of cameras.


Common Issues With IR (Infrared) Dome Security Cameras

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Common issues with IR Dome Cameras

This is a demonstration of issues you might find with IR Dome Cameras.

  1. If you noticed in this snapshot, you will see white spots around the image. This is caused when the lens is pointed straight up almost at 90 degrees. The lights are OFF and the IR’s are to close to the edge of the vandal dome housing. The light from the IR’s are bouncing back producing this issue.

Figure 1

Demonstration of camera been to closed to the edge of the camera dome cover

Figure 2

To fix this issue you must move the camera lens down to a point that the IR LEDs are not close to the edge of the dome cover. After you have the camera positioned away from the edge of the cover, the image should look like this:

Figure 3

  1. Another issue you might encounter after mounting this type of cameras are smudges and haze in the image. This issue is caused by having finger prints or dirt in the clear cover of the dome camera. This is an example of how it will look like when the dome is dirty:

Figure 4

I will be cleaning the surface of the camera with a microfiber cloth. It is recommended to use this type of cloth to clean the camera, because it will prevent scratches that might cause the IR’s to bounce back.

Right about to clean the camera

Camera image after cleaning the cover

There are many other issues that can cause IR reflection or bounce back. This includes:

  • The dome cover is not bolted in tight enough.

  • The rubber seal between the lens and the dome cover is not flush against the clear dome cover.

  • Another IR camera is in the field of view of this security camera and is causing white out areas.

  • There is a reflective surface above, below or in front of the security camera that is reflecting the IR light back into the camera.


IR Vandal Proof Dome

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Having problems with night time vandalism or theft?  Perhaps you should consider an IR (InfraRed) vandal proof dome camera.  These cameras can “see” where humans can’t and are made to be tamper resistant as well.

The camera is probably the most visible component of a digital video security and surveillance system.  In addition, the camera is often placed right in the “heart” of the vandal inflicted area.  This makes these cameras all the more incredibly obvious–and the target of even more vandalism.

Therefore, an IR vandal proof dome camera is usually constructed of a tough metal exterior (housing).  These housings are designed to take a bit of beating.  In addition, the domes or viewing areas where the lens looks outward are generally made of Lexan polycarbonate.  These two enhancements will often deter the “would be” vandal, hence the term “Vandal proof.”

Another feature of IR vandal proof dome camera is the ability to capture and record clear, high detailed video images in total darkness using infrared technology.  The nice thing about this is that the dome camera can do this automatically and is often set to do so when lighting conditions drop below a certain level (such as less than 1 Lux).

How does the IR vandal proof dome camera capture infrared video images?  This is actually due to a “by-product” if you will, of the sensor and the ability of the camera design to allow for IR Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs to be stacked in an array inside the camera housing and around the lens.

Lets take a closer look at how an IR vandal proof dome camera works to understand how it can take both daytime (plenty of visible light) and nighttime (little to no light) high resolution video images.  A typical digital video security and surveillance camera works by transferring the light reflected off objects into measurable amounts of electrical impulses.

In order to record video, the camera lens gathers the light reflected off objects in the camera’s field of view and focuses them onto small sensor chips that usually range from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch square.  These sensor chips are excited when light strikes them and give off very small, but measurable amounts of electrical impulses.

There are two different sensor chips used in cameras today.  Each goes about getting the measurable impulse differently, but both produce the same end product, a digital video image.  These chips are the Charged Coupled Device or CCD and the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

After the focused light strikes the sensor and the electrical impulses are emitted, Integrated Circuit (IC) chips take over processing and digitizing the electronic information.  The signals to this point are actually in an analog format and an analog-to-digital processing chips digitizes the data.  In addition, a Digital Signal Processor or DSP also analyzes the digital data before allowing it to leave the camera and makes corrections to the data whenever necessary.

Once this digital data has bee prepared it is ready for transmission to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR and/or monitor.  If it is sent to the DVR, it will more than likes undergo some refinement to the data and will be compiled into a digital video file using a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility.  The CODEC reduces the size of the file while maintaining high quality of the image.

Let’s go back in this process though and take a look at the CCD and the CMOS.  IT just so happens that both of the sensors have a “side benefit” that is inherent to the sensors.  Both of these sensors inherently “see” IR light naturally.  The IR light that they are most sensitive to is in the near infrared spectrum; the same infrared light that is used in television and DVD remote controls.

Another benefit of this particular wavelength of radiation is that it is completely invisible to the human eye.  We can’t tell it is there, but the camera can use it like a floodlight or spotlight to capture high resolution, clear, crisp video.  IR video incidentally is displayed only as black and white or some other monochromatic configuration because near infrared light is not in the visible color light spectrum.

So if you are looking for a camera that can withstand some mistreatment, yet produce fine color day images and fine black and white IR mode images, we suggest that you consider one of Security Camera King’s IR vandal proof dome camera.


640 x 480 Infrared Camera

Monday, October 11th, 2010

What exactly is a 640 x 480 infrared camera? This can be a complicated answer for many reasons. In the following article we will attempt to address some of the characteristics that can make this seemingly simple question so complicated. Specifically, we will briefly discuss infrared technology and the reference to display resolution and how they relate to a 640 x 480 infrared camera.

First lets discuss the meaning of “infrared” when we talk about a 640 x 480 infrared camera. The term “infrared” refers to the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation. The wavelength of infrared radiation generally ranges between 0.7 and 300 micrometers abbreviated as “µm.” The exact range and categories defined may vary slightly depending on the scale that is used to describe the radiation.

For our purposes, it is sufficient enough to know that infrared radiation is a longer wavelength than visible light, therefore the human eye cannot see it. Further, there may be several categories of infrared radiation based on wavelength but we will only consider two; “near infrared” radiation which is invisible to the human eye but is the closest in wavelength to radiation that is visible to the human eye) and “long-wavelength” also called “far infrared,” which for our discussion is the thermal imaging region which is naturally emitted by objects and requires no external or artificial illumination.

So, on this basis there are essentially two types of 640 x 480 infrared cameras. The first type, and the one most commonly used in digital video security camera systems, is the near infrared camera. This camera contains one of two electronic sensor chips, either a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) or a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS). These sensors are able to convert the light energy into electrical energy that can be measured, thereby creating a digital image. Fortuitously, these sensors inherently detect near infrared radiation as well.

The near infrared 640 x 480 camera uses external infrared radiation (or infrared light) to illuminate the area in its field of view. These cameras use InfraRed Light Emitting Diodes or IR LEDS to illuminate the target area in order to create an image. The IR LEDs are normally configured in an array that surrounds the camera lens so that they are focused in the same direction. However, some cameras may have IR LEDs clustered off to the side of the lens and there are even separate “illuminators” that contain nothing but IR LEDs and can be mounted and aimed separately from the camera.

These cameras normally produce a color image in visible light conditions and when the visible light is not bright enough to produce a high quality video image, they switch to infrared, producing a monochromatic or black and white video image.

The far infrared 640 x 480 infrared camera does not require additional external infrared illumination. This camera uses an infrared “Focal Plane Array” or FPA sensor and is capable of creating a digital video image based solely on the thermal emissions or “heat signatures” of objects. These cameras are often called “Forward Looking InfraRed” or FLIR cameras. These cameras are also often made in a “hand held” version. Older models of these cameras had to be cooled somehow to prevent the users’ and their own thermal emissions from interfering with the image.

Far infrared 640 x 480 infrared cameras are often used not only for covert surveillance and security, but by inspectors and engineers to detect a variety of heat signatures. These cameras can be used to detect areas of heat “leakage” from a building or “hot spots” on mechanical engines and other devices.

As for the reference of “640 x 480” in a 640 x 480 infrared camera, this refers to the image resolution in pixels that the camera is capable of displaying. Far infrared cameras are more commonly referred to by their resolution in pixels, i.e. 640 x 480 infrared camera. However, digital video security cameras may also use the same description.

This can be confusing because older, analog security video cameras more commonly referred to their resolution in terms of TVL or Television Lines. Since the security camera industry today uses primarily digital video cameras, they may refer to the resolution in terms of TVL or pixels.

Perhaps the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is the price. Near infrared digital image security video cameras can be purchased for as low as less than one hundered while far infrared FLIR cameras range from one to several thousand dollars.


4 Camera IR Security System

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

A 4 camera IR security system is the perfect solution if you need security or surveillance monitoring in total darkness. Electronic technological improvements have not only resulted in high quality equipment designed for this purpose, but have made infrared (IR) cameras very affordable too.

4 camera IR security system normally consists of four cameras, a processor/capture card/CODEC application, a monitor and a digital video recorder or DVR. The cameras send their video in the form of electronic data to a processor or capture card that interprets the data and creates a digital file that can be read and/or saved for future use. The CODEC application reads the digital video file that is created and applies COmpression/DECompression (hence the name CODEC) to make the file much smaller and therefore easier to handle and store while maintaining high quality characteristics of the images or video. The file is then available for live or real-time viewing on a monitor. At the same time the file is normally saved on a DVR for future use. The DVR is much like the hard drive on a personal computer.

There are several types of cameras available; however IR cameras are specially designed for “seeing” in total darkness. Digital video cameras produce images by using a special electronic light sensor called a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) or a Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS. CCDs are particularly useful for infrared applications because of the sensitivity of the electronic chip.

Modern technological advances in design of CCDs have yielded a sensor that is extremely sensitive to light. This means that most CCDs can produce high quality video in very low light conditions such as the available light on a moonlit night. However, a 4 camera IR security system needs to go one step further; it needs to be able to produce high quality video in total darkness environments. Fortunately, most CCDs are inherently sensitive to IR light radiation. Therefore the CCD makes an excellent choice as an image sensor for IR cameras.

The cameras in a 4 camera IR security system can produce high quality color video when there is some available visible light. Under infrared conditions, the camera produces a monochromatic or black and white video image. These cameras have IR Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that surround the camera lens. The LEDs emit IR light that is invisible to the human eye but is visible to the CCD. These LEDs act as invisible spot lights or flood lights for the CCD, illuminating the target area images with IR light. Generally, the more IR LEDs surrounding the lens, the greater the range and field of view for the IR video.

There are many useful applications for a 4 camera IR security system. These systems provide excellent night time security coverage for outdoor building and property perimeters. In addition to perimeter coverage, IR cameras can be placed so that they can monitor areas that are normally not well lit in the evenings. They have both commercial and residential applications for this purpose.

Indoors, 4 camera IR security systems can be used to provide security and surveillance monitoring for rooms that are not illuminated. Stores, offices, and businesses can all make use of IR security systems to provide the utmost security without the expense of leaving several building lights on. Residentially, nurseries or baby’s rooms can be monitored in the evening without disturbing the infant with unnecessary light. Rooms inside homes can be monitored for security purposes without the need for lights. Potential intruders can be monitored without their knowledge since the IR illumination used by the camera is invisible to the human eye.

Recent technology also allows 4 camera IR security systems to be networked using Internet Protocol (IP). This means that the system can be connected to the internet so that monitoring and recording can be accomplished anywhere there is internet access. In addition, this also means that via this network 24/7 monitoring can easily be provided by monitoring service companies.

Innovative technology can now provide you with a 4 camera IR security system that can be used for in nearly any environment for any application at affordable prices. The versatility of these systems not only provides for wide applications but for easy accessibility for monitoring from remote locations. What’s more, 4 camera IR security systems require no additional requirements than standard camera security systems.