Find out which security system is best for you
Here is a quick Q & A to help you make the right decision regarding your surveillance and security systems needs.
- How many security cameras do I need?
The size of the area to be covered determines how many surveillance cameras you need. A small convenience store, for example, usually needs at least four surveillance cameras for basic coverage of key areas. Key areas include entrances, cash register, safe, and any area not easily observed from the main counter area. (Note: In small applications, a four-camera system will normally only give basic surveillance coverage; providing total video coverage of all areas can require a larger system.)
- Should my security camera be colour or black and white?
As cost is no longer a significant factor, nearly all security cameras are colour. Colour is the default choice for all applications. Black and white surveillance cameras should only be chosen for special applications. With recent advances in digital video recording technology, both kinds of surveillance cameras -- colour and black-and-white -- can be installed in the same system.
- What resolution level should my security camera have?
Advances in imaging technology have greatly reduced the cost of high resolution security cameras. You should always choose high resolution security cameras whenever possible.
- What kind of lens is required?
Security cameras come with two types of lenses: fixed or "varifocal." Varifocal lenses can be adjusted to achieve a desired viewing angle, whereas fixed lenses are non-adjustable and have a set viewing angle. Most smaller surveillance cameras have fixed lenses and are suitable for general viewing in constant light conditions. These surveillance cameras can be economical and are widely used in stores and restaurants. For applications requiring more specific viewing angles, however, it is best to choose a varifocal lens. Nearly all varifocal lenses available today have an "auto-iris" function, which means they are suitable for use outdoors, or in locations where light levels may fluctuate throughout the day.
- What is a day/night camera?
Day/night cameras automatically change from colour to black & white imaging when light levels drop below a certain level. In areas where light levels are low, or drop considerably, a day/night camera may be a good solution. However, if light levels are extremely low or even non-existent, a day/night camera will not solve the problem. In this situation there are three options: install additional lighting; install infrared illuminators; or select a camera with built-in infrared illumination.
- Is recording required?
In most cases, yes. You want to have video footage to review. Today's digital video recorders (DVR) make the selection process very simple. Usually DVRs are available in four, eight or 16 camera configurations. Real time recording should always be selected, since this type of system will provide you with the maximum data. The DVR also requires a control monitor. This can be any type of VGA computer monitor. However, it's best to have a high resolution monitor if video data will be reviewed on a regular basis.
- What's a spot monitor? Do I need one?
The primary purpose of the spot monitor (also known as a public viewing monitor) is to make people aware of a video surveillance system, which serves as a strong deterrent. Spot monitors are usually found in stores, banks and similar locations. Spot monitors should be installed in prominent locations, to be clearly seen by all who enter your property. Spot monitors are recommended.
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