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Considerations for Buying a CCTV Camera

There are several important issues to consider when you purchase a new CCTV camera, most of which have something to do with the essential hardware components; hence, understanding these components and their effect on the CCTV camera’s performance is critical to any shopper.

Lens

The lens controls how much light enters the sensor. Anything you see or whatever is saved on the DVR comes through the lens. Since the lens controls focus, it sets the distance at which you can read a car’s number plate or recognize a face. In several cases, a better lens is more useful than a higher output resolution, because the output is always dependent on the input, and the input is always dependent on the lens. Also consider getting a zoom lens, which comes in handy when you analyze video recordings where details are critical.
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Sensor
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Type and size are the two most essential points you should think of when considering a CCTV camera for its sensor. Typically, CCTV sensors would be CMOS or CCD. CMOS is not as expensive as CCD and consumes less power too; however, as it is less sensitive, the quality of images it produces is lower as well. In terms of size, the bigger the sensor, the more light it can process, leading to a better quality image. The two common sizes CCTV camera sensors are sold in these days are 1/4 inch (measures 3.2 mm by 2.4 mm) and 1/3 inch (measures 4.8 mm by 3.6 mm.

Output Resolution

One common specification for CCTV cameras is TVL or the number of horizontal lines of TV resolution they can output. Some experts say this should be at least 420TVL, but this is not true for all cases.

Although it would be great to have a high resolution, remember that output is dependent on input, which means whatever extra resolution is added will only go to waste, unless the lens and sensor are able to match the DSP-determined output resolution. What really matters is that there is enough resolution to clearly display any image produced by the camera.

Types

> Bullet

Cylindrical in shape, bullet cameras are typically used in cases where discretion is important, but where the camera need not be installed permanently in a protective dome. They are just great for service areas as well as shops where the staff should be monitored.

> Dome

A CCTV dome camera is the ideal choice for surveillance because it doesn’t only protect itself from vandals, but it also offers a degree of security because it’s usually impossible to tell where the device is pointed.

> IR Day/Night

Though it’s easy to tell by their appearance, these cameras can offer round-the-clock outdoor coverage in any lighting condition. In the day, they produce color images; at night, they convert to black and white for infrared viewing. It won’t be that simple indeed, buying the right CCTV camera. But this information can give you a good headstart.