18 Jun The Top 8 Mistakes when Looking For a Security Camera System
If you are looking to get a camera system soon there are some tips you need to know first. These 8 tips will help you start off on the right foot and know what to expect.
- Will the Camera be able to read license plates? Expecting every camera to be able to read license plates and facial features from any distance is unreasonable and you will likely be disappointed. Every camera has a specific purpose. If you want to see your front yard with a wide-angle lens you will need a certain camera for that. If you want to read license plates then you will want to get a license plate capturing camera. But it is not likely you will be able to capture a license plate number and your entire front yard from the same camera. If you do, two separate cameras will be necessary (However, a 4K camera would come the closest to accomplishing both). Essentially most people decide against upgrading to having a license plate camera, they just want to see their front yard.
- Can each camera turn and rotate? Most cameras are fixed to observe one location at a designated magnification; they don’t move or zoom in. But, of course, you can spend a little more and get a camera that has a motorized zoom capability. In addition, you can spend even more and get what is called a Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera (PTZ Camera), but they are usually pretty expensive and reserved more for school campuses and hospitals. It usually makes more sense to get a few fixed cameras instead of getting a PTZ camera on your house or for your small business. There are some that are less expensive, and if you really want one, get one. Everyone will be jealous of your ability to rotate and zoom in on anything near and far. But, is envy your objective?
- Can each camera be wireless? It is very common that people think that we can install all of their cameras wirelessly. Though there have been some improvements and advancements, wireless cameras are and will always be inferior to hard-wired cameras. Because of this 90% of cameras that people have are hard-wired; they are way more dependable. Ask around or look online and you will see poor reviews for cameras that run solely on batteries. We have a hard enough time keeping our cell phones charged, let alone having to take a camera down and charge it every other day. Thus, be prepared for your installation technician to either have to run a wire to a power outlet or to run a cat5/cat6 wire to your router location. If you want to have cameras on multiple buildings we will have to solve this problem by connecting all the buildings to the same network, using WiFi from each building, or installing a local recorder in each building. If you are thinking you want a camera on a pole, it is best to run a wire from the router or recorder to the top of the pole.
- Can you zoom in and make the image clearer? Thanks to Hollywood there are still people out there that think we will be able to zoom in on a low-resolution image and the software will magically refocus and gain resolution or pixels that never existed! Image enhancement software is a myth. Zooming in on images only makes them more pixelated and lowers the resolution. The higher the resolution you have the more likely you will be able to have the ability to zoom and still have an ok image. But even zooming in on a 4K camera image can only go so far before the image starts to look fuzzy and over-pixelated as well.
- Can I add more cameras later? The next mistake that customers can sometimes fall for is not having a big enough recorder. If you only want 4 cameras now and want to add a 5th camera later, you will need to replace your recorder. You should have just started with a recorder that can do 8 cameras. Experience has shown that you will always want more cameras than you initially think you need. So best to always have a little room for growth if possible.
- Do cameras record continuously? If you have a camera that records to the “cloud,” most of them have a cool-down period. That means that they can only record a small clip of 30 seconds or so and then they might need 30 seconds to 5 minutes to process that clip before it is ready to record a new one. Only some camera systems are able to record non-stop but do not assume that all cloud-recording cameras will capture everything. They most likely will miss half of every minute!
- Can the cameras send me a text notification? The last misconception that people have about security cameras is that they are all able to send you notifications. Most cameras DO have this ability, but they are really bad at it. This means that they will send you notifications every time the wind blows. So most of the time, if you want notifications you want to use a security system that has a door sensor or motion sensor. There are some newer cameras that are “smarter” than most that can do this though. They can tell the difference between a person, an animal, and a vehicle. But most cameras and camera systems cannot really send you authentic notifications.
- Can the camera be hidden? There are such things as covert cameras, like smoke detectors or motion detectors that have a hidden camera inside, but they are usually lower quality than the more common dome and bullet cameras. I usually recommend not using those for this reason. It is usually better to have a camera that has a greater resolution, price, or features than have it hidden. But it can be done if it is a must.
Its hoped that these 8 tips on security cameras has helped with realistic expectations when you are ready do get a reliable estimate for a security camera system. When you are ready please give us a call and we can answer any additional questions and get an estimate to you in a matter of minutes.