KEY FEATURES OF CCTV camera
Low-Light Viewing The lower a camera’s lux rating, the better it can see in the dark for night vision application. For viewing in total darkness, look for 0 lux with built-in IR illuminators, advises Darrel Hauk, president and CEO of Channel Vision. If the yard lights will be on, you can go with .01 lux; a starlit night, .001 lux.
Wiring It can be difficult to route the necessary cabling to the planned location of an outdoor security camera. Even wireless models still require power. Look for a camera that requires as little wiring as possible. “Pulling one wire is always easier than pulling two,” says Panasonic product manager for retail communication devices Erica Martinez. Panasonic makes models that can deliver power and video images over a single Ethernet wire.
Style Do you want your camera to be noticed or to go unnoticed? “Sometimes a camera that’s easy to see is an effective deterrent,” says Joe Lautner, VP of sales and marketing at HomeLogic, a manufacturing of home control systems. If you’d rather be covert in your surveillance tactics, look for a stealthier design.
Adjustable A fixed cameras focus on one spot, which may be fine for your intended use. However, if you’d like to be able to watch a larger area, you might want to choose a camera that can be panned, tilted and zoomed in for a better look.
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Recording Trespassers, vandals and toilet-paper toting teenagers are most likely to strike when you’re not at home. For this reason, you may want to invest a camera that can record captured images on a computer or on a digital video recorder.
Web access (IP cameras) For the same reason, you may want a camera that can be accessed via the Web. You’ll be able to see the yard, the front door or the patio from the screen of your iPhone or laptop computer.
Picture quality As great as IP cameras are at granting access from anywhere, the video they transmit is usually choppier than the images transmitted by an analog camera, says Lautner. If image quality is important, an analog camera can still communicate over the web—you’ll just need to invest in extra equipment.
Rain resistance Some cameras are better than others at handling the rain. If your IP camera will be fully exposed to the elements, look for a waterproof rating of 65, advises Hauk.