Hi again everyone and welcome to my fifth and final post of the Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Security Cameras for Home. In this post, I’m going to explore all the remaining important features to consider when buying a security camera. These are:
- the Resolution of the camera
- Field of View
- Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ)
- Motion Detection
- Sound, and
- Night Vision
There is quite a bit to get through so let’s go!
What is the Resolution of a security camera?
The resolution of a security camera is often an overlooked feature. Then, when the system is up and running, people wonder why the video quality is not great. Well, essentially this is what resolution refers to, the quality of video that the camera is capable of recording. Generally, the higher the number the better. But what confuses things even more is the different terminology.
Sometimes they might refer to Standard Definition (SD), High Definition (HD), Full High Definition (Full HD). Others refer to 720p, 1080p, or even 600 TVL, 700 TVL (TVL stands for TV lines and is usually found in analog cameras). You get the picture, the only thing to really understand is that the higher the number, the better the quality is. The flipside to this is that the higher the number, the more expensive the security camera will be.
If it were me, I would choose a security camera with at least the capability to record in HD or 720p. This will allow you to record high quality footage and increase the chances of being able to identify someone from a fair distance.
Field of View, what does that mean?
To put it simply, the field of view refers to how wide of an area will the security camera capture. Another way of putting it is the viewing angle from the camera, measured in degrees.
Is a wider Field of View always better?
Not in all cases. This is because a wider field of view will capture more in the shot but in lower detail because it needs to fit more into the screen. On the other hand, a security camera with a lower field of view will capture less in the shot, but will be higher quality.
Really what it comes down to is the area you need to cover. If you are seeking coverage of a wide-open space, like the front yard, then a security camera with a wide field of view would be ideal. However, if you are trying to monitor an enclosed or smaller area, say the front door under a porch, then a security camera with a narrow field of view might be more suitable.
What about PTZ security cameras?
As an alternative to a wider Field of View, you may consider a PTZ security camera, one that Pans, Tilts and Zooms. The advantage to a PTZ security camera is that it has a camera with a narrow field of view, producing higher quality footage, and it can automatically pan, tilt and zoom across the area you wish to monitor. The down side is, they can get quite expensive. For a home security scenario, I wouldn’t go for a PTZ camera myself. A security camera with a wide Field of View would be sufficient.
Motion Detection, is it needed?
Most security cameras on the market these days come with some sort of motion detection. One thing about motion detection can do is it can save on storage, as it will only record when there is motion in the shot. In addition, motion detection can send you alerts to your smartphone or tablet to advise you that the security camera has detected movement. This is a great feature in my opinion, as the notification can allow you to remotely view the security camera, and decide on whether you need to call the authorities, significantly increasing the chances of catching any intruders.
Some security cameras allow you to set up motion detection for specific areas in the shot. For example, if your camera is situated outside, it might detect motion when trees or shrubs are moving in the breeze. Not ideal to be receiving many alerts on a windy day! By selecting the appropriate areas to monitor for motion, it will give you greater control on when to be notified, or record the footage.
Do security cameras record Sound?
Yes, there are models that record sound. Nearly all indoor security cameras include a microphone to record sound. In addition, some security cameras can emit sound too via a speaker. They can allow you to speak to the person you are watching on the camera via your smartphone or tablet. Or other models utilize the sound feature to set off an alarm noise, when linked with the motion detection functionality.
Buying a camera that both records and plays sound can double as a security camera and an intercom. Great for monitoring children in and around the home, or even as a baby monitor.
Should I get a security camera with Night Vision?
In a word, yes. I wouldn’t buy a security camera without it.
Night vision, as the name suggests, gives you the ability to see in low light conditions. It works by using image enhancing technology, plus the use of thermal imaging, to create vision that can be seen clearly in the darkest part of the night. As break ins can occur at any time, and often at night, I suggest a security camera system with night vision is a must.
So, there you have it. We have covered just about every security camera feature throughout the 5-part Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Security Cameras for Home. I hope you found it interesting, and more importantly, informative, and I really hope that I assisted you in purchasing the right security cameras for your home.
Please, if you have any questions at all, or just want to get in touch with me, leave me a comment below.