Your Essential Guide to Surveillance Cameras

Once upon a time, home surveillance was something reserved only for the homes of A-list celebrities and millionaires. Surveillance systems involved complicated setups that required professional installation and simply weren’t worth it for everyday homeowners.

But that’s all a thing of the past. Thanks to improvements in technology, anyone can buy and set up a surveillance camera.

Whether you want to keep an eye on your pets or catch a home intruder in action, surveillance cameras can serve a handy purpose in your home.

In this post, we’ve gone in-depth into surveillance cameras, taking a look at what they are, how they work, and the best features to look out for.

surveillance camera on wall

What are surveillance cameras?

Surveillance cameras can record movements in or outside your home throughout the day and night for you to review in real time or later.

High-end models may be able to alert you to movements in your home when you’re away, while budget models are best reserved for use as a nanny cam or deterrent to theft.

Surveillance cameras are normally portable so they’re easy to move about your home. They can usually be programmed to record at specific times or when they sense movement.

Most security cameras today provide an app that enables you to log in on your smartphone to review the goings-on at home in real time.

There are essentially only two types of surveillance cameras you really need to think about: indoors cameras and outdoor cameras.

Indoor surveillance cameras

Most people invest in indoor surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the comings and goings inside their home. You can use it to watch the pets or the kids. Or you can track the movements of babysitters, gardeners, construction workers, and anyone else who might have access to your home in your absence.

Outdoor surveillance cameras

brinno surveillance camera

By their very nature, outdoor surveillance cameras are a little more heavy duty, since they need to record in often difficult conditions, such as night time or during heavy rains. Because of this, they’re normally weatherproof and often come with night vision capabilities.

Outdoor surveillance cameras are typically used to deter or record home intruders. You can choose just to place one over your front door or have several throughout your property.

Things to consider for your surveillance camera

If you browse surveillance cameras online, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with the numbers and types of features available. There is a huge variation in surveillance models according to budget, placement, and purpose. So what kinds of features will you need?

That depends entirely on what you intend to use your surveillance camera for. Do you want to watch the pets or kids? You may only need a lightweight indoor camera.

Are you using it as an extra security measure outside your home? You’ll need more heavy duty features that enable your camera to film at night and in all weather conditions.

Below are just some of the many features you may find in a surveillance camera and when they’ll be relevant.

Wired vs wireless cameras

This refers to how your camera transmits a signal. Wireless cameras are a little more flexible and portable but you can lose minutes or hours of recording if your wireless network goes down.

On the other hand, wired cameras typically require professional installation and are not as aesthetically pleasing. Yet they can deliver a clearer image.

Is resolution important?

For a security camera, having a high resolution is non-negotiable. The higher the resolution your camera offers, the more clarity your images and videos will have.

If you’re recording video, aim for 1080p or higher. Alternatively, look for a camera with HD compatibility if you’re intending to hook it up to a monitor or TV during playback.

Of course, image clarity is more important if you’re hoping to identify a home intruder than if you were just wanting to watch what the pooch gets up to in your absence.

What viewing angle do you need?

Especially important for security surveillance, the viewing angle refers to your camera’s field of view. The broader the range, the more your camera can capture, so a surveillance camera with a wide-angle lens is ideal.

Do you need night vision?

This is particularly important for night-time surveillance. A surveillance camera equipped with infrared technology can capture far more details than one that will leave you, quite literally, in the dark.

Some cameras come with a built-in switch that can enable and disable the night vision feature depending on light conditions.

What’s the recording capacity?

How will your surveillance camera record stills and footage? Some surveillance cameras can record to the cloud, while others rely on hardware, storing information on SD or microSD cards.

How can you mount the camera?

Can your surveillance camera be wall-mounted? Or does it have a base for it to sit upon a table or shelf? Can you turn the camera 360 degrees to accommodate the mounting angle?

These are important considerations depending on how you intend to use your camera. Naturally, it’s less important to wall mount an indoor surveillance camera, but if you intend to monitor your front door, wall mounting suddenly becomes far more important.

Is recording activated with motion detection?

Some cameras only begin to record footage once they sense motion within their range. For example, the Brinno MAC200DN outdoor security camera is motion triggered by movement within a 6m zone.

Some camera models can even send a push notification to your phone if they detect anything out of the ordinary.

Can you record time lapse?

d-link surveillance camera

If you want to record footage over a set length of time, you may want to get a surveillance camera with time lapse capabilities, such as the D-Link DCS-936L day/night camera.

This means the camera will snap a certain number of frames per second and will string them together so you can view an entire time frame within minutes.

Is a surveillance camera the thing you need?

A surveillance camera is a relatively cheap and effective way to provide an extra line of defence against home intrusion. But it’s now just as popular for those who want to monitor the everyday goings-on in their home.

Ready to invest in your first surveillance camera? Browse our range of surveillance cameras online today to find some options that are easy to install and operate.

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