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How to choose a security surveillance camera?

by Dino inthebox on January 07, 2021

With the development of society and the improvement of economic level, security issues are getting more and more attention from us. The following summarizes and considers mainly from the perspective of individual users, such as homes, doorways, a small courtyard, a small shop, need to install video surveillance, how should we choose the appropriate camera.

First of all, we should be clear, what is the purpose of installing video surveillance? Look up the video after the event, find the cause of the accident, and go through it so that we can grasp the evidence and better deal with the accident.

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In summary, we should choose surveillance cameras from the following aspects:

1. Lens focal length

The camera lens is generally divided into two types: fixed focus and zoom. We should choose a lens with a suitable focal length according to the scope and size of the scene to be monitored.

General fixed-focus lenses mainly have focal lengths such as 2.8mm, 3.6mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, etc.

The zoom lens is divided into manual zoom and electric zoom. Manual zoom, when we need to install, according to the monitoring range, manually adjust to the appropriate focus. The electric zoom can be remotely controlled to adjust the lens focal length by controlling the keyboard, DVR/NVR, client software, etc. at the back end. The focal lengths of common zoom lenses mainly include 2.8-12mm, 2.7-13.5mm, 3.5-11mm, 5-50mm, etc. For lenses with greater zoom capabilities, we can choose a cloud billiard ball machine. The built-in lenses have 10 times, 12 times, 18 times, 20 times, 22 times, 30 times, 60 times and other zoom capabilities. At the same time, these pan-tilt cameras generally support the pan-tilt up and down 90 degrees, left and right 360 degrees to choose, which can achieve all-round monitoring without dead ends.

The focal length of the lens is different, the viewing angle and range that can be monitored will also be different. The following are the visible distances and ranges of some common focal lengths. You can refer to them when choosing a camera.

  • 2.8mm, viewing angle 90 degrees, viewing distance 5-6 meters
  • 3.6mm, viewing angle 82 degrees, viewing distance 6-8 meters
  • 6mm, viewing angle 60 degrees, viewing distance 10-15 meters
  • 8mm, viewing angle 45 degrees, viewing distance 15-20 meters
  • 12mm, viewing angle 30 degrees, viewing distance 25-30 meters
  • 16mm, viewing angle 22 degrees, viewing distance 30-35 meters

The smaller the focal length of the lens, the larger the viewing angle of the monitoring screen and the closer the visual distance. The viewing distance is generally determined by multiplying the focal length of the lens by 2, and then floating it up a little, for example, 2.8*2=5.6, so the appropriate viewing distance for a 2.8mm lens is about 5-6 meters.

Of course, the above are only approximate reference values, which are very helpful for selecting the focal length of the surveillance camera lens in ordinary household or small surveillance projects. More accurate lens focal length, viewing angle, and viewing distance are also affected by many factors, such as the target surface of the lens, the measurement standard of viewing distance and so on.

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Now in consumer smart home cameras, we have more options-panoramic cameras. The panoramic camera uses a 180-degree, 360-degree panoramic lens, and the angle of view of a camera can reach 180 degrees, 360 degrees. In this way, in a small office, living room and other environments, a panoramic camera can be completely covered to ensure that there are no dead ends for monitoring.

The focal length of the panoramic lens is relatively small, such as 1.44mm, 1.1mm, and the viewing distance is very short, so the best application scenario of the panoramic camera is a room, such as a living room at home, a meeting room, etc.

180 degree panoramic effect

180 degree panoramic effect
360 degree panoramic effect

360 degree panoramic effect

2. Choice of camera appearance

How to choose the appearance of the camera? Mainly depends on our installation location. This is very clear and very sure.

If we want to install the camera on the wall, generally we choose a gun camera. If it is installed on the ceiling, a dome camera is generally selected. If it is an outdoor environment, we must pay attention to the camera's need to be waterproof and dustproof, and pay attention to the IP protection level of the camera. Generally, an IP65 camera can meet the outdoor waterproof and dustproof requirements.

In addition, equipped with a suitable mounting bracket, the bolt camera can also be installed on the ceiling, and the dome camera can also be fixed on the wall. I won't expand on it here.

In some large outdoor surveillance scenes, we can choose a camera with PTZ function, which can rotate 360 degrees. The same is true indoors. For example, we can put a small pan-tilt camera on the corner table, and turn the pan-tilt to see the whole room clearly when accessing remotely via mobile phone.

3. Selection of camera function

According to our surveillance needs, choose cameras with different functions.

The transmission mode, we can choose, video cable transmission, network cable transmission, WiFi transmission, wireless AP transmission, 4G mobile network transmission and other different transmission methods of the camera.

Audio function, if we need to monitor the sound while monitoring the picture. Then we have to choose a camera with audio function.

In different light environments, if the camera is installed indoors, it needs to be illuminated from the door or window to the outside. Because the light inside and outside is different, you need to choose a camera that supports wide dynamic functions. If you need to illuminate and see the car license plate clearly at night, because the car’s front lights are very bright, you need to use a camera that supports strong light suppression.

POE power supply. Sometimes, if it is inconvenient to power the camera with a power cord, you can choose a network camera that supports POE power supply. Just configure a POE switch at the back end.

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Starlight level, if you monitor the environment, there is faint light at night, and you hope that the monitoring picture at night will be colorful, you can choose a starlight level camera. It can maintain the color monitor screen under weak light. If there is no light at all at night, you can use a white light to fill the camera with light, and you can maintain a colorful surveillance picture at night. 

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