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How to Choose an Outdoor Security Camera

For many homeowners, home safety is a crucial issue. Whether its for personal safety, financial protection, or just peace of mind, the decision to invest in an outdoor security system is one that solves many of these concerns.

But at first glance, shoppers browsing around for an outdoor security system may find it a little overwhelming to choose the right type of camera from the wide selection that is currently available. Examining the types of cameras that are on the market and comparing their features can help you pinpoint the model that fits your personal needs best. The first step is looking at the types of cameras that are available.

Types of Outdoor Cameras

There are two types of outdoor camera options that you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Network cameras are one of the most common types used in security systems. Specifically made for the outdoors, these cameras are designed to connect into a main system that is managed on a computer. You may be able to wire the system yourself if you are familiar with electrical wiring and have good computer skills.

    Network cameras are available in wireless options, which may be a more convenient if you are installing the system yourself. One thing to note is that wireless systems are more susceptible to interference from other devices in your home.

  • Dome cameras and other discreet types of cameras may be suitable for outdoor use depending on where they are placed and how they are made. You will need to make sure that the device features a weatherproof exterior. Most dome style cameras are used in protected areas such as parking garages instead of open spaces. An important decision to make is whether you prefer color, black and white or high definition recording capabilities. You can often choose a combination of color, high definition and black and white cameras as needed.

    You can use high definition inside the home, for instance, and black and white imaging for other areas on the property. The high definition camera will be able to provide details if you have an intruder while a basic black and white option can let you know if someone is on your property. Black and white cameras are typically more affordable than either high def or color options.

  • If you aren't concerned about continuous recording but still want to keep an eye on your property, you may want to opt for a surveillance system that takes snapshots every few minutes rather than continuously recording. Opt for a camera that offers customization capabilities that you can set to take images on a schedule that you preset to minimize recorded footage.

    Features and Capabilities

    One feature to consider is how well your outdoor security cameras will work in a variety of conditions. For instance, a camera that is specifically designed for use at night may not pick up images well on sunny days. An anti-glare lens that is capable of adapting to the current conditions is often the best choice for homeowners who are concerned about security. Night vision capabilities are available on some types of cameras.

    The lens and angles that can be captured will make a difference in the number of cameras that you need to install around your home for security. A wide angled lens is an excellent option for driveways and other open areas. Fixed cameras are often more effective than cameras that sweep the area with a side to side motion. One feature to look for is the ability to zoom in or pan out. This added security feature will allow you to monitor your property from inside the home easily.

    Your total budget for the project can help you determine which cameras to purchase and install. High end varieties can cost as much as $2,000 while budget-friendly alternatives can be found for less than a few hundred dollars each. You should evaluate your home and which areas require the most security before making a final decision. Ten to fourteen security cameras may be required if you want to cover your whole property. Some homeowners opt for cameras over the front and back doors or over the garage doors instead of monitoring the entire property.

    Tips for Installing A Security System

    Smaller sized cameras may seem like a good idea but it is important to know that you may need to have a visible sign or other statement announcing that you are recording visitors. It is illegal in some regions to use a security camera without a notice posted. You should also note whether your cameras are sold with connections or other necessary hardware. You will typically need to provide your own wiring and connecting devices as well as the recording device that you want to use. Most security images captured are recorded on a laptop or desktop computer.

    Once you have chosen your cameras, you will need to install the cables and check how well each camera is positioned and how far you can see with each camera. Wireless options may not work as well if there are several walls or other features between the recording device and the camera. Placing your recording device in a central location can ensure each camera works to its maximum capabilities.

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