How to Buy Security Cameras

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How to Buy Security Cameras

Surveillance cameras became a part of law enforcement parlance in 1965, when the first models were introduced by police to monitor public venues. The first models were known as closed circuit television, or CCTV. These security cameras required constant monitoring, which caused higher labour costs in the law enforcement community. Video cassette technology that was developed during the 1970s allowed police departments to record, and then later view recorded images. As with many public sector innovations that include the Internet, private sector organisations began to reap the benefits of installing security camera systems. Banks and shops were the first businesses to install security cameras on premises to deter theft and vandalism. Eventually, homeowners invested in security cameras as a cost-efficient way to protect property and ensure personal safety.

Business owners and homeowners can find security cameras at shops that specialise in selling alarm systems. They can also go online to buy security cameras on eBay. Before shopping for security cameras, learn about the benefits of installation, the types of security cameras, and what to look for in a high-performance security camera system.

The Benefits of Security Cameras

There was a time when security guards protected businesses and homeowners had to resort to their own means to protect their homes. Security cameras changed all of that by providing around the clock surveillance that protects both personal and commercial property. Recent technological advances have raised the security camera bar to discourage even the most experienced criminals. While protection is the primary reason why security cameras are prevalent in contemporary society, there are also other reasons for their implementation.

Prevent Theft

Retailers and banks initiated security cameras to dissuade criminals from engaging in theft and armed robbery. Shopping centres were the first venues where security personnel monitored myriad security cameras to prevent property crimes. Buildings of flats followed the lead of retailers and bankers by installing extensive security camera systems around their properties to deter auto theft. The principal reason for installing a security camera system is to prevent property loss.

Personal Safety

"The eye in the sky", as many people refer to security cameras, protect people from violent crime. The premise of installing security cameras around homes and flats is to deter criminals from committing assaults and other types of violent crime. At larger buildings of flats, at least one security guard monitors a security camera system, and then reacts whenever a violent crime unfolds on one of the security monitors.


The recent expansion of security camera roles has led to employers and other organisations installing systems to provide evidence of wrongdoing. What were once cases of someone’s word against another’s have now been supplanted by physical evidence in the form of videotape. The use of security cameras to collect evidence has helped forensic teams close tough to solve cases.

Reduced Insurance Costs

The bottom line for installing security cameras is just that, the bottom line. Lower crime rates, whether the crimes are against people or property, lead to lower insurance premiums. Organisations applaud the implementation of security cameras to protect people, but the ulterior motive is to reduce loss due to theft and lawsuits that stem from victims of violent crime. Lower crime rates also directly impact municipal tax rates, often lowering property taxes for organisations that install comprehensive security camera systems.

Types of Security Cameras

The first step in the security camera buying process is to learn about the types of security cameras. Manufacturers separate security cameras into three primary categories. The type of security camera a business owner or homeowner buys depends on their reasons for installing a protective system.


Most wired security camera systems have the ability to function either indoors or outdoors. They possess infrared cut-filter technology that allows them to work during night and overcast weather. The night vision images project in black and white to improve contrast. Manufacturers construct wired security cameras with BNC or DIN connection ports, which means wired systems require video extension leads.


Wireless technology allows businesses and homeowners to install a cost-effective security camera system that still provides optimal functionality. After years of tinkering with producing uninterrupted performance, most manufacturers have developed wireless security camera systems that provide secure transmissions and are not impacted by interference from other household wireless devices, such as mobile phones.

Internet Protocol

IP network security cameras connect to computer routers or other network transmission devices. Businesses and homeowners monitor IP network security cameras from remote locations. Users can receive images via smartphones or home computers by simply accessing the Internet. Most IP network security cameras allow users to receive recorded images on their computers or network video recorders.

What to Consider Before Buying a Security Camera

Business owners and homeowners who are interested in installing security cameras should consider a few factors before they make their purchasing decision. Rank the factors in terms of importance to simplify the buying decision.

How Many Cameras?

The easiest question to answer is determining how many cameras are needed around a home or business. However, some security monitoring systems can only accommodate one, or just a few, cameras, which limits product choices. List the areas around a home or business that should be priority spots for security cameras, and then shop for systems than can operate with the number of cameras required for protecting the property.


At the minimum, security cameras should be able to present images on a standard size television model. These monitors work fine for residential or small business monitoring, but larger businesses may require the installation of a console of larger monitors. Moreover, business owners and homeowners must consider the quality of video resolution. Consumers should determine if the purpose of security cameras is simply for movement detection or if it should also provide detailed information about criminal suspects. The higher the quality of monitor resolution, the more expensive the security camera system. Another monitor decision to make concerns black and white versus colour images.

Wired or Wireless

The answer to the wired or wireless consideration depends upon camera location. Wired security camera systems require users to strategically run leads between the cameras and monitors. However, wired security cameras tend to produce clearer images. Wireless systems provide wider range coverage and they do not require as much work for installing the system. On the other hand, wireless cameras limit the number of cameras that can relay images to one recorder, and they are susceptible to disruptions caused by weather or vibrations.

Light Source

All cameras require a steady source of light, either from the environment or the camera, itself. Security cameras that can harness light perform better than cameras that require environmental stimulus. Cameras measure light sensitivity in units called lux. The lower the lux rating, the less light is required to present a clear image. Infrared light helps cameras monitor during dark or near-dark conditions. The following chart summarises light source conditions and the equivalent lux measurement.

Light Source

Strength in Lux

Direct sunlight


Indirect sunlight


Overcast day


Indoor room


Very dark day




Deep twilight


Full moon


Quarter moon


Moonless clear night sky


To gain a better perspective, compare lux measurements to the light emitted by a candle. A candle that sits one foot away from an object emits what is referred to as one foot candle, which translates to a lux measurement of 10.

Leads and Wiring

Wired security cameras require leads to connect all of the working parts, and some wireless systems require shorter leads to connect security cameras with a wireless transmitter. In either case, users need good-quality leads that can withstand human and weather-related contact. RG59 or RG6 coaxial leads prevent video loss up to 600 m. Consult with security camera sales professionals to learn exactly which type and size of leads are needed to connect a wired security camera system.

Security Camera Buying Tips

Some business owners and homeowners believe that by installing a security camera system, all of their worries disappear at the flick of an on switch. Security camera users must define what they want to record. Are they looking to detect movement in an area or do they want a clear image of criminals? Avoid the use of "dummy" cameras, the security cameras that appear to be security cameras but are only installed to deter, and not record. Dummy cameras only present a false sense of security, which can lead to lawsuits if a crime is committed near them. To prevent privacy concerns, display signs that alert employees of security camera operation. Make sure to comply with privacy laws that concern recording conversations. If the law is unclear, refrain from recording any audio. Above all, buy a security camera system as a high-tech way to solve high-tech problems. For instance, parking lot vandalism can be reduced or eliminated by the installation of a few security lights.


What was once an innovative technology for law enforcement agencies to monitor public property has become a common method for businesses and homeowners to prevent theft and violent crimes. Security cameras allow users to monitor suspicious activity and prevent property loss. However, security cameras do much more than provide security. The introduction and refinement of recording technology allows users to record events, and then present the videotapes as evidence during legal proceedings. All of the benefits derived from installing security cameras means a reduction in insurance premiums for both business owners and homeowners.

Anyone who is interested in installing a security camera system should first decide which type of camera system works best for their coverage area. Then, rank the factors that matter in the decision making process. Security camera buying factors include: whether to purchase a wired or wireless system, the size and resolution of the monitors, and how many cameras to install on the property. Most important, business owners and homeowners must consider the light source where they want to place the cameras. After ranking and placing weight on each factor, businesses and homeowners must decide which type of activities they want to monitor. What works for a shop owner does not work for a large corporation that wants to monitor employee behaviour.

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