Your First Home Security System – Part 1: IP Camera Types
Concerned about crime in your area? Does your home contain valuables that you’re unhappy leaving unattended? Simply looking for a little additional peace of mind that your property and family are secure? Then installing your first home security system may be the right move. In the first part of this multi-part series, we’ll be looking at the different IP camera types available, and wade through some of the most common designs and their features in order to identify some of the key things you need to consider when deciding what set-up is right for you home.
The different IP camera types available
If you look through our catalogue of products, the most clear difference between them is the appearance. We offer four different types of IP camera: bullet cameras; dome cameras; turret cameras; and cube cameras. If this already seems a little daunting don’t worry – each camera type is designed with a specific use in mind, and we’ll run through each of those now.
These cameras are mounted, and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They can come with a range of options, including variable focal lengths (more on those later) and infrared imaging. Whilst they provide excellent pictures, they are vulnerable to vandalism, and so typically should only be mounted in places where they are hard to reach. They come in a range of sizes, and so can be matched nicely to your needs.
These cameras offer a very large range of utility, and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The glass mounting around the camera is typically vandal-resistant, which makes this type of camera an excellent choice for locations that may be within easy reach. As with the bullet they come in a range of sizes, and with the options of both fixed and moveable cameras.
These are very similar to dome cameras, only without the glass casing surrounding the lens. The advantage this offers is the ability to house a stronger infrared LED and improved see-in-the-dark capability, however the lack of protective casing does leave it vulnerable to vandals and so may not be suitable for locations within easy reach.
These cameras are perhaps the easiest to set-up, and often come with a great selection of bundled features that provide a range of utility. Their small size and portability also make them easy to re-position and relocate. However as a result they are the most vulnerable to vandalism and disruption, making them likely unsuitable as the sole camera in a security system.
Other options to consider
- Wired or wireless? Some cameras, such as the Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW, come with the option of being connected to your home network via wireless internet rather than via a network cable. Whilst this may sound good on paper, the camera still requires a power lead, and the picture it provides is dependent on a number of factors relating to the strength of your router and placement about the house. We generally recommend a wired camera as the most reliable option, however the ease and portability of a wireless camera may make it a consideration for you.
- Fixed or varifocal lens? As with ordinary digital cameras, IP cameras come with a specific focal length on the lens that make it suitable for certain distances and not others. The smaller the focal length (measured in millimetres), the wider the angle of the lens and the more “stuff” it will be able to fit into the picture. This does mean however that everything within that picture will be smaller, and thus potentially make it harder to identify people within the shot if it’s unsuitable. For example, for a location such as a corridor, a large focal length is ideal as the area is narrow, whereas in an overview of a garden the area is wider and so a shorter focal length is appropriate. Varifocal lenses come with the option of manually changing the length to fit the location, however they are more expensive. Generally it is better to identify what is needed for a location and buying a fixed lens camera suitable.
- Pan/Tilt/Zoom? Some cameras come with the option of being able to change where the camera is looking via panning, tilting, and zooming (often abbreviated as PTZ). This can be controlled manually, or set to any number of patrol programmes via external software. The advantages this type of camera offer are obvious, however they typically come with a much higher price-tag, and tend to be larger in size to accommodate the motors required.
In this part we’ve looked at some of the most commonly used IP camera types available, and the features that each typically offer in order to help determine whether they’re suitable or not for our home security system. Next week, we’ll go a bit more in-depth on some of the different bells and whistles available with the cameras on the market, and look at balancing the requirements for our system with the storage available at our price-point.
Has this article helped you at all? Anything you’d like us to cover in more depth? Let us know! We’re always very happy to hear from our customers and take on-board any praise or criticism you have. Be sure to check the rest of the use-IP blog for a range of exciting content, as well as the use-IP Youtube channel for tests, demonstrations, and unboxings of the various products we have on offer!
This is part 1 of 2. View the other parts at the links below: