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How to Choose Quality Cameras
components themselves. Listed in the specifications of each camera, you will find out who makes the “guts” of the camera. In other words, what name brand chipset is at the heart of this camera? There are numerous brands out there, but the top two are Sony and Panasonic. Both of these brands will give you an excellent picture and the longest life. Both Sony and Panasonic offer several levels of chipsets, so always look for these minimum performance parameters, no matter what type or style of camera used, or who’s name is on the outside
Type : Grade “A” CCD (Charge Coupled Device) Imaging Chipset
Format : 1/3” or ¼” focal length (1/3” gathers more light and has a wider view, but ¼” is fine for high resolution models in well lit areas
Color or Day/Night operation : (Day/Night versions turn from color to Black & White under low light conditions)
TV Lines of Resolution : 380 to 400 lines for medium resolution cameras, and 480 to 500 lines for high-resolution
Signal to noise ratio (S/N) : at least 48db or higher (50db is visibly better)
Voltage : 12V DC is fine for smaller cameras, while 24V AC is usually better, and is required for any camera with heaters
Surveillance Tips : Avoid dummy cameras while they may deter some problems, they also can create a legal llablllty bycreating an expectation of safety where none exists. Besides, Criminals eventually figure out that they are fake. put up signs.highly visible signang lets customers and employees know that they are being filmed and can greately increase the deterrent effect as well
Lenses are the most important part
nearby. It also has a long 'depth of field, therefore scenes over a long distance can be in focus at the same time.By contrast the basic lens of a CCTV camera is an exceptionally crude device. It can only be focused on a single plane, everything before and after this becomes progressively out of focus. This single focus point must be predetermined and that is usually not a guarantee that an occurrence that you want to see will happen in that area. Therefore, the selection of the most appropriate lens for each camera must frequently be a compromise between what you expect to see and the practical use of the system. It’s not feasible to see the whole wash bay and be able to read all the license tags with one lens. The solution may be to add more cameras or to compromise with a lens strength that is somewhere in between.
One of the best lens types to work with when you install your system is the “Varifocal”, or manually adjustable zoom lens. This type of lens gives you a small amount of adjustability to “fine tune” each scene, whereas a “fixed lens” camera is pre-set to a particular view. As adaptable as the Varifocal lenses are, I’m always tempted to use them everywhere. However, depending on which area of the wash you want to cover, they’re not always the best choice when considering both price and effectiveness.
The following is a list of the most common types of lenses used and they work best.
Fixed Lenses : View is fixed and cannot be altered: Least costly and usually comes standard with a 3.6mm lens (see sidebar for lens views) or can also be ordered with other options as well. A simple camera to use. Arrives pre-set and pre-focused so all you have to do is hang it, plug it in, point it and you’re done. Used for short distance shots and general wide-angle views. Ex: Equipment rooms, small offices, vending, doors, etc.
Varifocal lenses : Small amount of adjustability is provided to get the correct width and distance: The amounts of adjustability varies with each lens, but try to get a camera with a 3.5mm to 8mm range, a 2.8mm to 12mm range for wide-angle views of outlying areas, and a Telephoto range of 5mm to 50mm or more when using the camera to capture license tags.
Lines of Resoluation : Not every camera has to be a high resoluation model.many standard resoluation cameras look grate on a quality digital systems. use high resoluation cameras where you need to see the greatest detail. such as License tag views. cash register areas, etc.
Approximate view of each lens size in a 15' x 15' room.
or PTZ’s, are nifty gadgets that can be used to do the job of several cameras, and have many tricks up their sleeve that can be really helpful. These types of cameras can not only be remotely controlled over the Internet from your PC, but can also be programmed to perform tours and go to preset positions automatically or upon an event. For example: you can have the camera panning to each bay, then zoom in to capture the license tag, then on to the next area you want to record You can interrupt the camera to move it around, and then make it go back to its primary job. Some of the nicer models even have several inputs so that you can attach external sensor to trigger the camera to swing around and capture a license tag on a passing car, or to zoom in on a certain area when there is activity.
The PTZ cameras are certainly a nice tool to have and also make a nifty toy to play with on slow evenings at home, but they do have a few drawbacks that you need to be aware of. Price is the first consideration. Good quality outdoor rated PTZ’s and accompanying accessories can run close to Rs. 85,000 each. In some cases you may be better off with stationary cameras that constantly monitor a scene rather than a moving camera that may miss something that happens when it is looking elsewhere. Also factor in the fact that PTZ cameras are a mechanical apparatus that will eventually wear out and will need more maintenance than simpler cameras, especially if you have them moving constantly.
Choosing a Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
recordings, excellent storage quality that does not degrade after repeated viewings, their ability to multi-task and do several things at once, and smart monitoring that allows multiple recording speeds based on motion or other events. The hard part is figuring out what type of DVR to use, and how to end up with a good quality recorder that will give you what you expect and is reliable over the long haul. Many times, it's what you're NOT told that causes you grief,so to help you to understand the myths and learn to ask the right questions, here are some helpful tips and things that you need to look at before jumping into Digital Video.
PC-based Systems
Digital recording can push any system to its limits, and this is especially true with pc-based DVR’s. Most desktop PC’s are not designed to operate long term in the harsh electrical and moisture intensive environments. Few of the problems are mostly due to buying cheap DVR cards and software which causes poor performance, frequent crashes, fuzzy pictures and hardware failures. The most frequent problem is lock-ups and reboots. Also Windows operating system and the main processor do not tolerate being worked at near full capacity non-stop day in and day out. This kind of intensive computing power can work a system to death, and software lock-ups and rebooting are the outcome.
Compounding these problems is the fact that employees would get on the computer and surf the net and unknowingly pick up viruses that would constantly slow the system to a crawl, or even worse, cause it to stop working altogether.
With high quality cards, software and performance improves greatly, and the pictures are excellent. Top
Dedicated DVR’s
to deal with the operating system or even see it. These types of systems are called stand-alone systems because they do not need a computer or any other devices to operate. Another common name is an embedded system because the entire operating system and software has been embedded on the processor chip. No software resides on the hard drives; those are reserved for archived footage. This arrangement allows the system to work much faster, and also makes it virtually immune to hacking or viruses. Thus, you can put it on the Internet without any worries about picking up a virus or allowing someone to hack into it.
Lately, however, there have been a lot of cheap stand-alone DVR’s come in from overseas. Unfortunately it is just as easy to get taken with a cheap knock-off as it is to buy PC cards that are junk. So we have compiled the following list of minimum performance parameters to look for when evaluating a stand-alone DVR.
Resolution : There is displayed resolution and recorded resolution. Look for a minimum recording or capture size of 640 x 480, and 720 x 480 is even better.
Frame Rate : Once again there is two numbers to look for, display rate and recording rate. These numbers are usually stated as “global”, meaning that the frame rate number is divided by the number of cameras on the system. For example: a 60 frame per second system running 16 cameras will be recording the video from each camera at just over 3 pictures per second. At that rate the video will be jerky and many movements or actions will be missed entirely
The display rate should be real-time.No exceptions If the system can’t display pictures in real time, it likely won’t be able to record very fast either. Recording rate is very important as well. Real time is defined as 30 (NTSC), 25 (PAL) frames per second per camera. However, if you insist on recording that fast, you will fill up your hard drives in just a couple of days. So a compromise is in order. The human eye cannot really distinguish the difference between 20 frames per second and 30. In fact, on a quality DVR, it can record at 15 frames per second and it still looks near enough to real time that you can’t see much difference. So that should be your minimum recording rate: 15 frames per second times the total number of cameras the system can handle. (ie: 60fps on a 4 camera system, 120fps on a 8 camera system, and 240fps on a 16 camera system).
Compression ratio: Some systems tout very high compression ratios, such as 1000:1 or 2000:1, as if it were a benefit or feature. While that might sound impressive, higher compression means that the system is stripping more and more resolution out of each picture in order to make smaller file sizes. A better system of compressing pictures is “dynamic”, meaning that the amount of compression attained changes continuously, depending on the picture content or amount of movement within the picture. It's the only way to give sharp, clear pictures all the time, with just the right amount of compression, and you shouldn't settle for less! Because anything less means poor quality pictures that let you down when you try to play back an incident to see what happened.
Most of the other handy features such as Internet monitoring, motion-based recording and event or sensor-based recording is standard in most DVR’s these days, but make sure that the system will let you do more than just monitor cameras remotely. Ask if the system allows you to look at pre-recorded archive footage remotely, lets you transfer files over to your own PC, and even record simultaneously on your PC at home or the office. Also ask if the system lets you change all the setting remotely and generally lets you operate that DVR as if you were standing in front of it. All are hallmarks of a quality DVR.
Last but not least look at the Warranty the company provides. A reputable company should give you a “fix it or replace it” warranty for at least 1 year. Beware of the system that comes with a 90 day parts and labor, or 1 year parts only warranty. If they won’t stand behind your system, why should you buy it?
If you let the performance numbers listed above be your guide to choosing a good quality system, you will be happy with your system for years to come. Good luck and feel free to e-mail us with any additional questions you may have.
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