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Three questions to ask yourself before buying a video surveillance camera

2021-12-03
Author
Max Lapshin
CEO of Erlyvideo

Due to the amount of options and information available, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and put off purchasing this type of equipment. To help you decide easily, we suggest three simple questions that, when answered, will help you decide which camera to choose and why.

Without further ado, let’s go to those questions:

  1. Is the camera you found suitable for the required working conditions? Meaning, will it be ruined with a little rain? Will it work properly in the dark?
  2. Is it easy to install, connect, and operate?
  3. Does the cost of the camera fit your budget?

Okay, let’s answer those questions one by one in detail.

Working conditions

1. Working conditions

Before choosing the right camera for you, you need to consider the conditions in which that camera will have to work. This aspect is very important to determine the durability of the camera as well as the image quality that it will offer you.

Is the place where you are going to place the camera cold or is it a dark place? You must understand in what environment that camera will be located and to what elements it will be exposed. We break this down in more detail below:

Protection against dust and humidity

There are different standards of protection against dust and humidity, but in most cases the IP66 standard is sufficient. This, in a nutshell, means that the camera is dustproof and will work in rain of any intensity and duration. It is important to clarify that this water resistance means that the camera will resist rain, but will not work underwater.

Vandalism resistance

This is an important property for cameras. Especially for those that are located at a low height, within everyone’s reach.

Dome cameras are considered vandal resistant because they are not mounted on a bracket. They are under a fixed dome or are fixed with a threaded bushing, additionally secured with a screw. In short, to change the viewing angle, an intruder would have to literally disassemble the camera.

Bullet cameras, on the other hand, mount on brackets and hang higher. Therefore, it is difficult to jump into the camera or hit it with something. If this happened, the intruder could rotate the camera (changing the angle of view is much easier with the Bullet than with the Dome). Therefore, the Dome is considered a vandal resistant camera and the Bullet must be installed at a higher height.

Will the camera be able to capture a clear image in the dark and will it capture the image in color?

In recent years, conventional infrared lighting has been used, but this has several drawbacks: First, it emits a red light. Second, an infrared illuminated camera cannot shoot that light through glass and this is something you definitely want to avoid. Third, cameras with infrared illumination do not display color images in the dark. That means, you will not be able to recognize an intruder by the color of a tie for example.

Sony’s StarVis technology, compared to infrared illumination, increases the sensitivity a hundred times and allows you to obtain a much clearer image in low light conditions. At least one light source, such as a flashlight, is sufficient for the camera to capture color. Only in total darkness will the infrared illumination come on. The Flussonic Bullet v2 and Dome v2 cameras use StarVis technology.

Operating temperature

Flussonic cameras have a declared operating temperature of -40°C, but even at lower temperatures the camera can work, because there is simply nothing to freeze in it as there are no moving parts or mechanisms.

Distance

For some projects, it is important that the camera can capture images at a great distance. In these cases a 12mm lens is used. For other projects, the width of view is more important, in which case a 1 mm lens is ideal. Flussonic cameras have a 3.6 mm universal lens and a good 90 degree angle of view. These parameters are suitable for most conditions and allow the image to be transmitted without distortion.

Is the camera easy to install, connect, wire, and operate?

2. Is the camera easy to install, connect, wire, and operate?

Ease of installation is highly dependent on support surface and operating conditions. Bullet cameras, for example, are often mounted on exterior walls and dome cameras on interior ceilings. If the ceiling is suspended, you can hide the cables at once. Cameras without the possibility of remote control (ptz) must be installed so that they are seen in the correct place. The power connection is universal, it can power both through Ethernet (Poe) and through a conventional 12V and 1A power supply.

When it comes to connecting to the server, the real adventure begins. Camera stream can be captured via global IP. You can get it from your ISP (through your monthly internet plan) or through port forwarding (if you have access to a router and you are the ISP). The first one is expensive and time consuming. The second is also time consuming and requires the configuration of one or more devices.

Camera manufacturers generally solve this problem by using the Open VPN tunnel. This is convenient because it is easily enabled on most inexpensive cameras. However, it is redundant because a tunnel is arranged that passes all traffic through the Linux kernel. And there are also times when the server crashes. Although you have to register a new server on the camera, while changing DNS, while it is cached on other servers, it may take a day or more.

Our solution is the Flussonic Agent, a small program that is installed on the camera and sent to our server. After that, the server tells you where to send the TLS encrypted stream. It is fast, safe and reliable.

Cameras with Agent installed are also easy to use. If your server dies unexpectedly, Agent cameras will quickly and seamlessly migrate to a new server as soon as you open it.

What is also important when it comes to operation is that you get everything in a single window, server software, cameras, mobile applications, archive and the cloud. And, in case of any questions, the camera manufacturer will not point the finger at the server software provider, and the server software provider will not point the finger at the cameras.

3. Cost

Last but not least, we have the cost factor. This, along with delivery time, is very important to operators.

It makes sense to talk about three segments with their own prices. For CCTV providers, cameras are often like sauce for French fries - the product is secondary, with a large profit margin, but they are often available and they get the most comprehensive support.

For hardware vendors the cameras come with a standard benefit, they are often in stock too, they also offer support, but connecting the cameras into a surveillance system will largely be your job.

There are also the no name Chinese cameras and they are the cheapest, but you have to wait until they arrive and the help with setup and customer support is practically non-existent. You will have to do all the work on your own. It is worth clarifying that these are general trends that we see in the market at the time of writing this article, for some companies things may be different.

So what are the prices of Flussonic cameras?

It doesn’t make any sense for us to price our cameras on this blog, because the prices and models of cameras we offer may change and we will most likely forget to update this article. However, one thing we can tell you is that the prices, no matter when you read this text, will surprise you. Our policy is to always offer competitive prices and keep a large quantity in stock. Even at the time of writing this blog, when we find ourselves in the midst of a global chip shortage, we often ship out of stock cameras less than a month after ordering

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