CCTV cameras have evolved substantially in the last decade. But in all fairness, these are not a part and parcel in everyone’s life. So looking through the newest of CCTV technologies, features and types of CCTV security cameras can be intimidating. Also, asking for help from a marketing consultant could be just a waste of time. They usually throw in the most polished words to make buying CCTVs all the more difficult. So before you choose the best CCTV camera for your home or business, you need to have a brief idea on what to look for.
1. Does it come with an inbuilt SD card slot or does it depend on a separate internal storage on DVR?
With the advancement of CCTV technology, today many of the CCTV cameras are CCTV systems by themselves. They come with a micro SD card slot in them. Users can insert memory cards of various capacities, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB for recording. Many of modern CCTV cameras sold in India are upgradeable up to 128GB.
But there are also cheaper cameras that do not have the internal storage and depend on the surveillance hard disk in the DVR.
The modern CCTV cameras can rotate horizontally and vertically to cover a large space around them. The maximum angle that a CCTV camera can rotate horizontally is called as Pan and vertically is tilt. Some of the best CCTV cameras, for instance, Sricam SP005 SP Series can pan up to 355 degrees and tilt up to 90 degrees. Certain CCTV cameras could be remotely rotated by their apps. So if you want to monitor a large portion of three-dimensional space, a CCTV camera with higher pan/tilt is essential.
3. Image quality
The best CCTV cameras of today produce videos in 720p (1MP) and 1080p resolution. Of course, greater the resolution, better will be the quality, however, it also means you need a higher amount of storage to record a day’s video. If you have a DVR with large internal storage in terabytes, buying a high-resolution camera may not be a bad idea. But cameras with in-built storage will easily get filled. To deal with this, some of the cameras have an overwrite feature which self-erase micro SD once it fills up and continues recording. Obviously, this can create recording loss problems. A 1MP camera approximately takes up to 38GB of data space on recording for a whole day. So relate the resolution of CCTV camera also with the storage space and backup time than just with the visual quality before choosing a particular CCTV camera.
4. Does it have a motion and audio sensor?
Motion sensors are actually a part of smart security cameras. These are currently not very popular in India because of their high price but are definitely the future of CCTV cameras. For instance, Samsung Smartcam HD Pro costs Rs.18,499 per piece. With motion and audio sensors, CCTV cameras detect and alert owners about unusual sounds and movements by sending them a notification on their mobile app. If you are in need of a top notch security system and want to best protect your home or office, buying a CCTV camera with motion and audio sensors is worth the money.
5. Is it easy to Install and setup?
In general, wireless CCTV cameras are the easiest to install and setup as there are no cables involved. The ease of CCTV camera installation mainly depends on positioning and mounting. The cameras with magnetic bases or sticky pads are easy to mount, but for a long term, screwing the camera on the wall is a reliable way.
If a CCTV camera has a good pan/tilt, it might not require accurate positioning. You might just place them over a heightened table or wardrobe.
However, if, to mount a CCTV camera it requires to drill holes and hammer molding pins and screw them, the installation could be difficult and might require professional help. Some CCTV Camera Suppliers in India offer free installation on the purchase. A good CCTV camera product will come along with a mounting stand and screws.
For first time use, you might require to download an app from Google Play Store on your phone, install it, signup and authenticate by scanning the QR code on the camera. This should only take a few minutes. Overall, the setup process of a CCTV camera should be an easy process in this day and age.
To find out which places to install CCTV camera in your house, read this article.
6. Can it be used for Video chat with your family?
There are CCTV cameras with an inbuilt microphone that allow 2-way communication. This is useful for people who want to keep in touch with their kids at home and ensure their safety and security.
7. Is it Waterproof?
For an outdoor CCTV camera, waterproofing is a must. If you want to monitor the space in-front of your shop, home or any other outdoor space, you should look for waterproof CCTV cameras.
8. What are the accessories that come in the box?
Before you choose a CCTV camera, you have to check the details about the contents you will be getting on buying it. The key contents to look for are installation gear like mounting stand, power screws, cables and power adaptor. Sometimes, low-cost CCTV cameras do not come with power adapters, and it would be an additional expense. So make sure you get all these in your package.
9. Number of Infra-Red LEDs in the Camera
Infra-Red LEDs are small bulbs located on the sides of the lens at the center. These provide Infra-Red light at night for night vision. Greater the number of LEDs, better will be the quality of recordings at night.
10. Maximum range of the camera
The maximum range or range of a CCTV camera is dependent on focal length of the lens and size of the image sensor. Greater the range, the clearer will be the objects captured from the far away distances. Higher range is essential for outdoor CCTV cameras. A CCTV camera should have an at least of 20 to 25mtrs of range.
11. Does it work offline, does it have an inbuilt Hotspot.
Inbuilt Hotspot in a CCTV camera allows users to access the live stream on their smartphone without the need of an internet Wi-Fi. But this works within a limited distance from the camera. These cameras are easy to identify as they have an antenna on them. This is a good feature to have in CCTV cameras installed in small shops and malls. Managers can monitor various parts of the floor, without having to connect to the internet connection.
12. Does it connect to existing DVR?
Some manufacturers make and sell CCTV cameras as a part of CCTV system. They are only compatible with their parent DVR. So if you are buying a CCTV camera for an existing DVR, make sure it is compatible with it.
13. Is the CCTV camera supplier legit?
Over the past few years, the number of CCTV Dealers in Delhi and other major cities of India have tremendously increased. Many of these do not have the certification to offer and install CCTV cameras. But since the surveillance rules in India are a gray area, these companies are still lurking around in the market. It is estimated that over 75% of the CCTV installations are illegal. Times are changing and in future, a new law could be passed to remove illegal installations. So make sure you look for reputed and certified, CCTV Camera Dealers before ordering an installation. Also, when buying from online stores, make sure that images shown are real. It is possible that some products are showcased with misleading images.
14. Outdoor vs. Indoor Cameras
Indoor cameras are suitable for offices and homes. These are compact in size and typically have a dome shape.
Outdoor cameras, on the other hand, are used for spaces including grounds, outside shops, markets, airport, roads etc. These have high pan/tilt and zoom which enables them to cover large spaces.
15. Wired or Wireless CCTV cameras?
Wired CCTV cameras are quite popular in India because of their lower price. These are connected to DVR through a Siamese Coax Cable. Wired CCTV cameras are more reliable than wireless CCTV cameras as they are hard connected through wires.
Wireless cameras offer benefits in terms of mobility and scalability. These are usually easy to install and move around. Good quality branded wireless cameras are expensive than wired cameras. The high-end offices and homes today prefer these cameras as they do not disturb the aesthetics with wires and cables. For using wireless cameras, one should have a high-quality router, reliable internet connection, and speed.
16. Price and Warranty
A decent quality CCTV camera comes with at least a one year warranty and the robust ones can have warranty up to 3 or more years.
17. Best CCTV brands of India
Sricam, IFITech, and Vimtag are some of the popular and reputed CCTV camera brands. To know the top 10 CCTV cameras in India and their prices, click here.