10 Things to Consider Before Buying a CCTV Solution

24 February 2017

The CCTV market is a minefield, with a huge number of manufacturers selling CCTV cameras at a range of different price points it’s a wonder anyone knows what to buy. So we pulled our technical team aside to get together the top 10 things you should consider before buying a camera solution.

1. Knowing What to Cover

It may come as a surprise to you, but actually, this is usually the most often thing we encounter. There is a huge amount of angles and options to cover but deciding what to cover really is the basis of every aspect of the system. With features such as ANPR, night vision, motion detection and auto tracking completely changing the cameras available, deciding what to cover should always be your first step when pursuing a CCTV system.

2. External Influences & Location

External influences can impact the effectiveness and design of a camera solution heavily. When designing a camera solution it is important to consider the possible external influences such as the weather and the position of the camera – things such as sunlight can completely alter where you position the camera, but so could the risk of vandalism.

3. Cabling

No matter the solution you pursue, a cable will always be needed whether for power or for data or for both. With analogue solutions, local power at the camera used to be required and then expensive crimps for the data – and then entered Cat5e with adaptors being used to carry both the power and data over Cat5e, however with power splitters being used costs can still go up sharply. However, IP solutions allow for both data & power to be over the same cable straight from the NVR with the technologies built into the hardware from the factory.

4. What Design of Camera?

There are a lot of designs of cameras starting from Bullet Cameras to PTZ Cameras. There is so much choice but how do you decide what is fit for your needs? Well, hopefully you’ve identified your risks and external influences, some research to the different designs pros and cons should narrow this down for you for example you won’t want to install a bullet camera at low level where it can easily be pushed out of view, for this you will be better looking for a vandal resistant dome camera.

5. Quality & Output Resolution

So you’ve decided on what you wish to capture and how far you are from that object, now you need to understand what quality you need from your camera. With analogue systems such as Hikvision’s Turbo HD offering up to 1080p, it can be easy to be persuaded, however, their IP solution delivers anywhere from 1.2MP to 12MP so there is a lot of choices. The most common IP cameras on the market use either 2MP or 4MP technologies which offer the best resolution for money ratio and if no existing analogue cabling is in place, these are usually the best choice for value for money.

6. Lens Size & Sensor

There is a huge array of lens sizes from 2.8mm all the way to insane focal lengths! However, lens sizes are not directly comparable to one another due to different sensor sizes and qualities. If you want a wide field of view you may wish to look at a 2.8mm camera, however, this could mean compromising on the ability to identify people and objects.

7. Night Vision

So now you’ve got the right focal length to be able to identify people and objects in day time, but you want to use it at night time? Well here enters Infrared technologies. Many cameras on the market today offer infrared ranges of anywhere from 20m to even over 200m! But not all of these are created equally and can even increase the cost of the camera substantially so you really need to consider what range you really need.

8. Night Vision

Storage is often forgotten and is only identified as an issue when you realise that the precious footage you truly needed has gone and isn’t coming back! At NDE we use tools to calculate the amount of storage that is going to be needed however not everyone has access to these and therefore it is definitely worth considering before blowing your budget on fancy cameras!

9. Further Features

Many camera solutions offer a huge range of features such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition, Motion Detect, Line Crossing Detection… the list truly is endless. We recommend that you should always look at what features you may wish to use such as remote viewing before purchasing any hardware because some missing features truly can be a deal breaker!

10. Hiring a Professional

With a huge range of things to consider and more variables than you can think of, number 10 truly is something to consider! Hiring a professional can take a lot of stress off of you. We are geared not only to design and supply but also to install and maintain the camera solution that best fits your needs and we are keen to work with you to help fit your requirements.