Choosing the right cameras for your CCTV solutions

by admin on September 9, 2013

Fixing a CCTV camera on a given spot is no big deal, but to know exactly which type of camera would give you the required view (with the required results as well ) from this spot is the real challenge. As a CCTV consultant, one is expected to be well versed with his product range and should know which camera and what features of it would help in catering to a certain requirement. This, obviously, is an ability which develops over time with experience and depends on how many different types of cameras has a consultant, technician or installer dealt with.

Apart from a CCTV solutions providing company, even the client should have a basic idea on how CCTV solutions work and how do CCTV cameras in general capture images. I am sure, if you are a CCTV consultant / technician yourself, you may have come across clients who would show you around a big hall in their warehouse or office and would expect you to cover the whole of it with a single camera and even expect the poor little dome camera to help them recognize faces entering / exiting the door in the farthest corner of the room (and you would be saying within yourself – ‘have you gone nuts!!!’). Well that was on a lighter note, so please don’t say this to the client aloud.

Below are common scenarios which I have come across while providing CCTV services in Dubai and other cities of UAE and suggested specific cameras as required.

1)      Indoor Offices: The good thing about an indoor office is its constant bright light throughout the day added with general sized rooms that can be covered by a single camera. Keeping in mind aesthetic requirements as well, I always suggest a smart and sleek shaped dome camera with a minimum view of 90°. An added feature of IR LEDs for recording in low or zero light is a further advantage if the office area happens to be an accounts department or a store room.

2)      Office Entrances: In spite of a well lit office, entrances would require a higher resolution camera to allow facial recognition of people moving in and out of the premise. Facial recognition is a serious requirement from security authorities and any weakness on this side would weaken ones case and the authorities would not take an action in case faces appear blur or vague. A dome camera with the below features should be good enough for this purpose

1/3″ Sony CCD Sensor, 700 / 800 TVL High Resolution, 0 Lux LED On Min. Illumination, Viewing Angle 28° ~ 136° (2.8 ~ 12mm), Varifocal Auto Iris.

Notice the variable viewing angle (28° ~ 136°, feature is known as Varifocal lens) which helps you to fix the zoom of the camera to a recognizable spot depending upon how close or far is the camera installed from the office entrance.

3)      Cashier: A cashier, whether in an office or a supermarket, requires high level and crystal clear surveillance. Some clients go as far as demanding the ability to recognize bank notes in the recorded videos. A box camera equipped with Digital Image Stabilizer ensures images are stable by reducing flickering. An ideal combination of a box camera and Varifocal lens should be as follows:

1/3″ Sony CCD Sensor, 700 TVL Colour High Resolution, 0.1 Lux Min. Illumination, Digital WDR (Wide Dynamic Range), CS mount Varifocal lens with viewing angle 21° ~ 104° (2.8 ~ 12mm)

4)      Warehouse Entrances: In almost all the warehouses that I have surveyed in the past few years, the interiors was darker due to low light and the entrance had a glow of bright light due to the sun rays entering inside. A very important issue to note here is that objects captured in such lighting conditions are always shown as dark black with zero recognition. Surprisingly, few clients tend to save on cost and opt for general cameras that although shows them a video but literally does not let them know who came in or went out. Entrance to a warehouse is a critical location and should not be ignored when it comes to surveillance. An ideal camera for such a scenario should be equipped with WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) feature and a lens equipped with IR LEDs to assist in night time recording. This feature tackles the drawback of the lighting condition mentioned above and gives an absolute clear video with recognizable faces. Although the difference in cost is almost double, but in case of an incident and a non-recognizable culprit, even the low cost spent will end up as a total waste because the chosen camera did not serve its purpose.

5)      Warehouses: As discussed above, warehouses are usually equipped with low light and run 24×7. Cameras in this scenario should be equipped with IR LEDs with a minimum range of 20-30m, Auto iris feature to adjust in variable lighting conditions from day to night and high resolution of at least 700 TVL to provide sharp results. Keeping in view the dusty and in some cases outdoor conditions of yards associated with warehouses, an IP 67 graded camera should be a must to ensure protection against dust and rain. Also don’t forget a camera whose operating temperature is up to or more than 50°C due to the harsh weather faced by CCTV solutions in Dubai and all over emirates.

The above scenarios are the most common scenarios that one may come across in a commercial requirement. Whether you are an installer or an office manager looking for a CCTV surveillance solution, the above points can help you in choosing the right camera for a given requirement and ensure that your investment pays off and serves its purpose.

Muhammad Iqbal is a graduate in IT and is the Technical Manager at RSI Concepts. He is fond of CCTV solutions, Interactive Kiosks and has worked for major names across UAE providing them with various IT solutions over the years.

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