If you are currently in the market for security cameras, there are 3 main types of Security Cameras that you can have installed. There are plenty of choices for you to consider. With choices however, comes confusion. Here in Salt Lake City, Utah, I have seen a lot more confusion from customers than even a couple of years ago. That is because they aren’t sure which type of technology they should use.
1. Analog Cameras. ( I would recommend a 650 or 700 TV line camera with a 960H level recorder.)
2. HD-SDI Cameras. These are HD cameras that can be run over Coax cable.
3. IP Megapixel Cameras.
Starting with the Analog Cameras
PROS: They are the least expensive of the three options. The current quality level is the same as standard television. Though you still need to make sure you are getting quality, Analog cameras also stream well over the internet on almost any network because they have a much smaller file size than the other two options. I install a 4 camera analog system on a small business or home usually starting at about $1500.00 They are great to give you an idea of what is going on and be a good deterrent. There are HUGE selections of analog cameras to choose from and they all work with any recorder.
CONS: The detail level in the picture isn’t as sharp as many people would like. You can’t zoom into the picture afterwards like the other two options.
HD-SDI Camera systems
PROS: If you have existing wiring installed and/or your camera runs are less than 300 feet for each camera then this a great option for you. These cameras will give you up to 1080 p quality, ( 2 megapixel), but you can use coax wire. These cameras are still less expensive than IP Cameras and you don’t have to program as much for each camera. I can install a 4 camera system on a home or small business for a starting price of about $2500
CONS: Distance of camera runs can be an issue for HD cameras. They have adapters but then that is more equipment per camera and makes installation a little more messy. This system is best used for installations less than 300 feet for the longest run or when replacing analog cameras and the company doesn’t want to run new wire.
PROS: IP Cameras have great picture quality. Although most of my clients would only need a 1.3 megapixel or 2 megapixel camera, there are larger corporations using 5 megapixel and higher already. The more megapixels in the shot, the more you can zoom into one corner of the picture and blow it up while maintaining quality.
CONS: Even though IP cameras have been coming down in price, they are still almost 3 times that of an analog camera. There are also issues with paying licensing fees and making sure that the software from one camera will work with a different network video recorder as well. Passwords will also be a problem for service work later. Be sure to have all of your ip addresses, passwords, etc. in case you need to call in someone else to service the cameras at a future date.
In conclusion, it really comes down to needs and budget. I always use a car analogy when I talk with my customers. When you go shopping for a car, you have an idea about what you want to spend and the features that you need. It is much the same with camera systems. The majority of my customers here in Utah are still finding the higher end Analog systems with the new 960H level recorders to give them the best return on their investments, but I suspect more and more will be making the jump to HD quality through either HD SDI or IP over the course of the next year.