The increasing prevalence of video surveillance and the rise of the ‘citizen journalist’ have led to a rise in the demand for HD video surveillance cameras. These days, it seems that anyone can livestream a video of your house or store to the world – and who knows, maybe even to your family! – which makes being able to identify faces and objects in the video that much more essential. That’s why it’s crucial that you choose a HD security camera that not only offers incredible video quality but also ensures that your privacy is respected at all times.
In addition to the rise in popularity of livestreaming and citizen journalists, video surveillance cameras have also become a crucial tool in the pursuit of #self-care. These days, you can find everything from toothbrush monitors to cameras that fit in your purse and can livestream to your phone. While it’s great that there are so many ways for you to keep track of your personal care products and other essentials, this increased convenience comes at a price. Remember, even if you’re the best-liked citizen journalist in the world and you absolutely need to know what’s happening at all times, software can be flawed and the occasional glitch may occur. When that happens, you don’t want to be broadcasting yourself to the entire world. Keeping your personal details private is of paramount importance.
What’s more, these days even the tiniest detail can be used to identify you. For example, if you’re using a free VPN service to keep your personal data secure, you’re also providing the company with a log of your activity. That log can then be handed over to law enforcement, who will undoubtedly want to know what you were doing on a certain day, at a certain time, or even who you spoke to using the service. To prevent this kind of thing from happening, you need to be sure that your security camera doesn’t contain any easily accessible identification features – like a microphone – that can be used to identify you. Of course, this means you can’t have any cute features either, like animated walls that speak to you or show you fun things like babies’ or pets’ movements. Privacy comes first, gameplay second.
When you’re shopping for a security camera, the weather should never be a consideration. As the name would suggest, an all-weather camera can withstand heavy rain as well as high sunshine, so you don’t have to worry about a power outage or overheating which could be caused by overexposure to heat or light.
However, not all all-weather cameras are created equal. Some are better at withstanding heavy rainfall than others, so you’ll want to look for ones that are built with more robust plastic rather than rubber covers. Likewise, cameras that are completely sealed off from the elements will not deteriorate as quickly as those with creases and tears that allow water to seep in. If your house is prone to flooding or if it gets a lot of heavy rainfall, this is a crucial consideration.
If you’re frequently rewinding and fast-forwarding through recorded footage, you’ll quickly notice that the recording buffer of an HD security camera gets filled up very quickly. This means you’ll need to either delete older recordings or watch them in quick succession to avoid recording over or overwriting previous images.
Recording buffers are measured in megabytes (1MB = 1,000KB) and can range from 100MB to 500MB. A 300MB buffer should be sufficient for most households, but if you have a lot of space and don’t mind recording over old footage, you can go for the 500MB buffer which will allow you to save more than 9 hours of recorded video.
The larger the recording buffer, the higher the quality of your recorded video will be. If you have a large hard drive on which you’ll store your footage, the recording quality will also be significantly higher than that of a camera with a smaller buffer size. So, if you can afford it, go for the largest recording buffer available.
Resolution is the amount of details that can be displayed on your screen, with a higher resolution meaning more details are visible. When shopping for a video camera, resolution is typically expressed in terms of pixels, with the common pixel count being 1,280 x 720. These days, 4K videos at 60 frames per second are commonplace, and many security cameras have an HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 or 2,880 x 1,440, making them suitable for both TV and online viewing. What’s great is that as technology advances, so do the cameras; even 4K 60fps cameras are becoming more affordable, which means resolution is never out of reach.
Noise is produced when light is reflected off surfaces, such as water or snow, and lands on your ears. This is a major source of noise pollution which prevents us from having decent quality conversations over the phone or in person. Thankfully, in the age of the smart home, many security cameras come with built-in microphones to muffle any unwanted noises. Additionally, many cameras have sound sensors that detect when there’s noise and automatically switch off the recording button whenever the sound level is above a certain threshold. This is a great feature for those who want to keep video evidence of any suspicious activity hidden from prying eyes and ears. If you need to keep track of small children or animals while you’re out and about, this is crucial to keep in mind.
Just like the human eye, the human ear has a greater sensitivity to details in high-contrast scenes. This is why it’s beneficial for cameras to have a high dynamic range (HDR) – the ability to record a wider range of lighting conditions than what your average camera can handle. This characteristic is especially useful when indoors, where many different light sources (natural and artificial) cause glare and contrast spikes that overwhelm the camera’s auto-brightness feature.
An HDR security camera’s auto-brightness will automatically adjust the exposure level of the image so it doesn’t become too dark or too bright, which can be problematic. For instance, if the room has high contrast due to the sun streaming in through an uncovered window, the camera may not be able to record the details of the room’s design in all its glory.
Additionally, when shopping for a video camera, bear in mind that the longer the exposure time, the greater the likelihood of capturing movement. Short-term fluctuations in light intensity, on the other hand, are less likely to be recorded and can, therefore, cause loss of detail. For this reason, it’s best to look for cameras with longer exposure times.
The rise of the digital age has led to an explosion of video formats, making it challenging for consumers to know which one to purchase. Regardless of whether you need to record your family’s holiday celebrations or you just want to keep an eye on your cat, knowing which video format to choose can be difficult. What’s more, many security cameras are backwards compatible, which means they can record in different formats, but the quality will degrade as the file size increases. This makes it all the more important to familiarize yourself with as many formats as possible before purchasing a camera. If you don’t know what format your video needs to be in, ask the seller for help or look for a FAQ section on their website to get some clarity.
Additionally, try out the different functions of your camera to see how they work and which one is best-suited for the type of content you plan on creating. For example, if you’re looking for a fish-eye lensed camera to spy on your cat, you may want to consider the 180-degree ultra-wide-angle lens instead which records in 4K and has a large aperture, allowing for high quality and bright shots even in low-light conditions.