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Extra Features of CCTV Cameras

Video Surveillance Systems Buyers' Guide

There are features of CCTV cameras that give you greater control over what you can see, when you can see it and in how much detail.

The Camera Lens

It is possible to buy your camera lenses separate from the camera bodies but they must complement each other. In other words, if you're using a 1/3in lens then you should opt for a camera body that also has a 1/3in format.

  • Fixed focal length lens. This gives you a fixed view of an area and is one of the cheapest lens types available.
  • Zoom lens. A zoom lens has a variable focal length and gives you the opportunity to see an object or person in close-up. Most zoom lenses are motorised so you control them remotely from the monitor.
  • Manual/automatic iris. If your camera is in an area where the lighting never changes, then you're just as well opting for a lens with a manual iris.

If your camera is outside, and has to cope with different lighting conditions throughout the day and night, choose a lens with an automatic iris. Your picture quality will be much better because the iris will adjust to the level of light.

PTZ

A motorised zoom lens has distinct advantages over a fixed focal length lens but the best option, although costly, is to have a PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) camera. By using a joystick, you can turn the camera up, down and from side to side, zooming in and out as necessary.

Camera Housings

Cameras placed outdoors need housings to protect them from the elements and vandalism. Some can even have heaters and cooling systems to help ensure the camera works as effectively as possible in all conditions.

An indoor camera can come with a vandal resistant and dust proof housing or a tinted plastic case that disguises the position of the lens.

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