At around 2 AM, a loud noise jolted him from his sleep, but he wasn’t sure where it came from. And then he heard it again; apparently someone was knocking at his door! “Who could that be?” he wondered aloud, as he stood up from bed, clearing his eyes with the back of his hand. Whoever was at the door kept knocking and ringing the bell insistently. He got suspicious and decided not to answer straightway.
He stealthily walked downstairs, opened his automatic garage door
, and went inside and waited. After several knocks and rings, he yelled, “Who’s there?” After exchanging a few words with the individuals, he stated clearly that he wasn’t coming outside. Luckily, the uninvited guests left his home. They heard a police siren nearby and concluded that the homeowner had called in the police.
As the homeowner went back upstairs, he remembered the security cameras at the door, which must have picked up the faces of the midnight guests. On checking his touch screen monitor
he realized that his guests were robbers trying to invade his home. Their faces, which were captured by the cameras and transmitted to the computer were sent to the police, who later apprehended them.
This is obviously the worst-case scenario; most of the time you’ll need your IP camera for innocent ventures like hiding from your ex and pretending you’re not home. But, the point is that you will be prepared if this scary scenario did occur. It just explains how installing a security camera can help protect your home and possessions.
An IP or Internet protocol camera is a type of security camera
usually deployed for surveillance. It’s different from analog CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras because it can send and receive data through a computer network and the internet. There are a few things you need to know about IP cameras. First, there are two types of cameras: centralized IP camera and decentralized IP camera. The first requires a central network video recorder, while the second does not.
Before buying an IP Camera, also consider the area the camera will be located and whether a wider pan and tilt range should be considered. Make sure to check for the zooming capability (usually either optical or digital). Another important thing to check is how it suits your individual needs. You’ll need to test the image and audio quality to make sure it’s suitable.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, go through the rest of this buying guide to get more specific details.
IP cameras are available in different types, sizes and colors, and they are available for different prices. A small sized IP camera would definitely not be the same price with the bigger one. From our research, the price of IP cameras ranges from $70 to $250.
We came across some cheap IP cameras during the course of our research but disregarded them, as they would not serve you well. Any of the cameras in our review will offer you great value for your money.
Getting an IP Camera is a great decision for the security of your home, but getting an IP camera would be a lot easier if you know what to look out for. We’ve created a list of important factors to consider when purchasing an IP camera. These include:
- Size – this depends on where the IP camera would be installed
- SD Memory Capacity
- Zooming Capabilities
- Rotation Range
- Width of the Glass Lens
- HD Capacity
Let’s now look at these in some detail.
Construction and Design
Before getting an IP camera, look out for the design that you would most prefer. A security camera shouldn’t just protect your home; it should also add to the aesthetic of your home while remaining concealed. IP cameras come in various beautiful designs, carved shapes and different colors.
Good IP cameras are water resistant, detect motion and have night vision alerts. They also have a built-in alarm feature that immediately notifies you via phone or device.
The next thing to consider is the size of the camera. The right size depends on the location the camera will be installed. For your home, consider a smaller, inconspicuous camera. For the office, don’t forget that it should also spice up the look of your office space while maintaining a level of disguise.
Physical features of the camera are dependent on how the video is recorded. The camera iris and image sensor work together to produce a clear video. Other features like wide dynamic range balances the light in the video after it has been recorded and also compresses the video storage of more files. A 112° wide-angle glass is the best option when it comes to the width of the glass length.
IP cameras are available in different memory sizes. It’s best to choose the memory size best for you. A camera with a 32GB Micro SD is a fantastic choice because it has an expandable memory and can hold up to an 8-hour long video recording. It’s great to have one that features a 4-channel viewing VDR, easy backup and storage via a USB transfer to an external storage device. The zooming capability of an IP camera is also something to be considered, either an optical (zooms close by using actual lens) or digital zoom (adjusts the image in the camera itself)
Instead of a regular CCTV surveillance camera with low HD resolution and uninteresting features, an IP camera has a 720p HD night vision resolution, which can also be upgraded to a higher 1080, preferably. Quality IP camera rotation range is usually 345° horizontal and 115° vertical.
This camera can be used not only to identify people and read license plates, it can also capture video in a larger, clearer format to be used as evidence of a crime.
Performance and Ease of Use
IP cameras are usually intended for both indoor and outdoor use. Most IP cameras come with an easy to read user manual that gives you a step-by-step guide on how best to install the camera. Auto masking is a feature of IP cameras where the lens automatically goes undercover when not in use, ensuring no recording is done without your permission. In this case, you can set it in such a way that it captures relevant events.
IP cameras function in the day and at night with use of an IR-cut filter or IR-blocking filter. These increase its sensitivity to light and also capture high-quality black and white images at night. IR illuminators can be used with IR-sensitive camera to improve video quality, so check for this feature when shopping for one.
Look for IP Cameras that have thermal imaging abilities. These not only detect people but also events in complete darkness or difficult conditions such as smoke, cloud, grime and light fog.
During high winds or storms, some IP camera processors have the ability to automatically stabilize images. Some also have an electronic rotation capacity, which rotates images when people pass directly under it.
An IP camera can be installed in different ways. It can be mounted anywhere -- preferably the wall or ceiling, and the process is quick and hassle-free. Good IP cameras usually require no external housing because they are designed with a vandal resistant or IP66-rated enclosure to be used outdoor.
While going through this review, here’s a few things to keep in mind: What size space do you want to cover with your camera(s)? What picture quality do you need? Do you need it for home or business use? What’s your budget? After going through our buying guide, you’ll know the exact features to be on the lookout for. Let’s dive into our reviews now, shall we?
We hope we’ve provided enough information to enable you make an informed decision. Now go ahead and secure your home or office with that IP camera.