It is, strictly speaking, a video surveillance kit which contains a camera serving as an image capture tool. The device, which is generally simple to install, allows you to keep a watchful eye on everything that is happening on your premises. It is made up of one or more cameras, a recorder, a screen or monitor, and connecting cables.
The video surveillance kit obeys either analog technology or IP technology. If suspicious movements are detected, some models emit an alarm to signal the intrusion.
This comparative guide is based on the synthesis of test results carried out by independent laboratories, as well as the analysis of comments and opinions issued by consumers on the best surveillance cameras.
How does a surveillance camera work?
The best surveillance security camera models today are available around a range of technologies that allow them to capture images electronically, and transmit them, without delay, via a computer network.
Through this network, the camera is able to exchange digital data with a computer, tablet or mobile phone connected to the network signal.
The user receives the images filmed live, and can even control the transmission as he wishes. He can also save them on a hard drive, or share them with other users.
Advantages & areas of application
Long reserved for the security of companies or institutions, surveillance cameras are increasingly being used in homes, especially if they are linked to a videophone or intercoms.
Can be wired or non-wired, the best models are intended for your interior or your exterior. In the second case, the material must be weatherproof.
In addition, these simple to install and configure video surveillance equipment have multiple functionalities, they can have alarms, LED projectors or 360° rotating lenses. Some can be used as a baby monitor, a device for monitoring an animal, while others offer facial recognition.
In addition, the use of the best video surveillance devices is enhanced by intuitive, rich and ergonomic applications.
In a word, the offer offered by the different brands is very wide and allows you to select a surveillance camera adapted to your budget and your needs.
The different types of surveillance cameras
We specify in this comparative guide that there are, above all, two main categories of surveillance cameras:
- Analog cameras that are connected by cable to a monitor where the images are displayed. They transmit continuous streams of data to a digital storage device.
- IP cameras allow a direct connection (via the Internet) to a computer network: either by wifi or by Ethernet cable. The images received can be viewed and saved in real time on a PC or smartphone.
Within these two main categories, we find:
Infrared cameras: these are mostly outdoor surveillance cameras, equipped with motion detectors that trigger lighting as soon as a presence is detected in the dark. Light emitting diodes are arranged around the lens of the device to pick up heat waves from a person and transmit the black and white images.
Day/night cameras: they are very intuitive and automatically switch to day or night mode, depending on the light level.
Mini-domes: fairly discreet and motorized surveillance cameras that blend into the decor to film discreetly. They are often qualified as spy cameras.
Possible test criteria
In this part of our description it is a question of reporting the different criteria of the tests, or the objects of the tests carried out on the products, as well as the expected results to select the best models of surveillance camera.
The quality of the image is defined by the display resolution, expressed in pixels (a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels is equivalent to a very good image quality).
The detection system
The synthesis of the tests carried out in independent laboratories on the detection systems of several brands of cameras revealed some minor malfunctions.
If you have a pet, it is best to integrate a detection zone into your equipment, in order to avoid unwanted triggering. It is imperative to use sound detection systems for isolated or frequently uninhabited houses.
The degree of brightness of a surveillance camera is very important for optimal rendering of images. It is between 0 and 50,000 lux, and declines in total darkness. It is best to check that your camera incorporates infrared light in order to film in the dark.
It varies depending on the desired viewing angle. The wider the latter, the wider the surveillance scene you get.
Very important in the case of cameras to be used outdoors, the tightness is checked via the protection index of the equipment. The higher it is, the better the camera is weatherproof.
The function is useful for repositioning a camera remotely from a tablet or smartphone. But according to the opinions and tests, it is necessary to put things into perspective a little, because the latency times are often important and do not allow in all cases to follow live an individual moving in the field of vision of the camera.
The storage system
User reviews are rather unfavorable on the subject of cameras that store images on micro-SD media. In the event of vandalism or theft, the owner no longer has access to the videos.
In addition, the various tests reveal that the images, in this case, are less good or are limited to a few sequences. In this comparison, we recommend a camera model that saves data in the manufacturer’s cloud.
The advantages and disadvantages of the products
They stem for the most part from the opinions and comments made by customers.
- The security system offered by the surveillance camera is very economical; it allows to have eyes everywhere without the intervention of a security guard. The installation of surveillance cameras has a deterrent effect on vandals and thieves.
- A surveillance system offers real work flexibility to security personnel.
- CCTV is capable of providing evidence of liability in the event of litigation or criminality.
- The majority of surveillance cameras are easy to install.
- Possibility of viewing video surveillance images via the Internet, and remotely from the monitored location.
- The user has full control over his security system through his encryption.
- The installation of a surveillance camera has a better effect on the productivity and performance of employees.
- Surveillance cameras are also used in the home, to monitor pets.
- A power outage can put an end to video surveillance.
- The surveillance camera does not stop the most daring burglars.
- Some surveillance camera models require more complex installation. The surveillance camera can be hacked and thus compromise your entire security system.
- Camera alarms sometimes go off by accident, requiring you to answer your phone to deactivate it. Recurrent forgetting to activate the alarm system of his camera before leaving his home or before going to bed at night.
- Some feel that a surveillance camera (outdoors) violates their privacy.
Frequent model deficiencies
The failures reported in consumer reviews boil down to problems with frequent loss of connection for most camera models.
Surveillance equipment is sometimes “unavailable” when trying to access the video stream. There is no image to display, or the user receives notifications informing them that their connection is temporarily interrupted.
Fortunately, these devices are not the majority on the market. Many manufacturers now allow you to use their surveillance camera model without paying a penny more. However, access to additional services is chargeable.
Alternatives to Monitoring Equipment
Admittedly, it is difficult to find a more efficient security and protection system than that offered by surveillance cameras. However, some clever alternatives exist. In this case, the Kiwatch system, which is a concept using the same detection tools as in the case of a surveillance camera.
This solution has been designed for individuals and professionals who wish to equip their living or working space with an easily accessible surveillance system.
It is a Plug & Play alternative, operational in five minutes, and without additional installation costs. The surveillance kit is automatically connected to an ADSL Box with immediate operation. But in the event of intrusion noted, it is up to the user to contact the police services.