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How to Pick an Outdoor Security Camera

J. Johnson, eHow Contributor | 07/06/2015

No matter where you live, there is always the possibility of a break-in or home robbery. To help give you peace of mind about your safety, as well as the safety of your family and possessions, you might consider installing an outdoor security camera. Surveillance systems deter criminals and can let you see who is on your property at all times. If you've decided that an outdoor security camera is the right choice for your home, you need to learn a little more about your options before you can pick one.


1. Research the differences between wired and wireless outdoor security cameras. Wired cameras are less convenient because they cannot be placed anywhere, but they can offer a better quality video output. Wireless systems are a bit more expensive and less reliable; however, you have the convenience of placing them wherever you need to and hiding them.

2. Look into the specific features of the outdoor security cameras you're considering. For example, the chip size of the camera will affect its performance. Larger chips, such as ½ inch, will produce a better quality video. However, smaller chips, such as ¼ or 1/3 inch chips, can produce the same image as larger chips if they are high density. The larger the TV lines of resolution, or TVL, the better the picture quality. Large TVL range from 480 to 570. You should also pay attention to the field of view for the lens. Generally, a 72 degree field of view lens works well for most home security cameras, but larger fields of view are available with wider lenses.

3. Avoid outdoor security cameras that pick up audio in addition to video. Recording a person's voice without their knowledge or consent is illegal, but you can record their image. Cameras that record audio are not meant to be outdoor security cameras.

4. Pay attention to the difference between color and black and white outdoor security cameras. Black and white cameras have a better image quality at night than color options, and they are generally less expensive. However, color cameras produce a much better image during daylight hours.

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