Buying the best outdoor security camera system isn’t as straightforward as you might think. On top of thinking about your field of view, risk of vandalism, and the various security camera types you need to consider for any outdoor security camera system, there are other things you need to look out for.
In this outdoor security camera buying guide we’re going to cover:
- IP rating
- IR and night vision
- Image resolution and zoom capabilities
We’ve got lots to cover, so let’s dive in!
1. IP Ratings: Damage & Tampering Protection
IP ratings, or “ingress protection” ratings, are a way to measure how well a product stands up against the elements. The first digit refers to protection against dust and solid particulates as well as tampering or damage, ranging on a scale from 1 (not protected) to 7 (totally dust tight). The second digit indicates protection from water, ranging from 1 (not protected) to 9 (protected against prolonged immersion under pressure).
Consider Your Environment
This double scale lets you pick the kind of protection you’ll need for your outdoor security system. If you’re installing cameras somewhere in the desert, you want to be sure they’re protected against dust and sand. If you’re installing cameras somewhere on the coast, however, you want to make sure they can withstand some water. So what rating should you look for in an outdoor camera system?
Recommended IP Ratings
The lowest recommended rating is about IP67. This camera is protected against harmful dust, blowing sand or other particulate matter that might impede your camera’s functions, and won’t be impacted by rain or even temporary shallow submersion.
An IP67 rating or above guarantees that your outdoor camera system will be protected against the elements, and won’t let you down in a crisis. The last thing you want is dust blurring the feed or water shorting out a camera.
2. Infrared (IR) and Night Vision Outdoor Security Cameras
IR is simply an abbreviation for infrared light – a frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum close to visible light, but just below human perception. When we say “darkness,” “low-light,” or “diminished visibility,” we mean the human eye will have a hard time distinguishing visual detail in those conditions. Cameras, on the other hand, aren’t bound by the limitations of the human eye, and can see into the infrared spectrum to make out those details.
Our Recommendation for IR Outdoor Security Cameras: Hikvision’s Darkfighter Cameras
Excellent examples of these image-enhancing cameras are the Darkfighter line from Hikvision. These IR cameras take light in the non-visible spectrum and translate it into a false-color image, giving you a clear real-time video feed even in darkness. They also include digital noise reduction software (DNR) and wide dynamic range image sensors (WDR) to further enhance their images, and utilize a number of smart features to detect anomalies and sound alarms.
3. Image Resolution & Zoom Capabilities
Images captured by an outdoor security camera can never truly be altered beyond their original resolution. The pixels that make up the image will simply become larger if the resolution is scaled up, resulting in a pixelated mess instead of clarity. This limitation means you need to take your camera’s resolution and optimal zoom range into account when buying your outdoor security cameras.
What megapixels should your outdoor security cameras be?
If you want to discern details like license plates or facial features, 4 Megapixels (4MP) is about the lowest-quality camera you want to look at, and you’ll also want to ensure you get a camera with a physical zoom. These cameras capture 4 million individual colored pixels at whatever zoom they are set to, greatly decreasing the need for digital enlargement. Even if digital zoom is necessary, the resulting image is much clearer with an adjustable lens than simple digital enhancement.
Installing an Outdoor Camera System with Safe and Sound
Installing outdoor camera systems can be tricky. If you’re confident in what you need for an outdoor camera system, or still don’t know exactly what might suit you best, give Safe and Sound Security a call. We’re the best local security company in California – our people are all fully trained and certified, and our equipment is guaranteed to meet the highest industry specifications. We’re the local security company with the personal touch that you just can’t get from the other guys, and we make customer satisfaction our highest priority.
If you’re upgrading or installing outdoor camera systems, give us a call and find out how we can help protect you and your property.