If you’re in the market to buy commercial security cameras, you’ve probably already spent some time reviewing the options available. No matter which cameras you’re looking at, they can be classified into one of three categories of cameras: analog, analog-HID, and IP. Each type of security camera has unique advantages and disadvantages, and they will meet different needs.
Before we jump into our analysis of the cameras, there are a few questions you should ask yourself about your business:
- Do you already have a security camera system? If so, what type of cameras do you have?
- How large of a space do you need the cameras to cover? A single office? Or a multi-story building and large outdoor lot?
- Do you need to be able to monitor the security cameras remotely?
- What level of detail do you need captured? Do you need to be able to see minute detail, or are you more concerned about capturing the big picture?
Your answers to those questions will help you determine what the pros and cons of each type of camera will be for your business.
Here are the three types of commercial security cameras you should consider:
- Most installers know this type well
- Commonly used in pre-existing systems
- Not very high image quality
- Require coaxial cable with the power supply cord
- Not easy to check remotely
- Wires limit the distance cable can be run without amplifiers
Analog cameras are what most people probably imagine by default when they think of security cameras. If you’ve ever seen movies where a security guard is sitting in front of a bunch of little television screens, those were likely the result of analog cameras.
Analog cameras work by transmitting the image they’re recording back to a recording device like a DVR. They must be directly connected to the recording device via cables in order to work.
Analog cameras have a few major things going for them. First, if you already have a surveillance camera system installed, it’s likely going to be analog cameras. They’re the original technology, so they’re very common and well understood. You’ll have no problem finding installers who know how to work with analog cameras, and they’re relatively inexpensive to install or upgrade.
The main downside to analog cameras is that they don’t produce a very high-quality image. Because they have to be hardwired to the recording device, they also have to be within a certain distance of the device in order for the image to transmit effectively. If you’ve got a large area to cover, you’ll need to add boosters to amplify the signal and prevent the image quality from becoming degraded. Analog cameras can also present a challenge if you want to be able to monitor your security cameras remotely. Since they’re hardwired to the recording device, it’s much more difficult to access the image stream if you’re not physically on the premises.
Overall, analog cameras remain a solid, tried-and-true option for commercial security. Particularly if you’ve already got analog cameras installed, the low cost and familiarity of installation make them a viable option for your security system.
- Analog High Definition
- Better image quality
- Compatible with newer model recorders
- Color and night vision options available
- More expensive than standard analog cameras
- Requires higher-cost coaxial cabling
High definition analog cameras are an improved version that comes close to the picture quality of more expensive IP cameras. They have the best picture quality available for use with associated DVRs. These cameras are ideal for those who need commercial-grade image quality but don’t want the higher cost of an IP-based camera system. As the name implies, these cameras are designed to capture footage in high definition (1080P), meaning you can see even minute details in the recordings.
- Can be monitored remotely
- Higher image resolution
- Offers analytics—motion detection, facial recognition, people count, dwell time, etc.
- Immediate notification if a camera goes offline
- Initial set up costs can be higher than analog
- More storage space needed
IP cameras are a definite step up from analog in terms of image quality. The IP stands for ‘Internet Protocol,’ which sums up how these cameras work. IP cameras rely on an Ethernet cable to connect the camera to the local network and transmit data.
Another perk of IP cameras is that they can be monitored remotely far more easily. Because they connect to the local network, it’s simple to share the images and access them even when you’re off-site.
The biggest challenges with IP cameras relate to transmitting the data and storage capacity. Because the image quality is much higher than analog cameras, IP cameras need substantial bandwidth to successfully transmit the data they’re capturing. You’ll want to do some research ahead of time to ensure that you’ve got more than enough bandwidth to handle the new influx of data without interrupting your other functions and services.
IP cameras also require a plan for storing the images they capture. High-quality images take up a lot of storage space, so you’ll either need plenty of hard drive space.
IP cameras are quickly becoming comparable to analog cameras in price, but the image quality remains much higher. If you are installing a new surveillance camera security system, IP cameras will get you a lot more bang for your buck!
Hopefully, this article has helped clarify the pros and cons of each of the different types of security cameras. Keep in mind that you’re not limited to only one type of camera in your security system. Hybrid systems that utilize both analog and IP cameras are available and can be tailored to provide your business with a comprehensive security system.
Getting a surveillance camera system is a big step towards increasing the security of your business, and it’s vital to have the right tools for the job. We recommend talking to a professional installation company to ensure that you have a system that meets your needs and is installed correctly.