Archive for March, 2009

Low Cost Bullet Cameras

Posted in Low Cost on March 13, 2009 by arwendt

Low Cost Bullet CamerasLow cost is perhaps the single biggest attraction for people considering a bullet camera for their CCTV security system. But what is “low cost”, what features should you expect, and what are you giving up when you buy a camera in this category?

First, lets put things in perspective in terms of costs. A common commercial grade standard body camera may average around $175 dollars, with of course some models being more expensive and some being less expensive. To that, however, you must still add a lens and often times a housing if the camera will be going outside. Another common CCTV camera body style is a dome camera. Like standard body cameras, commercial grade dome cameras can also average around the two hundred dollar mark.

Now, of course, for both standard body and dome cameras there are thousands of less expensive and more expensive models that can be a good fit for your situation. But, for the purpose of illustration we are going to go with the above averages.

Though the same analogy can be made for bullet cameras, that there are always less expensive and more expensive models, the low cost bullet camera represents one of the most cost effective camera solutions on the market today.

But what should you expect if someone tells you about a “cost effective” camera solution? Well, for starters, you should expect a camera that’s going to last. A product that dies after 90 days was not a bargain at any cost. So we advise that you always look for a camera, even a low cost bullet camera, with at least a one year warranty. On price I would expect a low cost bullet camera to be under $90 with prices going as low as $60. But as one caveat: Remember the famous words of Fredrick Douglass who said ” Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get.”

Now that we have price covered, lets talk about what you should expect, and what you should not expect. In no particular order: You should expect a fixed wide angle lens in the 3.6mm range. You should expect a resolution as measured in TVL between 380 and 420. You should expect a lux rating of 1. And finally, you should expect color. You should not expect a replaceable lens. You should not expect infrared. You should not expect any low light capabilities. You should not expect any complicated features like back light compensation, digital noise reduction or automatic white balance. And finally, you should not expect that a low cost bullet camera will automatically be rated for outdoor use.

Given the above features what then should you plan on using a low cost bullet camera to do? The answer, as I see it, is simple. Low cost bullet cameras should be used to fill out your security system in interior spaces where light levels are reasonable and constant, where the cameras can either be mounted close to the area that you wish to surveil or in spaces where the general overall / wide angle view is desired. With the costs of this product being what it is low cost bullet cameras can be installed in ratios of 2 or even 3 to 1 as compared to the average commercial grade standard body or dome camera.

So with this very quick look at the features and potential used of a low cost bullet camera we hope have a better understanding this class of bullet cameras.

Should have have any specific questions leave us a comment below or see our discussion thread on the http://www.tech-army.org forum and their Ask a CCTV Expert Discussion Thread.

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