1. Choosing a new camera involves being careful about selecting from a range of many available features. This is an Ardexa guide to the features, which focuses on resolution, security and connectivity. When choosing a system, please be very mindful that camera manufacturers claim a lot of features but sometimes fail to delivery on basics. There are a lot of cheaper systems that will fail a few weeks after installation and will require a reboot to reinstate services. It is therefore highly recommended to conduct a through test of the camera system for a month or two before procuring the system.
ESSENTIAL FEATURES (not in any order)
a. IR Illuminators to take an image at dark, with at least 30 meter night vision range.
b. At least 100 degrees static (without pan/tilt) viewing angle.
c. At least 720p resolution (HD), but with the way technology is moving, recommend 1080p resolution (Full HD). Camera resolution may be specified in Megapixels, see https://www.hkvstar.com/technology-news/camera-resolution-comparison-between-1-3mp-2mp-3mp-5mp.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/720p
d. Access to take a photo/snapshot via password protected web page using the http protocol. Most systems will allow this feature, but it is best to test before buying cameras in bulk.
e. Access to capture video via password protected RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol). Again, most systems will allow this feature, but it is best to test before buying cameras in bulk.
f. Ability to be password protected, and remove default passwords. Be careful with this one. For some cheaper cameras, the default password cannot be removed and/or, there is no "reset to factory settings" button.
g. At least 1 month’s worth of storage if buying a local recorder.
h. Ability disable cloud storage/access. Some cloud camera providers will sell your data to the highest bidder. If using cloud services, ensure privacy of images and video streams are strictly enforced.
i. IP 66 (or equivalent) environmental rating for outside cameras.
j. Web interface must not be reliant on specific Windows or proprietary software. This will severely restrict access. All local access must be via password secured web/http or RTSP. No mandated Microsoft or other vendor specific/proprietary plugins must be used. Use of proprietary plugins usually indicates poor or old software design.
RECOMMENDED FEATURES (not in any order)
a. Cameras should be directly connected on the local Ethernet network, not connected directly to a recorder. This way, we can get access to them, should the recorder fail.
b. Ensure the camera has a built in microphone and speakers.
c. The camera should be able to be connected via Ethernet or wifi. If Ethernet cabling is available, then it is less likely to be deliberately or inadvertently disrupted than Wifi.
d. Ability to pan and tilt the camera, via a http interface.