Your Ultimate Guide To Security Camera Jargon

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With all the kinds of security cameras, there is still more information that you need if you are interested in purchasing one or more of them. This data is steeped in technological jargon that is beyond most people unless they make it a point to learn about it. Yet, if you talk to a security camera salesperson about cameras without knowing these things, they will sound like gibberish. To get something out of their sales pitch, study up on the jargon.



What is LUX?

This is a way to measure the illumination factor of the camera. A LUX is 1/10 of a foot candle, which is a type of standard light measurement. When you get a camera with a lower LUX, you get a camera that needs less light to capture images. For example, a camera with a 2 LUX will need a 40 watt bulb in a hallway to see an image. On the other hand, with a 0 LUX, images can be spotted in total darkness. Infrared cameras have 0 LUX.

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What is LOS?

Do not let salespeople dazzle you with this technical-sounding acronym. It simply stands for line-of-sight. With a wireless security camera, you have a wireless transmitter sending the video picture to the receiver that will capture that image. The distance of that path from transmitter to receiver is the LOS. The things the signal has to travel through to make the journey can affect the signal.


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What is Camera Resolution?

That is easy if you are familiar with digital cameras and computers. It is the clarity of the image produced by the camera. The camera may need anywhere from 320 to 600 horizontal lines to produce an adequate image. If the number is higher, the image will be sharper. If it is lower, it will be more blurry.


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What is an Image Sensor?

It takes a special electronic device to convert the visual image captured by the camera into an electric image that can be displayed as a video image. This is how the picture gets changed from what your camera takes in to what your TV puts out. There are two kinds: the CCD, or charged coupled device, and the CMOS, or Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. They are somewhat different.

  • CCD sensors produce an image that has a high quality but little noise, while CMOS sensors tend to have higher noise levels.
  • CCD sensors are energy hogs and use as much as 100 times as much electricity as the CMOS sensors. The CMOS sensors are low voltage units. They also have long battery life.
  • CCD sensors produce much better images, with higher pixel counts than the CMOS.
  • CCD costs a lot more than the CMOS.


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What is a Night Vision Projector?

This is also called an Infrared Night Vision Projector. Infrared technology is just the use of thermal images, or video pictures based on heat emitted from an object or person. The camera changes the heat data into an image on your screen. No matter whether you have a black and white or color camera, if it is on an infrared setting, it will produce a black and white image. Infrared is noted in the catalogs and by salespeople as IR cameras.


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What is the Difference between a Fixed Focal and a Varifocal Lens?

A fixed focal lens has a lens with a certain focal length, be it 4mm or 8mm, etc. It is also set at a fixed angle. A varifocal lens can be adjusted according to your needs. It might, then, have a 3mm to 8mm lens that can be varied anywhere within that range.


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What is an Auto Iris Lens?

This is a lens that changes automatically to meet your needs based on the available light. They are primarily used outdoors where the light varies the most.


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What is a PTZ Camera?

That acronym stands for pan, tilt, zoom. It is a good feature to have on a security camera, but it is not all that rare. Pan and tilt are how you can move a camera to follow a person; pan is the horizontal movement and tilt is the vertical movement of the camera. These measurements are given in angles and rates of speed. The zoom characteristics tell how fast and how closely the camera can close in on a subject.

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