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Monday, October 5, 2009

Outdoor Security Cameras In Low Lights

By Steve Goldman

One of the most challenging obstacles to outdoor surveillance is the lighting levels required to effectively record with your outdoor security camera. There are three basic ways we can overcome this aspect of the outdoor environment. We can try to control the lighting conditions ourselves, or we can use specialized tools to effectively record conditions ranging from low light to complete darkness.

The first option is simple. Installing additional lighting might be the most straight forward solution to the low light conditions but it may not always be the best solution. Either the infrastructure required to install the lamps are not available or the environment requires that there are no lights, such as surveillance of a dark room. Also, the controls for the light are another consideration with this strategy. Leaving the lights on 24 hours can be costly but turning the lights on and off could require additional hardware, such as light sensors. Sometimes additional lighting is not sufficient for the conditions, whatever the case there are two other options.

When additional lighting is not an option or not the ideal solution and it is low light conditions a black and white camera may suffice. This is only effective up to a point and some amount of lighting is still required for the camera to produce quality images. Black and white cameras work because they have lower light requirements than colored cameras.

In especially low light conditions near complete darkness, night vision cameras are also available. Cameras with night vision use infrared to detect light that travel at waves beyond what we can see. A security camera's minimum light requirement is measured by the LUX rating. The higher the rating the better lit the area must be for the camera to be useful. A LUX rating of 0 means the camera is designed for conditions with no light at all.

The sole purpose of an outdoor security camera is to record activity in an area for increased security and darkness is more reason to increase the level of security. Psychologically people feel more secure committing crimes under the cover darkness and that is why we have a need to protect our things, our families, and ourselves with security surveillance cameras.

The most effective way to protect your camera is by installing it properly in the first place. Install the camera inside a housing unit if necessary and it usually will be necessary, and mount the camera flush to the wall or ceiling if possible. Minimize the exposure of the cables to avoid tampering. Take as many threats into consideration when installing the camera to minimize the chances of an attack, and minimize the effect of the attack when it does happen.

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