When buying CCTV cameras you really have 2 options as it pertains to the lens on the camera. Those options are to choose a security camera that offers a varifocal or fixed lens. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when buying CCTV cameras is they often buy the same camera for every camera location at their home or business. The reason this is a mistake is because every area you are trying to best secure is different. Some camera locations could have different needs depending on the size of the area, the distance of an object you are trying to secure, or the surface type available to mount the camera. There are also numerous other factors that can affect the camera you use like sunlight, bright lights from car headlights, light reflections, weather, and the proximity of the camera to passing people. The bottom line is that numerous factors will affect the quality of the surveillance video you are trying to capture in a particular area.
A fixed lens security camera is just what it says it is. It has a lens with a fixed focal length (usually a wide angle), and once you turn it on, what you see is what you get. There are no adjustments that can be made to a fixed lens. A fixed lens camera may work in some locations, but in some areas it may not deliver the view you are looking for. A varifocal lens camera gives you the ability to use a small lever to adjust the focal length of the camera to get the best view possible. Most security cameras with a varifocal lens come with a standard 3.6 to 12mm focal length. This means that if you put the focal length at 3.6 you will get the widest angle view, and when you adjust the camera to the 12mm focal length you will get the most narrow, longest distance view. Having the flexibility to adjust the focal length of your camera may be the most valuable feature for you to best secure an area. If you have an area that is unusually wide or long there are also cameras available that offer a 2.3 varifocal length or a 50mm focal length. So there are lenses available that will allow you to secure even the largest areas.
Although security cameras with a varifocal lens provide much better performance and flexibility, they don’t come without a price. The varifocal type security cameras are typically 20 to 30 percent more expensive than a camera with just a fixed lens. Obviously the extra money is in the better lens. The extra cost is pretty much the same accross the board for dome cameras, bullet cameras, and any other CCTV security cameras. So you will have to evaluate your budget and decide what’s important to you. The bottom line is that it is best to take a hard look at your camera locations and choose the camera types that best support those areas. You may find that in some areas a low cost fixed camera may be best and in other areas a more expensive varifocal camera may be best suited. At the end it may be all balanced out and your budget is not at all affected. But at least you took your time and chose the best cameras for the job.
- Difference between Varifocal and Fixed Lens CCTV Cameras