Staff Patrol offers two types of cameras, CMOS and CCD. It is important to understand the difference because cost and qualify are a big consideration in choosing a camera system. Each of our camera systems indicate the type of system used.
This type of image sensor is relatively inexpensive and offers a good quality image. The cost of this system is usually less and the overall system can be very economical. While CMOS sensors excel in the capture of outdoor pictures on sunny days, they suffer in low light conditions. Their sensitivity to light is decreased because part of the sensor is covered with circuitry that filters out noise and performs other functions. The amount of space on a sensor devoted to collecting light is called the pixel’s fill factor. The design of CMOS cameras creates a much lower fill factor and therefore they are less sensitive. CMOS cameras do have the advantage when it come to power consumption. Because there are less components in the camera board, it draws less power and will run longer if used on a battery. For general purpose viewing in good light, they are a good choice. If there are budgetary constraints, it’s possible to get more features in the overall system using CMOS cameras.
CCD cameras have a 100% fill factor and therefore offer a brighter and sharper image. Like most most electronics, this increased quality does add to the manufacturing costs. CCD cameras produce a higher quality picture mainly because the image sensor is used strictly for collecting the image and all of the other necessary processing is handled by other components on the camera board. CCD cameras on the other hand have more components and draw more power. This may be a consideration when using battery power.
These images are representative of the differences you can expect between the two styles of cameras. Individual lighting and other conditions will effect the actual image.
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CMOS sensors offer average image quality in good light, have lower power requirements, and are substancially less expensive. CCD sensors offer excellent images in most lighting conditions, have higher power requirements, and are typically more expensive. Evaluate your needs in a surveillance system and we can offer you the best in either category.
Glossary of Video Terms
AGC – Automatic Gain Control is an electronic system found in many types of devices. Its purpose is to control the gain of a system in order to maintain adequate performance over a range of input signal levels. Or an electronic circuit that tries to keep the video signal at a constant level 1 (Ivolt peak-peak). Useful on cameras working at low light levels .
AI – Auto Iris is an electronic circuit that acts as an iris on CCD cameras by electronically shuttering the CCD sensor. Or an automatic method of varying the size of a lens opening in response to changes in scene illumination.
AWB – Auto White Balance is an electronic process used in video cameras to retain true colors. It is performed electronically on the basis of a white object in the picture.
CCD – Charged Coupled Device: It is analog technology. The CCD camera has a higher resolution than CMOS. The camera also functions better in low light. A CCD camera drains a little bit more power than the CMOS cameras. It typically uses 12v instead of 9v. CMOS cameras are smaller than a CCD camera and works longer with the 9v battery.
CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor: A lower resolution camera compared to a CCD model. The advantage of a CMOS camera is that it uses lower operation current.
HAD CCD – Hole Accumulation Diode is a type of CCD sensor with a layer designed to accumulate holes (in the electronic sense), thus reducing noise level.
S to N Ratio – Signal to Noise Ratio is simply the ratio of the signal power and noise power, expressed in decibels (dB). Or a measure of noise on a video signal. It is represented in Decibels as the level of the video signal compared to the level of noise present on that signal. The higher the signal to noise ratio the better.
BLC – Balance Light Control is a method to compensate for bright spots in a picture. It is also important to consider whether there are bright spots in the picture such as car headlights which can make identification of the vehicle registration or model impossible. This can also be a major problem where it is necessary to identify a person who is moving from bright daylight into artificial light. This could result in the subject becoming an unidentifiable silhouette.
OSD – On Screen Display is a method of displaying set-up information or instructions on to a display monitor.
Resolution – Resolution measures the cameras ability to reproduce an image. The higher the resolution, the better the picture quality.
LUX – LUX is the measurement of low light needed for the camera to view and record properly.
FPS – Frames Per Second is the number of still frames (pictures) that give the illusion of motion, which appear in a single second of time. 3O fps is considered “Real Time”. So for Real Time viewing of your cameras, you need at least 3O fps for each camera.
IR – Infrared, IR LEDS are used on Day/Night cameras which allow the camera to see in the dark.
Focal Length – the distance from the surface of a lens and its focal point.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do hidden cameras work? A small board camera is built into an everyday item. The camera can be wired which means it is connected to the DVR or VCR using a cable. The camera can also be wireless, in this case the camera transmits a signal to a receiver that is connected to the DVR or VCR.
Can I get audio in my hidden camera? – No you cannot. According to United States federal laws, audio should not be used in a surreptitious manner. One example of surreptitious interception is audio in a hidden camera. This includes pinhole board cameras and all covert or hidden cameras; i.e., a clock radio. Audio in a hidden camera or board camera is only available to law enforcement agencies. Title 18, Section 2512.
What is the difference between a wired and a wireless camera? – Wired cameras have a video cable that runs from the camera to your recording or viewing device such as a DVR, VCR or monitor. Wireless cameras have a built-in transmitter that sends the video signal to a receiver. The receiver connects to your recording or viewing device.
How far can a wireless hidden camera transmit? – Standard wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 1000 feet and high-powered wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 2000 feet.
How many wireless cameras can you have in one location? – You can have up to four wireless cameras in one location. You can view all cameras at once using four receivers or you can use one receiver and switch to each camera. You will only be able to view one camera at a time if you only use one receiver. If you want to install multiple wireless cameras in one location it’s best to order them at the same time so that we can put them on different channels.
Will a cordless phone interfere with wireless cameras? – Cordless phones that operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency will cause interference with 2.4 GHz cameras. Interference should be minimal and usually occurs if the phone is between the camera and receiver.
What is a Quad? – A Quad splits your monitor into 4 sections allowing you to view 4 cameras at once.
What is a 2.4 GHz wireless frequency? – A frequency is used to transmit a signal or data like video. 2.4GHz is the specific wireless frequency that our transmitters use to send video signal to a receiver. All of our wireless cameras operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Range varies from 200′ to 700′ depending on environmental conditions. These units are FCC approved.
Are the transmitters FCC approved? – The transmitters used in all of our wireless systems are FCC and Industry Canada Certified.
What is CCD? – CCD is used in professional cameras because of it’s high resolution quality and it’s ability to record in low-light situations. CCD is basically a small silicon chip that receives light and turns it into voltage variations which makes up an image, it’s usually measured in inches with 1/3″ CCD being the standard. They are higher priced but are great for cameras that may require vision in near darkness.
Will a Quad allow four cameras to record at the same time? – Yes you can record all four cameras at the same time. You also can record using a switching monitor, which will record the camera that is showing at that moment.
Do the receivers work through walls up to two feet thick? – Yes as long as there isn’t excessive amount of metal in the wall.
Do the plug and play connections require extra wire to run the signal back to the VCR or TV? – Yes, you need to buy the length of cable you need we offer various lengths up to 100′.
What is the difference between a DVR and a VCR? – A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) system records high-resolution digital images to a hard disk drive (HDD) and eliminates the requirement of maintaining VHS tapes. Since the video images are stored digitally, the image quality will not degrade overtime, as would a VHS tape when recorded over multiple times. The time-saving search capabilities of a DVR will enable the user to locate the desired video clips via user defined parameters (camera, time, date, etc.) versus the fast forward and rewind functions of a VCR. A DVR can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world using the Internet.
How many hours will a DVR record? – The amount of time a DVR will record for is based on the size of the DVRs hard drive, the number of cameras recording and the number of frames per second ‘ it is recording at. One camera recording in Real Time uses 1 GB per day. So a 16 camera system will use 16 GB in one day.
Do I need a VCR from you or can I use my own VCR? – You can use your own VCR for recording. However, the VCR will have to be recording all the time. Most VCRs can only record for about 10 hours but we have special VCRs that can record up to 1280 hours.
What is a DVR card? – DVR Cards enable the user to convert their computer into a Digital Video Recorder. The DVR Card(s) is typically installed in an available PCI slot of a computer. DVR cards are bundled with video surveillance software, which allows the user to record and display multiple cameras simultaneously from the camera site or a remote location.
What is a Plug and Play connection camera? – It is an RCA Video plug and a power plug on the camera for easy connection to VCR or TV. This is done by running the RCA (Aux) line into the VIDEO IN of the VCR or TV. The TV or VCR must be set on the correct channel to view the VIDEO IN picture.
How many cameras can I hook up to one TV? – You can hook up as many cameras as your TV has inputs. Most TVs have 2 inputs but when using a quad you can hook up four cameras.
Do you need a VCR to record or will the cameras record? – You must have a VCR or DVR if you want to record.
Between what temperatures is it safe for cameras to operate in? – It is safe for B/W cameras to operate between -10F to +122F. It is safe for color cameras to operate between -10F to +104F. It is safe to store cameras between -22F to +158F.
What is the operating voltage of a camera? – Our cameras range from 9 volts (CMOS) to 12volts, and also 24 volt professional models.
What is a varifocal lens? – A varifocal lens is one where the focal length of the lens can be varied. This is a fancy way of saying it is a zoom lens. Most varifocal lenses have, and in almost all circumstances should have, an auto iris feature.
What is a fixed lens? – A fixed focal length lens cannot zoom. The focus is fixed. A fixed focal length lens usually allows more light to pass through the lens at a given focal length than a varifocal, or zoom lens. This can be important in low light situations.