There is a large market for fake cameras and we constantly get emails or requests as to where best to buy fake cameras. Though most fake security cameras are not that expensive and can be easily found on Ebay and Amazon you do have another alternative. Most installers and security distributors have a nice pile of cameras that they have replaced over the years from service calls or warranty replacements. A lot of these cameras are not repaired or sent back to factory and simply lay around for spare parts or collect dust. Ask your local installer or security distributer to give you any cameras that they have laying around that no longer work. These cameras will work perfectly as fake cameras and best of all they actually look real. Many of the fake cameras actually look fake and defeat the purpose altogether. Used cameras work the best because they look worn and tend to match the elements. Chances are your local security provider has quite a few different models you can choose from and hopefully they will let you have them free of charge. After all, you are more likely to go back to them for real cameras in the future given that they were nice enough to help you out.
Roger Yiu and his team are bringing their Smart Power Strip to Kickstarter in the hopes of funding production and tooling costs. The project just hit Kickstarter, in the hopes of raising $100,000. Early pledgers willing to donate $99 will receive one smart outlet power stri. The project hopes to offer a low-cost, smartphone-controlled automation for homes. Check out Rogers plea for your pledges below.
This camera posing as a CCTV birdhouse works double duty. Acting as a deterrent and as a bird house. Designed by Warren Lewis and Porky Hefer ( yes thats his name ). The hope of the designers was to create a CCTV camera that would feed local birds as well as help scare potential burglars away.
Birdwatcher “acts as a deterrent for uninvited visitors as it can be mounted outside, either on a tree or against the wall,” they write, and a place to rest for your avian friends
We all have walked down that electronics aisle at our local retailer and have glanced over to see a live demo of security camera systems doing their thing. Enough to catch our eyes and make us contemplate whether or not we need security cameras for our home or office. Most retailers like Best Buy, Fry’s, Costco and Sams Club offer some sort of electronic security camera system. Offering easy return policies and warranties with deep discounts. This appeals to many consumers because they are used to purchasing most of their electronics at these locations already and are accustomed the return policies. Being able to see, touch and play with a potential security camera system also helps consumers feel more comfortable with the potential purchase. Most security equipment providers do not cater to walk in business and therefore do not offer local showrooms to showcase their products. Surveillance systems, for the most part, has always been and installer to end user business with the installers buying their cameras from a local security provider and reselling the equipment to the consumer. The installation was usually the selling point and most customers choose their security cameras based on the installation company and their experience.
The last decade has brought us a wealth of familiarity with electronics, especially video and this has helped retailers push security products direct to customers. They no longer feel intimidated by surveillance systems and are more informed with workings of the systems today. TV DVRs, smartphones and streaming video has helped consumers understand technology and the gap between installers and customers has closed quite a bit. All this leads to one question. Are retail security camera systems worth buying?
Most retail surveillance systems on the market do a fairly decent job of recording and shooting good video but they also tend to lack in other areas. Consider that retailers are in the business of moving products in volume and as such these systems need to be priced at levels that will help expedite these sales. When this occurs you need to cut corners somewhere and it normally occurs in areas that the consumer does not see. A majority of all surveillance systems need to wired. The cameras need to be wired directly to the DVR in order to record, and all cameras need power which also needs to be wired to the camera. In order to offer these systems as an all in one solution retailers bundle the cable and wire together with the system. The length of the cable is normally predetermined and typically come with 100 feet of coax cable or CAT5 network cable depending on the system you choose. This can be a problem for some customers because the cable length may not be sufficient for where the camera placement will be. This makes it a little harder because customers now need to find a way to make the cable longer or they are forced to purchase a longer cable from the retailer that tends to be highly over priced. The other drawback tends to be the cable or wire quality sold with these systems. Since volume is king here most surveillance kits come with sub par cable and wire. This cable tends to not last as long and is limited in distance because of the quality. Most installers buy their camera cable in 1000 foot spools or boxes that are normally of very high grade and they make their own cable and connectors depending on the customers needed length. Better cable better connectors also helps with video quality.
Retail security cameras normally sold come with a fixed lens. If you ever look at a retail security camera that is powered up at your local store your first impression is normally, ” nice picture”. The video may look nice but we need to look past that and examine other key features or the lack there of. A fixed picture from a camera with a fixed lens is exactly as it sounds. Its fixed. You cannot change the angle or zoom in the lens. What you see is what you get. Just like your smartphone. Looking at a camera from a 3 foot distance at eye level will always give you detail but most cameras are not mounted at eye level. They are mounted at an average of 8-10 feet. This means you will have a big difference in detail. You will normally get a wide picture but the detail will not be there in case of an incident. This is why having a varifocal lens is a great option. It allows the customer to manually zoom in the lens and adjust for a tighter picture allowing more detail.
Infrared Range is crucial when selecting a security camera for night time viewing. Smaller cameras sold in retail kits usually only offer a small amount of infrared illuminators and come without a mechanical IR filter. This basically means that the camera will convert to night time mode based on the camera determining dawn and dusk. It will convert the camera to Black and White to allow better night time viewing. The proper way to accomplish this is using an ICR ( Infrared Cut Filter ) filter that actually turns on or off depending on night or day. This filter allows the camera to see infrared lighting and perform better at night. Using a non ICR camera will simply give you camera that converts to black and white with limited capability. Also consider the height at which you plan to install the camera. If the camera has a listed IR range of 25 feet and you install the camera 12 feet high you are basically left with 13 feet of effective infrared range.
Retail Security Camera systems tend to have limited frame rate as this tends to keep cost down. This is important because this will determine the quality of your playback and recording. If a security recorder is limited in recording frame rate you will normally see choppy video or miss detail during playback. Two important factors in determining your purchase should be framerate and resolution recording. Real Time Security recording is considered to be 30fps (frames per second) per camera. This basically means that you will have 30 small snapshots per second giving your fluid recording and playback. Many of the systems offered only allow you to record at 7fps at the highest setting. This is huge difference in detail and can make a big difference when trying to playback an incident. Resolution recording is normally is normally D1 (720 x 480) or CIF (320 x 240) for analog cameras. These would represent the size of the video images being recorded. You obviously want to record at the highest possible setting to get the most detail possible in case of an event. Make sure to read the specs carefully and try and purchase a system that allows D1 recording at 30fps, on all channels. Some manufactures use the term 4 CIF instead of D1 and give you a total FPS for the DVR instead of a per channel count. So if you have a 4ch Security Camera System you are looking to buy, you want it to be 120FPS total. ( 4 cameras at 30fps each ) . Make sure its states 120FPS total at D1 and not CIF.
Support & Documentation
Tech support for most retail brand security camera systems are hit or miss. The volume sales of these systems usually means that tech support is very limited. Most sales reps in retail stores will not have first hand knowledge of security products so the purchase itself will normally be dictated by the consumers impulse and sale price, and not by retail professional selling them the product. Documentation for security products is usually pretty technical across the board and is hard to read. You do not see many manuals catering to the end user and this makes understanding and setting up your security camera system a little harder than other electronic purchases. Having someone to turn to for help is a huge plus. You should consider this before your purchase.
If you are looking for a quick video system for overall observation and recording these typical systems will work for you. If you are looking to get detail, range, and ease of use I would look elsewhere. Security should really not be purchased based on price. It’s your family, home or business and that should take precedence. The initial purchase is important but long term support with security products really is the key. There are a lot of working parts and features that go with your security camera system and having someone to speak to is very important. I hope this helps you understand things a little better and provides some insight when considering your next security purchase.