The 10 Best Security Cameras
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in December of 2015. Not so long ago, if you wanted to monitor your home or business, you had to pay an outside company a hefty monthly fee. Today, you can watch and record HD video of your premises from anywhere in the world by connecting your smartphone to one of these highly affordable security cameras. We've ranked them based on ease of use, resolution, and versatility. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best security camera on Amazon.
Your Camera Is Watching You
These conspiracy theorists aren't too far off, unfortunately.
Well, it can gum up your internet traffic on the upload side, and it usually costs you a monthly fee to accumulate all that server space.
Imagine that the camera on your phone were running constantly, and the information it gathered was uploaded minute by minute to a server in the cloud.
Plenty of conspiracy theorists claim that this is happening all the time, that your camera is always on, and that it's always recording everything you do, everywhere you go, etc.
These conspiracy theorists aren't too far off, unfortunately. Just last year Samsung announced that it would be in their customers' best interest not to speak about sensitive personal information in the presence of any of their latest Smart TVs. Apparently, they're always listening
That's sort of how a lot of security cameras work, though without all the secret gathering of personal data.
A modern security system is either hooked up to a physical data recorder that can hold many days worth of footage, or is hooked up directly to a Wi-Fi router so that it can constantly upload video to a cloud service.
The downside of the cloud service? Well, it can gum up your internet traffic on the upload side, and it usually costs you a monthly fee to accumulate all that server space.
Most security cameras today also have some kind of night vision capability, usually in the form of infrared sensitivity. Your camera will actually put out infrared light (which you can kind of sort of see happening if you hold the camera lens in your peripheral vision in an otherwise dark room).
Once that infrared bounces off of whatever is in the room, it's picked up by an infrared sensor the same way the camera's regular white light sensor picks up any daytime action.
An Army Of Options
Everybody wants to stay safe. Nobody wants to think they're being watched.
So, maybe you strike a balance. You get yourself one camera for the main space in your home, for the area that someone would absolutely have to pass through to do harm to you, your family, or your property.
Maybe that's enough. Maybe it isn't. The thing is: you know your space.
You get yourself one camera for the main space in your home, for the area that someone would absolutely have to pass through to do harm to you, your family, or your property.
Some of these units have incredibly wide angles of view, and if your space is open enough, a single camera can provide you with all the coverage you could ever hope for. If you've got a split-level house and/or you're a hoarder, you might need more than one camera.
That's the easy question.
After that, you have to grapple with what quality video you want and whether you want it recorded physically in your space or out there on the Internet. If you do have an Internet hookup, what kind of access and control do you want from your smartphone?
For my money, I want a system with more than one camera (rest assured that you can sync up multiple units by any of these brands) that records physically in my space, and has as many mobile features as I can get my hands on.
I understand the folks who want to just have it automatically upload their video to the cloud. It's much easier that way. It's also a fraction less secure, should that video fall into the wrong hands.
Old Security Cameras All Had Two Lenses
Two lenses? Yup. They're called eyes.
You're looking at an image of the famous Scots Guard, a regiment of the British army that's as much a tourist attraction as they are a standing force.
And, in a way, they're the first security cameras. Except for the one who's passed out. He's fired.
What comes next for cameras is always right around the corner for your security.
What I mean to say is that, long before cameras came around, we relied solely on human lookouts to keep our places safe.
Okay, but cameras are a totally different story. They're totalitarian and spooky, a primary tool of Big Brother, and I don't make that reference casually.
The fact is that there is next to no evidence of video cameras being used for security surveillance until after the publication of George Orwell's 1984. That might just be the most depressing thing I've learned about security cameras in my time playing with them and researching them.
I suppose science fiction does often predict science fact.
From that time (the 1960s) onward, security cameras and their video capture technology have kept pace with advancements in personal and professional camera developments. What comes next for cameras is always right around the corner for your security.
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