10 tips for choosing the right security cameras for you

Julian Rutland

Planning and Strategy Director, Canon Europe

Author Bio ▼

Julian Rutland is Planning and Strategy Director for Canon Europe.
August 14, 2015

Sign up to free email newsletters


Vulnerable workers: A Barbour guide

Choosing the right security cameras is a decision that businesses of all sizes and from all industries face.

But as surveillance evolves and software advances, CCTV cameras are bringing business benefits way beyond just security. As a result, making the right choice can have more profound benefits than ever before.

Below are 10 questions that businesses must ask themselves before investing in a new surveillance system.


  1. Do the cameras need to be discreet or act as a visual deterrent?

The location and what you need to monitor will determine whether obvious or discreet cameras are required. Box cameras can be some of the largest and most obvious, reminding people that they’re being monitored and reducing the chance of theft.

Dome cameras are the best to use for discretion due to their small half spherical-shape – the ultra-compact models are so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand. Lastly, PZT (Pan Tilt Zoom) cameras are good for monitoring expansive areas and following subjects easily.

  1. Will the security cameras be used indoors or out?

Whilst most modern cameras can be used both inside and out, it’s important to consider features such as mounting and housing. For use in extremely cold environments, choosing a camera which has a durable design and an inbuilt heater means it will have the ability to start up and operate despite the temperature.

In industries such as transport, for example, it’s also important to choose a robust video surveillance solution which can operate reliably in harsh environments and where there may be a high level of vibration.

But it’s not just outside cameras that may need environmental housing. In industrial environments such as factories, for example, cameras may need to be protected from sawdust.

In restaurant kitchens, ensuring the camera is protected from greases is also important and in bars and clubs, factors such as smoke machines and spilt drinks might impact whether housing is needed.

canon surveillance camera

  1. How large an area do you want to cover?

The area that you want to cover with a surveillance system will determine the best cameras to use and the network type you need. It’s useful to draw up a blueprint of the floor area to assess the amount and types of cameras needed.

PTZ cameras work best for larger areas given their large range of view and ability to zoom in on particular activity. With Canon, wide angle views of up to 112 degrees enable you to monitor huge areas with just a single camera.

This means surveillance networks can be established with fewer CCTV cameras, keeping costs down. Even at the widest viewing angles, image quality remains impressive.

In comparison, smaller areas are only likely to require static cameras. There are also different types of networks which are required depending on the area size you want to monitor.

Most businesses will only require a LAN network; however large networks will require a WAN network.

  1. How much image clarity and detail do you require?

The size of the area you want to monitor will determine the resolution you need. For example, wide retail spaces will require high resolution cameras to ensure image quality isn’t compromised when zooming.

Alternatively, smaller areas such as offices or reception rooms will typically only require low resolution cameras. It’s not always the case that the highest resolution camera is the best for every situation.

Instead you’re better to assess each space one by one, spending your money effectively.

  1. City Living residence in the Netherlands, showing monitoring in various lighting conditions

    City Living residence in the Netherlands, showing monitoring in various lighting conditions

    What are the lighting conditions?

It’s important to test cameras to see which models work best in the lighting conditions present at your premises. Areas inside and outside will experience different amounts of sunlight throughout the day, not to mention throughout the year as seasons change.

Thinking about where the light will be is vital. For example, will there be a reflection off the floor?

Is there strong backlighting creating a glare? For environments such as nightclubs, strobe lighting can have an effect on the camera.

Thankfully there are a variety of technologies which will ensure you capture usable footage in a range of lighting conditions. Light filtering technology such as IR filters and artificial illuminators can amplify or reduce the amount of light reaching a sensor, creating clearer images during the day and night. 

  1. Is audio important?

Integrating audio into a surveillance system makes it possible for personnel to hear and speak with possible perpetrators. It can be easily integrated with video management systems.

From a surveillance point of view it can also be used as an independent detection method triggering recordings and alarms when audio passes a certain threshold. 

  1. Is scalability key? Will you need to add more cameras as time goes on?

Having a flexible and scalable surveillance system is important. The problem with traditional CCTV systems is that they are a closed circuit meaning that everything is hard-wired and difficult to scale.

It is therefore important to choose IP cameras which connect over a wireless network allowing you to easily grow and scale any installation as you need. Adding IP cameras to a network works in much the same way as adding a phone to a VOIP network – it’s simple and easy and there’s no wiring to change or update. 

  1. What parts of your business could benefit from effective surveillance and monitoring?

Surveillance systems benefit businesses by not only monitoring theft, but increasing staff safety and confirming incidents. With the knowledge that they’re being protected, employees are more likely to feel safe.

The portrayal of events provided by a surveillance system is also valuable for confirming incidents such as theft, work place violence, property damage and vandalism. This information is essential when suing for damages or reporting to law enforcement.

But having a good surveillance system can bring benefits not just in terms of security and monitoring, but also in wider business operations and analytics.

In industries such as retail, for example, the ability for surveillance systems to provide data and customer insights is changing the way that not only security departments work, but also marketing, customer service and IT departments, providing valuable insights to help vastly improve customer experience and profitability.

For example, understanding how customers move throughout a shop is crucial to how products are laid out in the store and advanced features such as facial recognition can be used to estimate attributes such as the gender and age of shoppers.

These capabilities can allow store owners to not only better understand the profile of their shoppers, but they also enable targeted advertising to be implemented to help display the most relevant products to their target market. 

  1. What challenges do you want to overcome with video surveillance? Can VMS analytics help?

An effective VMS system is essential given that the average amount of time someone can focus on video footage is only 20 minutes. VMS or in-built analytics can alert you to suspicious activity and apply analytics, improving the way you run your business.

Built in motion detection and intelligent algorithms provide useful, actionable information, such as the total number of people that walk into a shop. Compared against sales, retailers can assess the rate of conversion and the best times of day for promotions. 

  1. How to select a suitable VMS solution

It’s important that the requirements of a video management system, including how you plan to use it, are verified clearly during the planning stages. The key problems that have driven your purchase of a surveillance system will outline the aspects of a VMS solution you need.

As an example, people who travel or have multi sites to manage may require the ability to access their surveillance system from any location. Each VMS solution should therefore be tailored to you and your business.

More security camera articles

Why security tech and integrators can help retailers fight back and prosper

As a sector under pressure, retail needs to find methods to adapt and evolve. Security tech can be part of this fightback, argues Jamie Barnfield, Sale Director at IDIS Europe.

Making a difference: Why you should be considering a career in security

Umar Haq, Director of Learn CCTV, shows why the security industry is a great place to advance a career, with an essential role to play to keep homeowners and businesses safe and secure.

IDIS Mobile Plus app launched for “VMS functionality on the move”

Designed to provide surveillance users with situational awareness on the move, IDIS has launched its IDIS Mobile Plus app.

Are face masks enough to protect security and retail workers? Why AI camera tech can go a step further

Dr. Boghos Boghossian, Ipsotek, explains why the AI tech now available from surveillance cameras, such as social distancing analytics, can offer much better protection to workers and employees.  

Flussonic unveils its transcoder motherboard

Erlyvideo has unveiled its Lontra motherboard for its video transcoders. The company gives IFSEC Global the lowdown.

IFSEC Tech Talks: BriefCam – Video Synopsis and deep learning

In this IFSEC Tech Talks session, watch as BriefCam demonstrates its Video Synopsis and Deep Learning Solutions.

IFSEC Tech Talks: Secure Logiq – Logiqal Healthcheck Pro

In this Tech Talks, find out all about Secure Logiq’s Healthcheck Pro, designed to reduce downtime in mission-critical CCTV applications.

IDIS tech helps protect young mental health patients

Video tech from IDIS is helping to drive patient welfare at a newly refurbished Hampshire care centre for vulnerable young people. The company explains how.

Different CCTV camera types and what they offer

A guide to some of the most commonly utilised and available types of CCTV and surveillance cameras available.

Dahua Technology and Celtic FC sign sponsorship deal

Dahua Technology has entered into a six-figure sponsorship deal with Celtic FC, which includes supplying the club with its video-based technology and equipment.

Can thermal imaging take the heat out of the coronavirus crisis?

Julian Hall takes a look at recent news stories highlighting the use of thermal imaging technology in detecting potential cases of COVID-19.

Defeating shoplifters: Your ‘prevent and deter’ checklist

Hunter Seymour compiles a checklist to support business owners and security teams from defeating shoplifters and preventing retail crime.

Whitepaper: Normal service resumed? How video technology supports our new reality

Download this free whitepaper from Milestone Systems to discover how video technology has been, and will continue to be, crucial to businesses following the pandemic.

Facial recognition – “Its public use must be legal, ethical and justified”

Gerry Dunphy explores the use of facial recognition technology, discussing the responses of over 450 security professionals to a recent survey IFSEC ran on the subject.

Revealed: The IFSEC Global influencers in security and fire 2020

This year’s IFSEC Global Influencers in Security and Fire have been revealed! Find out the results, here.

Edge-based video surveillance: The pros and cons

What’s it like living on the edge – at least in terms of your networked surveillance system?  Ron Alalouff discusses the pros and cons.

Watchtower Security Solutions awarded Secured by Design status

Watchtower Security Solutions has been awarded Secured by Design (SBD) status for its WT-1 CCTV Tower, designed to secure remote and vulnerable sites.

WATCH: IDIS camera keeps watch over active volcano

Designed to endure tough environments, the IDIS 8MP PTZ is providing 24/7 monitoring of volcanic activity at Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego.

Researchers trick facial recognition systems

Jai Vijayan reports on how McAfee has run a study into how facial recognition software can be tricked into misclassifying individuals.

Reduced crime in London development after video surveillance upgrades

Read about a recent video surveillance upgrade in London that has helped reduce crime and improve the neighbourhood experience for residents.

Get your summer security fix in this essential free 'State of the Nation' webinar

Explore the state of security in the United Kingdom in this unmissable webinar led by industry titans Professor Dave Sloggett, Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter, TSI's Rick Mounfield, BSIA's Mike Reddington and Alex Carmichael of the SSAIB.


Related Topics

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 2, 2015 9:53 am

I miss one key issue here….
* How long should you retain your recorded CCTV video?

October 27, 2017 12:16 pm
Reply to  Derkk

Good morning Derkk,

The matter of retention and storage of footage is one which is dependent on a number of circumstances.

To ensure that you have the best advice I would recommend engaging with an expert as we did.

We used protectmyproperty.co.uk and they came to give me a full survey and were able to advise me on this sort of thing.

October 15, 2015 9:29 pm

You mention that bigger camera are better to prevent theft, since people can see that they are being watched. What about smaller, discrete cameras, what’s the better use for them? We are getting video surveillance system for our office, and we are in the process of choosing cameras. I didn’t realize there are so many factors to think about! Thanks for your helpful article, it gave me good idea of what we want. http://www.americanbusinessphones.com

November 14, 2015 8:09 am

Very Interesting Reading and the Fundamentals of Video Surveillance presented with depth and simplicity.


March 1, 2016 4:11 am

I liked what you mentioned about surveillance systems increasing staff safety. It makes sense that having cameras in the workplace could make someone feel safer in case anything unexpected happened. My husband has been considering getting a security camera installed for his business, so I will bring up that point to him because his workers safety is very important. http://www.valleyhometheater.com/palo-alto-home-automation/

May 16, 2016 11:20 pm

Thanks so much for the list of questions to consider when getting security cameras. I had never considered about video clarity and lighting conditions and how important a role the might play. I’ll have to see if I can find a company to help me buy and install some security cameras. http://arapahoesecurity.com/security-cameras.html

morten tor nielsen
May 18, 2016 10:34 am

I’d like to offer a few more pieces of advice.  Try to avoid vendor-lock-in; e.g. if you buy all your HW and software from the same company, there’s a risk that you may have less choice in the future. E.g. a vendor may masquerade as 3 different independent companies, but in reality they’re the same entity. There’s surely a risk that access or support of low-cost 3rd party cameras disappear down the line. Consider if upgrading/scalability is a bait-and-switch scheme. E.g. you install a lot of low cost cameras and invest time and effort in learning the system. Once you decide… Read more »

August 2, 2016 7:02 pm

I want to get a surveillance system for my house. Thanks for the advice about thinking what kind of clarity and detail you need, as high resolution might be important so that the image isn’t compromised when you zoom. Another thing to consider is whether or not to do your video system wirelessly or not. http://www.electronicalarms.com.au/ip-cameras-cctv

August 30, 2016 10:58 am

We understand that information is critical to success, which is why we are singularly focused on the development of video surveillance and security solutions that provide you the information necessary to make real-time, business-enabling decisions.

From the recently introduced Video expert video management platform to our industry-leading selection of IP cameras and accessories, We are committed to designing and delivering a broad range of high-quality, IP video security products and systems complemented with an unparalleled level of customer support and services.

Read more here – http://goo.gl/jmIa9H

January 6, 2017 9:10 am

Great to read this blog to understand the parameters how to choose best surveillance. Upon all these, I found REVO surveillance & security systems for my home. I buy whole system from online store – www.amazon.com/shops/mysecuritall

January 24, 2017 5:42 am

I love your article It is very nice here is more information for security cameras. I also purchase security cameras using <a href=”http://advancesecurities.blogspot.in/”> Digital CCTV cameras </a> which give a best clarity for outdoor I bought some cameras using this. I found much quality of cameras in cheapest price. I got my saving you may also save your maximum money while using this.

March 6, 2017 7:54 am

You want to play the best games and the most attractive, go to our website, it will not disappoint you.


olivia nelson
olivia nelson
March 30, 2017 10:36 pm

I agree that you need to consider the area you want to cover when you are looking for a security system. It would seem that different video surveillance systems would cover different areas so it would be important to find one that is big enough for you. I’m looking for a surveillance system for my home so I’ll have to find one that is big enough for it.

April 27, 2017 12:19 am

I’ve never heard of PTZ cameras before. I bet those are really useful for big supermarkets. Security systems can do a lot to control shrink.

June 15, 2017 12:11 pm

I really appreciate your point you have mentioned about surveillance cameras. The size of the area you want to monitor will determine the resolution you need is really an important point. All the rest of the points you explained is really beneficial for security purpose.

Ashley Turns
Ashley Turns
September 8, 2017 2:56 am

The company I work for is considering installing a video security system for our parking lot. So thanks for mentioning that Canon cameras are able to capture huge areas with just one lens since they have views of up to 112 degrees. I will definitely mention that we may want to use a camera for our video security system that is able to cover as much of the parking lot as possible, so we won’t need as many.

Lucy Gibson
Lucy Gibson
September 16, 2017 5:22 pm

You make a great point about wanting to test out the lighting conditions on your premises to see which cameras would work best. It seems like having an alarm system that includes video would be a great deterrent for potential thieves. I would also assume that installing something like this might help bring home and business owners a little piece of mind. I’d also be curious to know if this could also save on insurance too.

October 17, 2017 11:09 pm

You should install a camera in off-street windows, back doors, as well as basement doors and windows as they are the main entry points of burglars and thieves when entering a home.

November 28, 2017 7:21 am

Liked it.! Useful Info..!


December 28, 2017 8:14 am

It’s crazy how far the home security technology has come over the past several years. Being able to control your entire system from your smart phone was unimaginable 10 years ago. Now it seems to be a standard feature in most home security systems.
see : https://www.9apps.ooo/ 

Roger Middleton
Roger Middleton
January 4, 2018 3:18 am

I liked that you had mentioned that when it comes to looking for a camera surveillance system that it can be important to figure out how large of an area you’ll need to cover. My wife and I have noticed that we don’t live in the safest neighborhood anymore and we’re worried about someone breaking into our home while we’re not there. We’ll have to start looking around for a camera company that will be able to cover our large yard and everything on the inside as well. http://www.micomsecurity.com.au/contact

Ashley Maxwell
Ashley Maxwell
March 6, 2018 1:09 am

I appreciate how you said that a security system should be able to spot every part of the room that it is in. I also like how you said that it should also be well lit. My husband and I are considering looking into a wireless security camera to keep our kids safe. https://monitoru.com/wireless-security-systems/

March 21, 2018 8:10 am

The area covering ability of this product is very good. The picture quality and the sound quality of this product is mind blowing.

March 22, 2018 8:04 am

Thanks for sharing this article is really helpful to me .#d3dsecurity.com

July 3, 2018 10:01 am

Will the security cameras be used indoors or out?
Do you want your cameras to be discreet or act as a visual deterrent?
How large is the area you want to monitor?
Do you need audio integration?
How clear do you need the video quality to be?
How will the lighting affect the CCTV recording?
Will you need to add more cameras in the future?
How could your business benefit from effective surveillance and monitoring?
Would VMS analytics be of benefit?
How to select a suitable VMS solution

September 18, 2018 4:18 pm

Great information.. now a days every one using CAMS..

November 17, 2018 9:06 am

This is a really good read for me. Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I have ever read. Thanks for posting this informative article.

Easton Memmott
Easton Memmott
November 19, 2018 5:04 pm

I like the tip that you gave to choose cameras that are appropriate for the setting. My wife and I are looking for a security camera service because of the recent break-ins with our neighbors’ home, and I want to protect our home. I will be sure to choose security cameras that are made for the setting in which they are used, so I can be confident that they will be good for us.

under vehicle inspection system
under vehicle inspection system
December 20, 2018 8:43 am

Nice article about the video surveillance system, security is very important now a days and you mentioned very good point. thank you for sharing it.

Millie Hue
Millie Hue
March 20, 2019 11:28 pm

I like that you pointed out that having a system that has an audio feature will help to hear what the perpetrator was talking about when he is seen on the camera. I will definitely choose this kind of surveillance system because it might actually stop the activity from happening. This will be perfect if ever the criminal from another village chooses my property to burglarize. It’s because we will be able to catch him once he enters my property. http://www.hooklineandcable.com/security-systems

David Briggs
David Briggs
March 22, 2019 7:03 am

It’s not just your lawn that requires maintenance, your outdoor security lighting needs it too. The good thing is that it doesn’t require daily check-ins. See reference https://www.briggselectrical.com.au/2019/01/31/briggs-shares-golden-tips-security-lighting-cctv-installation/

April 2, 2019 12:15 pm

Its really a good blog on Complete Security Solution . I appreciate your article. This blog is really helpful to give you the information of security product services. So thanks for sharing all that important information.

Thomas Jameson
Thomas Jameson
June 28, 2019 3:57 pm

It’s good to know that you should implement proper lighting techniques to make your security system more effective. My boss has been looking for a way to make sure that criminals are caught on camera, and I think that adjusting the lighting so that there isn’t a glare is exactly what he’s looking for. I’ll be sure to pass this information along to him for his consideration.

July 10, 2019 10:56 am

Awesome post I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this intriguing and educated article.
VolgoPoint Home Security IP Camera

October 18, 2019 5:27 pm

This is such a nice post! It’s amazing to see people like you that are alive and doing something in this world. I believe in you and I believe I can fly. If you know what I mean.

Des Carter
Des Carter
October 29, 2019 8:51 pm

This is a great article. Your mention of lighting conditions when using cameras is most important. Many people neglect this and complain about picture quality afterwards.

Jenna Hunter
Jenna Hunter
January 7, 2020 11:22 pm

It was interesting to learn about how different lighting conditions like strobe lighting can mess with a security camera but if they plan for it they can choose a camera that won’t have any problems with it. I can see how it could be really nice for a business to make sure that they are secure with the best video security. It could be really nice for them to get it from a professional so they are sure that they are protected.

Ellie Davis
Ellie Davis
January 9, 2020 7:43 pm

It’s interesting to know that you may need to consider adding environmental housing for your security cameras in the outdoors. My husband and I moved his office to a commercial space, and we are looking for advice to choose the right security cameras. I will let him know about your recommendations to help him choose the right security system for his office.

Victoria Addington
Victoria Addington
May 1, 2020 2:09 am

Thanks for the tips in choosing the right security system. Apparently, I overheard my boss and the manager talking about installing commercial surveillance cameras around the building both indoor and outdoor the premises for safety. I like what you suggested that high resolution cameras ensure high image quality.