Security Camera Lenses Are Important Components

December 4th, 2018

There’s no denying the importance that security cameras can play in keeping a safe and more secure. New technologies integrated into surveillance cameras make them last longer, with better image quality, and even more ways to gather and analyze information. We’re now getting to a stage where advanced camera systems are being tested with algorithms that can actually identify and recognize criminal actions, reducing the amount of time needed to scan through footage to see what evidence has been gathered.

But for all the advances that are made on the computer side of security camera systems, there is still one basic component of the camera that, even after over a century of use, hasn’t changed much. The camera lens itself is still absolutely critical to the performance of the camera.

It’s The Eye

No matter where you place a camera in your business, it is the lens that must have a clear, unobstructed view. The lens, like the human eye, is what looks on the scene, taking in the images, while the rest of the technology in the camera preserves and records what the lens sees. However, the lens is a physical construct, is limited in what it can do based on its own physical constraints. This means that different lenses are necessary for accomplishing different things. For the purposes of surveillance, lenses fall into two primary categories.

The Fixed Lens

Fixed lenses for security cameras are perfect when a camera has to look at only one thing; a specific space. For the majority of security camera needs, the fixed lens will get the job done. Most cameras will either be stationary, looking at only one spot or rotate within a fixed field of view. In both cases, however, the distance between the space being viewed and the camera doesn’t change. A camera in a lobby, for example, only needs to look at people who are entering or leaving, all other concerns are secondary or irrelevant.

The Zoom Lens

This is a very different, more specialized form of the camera lens, requiring a more elaborate camera system to take advantage of it. With a zoom lens, the camera is now capable of focusing closer, and closer on a subject, picking out far more details. Depending on the power of the zoom lens, the license plate on a distant car can be easily read, or even the writing on a business card, or password on a smartphone display.

Zoom lenses are ideal for cameras that need to be more actively engaged and used because the lens itself is adjustable. If you have an officer monitoring a security station, looking at live feeds, that officer can use controls to steer the camera to look at desired objects or subjects, in addition to using the zoom features in order to get a closer look at things, if more detail is required. The downside, of course, is that human intervention is required to take advantage of this.

We’re not yet at the point where “smart cameras” have the judgment to monitor on their own, and make a decision about what’s worth detailed, closer surveillance, but zoom lenses are ready for that day.