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Wide-angle surveillance cameras improve the efficiency of security systems, particularly when you want a large-sized property fully monitored. This powerful tool for covering large areas can reduce the cost of the security system through the deployment of lesser number of security cameras that will require less maintenance.
Installing a wide-angle camera in a strategic position enables it to perform the work of two or more units equipped with normal lens. For example, in a retail shop, a wide-angle camera can capture a wide range of footages from a central position, so security personnel have less camera feeds to monitor.
What are Wide Angle Security Cameras?
A wide-angle security camera produces a greater field of view, also called the viewing angle. The field of view is that span of the monitored area that the camera can see which is measured in degrees. A 360o field of view means that the camera has the capability to see all areas around it, while a 180o field of views means that the camera sees half of a circle if you place the camera in the center. Theoretically speaking, the wide-angle camera is a powerful security tool because it allows you to see a wider expanse of the area you are monitoring with only just a single unit installed in a strategic location.
However, there are other factors to consider because there are downsides in the use of wide-angle security cameras. Fixed lens security cameras have a permanently set focal length that you cannot adjust, meaning you have to select the field of view of the camera when you purchase it. You can have a narrow or wide-angle camera, but the widest angle or field of view for fixed cameras is only about 90o to avoid image distortion.
The size of the security camera lens determines the field of view, with the smaller lenses being referred to as wide-angle lenses because they produce a greater field of view when compared with the larger lenses. Thus, a 3.6 mm lens can provide a field of view of approximately 72o, while a larger lens will reduce the angle. Manufacturers of security cameras have fixed security camera lenses that vary in size from about 3 mm to 100 mm. Thus, you can choose the field of view of the security camera that you will purchase, from the smallest lens with the widest field of view, to the largest lens with the narrowest. You have to remember that as the field of view becomes wider, you tend to lose the smaller details of the captured images. Therefore, you should consider the placement of the camera and choose the most appropriate angle of view for the area that you will monitor.
As you use smaller lenses, the area that the camera captures becomes wider, but the images or objects will appear smaller within the camera image, and you will lose some of the details including important ones such as facial features.
For ultra-wide angle, single camera monitoring, a special lens referred to as the fisheye is employed. The fisheye provides 180 to 360o field of view using a special type of lens that provides an oval or circular-shaped image, which has somewhat limited its applications because of image distortions. However, recent technology advances have resulted to the introduction of different models of IP 360o Fisheye Cameras with built-in on-camera dewarping and other features like panorama view, PTZ functionality, or quad view that make these surveillance cameras ideal in large, security-risk areas.
Another single-camera solution for wide angle monitoring is the multi-sensor camera with pre-installed conventional lenses. Rather than using a single lens, the camera employs several lenses to capture images from a certain angle. For example, a 180o wide-angle camera can have four sensors, one each for a 45o span so that the images captured will not suffer from distortion.
Another option to take when you want wide-angle monitoring is to purchase a varifocal camera, which allows the user to adjust the camera lens manually using knobs or adjustment screws. These cameras are more expensive than fixed lens models but have wider applications because of the flexibility to make adjustments in the angle of view. Varifocal cameras with the PTZ feature are also available, though at much higher costs. The PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) feature allows you to make quick adjustments from your digital video recorder (DVR), NVR or a smartphone.
Wide Angle vs Narrow Angle Camera
Wide angle lenses satisfy the need for monitoring large areas or sections of a property, where a normal lens camera will not be as useful. Fixed lens cameras with wide angle lenses can provide a single footage that covers as much as 104o of movement for a distance of up to 40 feet without losing much of the details. As a rule when choosing video surveillance cameras, wide-angle lenses are used for monitoring a large span of ground, for example front and back yards, warehouses, conference halls, and parking lots. You can also install a wide-angle security camera in large offices, where it can be positioned in the middle of the ceiling for monitoring all of the activities in the area or in a large gated entrance of a business establishment.
Though there are definite advantages in using a wide-angle camera, there are many situations where its use is not practical or effective, making a narrow angle camera more desirable. Narrow angle lenses work best in areas like hallways and doorways, or the entrance to your garage where the space is minimal but nonetheless requires video surveillance.
A secure video surveillance system implements an overlap of camera angles to prevent the possibility of an intruder slipping through the system without being seen by the camera. The overlap of camera angles can be addressed through the strategic positioning of a wide-angle security camera. Wide-angle surveillance cameras are cost effective solutions when a wide angle of view is more important than catching specific details from security footages.