Security Camera FAQs: Brands, Budget, and Big-Box Options

Does the brand name matter?

Twenty years ago, there were maybe 20 CCTV camera manufacturers. Today there are hundreds. Like most electronics, some brands have a better reputation than others, and usually for good reason. Newer names in the market may offer comparable quality, but they may not be able to offer the same stock availability as veteran brands. However, brand may be less important than whether a quality piece of equipment is compatible with your network and infrastructure and is easy to install.

How much do IP cameras cost?

There is a huge variation in camera price depending on the lens. A fixed-position IP camera with a verifocal lens can range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. You may find cost-savings for your unique situation; for example, it may be cheaper (and create better results) to install three fixed cameras to monitor a parking lot instead of one very expensive camera with pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) features.

Will the system for sale at my local big-box store do the job?

It might, if you want a very basic level of monitoring and information from your security system. As with most electronics, “You get what you pay for” in low-cost CCTV systems. Don’t expect crystal-clear images and seamless interface if you buy the cheapest system on the market.

Can I mix and match camera brands?

Most manufacturers match CCTV cameras to a specific recording device. However, different brands often are compatible and can be combined within the same operating system. To do this you may have to pay an additional licensing fee and complete additional software programming.

Can I get IP features with my analog system?

You may be able to upgrade to a hybrid digital video recorder (DVR) that supports both analog and IP cameras. For each hybrid DVR, you can connect up to 16 analog cameras and 9 digital cameras. Also, you can purchase adaptors that will allow the coaxial cabling in place for your analog system to support IP cameras.

Schedule a security assessment

Integrated Building Systems will help you select the system that's most appropriate for your needs and budget, and we'll get it installed and integrated seamlessly. Our certified designers and technicians offer:

  • On-site security risk assessments to determine where your facility is vulnerable and what type of system is needed.

  • A security master plan, including a detailed budget, equipment list, and recommendations for integrating your security system with existing networks.

  • Over 20 years' experience in designing and installing security systems for clients in retail, k-12 schools, universities, churches, nonprofit organizations, healthcare, and private business.