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Thinking about Buying a CCTV System

If you own your own business and are thinking about buying a do-it-yourself CCTV systems from Lowes or Home Depot, think again. The pricing and ease of set up seems quite attractive but the limitations and non-expandable features of these systems makes them an expensive proposition. Big box retailers understand that attractive, low price merchandise sells. Unfortunately, when you are considering protecting commercial assets, low price, non-commercial grade products have too many limitations to be considered effective ‘smart security” choices. ESI, Emergency Systems Inc. a leader in the commercial security field since 1979, specialize in providing businesses with the best surveillance solutions in the industry. They have installed thousands of high-quality, commercial grade camera systems, (CCTV) for every type of security application.

Aren’t all CCTV Camera Systems the Same

To understand what are the real differences in security camera systems (CCTV), you must first know the right questions to ask a trained professional. There are many important questions that need to be considered when choosing the right video camera solution, such as lighting, distance, recording resolution, fixed or adjustable lens, mounting, video transmission travel distance, storage, remote viewing capability, wireless etc. These questions cannot be found on the outside of the manufacturers box or answered by the aisle clerk who is not trained to properly advise.

  • Do you want to be able to properly identify a person even in low light or dark conditions?
    • ESI’s Advice: Only look for night vision security cameras with built-in infrared LED’s. These types of camera’s work in every different kind of lighting conditions.
  • Do you want cameras that are wireless / wi-fi compatible?
    • ESI’s Advice: Wireless IP cameras offer tremendous advantages for providing video clarity over long distance transmissions for parking lots and warehouses. Traditional security installations over 500 feet lose clarity of images that digital images resolve. Cameras can be connected to a local hardwire switch using Ethernet cable and can also be connected to a wireless router.
      Transmitting over wi-fi or Ethernet achieves higher quality digital video and allows for shorter cable runs. Wireless IP Cameras are easier to install, just plug them into a wall transformer. You can also assign an IP address to them during the camera setup. The camera can then be wall mounted or placed on a desktop. As your security needs change they can also be moved.
  • Where will you be mounting the cameras?
  • ESI’s Advice: If you are going with indoor cameras, range won’t be much of an issue, but for warehouses or large storage facilities you will need to know the exact range. For clear footage from more than 100 feet away, we recommend long range cameras.
  • How far / wide can the security cameras see?
  • ESI’s Advice: That question always depends on the size and width of your lens needs. The larger the lens, the farther you will be able to view. We recommend a 2.8-12mm varifocal lens that allows it to see up to 100 feet. With a 3.4-122.4mm zoom lens that lets you see up to 300 feet. For wide angle viewing needs a 3.6mm lens will see almost 80 degrees wide. An entire room can be seen with this application. A 50mm lens on the other hand will only give you a viewing angle of roughly 5 degrees wide.
  • What recording resolution do I need?
  • ESI’s Advice: This is the most common question when it comes to surveillance systems. ESI’s systems range from 420 lines of resolution up to a full HD 1080p resolution. We recommend these settings because 420-550 lines is enough for indoor systems monitoring of a single area within 50 feet. If you are watching longer distances, we recommend stepping up to 700+ resolution.
    The best, most advanced systems available on the market today are HD-SDI Complete System. These systems record footage equal in resolution to an HDTV system with a full 1080p resolution.
  • Do I need weatherproof cameras?
  • ESI’s Advice: If your video application is for outdoor use its wise to go with weatherproof cameras. Florida’s weather is very hard on equipment especially if it is not designed for outdoor use, big problem.
  • Do I need varifocal or fixed lens cameras?
    • ESI’s Advice: Adjustable lens cameras give you greater flexibility. If you use a fixed length lens, your measured field of view must be precise. Remember, not all lenses are made alike but by identifying your specific needs and how you want the camera to perform will determine the best solution.
  • How easily can I set up Remote Viewing on my security cameras?
    • ESI’s Advice: Install a high-speed internet connection to a DVR / NVR system, which are remote viewing capable, because the software lets you use remote viewing to all of your cameras. This allows you to watch live events and recorded video from any computer. ESI’s technology also use our “smart apps” for tablets and smartphones. This includes all iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, and many more!
  • How much storage space do I need?
  • ESI’s Advice: This is a very important question that needs to be asked on many different levels. What are the number of cameras in use, indoor versus outdoor, number of days you want to record, frame rate speed, etc. ESI recommends a 7.5 frame rate per second speed because it maximizes the footage for most hard drives. 15 and 30 frames per second are also available.

It is important when considering the right security company, that they meet these requirements:

  • Are they a state licensed security alarm contractor? Are they a local company? Do they deal solely in security products or is it just another line in their business?

ESI, Emergency Systems Inc. is a state licensed, commercial and high-end residential security company serving North and North Central Florida since 1979. For a complete list of products and services please consult our website at Our professionally trained staff, firsts listens to your questions, identifies your required security needs, and then gives you added-value solutions that are both cost effective and designed to exceed your security expectations. Just give us a call at 904-388-3975. The consultation is free but the information is invaluable.


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