Choosing a camera
In a previous article Choosing a nestbox, we looked at the various factors to consider when buying a nest box. In this article we will look at what you should consider when deciding which camera to buy for your nest box or feeder.
In brief you will need to consider the following factors
- Resolution of Camera
- Night vision?
- Wired vs Wireless
- Length of Cable (if wired)
The resolution of the camera is normally expressed in TVL (TV Lines) with the higher TVL giving a sharper on-screen image. Each camera will also have a pixel rating which will give the number of pixels for the sensor e.g. 500 (Horizontal) x 582 (Vertical) as well as the number of TV Lines (420TVL).
In order to provide nightvision (and low light capability) most cameras employ Infra Red LEDs. These are outside of the range of visible light but can be captured by the cameras, as it is outside the visible spectrum IR light does not disturb the occupants. It will however have an impact on the colour definition in one of two ways.
- Most cameras automatically switch to Black & White in low light conditions
- IR light can cause certain colours to appear as shades of grey, while other colours are still recognisable.
While there are wireless cameras available, and these may be suitable for some people, we currently do not stock any as we feel that for most people a wireless set-up is not suitable.
There are two main issues with wireless in our experience
- Range of wireless signal – our experience is that most wireless signals operate at a much shorter range than quoted by the manufacturers.
- Battery Life – A wireless camera still needs to be powered, in fact they will need more power than a wired camera, as in addition to operating the camer, power is also required to provide the wireless transmission.
The problem with wireless signals is that their range is reduced by many factors including thickness and construction of walls, electrical interference, water pipes, metal structures etc. This means that the effective distance you can achieve is almost impossible to predict with any certainty without an on-site wireless survey. You therefore take a chance on whether the range will be sufficient when buying a wireless camera.
To help demonstrate the difference in image quality in different conditions you can use the images below as a guide.
380TVL Camera with IR LEDs (Our Standard Camera)
420TVL Camera with IR LEDs (Our Standard Plus Camera)
480TVL Camera without IR LEDs (Our Hi-res Daylight only camera)
If you have any other questions or would like more advice feel fre to leave a comment below, use the contact form on our website or you can phone on 01508 499124