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The Best Motion Activated Security Cameras for Home Use

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/23/2010

Looking to buy a security camera, but not sure which features to look for.? No need to worry! We're here to help. Learn which features are needed, and obtain some recommendations on the best motion activated security cameras.

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    Facial Shots and Low-light Situations

    Just like not all regular digital cameras are made exactly like, the same can be said for motion activated security cameras. Homeowners need to worry about things like resolution, waterproofing, zoom features and the like. But, what features should a motion activated security camera have? Well, there are some things to look for that will make your buying venture that much easier.

    Obtaining a good facial shot and shots of other distinguishing features are the most important part of any motion activated security camera system. This will help law enforcement officials identify the perpetrator. Look for cameras with wide angle lenses since it will get more of the scene. And, make sure you invest in a camera that allows you to change the lens. This way, if something happens to the lens it can be easily replaced.

    Another thing to consider is low-light situations. More expensive cameras will switch to infrared at night, which allows the camera to pick up more of the scene at night. But, if you’re on a budget, buy a camera that takes shots in black and white at night. It will still give you details, but it won’t be as expensive.

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    Zoom and Waterproofing

    When it comes to zoom features, pan-tilt-zoom cameras may be the best since they can shoot footage from a variety of angles and move up and down. This is especially important in highly sensitive areas since it will catch pictures from all around the exterior or interior of a building.

    Pick a camera that has optical zoom over digital zoom. While digital zooms can focus on things farther out, the resolution suffers. Optical zoom will generally give you a clearer picture, which is more important than how far it can zoom out.

    Buy a camera with waterproof casing if it is outside. It will protect your motion activated camera from all types of weather. Also, make sure that the camera casing has the ability to take a beating. The stronger it is the better. For extra protection, set up the camera under some type of awning or overhang. If debris does happen to fly during a bad storm, the camera may not be destroyed.

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    Recommendations for Motion Activated Security Cameras

    Now, it’s time for camera recommendations.

    VersaCam/Super IR camera (approximately $400 online) allows viewers to remotely view what the camera is seeing, which means that a person doesn’t need to be in the same building to ensure that it is safe. It also comes with IR illuminators which gives the camera a clear shot of up 150 feet even at night. The camera will send an alert if something activates it.

    The Cooper Lighting Motion-Activated Floodlight and Camera is a cool little device. If somebody does set it off, not only are they picked up on video, the floodlight also comes on. This could potentially deter a criminal from even trying to break in. And, it’s relatively cheap at around by VersaCam $100 online.

    Stealth Cam’s STC-SLC2B Patroller (between $120 to $190 online) builds upon the camera and floodlight combo, and it comes with a 2.0 megapixel camera. The camera will shoot either two pictures or ten seconds of video when activated, and every shot will be stamped with the time and date.

    For those that want good color pictures, the Homeland Security 850 Motion Activated Color Cam (around $50 online) comes with a CMOS sensor and microphone. It takes full color pictures during the day and black and white photos at night.

    Finally, the U.S. Patrol JB5472 Photo Patrol Security Camera is perfect for the budget consumer (less than $50 online) and for those that really want an inconspicuous camera. The camera actually looks like a call box more than a security camera. This is ideal for a home or small business.