Installing a surveillance camera is the most effective protective measure you can employ to keep your residence or commercial property safe. While you are selecting a security camera for your home, you will come across various solutions. However, the most important decision will be pertaining to the differences between lenses. For instance, you will very quickly see cameras described as having either varifocal lenses or fixed lenses.
A varifocal camera is a device that can change the length of its lens. This allows it to zoom in and out while focusing and capturing a clear image. Varifocal lens cameras can be a powerful tool in your security system for a number of reasons.
In this article, we will give you complete info on what a Varifocal camera is, how it works, and why you may want to choose a varifocal camera over the competitors. We’ll also discuss the benefits that you’ll get by installing varifocal security cameras to expand your home’s security system.
What is a Varifocal Security Camera?
These security cameras get their name for housing a varifocal lens. So what is a varifocal lens? As noted above, a varifocal lens is one that can modify its length to zoom in and out. Therefore, a varifocal camera, like the Anpviz 8MP (on Amazon), can change the focal length of its lens to accomplish zooming while still staying in focus, which makes it a great option for a home security system.
You can adjust the varifocal lens to cover and capture a wider viewing area, or you can use it to focus in-depth on a smaller, more specific area. You can get a wide range of varifocal lenses in a variety of aperture sizes. Typically, the smaller aperture sizes for a varifocal lens in a home security system ranges from 2.8 to 12mm, whereas the largest aperture sizes go up to 100mm.
If you don’t already know what the difference is between a small and a large aperture, a smaller aperture offers you the feature to zoom out further to view a wider area. Contrast this to a larger aperture which will allow you to zoom in closer, to view an object, area, or equipment in more detail.
How Does a Varifocal Security Camera Work?
Varifocal security cameras are a piece of equipment that house movable lenses. You can adjust these lenses to zoom in and out to look farther away or focus on a specific area or object. Some varifocal lenses come with manually adjustable zoom, whereas others are automatic. Once you have installed the varifocal camera in a desired place and angle outside your house, it is time for some adjustments.
You can adjust the camera to capture a bigger (wider) area while still allowing you to view the images in clear details. You can also get varifocal cameras with autofocus functionality. These cameras automatically react to the motion and images within their viewing spectrum or range, that way you don’t have to control anything manually.
When Will You Need Varifocal Security Cameras?
You might be wondering if you really need a varifocal lens security camera with the ability to zoom in and out? Or will a basic lens cut it for my home security system’s needs? There are a few features to explore which will help you determine whether you need a varifocal lens in your home security system.
The biggest advantage of deploying varifocal lens security cameras in your home is that it requires fewer cameras, meaning it is a cost-effective solution. A typical fixed lens comes with a 75-degree coverage angle. So you’d be able to cover part of your room (for instance) but you’ll require an additional camera at different angles to cover the entire room.
On the other hand, a varifocal lens security camera offers a 98-degree viewing angle. This means you will be covering the entire space without having to buy an additional camera. The more expensive camera, then, is a little cheaper, because you only need to buy one of them to cover the whole room.
When Do Varifocal Lens Security Cameras Become a Necessity?
Although varifocal lens security cameras are more expensive than fixed lens cameras, some circumstances make them a worthwhile investment. Suppose you have a full HD camera with a 1080p resolution and a wide-angle lens. It will not be very effective at a 50-100-foot range. You might be surprised to find out that a standard definition security camera will fail to clearly identify faces at a 20-foot distance.
Are you willing to invest in a varifocal lens standard definition security camera knowing you won’t be able to make out faces? We suggest you get an HD wide-angle varifocal security camera for just about the same cost as its standard definition variant. This way, you will be able to get higher resolution images and live feed from an extended distance. Most importantly, you will be able to identify faces without compromising the wide-angle view.
That said, you must consider that every technology has its own unique limits and tweaks. At greater distances, even a wide-angle viewing varifocal lens will lose the ability to identify faces. So, if that is something you are looking for, you must use a high millimeter lens to identify a potential security threat at a further distance. For most of our readers, this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.
Practical Applications of a Varifocal Security Camera
Here are six instances where varifocal lens security cameras will expand your home security system.
- Varifocal security cameras are great if you are on a budget and can only afford to buy one camera for a room, or need one camera for a room with 90-degree walls. A varifocal camera, like the 4MP Varifocal Vikylin (on Amazon), will be able to effectively capture most of the movement within a small room, especially if it’s a normal sized space with 90 degree corners (rectangular in shape).
- Varifocal cameras are useful when you have a door, gate, or other known entry points in your house, but you cannot mount a camera at a secure height. Installing cameras at a lower height will make them vulnerable to fiddling or damage.
- A varifocal camera will be a better option when it is important for you to get a close-up shot of a person or a vehicle for identification. Because varifocal cameras can zoom in, you’ll be able to capture important details like a person’s face looks or the license plate of a vehicle.
- A varifocal lens is a perfect solution if you want to identify someone at a distance over 50 feet away because varifocal cameras can zoom in and out whenever it’s needed. More importantly, if your varifocal camera has an automatic motion-detection system. the camera can zoom in and out on its own.
- It is usually difficult to envision exactly what view you will require on a site. This may be a nuisance later if you have to buy more cameras to try and find the right angles for full coverage. Thanks to a varifocal security camera, you can install fewer cameras and then aim and otherwise dial them into your needs.
- Due to a varifocal camera’s ability to focus on only one subject, area, or piece of equipment, this makes the camera a better option over a fixed lens that’s mounted at a distance, because a fixed lens set-up will commonly show you unnecessary details which are more of a distraction than anything.
So, now you know the difference between a fixed lens and a varifocal lens and why you might want to choose the latter as security cameras for your home security system, additionally, we have another guide on what types of channels you’ll need to know about. Moreover, fixed cameras are most handy when looking for a budget-conscious solution that provides good coverage of your entire property. For sites and facilities with precise monitoring requirements, varifocal lens security cameras are the obvious choice.
Advantages of a Varifocal Lens Security Camera
Here are four ways varifocal security cameras will not only enhance your home security system, but save you time, money, and extra effort.
1. Offering Flexible Installation Options
Unlike its fixed lens counterpart, a varifocal lens security camera will offer you more flexibility and freedom when choosing an installation spot. It is an ideal outdoor security solution because outdoor security cameras with varifocal lens will cover large areas such as the backyard, front yard, parking lots, etc (more on that in our guide to indoor/outdoor cameras). .
Installing a varifocal security camera at your front door will provide you a wide viewing angle in front of your residence. A more advanced variant of varifocal lens security cameras will not only allow you to change the viewing angle in real-time but also enable horizontal and vertical rotations. Hence, you will never miss a single spot within your home.
2. Capturing Higher Quality Images and Videos
Another benefit associated with a varifocal lens home surveillance system is adjustability. A varifocal lens security camera will allow you to adjust the focal length to change the field of view. You can zoom in until you see the exact clear image.
In contrast, zooming out will allow you to capture a complete picture of the whole room or a certain part of the room as per your desire. The best part is that whether you zoom in or out, the image quality of the recording or the live feed won’t be affected. The image or video remains in a super crisp high definition resolution on your screen.
3. Remote Zooming and Focusing
To make your installation process a little easier, some of the manufacturers create varifocal security cameras with remote zooming and focusing functionality. Remote focus and zoom allow you to control the field of view of your cameras and make small post-installation adjustments to achieve the desired viewing angle.
For instance, if snow has made a specific area too bright (which can blur your image or make it unintelligible on account of being too sharp), you can adjust your varifocal lens security camera’s angle by using the “P-iris” feature. However, this feature may vary from one manufacturer to another.
4. Offering Cheaper Installation Cost
As you know by now, if you use fixed lens security cameras and wish to capture a different viewing angle, you will need to install an additional camera in a different location. This will cause a lot of hassles, such as relocation of the cameras, drilling, and wiring, additional labor cost, etc.
Moreover, this will cost you extra time and energy in the long run. With varifocal security cameras, you can eliminate the headache of frequent reallocations and other annoying activities and costs. In fact, if your varifocal cameras are PoE or Wi-Fi enabled, your installation process can be even more convenient.
Tips for Choosing the Right Varifocal Lens Security Camera for Home Security
So, all that is left now is to discuss some of the other features to consider when buying varifocal lens security cameras for your home security system. You know about the aperture, the HD resolution, auto and manual zooming, but there are a few more things to keep in mind.
It is always a good idea to speak to your salesperson and discuss all available options while deciding which manufacturer or varifocal security camera, whether 5MP or 8MP (our guide), will suit your needs best. Many security camera stores have running feeds from various brands and models. This way, you can see the live footage of the store or the outdoor from various types of cameras.
Be mindful if you are buying a varifocal security camera for your home security from an online store such as Amazon or another third-party retailer. We would recommend you compare various sellers and check their customers’ reviews before you make a purchase, that way you have a better idea of what you’re getting.
Other important things to keep in mind are whether or not your camera needs both day and night recording capabilities. Moreover, check their heat ratings, water rating, and cold ratings, so you know that your cameras will not breakdown or malfunction in a hot, cold, windy, or rainy environment. Make sure your camera fits whatever environment you need it in.
Over the last few years, two types of varifocal lens security cameras have become more popular. These are bullet security cameras and 4X varifocal domes. Before buying either one, do your research and check all available options online and in retail stores when shopping for varifocal security cameras.