Security Camera Image Quality

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Old 07-14-14, 10:00 AM
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Security Camera Image Quality

I realize these aren't high-end cameras Surveillance dvr system with 4 night vision cameras, but what adjustments might I make to render a better quality image? The video images(s) seem to wash out when there's bright light in the background (not directly into the camera, but reflecting off structures, etc.). Again, I know these aren't high-end, HD cameras, but I assume there are some adjustments that can be made. i.e. contrast.

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Old 07-14-14, 11:02 AM
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You may be able to make some contrast and brightness adjustments on the viewing end that will help some but it won't help much. The problems you describe are common problems with cheap cameras. More expensive models have anti-blooming circuitry and better onboard exposure and contrast controls to deal with difficult lighting situations. Probably the best you can do is position the cameras so they are not in situations they can't handle.
 
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Old 07-14-14, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the response. You are correct, there wasn't much I could do with the quality trying several options. Well, I'll just upgrade the cameras eventually. The hard part of installation is done (running the wires through the attic, router configuration, etc.). I'll gladly go up a ladder and change out a camera eventually.
 
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Old 07-14-14, 02:22 PM
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... and while camera quality is important, a good quality image is dependent on many variables: monitor, graphics card, cabling, video transmission, terminations, location, setup, etc.
 
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Old 07-14-14, 10:56 PM
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I have another question regarding video quality. My DVR has 5 levels to choose from for recording. By default it is set at the middle. The highest level is "Ultra" which about cuts my available recording time in half if I go with that option. When I view my live surveillance through my PC, phone or TV, am I viewing the surveillance through the DVR? Does my question make sense? When viewing live, am I basically viewing recorded images rendered nearly simultaneous to live? As I read my own question, I'm not sure anyone is going to understand what I'm asking. Perhaps it makes more sense like this, does the level of quality I record at affect the live image I view, or is the record quality level only going to affect playback?

As I have read a little on TVL, I realize just how bad these cameras are...they're only 1 level away from being the rock-bottom units available from where I purchased them. So, as they're such relatively poor image quality, none of the above may matter. Setting the DVR level to "Ultra" may not help as the TVL is so low.
 
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Old 07-15-14, 09:06 AM
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Yes, I think when you view your video it is being passed through the DVR first. On mine I can select what I want to view whether it be one camera, a split screen of 4 cameras or split screen of 8 cameras. Then I can pick which cameras are displayed on the split screen. Since some manipulation is being done of the image I assume you are seeing it after processing and storage in the DVR. Not that it matters since it's all happening instantly as far as a human is concerned.

On my DVR the recording level does not affect the quality of the image displayed on the monitor. I have mine set in a hybrid mode where it records all the cameras at a medium resolution and medium frame rate 24/7. If motion is detected in an image then that camera's recording kicks up to high quality and high frame rate for better quality. The image quality displayed on the monitor does not change even though what's getting stored on the hard drive changes.

Yes, I've found the quality of camera to make a huge difference. Several years ago I had a camera die and I ordered one on clearance and it turned out to be quite good so I bought all they had left in stock. In general though price can be a very general indicator of quality but different cameras are made for different applications. Some are specifically made to handle bright lights or something bright in the image like a car approaching with it's headlights on or someone walking into a convenience store with bright sunlight in the background. The special camera knows to ignore the really bright headlights or sunlight and adjust it's exposure to catch the license plate or person's face.
 
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