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The Do’s and Don’t’s of Using Fisheye Cameras for Surveillance

security cameras looking at suspects

When placed and used properly, fisheye cameras will increase the situational awareness provided by your surveillance system and ensure comprehensive coverage of your home, office or place of business.

However, when not placed properly and configured for optimal use within the environment, fisheye cameras offer less than stellar results. In fact, you might even find you were better off with your previous camera arrangement!

In our previous guides, we’ve covered the differences between fisheye cameras and multi-sensor cameras and what to look for in a fisheye camera. In the last part of this guide, we’re going to provide best practices for getting the most out of your camera and point out common pitfalls to avoid.

Let’s get started!

Improving Situational Awareness with Fisheye Cameras

One of the most common misconceptions about these cameras is that they’ll allow you to replace multiple other cameras across your surveillance network. While this might be true, we don’t recommend relying on fisheye cameras as your sole camera type.

While fisheye cameras provide a wide field of view, they aren’t ideal for depth of field. With the warped images created by cameras, they can also prove tricky for constant monitoring or picking out fine details.

In most cases, we recommend using fisheye cameras to provide an overview of your area while using megapixel cameras to capture fine details or further distances. Using fisheye cameras to detect a potential event and megapixel cameras to identify, you are eliminating the weaknesses of both camera types and creating a powerful synergy.

Maximizing Capture Potential with Proper Fisheye Camera Placement

Due to their shallow depth of field and warping toward the edges of images, where you place your camera is critical to achieving optimal results.

  1. Avoid Corners: Placing your fisheye camera in a corner immediately reduces the coverage area of the camera. When possible, place your camera in the middle of the room. For discreet monitoring, many companies offer cameras designed for placement in drop tile ceilings and other out of the way locations.
  2. Keep ambient lighting consistent: One of the trickiest aspects to getting optimal image quality out of a fisheye camera is maintaining consistent lighting. With the expanded field of view, compensating for lighting variations is tricky. While you might be able to pull darker regions up, it may cost you detail in brighter regions. Darkening bright regions will help restore detail at the cost of loss in dark areas.
  3. Define areas for both detection and identification needs: While you can still obtain detailed video from the outer edges of a fisheye lens stream using dewarping, a far better approach is to ensure that your fisheye placement aligns key identification areas with the center of the field of view. If you cannot do this, using a dedicated megapixel camera to identify while using the fisheye camera for detection and situational awareness still offers benefits over a megapixel camera along.

If you’re considering 180-degree cameras, you’ll find these tips helpful:

  1. Center your camera within the surveillance environment: Doing this ensures as much detail as possible as the angles reach extremes. This will also ensure that you’re capturing a wide field of view and making the most of your sensor.
  2. Choose a height and mount that maximizes the useful field of view: Unless you need to monitor the sky or floor, there’s no need to record it. Angling the camera or using a camera mount is a simple way to ensure that you’re capturing useful evidential footage and not wasting megapixels on irrelevant scenery.

View: Waterbury CT – security camera installation.

Whether you’re looking to secure your yard and driveway or monitor a warehouse or shipping hub, fisheye lenses are a powerful addition to any surveillance system. In our three-part guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know about this complex technology. If you have further questions—or you’re looking for ways to incorporate fisheye cameras into your surveillance network—Mammoth Surveillance has the expertise and equipment selection to make your ideas a reality. Call today to schedule your consultation and start using your new system in as little as 14 days!

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