Comparing Quality and Price of Cameras

It can be frustrating comparing two cameras that look the same. Both state that they are HD. Both might even say that they are 1080P and have the same lens. Why is one of them more money than the other?

The six cameras above all look the same. One difference between them is the lens. Another difference is the megapixels in the camera. There are also other factors that I did not write underneath them because of space. There are things inside that make them different as well. One of the cameras has Starlight night vision ability. Half of the cameras are 2.65 compression and half are 2.64. (The compression rate effects how much data can be transferred or stored in a specific space. The 2.65 is the newest compression on the market and makes a big difference.)These numbers don’t mean anything to most people however, so they won’t be listed prominently on the packaging. They do however, effect the price of the camera.

We have all gone into an electronics store to look for a new computer. They have tower model computers in a row on the counter. The cases for each computer look almost the same. The only thing we must compare, is the little 3x5 card with a few specs listed on it. Some of those specifications might include the processor brand and level, the amount of hard drive, the amount of RAM, and the price. There are always other factors that aren’t listed but many people are not going to do any more research. Those specifications placed on the card are the BUZZ words. They are the few words or specifications that the average customer learns so that they feel that they can make a good purchase. If you buy cameras online with only this knowledge and no knowledge of the industry, then there is a good chance you will end up being taken advantage of. First off, unless you are looking at cameras all the time, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a 2MP, 3MP, or 4MP camera. Sometimes, depending on the internal chip that the company uses, the type of lens, glass for the lens, field of view, etc. It is difficult for professionals to tell with the naked eye.

Some of the strategies used by manufacturers of cheaper cameras to trick you are as follows:

  • Cheap Chipsets. These are hidden by the manufacturer using a narrow Field of View. The section of this book discussing lenses gives more information about field of view. Instead of selling a normal 3.6mm lens with the camera, they will use a 4mm or even 6mm lens on their cameras to hide the imperfections that would be shown in the picture by a wider lens. To give you a visual picture, just think of a pie or brownies that have been burned on the crusts a little bit. Instead of throwing away the entire thing, you can narrow your cut and leave off the edges that are no longer desirable. Many cheap cameras are sold this way by narrowing the view so that the buyer only sees the best part of the picture.
  • Plastic. Cameras will be made with cheap plastic instead of metal. Sometimes the lenses will be made of plastic instead of glass as well. I am not saying that all plastic is created equal, but this is something to beware of. Sometimes this plastic won’t hold up to the weather.
  • They Lie. They will advertise that something is 4MP when it is not. They will use terms like High Resolution, High Definition, HD, Superior, etc. They are banking on the fact that most people can’t tell the difference because they won’t have a better camera nearby to compare it to. This is the biggest risk to buying a camera system online. Unless you know the source and have an idea of what you are buying, you are at the mercy of the seller that might not be around to support the products you purchase. (Or hide behind the fact that the manufacturer is responsible for that.)
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