Some camera brands will outlast their shonky cabling.

In SEN’s opinion, what’s the most important quality of an external CCTV camera – is there any one quality that trumps all others?

Image quality being more or less equal, the most important quality of an external CCTV camera is longevity. Obviously you want decent optics, a good sensor and your operational goals to be met, as far as that’s possible.

But the camera also needs to be built in a way that ensures it lasts for many, many years without succumbing to the rigours of UV exposure, thermal expansion and contraction, vibration, etc.

Some modern cameras are prone to suffering from clouded bubbles and/or exhibit serious cracking of structural poly after a year or 2 in the field. Others are delivered with metal components of varying nobility – the result being rapid corrosion. Then there are cable entry points that are designed poorly that over time allow water ingress and board failure.

There are a couple of storied brands that seem to never die, and you can see them 15-plus years after installation still plugging away in horrible external applications monitoring pivotal infrastructure like traffic networks and shorefront installations.

That’s the sort of performance you want, especially if the cameras are located in difficult to reach places – elevated mounting points like bridges or above busy motorways. Servicing a failed camera in these sorts of tough locations can cost almost as much as replacing it entirely.