Buying Guide : Body Cameras

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What Do Body Cameras Cost?

The benchmark price for body cameras is about $402 per body camera in 2017, which is based on the average price paid by a typical midsize police department. However, prices vary widely from $50.00 to $1,200 per body camera depending on the video resolution, data storage capacity, battery run-time and whether the buyer requires any additional features. 

The video resolution of a body camera is a key determinant of its price. Body cameras have video resolutions ranging from a low-quality limit of 480 pixels to the highest quality limit of 1080 pixels. Video resolution is an important consideration because it determines the clarity and crispness of the digital recording. The components required to manufacture a higher resolution camera are more expensive and thus result in a higher-priced body camera. 

The data storage capacity of a body camera, measured in gigabytes (GB), also has an effect on the price. Cameras with less storage capacity have only several hours of video recording space, whereas those with more gigabytes can record in excess of 12 hours of footage. Body cameras with a larger capacity (i.e. more gigabytes) are more expensive. A larger storage capacity is desirable because it permits the wearer of the body camera to record a longer video while in the field. 

Battery run-time is another variable that affects the price of a body camera. Battery run-time determines how long a body camera operator can continually wear and operate a body camera without having to recharge it. Body camera batteries generally last between 4.5-10 hours without requiring a recharge. Cameras that have a longer battery run-time are more expensive, because the battery component inside is pricier. 

The inclusion or exclusion of additional features, such as pre-event recording capabilities, built-in LCD screens, water resistant coatings, GPS locators and automatic recording activation capabilities, also determine camera prices. Such features are typically found on higher-end, more expensive body camera models. Having pre-event recording capabilities are an especially important feature for many buyers. When equipped with pre-event recording capabilities, the camera stores and maintains a buffer of footage before the user presses the record button. Having pre-event recording capabilities are important because they allow the user to capture the occurrence and context of an event that they intended to film even if the user was slow in hitting the record button. However, such features will increase the price of body cameras.


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