For centuries, mankind struggled to portray lasting images of things viewed momentarily; a sunset, a fleeing animal, a loved one’s smile… We became adept painters and drawers. Strikingly lifelike images of prey animals line ancient cave walls throughout southern Europe, for example. For centuries, skilled painters were sought out for their ability to capture a moment in time with convincing accuracy. Clearly, there’s something in us that yearns to preserve fleeting images. In the mid-19th century, technology leaped forward with the invention of the first practical cameras. Early devices were primitive, but they soon rendered painters obsolete. By the early 20th century, affordable cameras became widely available. This opened the world of photography to amateurs and enthusiasts. Practical motion picture cameras soon followed, and the motion picture industry took off like a rocket. Both were examples of analog imaging. Analog Imagery Analog cameras used expendable film. Light traveled through the camera’s lens to strike this film and spark a chemical reaction. This technology provided unprecedented imaging opportunities, but it was expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome. More recently, scientists developed technology that converts incoming light directly into electronic signals. Examples of this include the charged couple device (CCD) and the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). These technological advances paved the way for modern digital photography. Digital Imagery By the earliest years of the 21st century, traditional analog photography was already on the way out. Digital photography had finally progressed to the point that it not only rivaled analog photography, but was clearly superior. Now that digital technology has progressed so far, digital photography is the standard. Increasingly inexpensive digital storage renders it far more flexible, and practical, than old analog technology. Images are now converted to data, which can be copied, shared, manipulated and stored, indefinitely, with zero image corruption. When it comes to surveillance cameras, both analog and digital are in use. The terms are a bit misleading, however. “Analog” surveillance cameras still use modern CCD or CMOS devices to convert light into signals that may be transmitted and stored digitally. These days, when we say a surveillance camera is “digital” what we really mean is that it is a state-of-the-art IP camera. IP stands for internet protocol. Basically, an IP “digital” camera is a self-contained broadcast station with an embedded web server. These cameras digitally encode information coming from the camera’s CMOS/CCD, and broadcast the information across your home or business wireless network. This allows authorized users, such as yourself, to monitor this video feed remotely, from your internet-connected device. “Analog” video surveillance cameras also rely on CCD or CMOS devices to convert light to electrical signals. But the signal is transmitted through a physical cable to a device such as a DVR, before the signal is processed into digital information. Digital cameras work well if you have an established wireless network in place, or a Network Video Recorder (NVR), but the best possible image quality—and real-time viewing capability—is still obtained with an analog camera, for technical reasons.