If you are looking for security cameras, you’ve no doubt encountered a vast and confusing array of products and information online. And, camera specifications include reams of cryptic numbers and letters, making it hard to sort out what’s important and what’s not, and what would be best for your needs. In this blog, I will outline the types of cameras available, and what purposes they are best suited for.

Camera Housing Types

Box Camera

This is a standalone camera, shaped like a box with the lens on the front. It has customizable lens options, camera, housings etc. With a camera like this, it’s easy to see where the camera is aimed.

Dome Camera

As the name implies, this camera is shaped like an upside down dome. It combines, camera, lens, ceiling mount, and is suitable for dirty environments such as warehouses, factories, kitchens, etc. It’s available in indoor or outdoor housings and vandal-resistant housings. The dome lens can be clear or it can be opaque, so that it is not obvious where the camera is pointing.

Bullet Camera

The Bullet Camera combines camera, lens, and optionally, infrared (IR) illuminators in a tubular body. It is compact and self-contained, with a fairly small footprint. With IR illuminators it is useful for low light situations. Because of the way it’s designed, it is easy to tell where the camera is pointing.

Security Camera Features

PTZ (Pan, Tilt and Zoom) Camera

This type of camera contains motorized controls that allow a remote operator to control where the camera is aimed, and zoom in or out. Movement can be controlled by a joystick-type interface or via software. Movement patterns and times can be programmed via software. Some of these type of cameras can detect and automatically track movement.

IP Camera

An Internet Protocol (IP) camera is a security camera which can connect to network in much the same way as any other wired standalone network device such as a notebook, computer or printer would connect to the network. It can transmit and receive data over a network or via the internet. These cameras would typically be connected to a wired network via ethernet cable. Images from an IP camera can be viewed from anywhere there is an internet connection. These cameras can have motion detectors to alert you when there is an intruder. Some IP cameras have PTZ functionality, which can be controlled from anywhere there is an internet connection. Available for indoor and outdoor use, and for low-light conditions.

Wireless IP Camera

This is a WiFi enabled IP camera, eliminating cost of installing network cabling. It connects wirelessly to a router and is accessible over the internet.

Day/Night Camera

This camera is suitable for low-light situations as well as daytime lighting. It includes Infrared (IR) lighting for night time use.

Thermal (FLIR) Camera

This camera works similarly to the “Night Vision” cameras you may have seen on TV. Because it works by detecting heat, a Thermal Camera can “see” in complete darkness and in harsh environments such as dust, haze, smoke and fog.

Wide Dynamic Range Cameras

These are specialized cameras for use in environments for use where there is a very wide range of lighting levels in the same scene, such as people in shadows with bright sunlight behind them, or in parking lots where there may be bright headlights. Regular security cameras adjust their exposure for the brightest levels, and in the scenarios mentioned earlier, shadow detail would be lost. Wide Dynamic Range cameras can create create useable images where there is a very wide range of lighting levels in the same scene, by balancing light levels on a per-pixel basis.

360 Degree camera

360 Degree cameras, as the name implies, can provide complete 360-degree coverage of an area. Usually in a dome housing, these cameras include a number of lenses covering the entire field of view. The camera combines images from the multiple lenses into one image or video.

Analog Cameras

Also known as CCTV Camera, these older style analog cameras suffer from low resolution, and signal degradation which is influenced by length and type of cable, number of connectors used, age of the cable. They are not a particularly desirable or a viable option but they may be used to repair or extend an existing CCTV installation.