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What type of Security Cameras do you need?

Choosing the right security cameras for a particular application is an important step in designing a CCTV surveillance system, especially if you want that system to actually be an effective crime solving tool, rather than simply a deterrent. If you are in the market for such a system and you are not sure what type of cameras you should be looking at, hopefully this article will help. 

Security Camera Styles

This covers the main styles of CCTV Cameras that are out there and their typical applications.

Box Cameras:
These are your traditional cameras that you often see mounted in almost any location and used for most applications. The real benefit to box cameras is that you can, in most cases, use a wide variety of changeable lenses on them that allows you to get the right field of view for your video, depending on the distance from target, etc. You can often find higher quality build standards on box cameras, as well, although the other styles are catching up. Box cameras can be placed in outdoor housings to allow them to be used outside, but they are not typically weatherproof themselves. Box cameras don’t generally come with infrared devices, although you can get extremely low-light versions or purchase infrared illuminators to go with the camera.

Box cameras can be used just about anywhere and offer the most flexibility when you need to “hone in” on a specific area from any distance or angle. They are easily noticeable, as well, but need housings if they are to be placed outside. They come in analog or IP/Network types, and can be intergrated into any system fairly easily.

Dome Cameras:
Dome cameras are widely used because it is more difficult to tell which direction the camera’s lens is facing. They are also easier to mount, less obtrusive, and can come in weatherproof versions for outdoor surveillance. These cameras come in small and large form factors, with clear and blacked out domes. They are also available with infrared. Lower-end versions usually don’t have replaceable lenses, but some higher-end models do.

If you want your security cameras to be less obvious, more deceptive, and have a bit more flexibility when it comes to having infrared and being able to mount it outside without purchasing additional equipment, you may want to consider a dome camera. These can also be found in analog and IP/Network types, and some are vandal resistant/proof, as well.

Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Cameras:
Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) Cameras usually have a slightly larger form factor than dome cameras and are much more flexible because they can focus on more than one location and zoom in or out to capture specific areas or events. They aren’t usually weatherproof, but can be placed in an outdoor inclosure with a blacked-out dome that would protect the camera and deceive subjects. PTZ Camera as require more monitoring and configuration to truly bring out their potential, and can be extremely helpful in monitoring live situations. They are also meant to be place in more of an open location so that an entire 360º area can be covered, rather than a corner where you only have 90º of visibility.

Overall, PTZ cameras allow for more flexibility and an extended range of possibilities that could add a lot to a surveillance system. It might be a good idea to consider having a few of these around just for their flexibility. These come in analog & IP/Network Types and are growing in popularity as quality increases.

Bullet/Barrel Cameras:
This style of camera can be best compared to the Box Cameras mentioned above. They are often mid-large on the size scale, with built in infrared/night vision, and usually have varifocal lenses that are adjustable for different distances. These have grown popular because of their cost effectiveness, allowing someone to purchase a relatively price-efficient camera that has a built in lens and infrared that can be mounted and left alone. Another reason they are becoming more popular is because there are several high quality versions that can be placed outside without additional accessories.

If you have a location, inside or outside, that needs a cost-effective solution that produces OK-good image quality and is easy to setup, this may be the solution for you. There is often less flexibility with the focal length, so I suggest using a lens calculator tool to make sure you are going to get the intended results from the lens size you are purchasing. These cameras aren’t as easy to find with IP/Network support, but we should see more and more with that feature in the near future.

Vandal Dome Cameras:

This style of camera is usually the most popular. It can be used indoors or outdoors, the case is made of metal and considered vandal proof. These cameras also have IR function to allow your area to be viewed in the dark. The cameras housing is waterproof and which makes it the perfect camera for outdoor use. These cameras usually have reasonable price tags on them. They are also easy to install on a ceiling, wall or just about anywhere you need a security camera. Vandal resistant cameras have rugged housings and are a good choice for applications where the camera may be vulnerable to vandalism such as low-hanging ceiling installations, schools or other public areas.

These cameras listed above are the most common cameras we use and sell. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 877-523-2288.