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Info :: Types of Security Cameras

Security cameras are available in a variety of physical shapes, and with different funtionalities designed for specific purposes. They can range in price and sophistication from a small pinhole camera to a long-range infrared-thermal auto-tracking surveillance camera. We will help you to define your requirements and choose the right cameras. Because we support what we install, we only work with equipment from manufacturers with proven quality and reliability.

Box Camera with Outdoor Housing Box Cameras

A box camera consists of a box-shaped camera body, which contains the electronics and imaging circuitry. Most box cameras are sold without a lens, which must be purchased separately. The ability to easily change lenses allows coverage of the exact field of view that is required. Most box cameras have a C/CS mount, compatible with a vast selection of available lenses.

Box cameras are usually designated for indoor usage; to deploy outdoors, or in adverse environments, requires a weatherproof enclosure, or housing, which may be outfitted with a heater if conditions exceed the temperature rating of the camera. They should be mounted at heights sufficient to discourage tampering, and if necessary, employ locking housings and have wiring protected with metal conduit.

IR Bullet Camera Bullet Cameras

This type of camera is called 'bullet' because of it's shape. It has a built-in lens and an outer casing that protects the lens and electronics. They are sometimes called 'integrated cameras' because of their self-contained design. Bullet cameras come in many different configurations, from a simple indoor mini-bullet, to very sophisticated outdoor cameras with zoom, infrared, and long-range capabilities.

Bullet cameras are usually deployed with a wall or ceiling mount that allows free positioning of the camera on an adjustable bracket. This type of mount can be easily vandalized, so it is advisable to position bullet cameras high enough to preclude easy access to them; if this is not possible, consider using an anti-vandal dome camera instead. Some bullet cameras have special vandal-resistant mounting hardware.

Dome Camera Dome Cameras

Dome cameras have a hemispherical dome-shaped housing, and are mounted directly on a wall or ceiling. This type of camera is very commonly used for a wide variety of applications, as it affords the ability to conceal wiring, prevent weather damage, and deter vandalism, while presenting a more attractive profile than a box or bullet type of camera. Dome cameras can incorporate all the features of any box or bullet camera, with the additional physical advantages that the dome shape provides.

PTZ Camera
PTZ Controller
PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) Cameras

Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras provide the ability to change the orientation and focal length of the camera in real time via remote control, either manually or via programmed tours and patterns. This type of camera can be significantly more expensive than stationary types, but in some cases it may be a better solution than three or four stationary cameras. For complete control of a scene this is the way to go.

To capitalize on the ability of a PTZ camera to cover a wide area from a central position, it is best to mount such a camera on a corner or roof of a building. PTZ cameras are usually housed in a dome-shaped enclosure which can be flush-mounted, surface-mounted, or suspended via a mounting bracket. When planning for installation, don't forget to run control wires (18/6, 22/6, or cat5) to any location that may require a PTZ camera.

Although many DVRs can control PTZ cameras via built-in keypad or a software interface, a keyboard/joystick controller is recommended for ease of use and advanced programming functionality. Most PTZ cameras support control via common protocols (communication languages) like Pelco-D; some manufacturers require controllers using their own special protocols.

Zoom Camera Zoom Cameras

Zoom cameras provide the ability to change the focal length of the camera in real time via remote control. This type of camera does not have all the features of a PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera, but will provide some limited ability to change the field of view, via adjustment in the optical lens and/or via digital enhancement of the image. While PTZ cameras are almost always deployed in a dome-style housing, zoom cameras can be found in a dome, box, or bullet style. They are useful when, from a fixed point of view, there is sometimes a need to zoom in for a greater detail, whether this involves capturing a license plate or face for identification, or inspecting a piece of monitored equipment more closely.

Wireless Camera Wireless Cameras

There are many brands of wireless cameras on the market, usually targeting the consumer who doesn't want to bother with the installation of wires, or who need to be able to move the camera to different locations, as with a baby monitor. In general, the image quality is not as good as with wired cameras, and the range of such cameras is limited, especially in buildings with concrete walls or high levels of radio interference.

Covert/Hidden/Nanny Cameras Covert/Hidden/Nanny Cameras

Sometimes called 'hidden', 'nanny', or 'spy' cameras, covert cameras are designed for a myriad of uses, from relatively simple wired indoor cameras, to wearable surveillance gear, and portable miniature camera/recorders which can be easily placed in a location unnoticed. Learn more about covert nanny cams and spy cameras.

In general, public places are off limits to this type of recording, but courts have concluded that regular members of a household, including domestic help, cannot claim a reasonable expectation of privacy, and therefore it is not a crime to record their activities in the home using a 'nanny cam'. You should check your local laws to determine what covert activities are permitted.

Night Vision Day/Night Dome Camera with Flush Mount Night Vision (Day/Night) Cameras

The terms 'night vision' and 'day/night' refer genarally to cameras that have the ability to capture a clear, natural-looking image under any lighting condition, even near-complete darkness. There are some important differences; most day/night cameras have two modes of operation, automaticaly switching from color to black and white in lower light, but 'true day/night' cameras achieve good image quality in ultra-low-light without the use of infrared (IR) illumination.

Anti-Vandal Corner Mount Camera for Elevators Anti-Vandal Cameras

The are many types of situations requiring cameras that can resist attempts to damage or remove them. In this regard, there are obviously different levels of threat, and the camera should be able to withstand the anticipated action, whether it be casual mischief, a thief with tools, or the direct impact from a physical blow. For extreme situations, bullet-proof and bomb-proof cameras can be deployed.