Info :: Types of Security Cameras
Security cameras are available in a variety of physical shapes,
and with different functionalities 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.
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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
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) Cameras
The terms 'night vision' and 'day/night' refer genaraly 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, automatically 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.
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.