What Are The Best CCTV Cameras To Buy?
If you’re looking into installing CCTV at your home or business, you're probably wondering what type of CCTV cameras you should purchase? There are lots of different CCTV cameras on the market and unless you’re familiar with things like resolutions, modulations, lens sizes and so on. It will be difficult to pick the correct cameras. For this reason, I have written this blog to help you pick the right CCTV cameras for your system.
In this article, I have mentioned some of the most common CCTV camera types – along with some that are less common. Please note that most CCTV cameras will fall into more than one of these categories, for instance most dome cameras will also be IR cameras or a bullet camera can also be a high definition camera and so on.
Main Types of CCTV Cameras
In the following section, I have listed some of the main types of CCTV cameras there are on the market:
IP/ Network Cameras
High Definition Cameras
Wireless CCTV Cameras
Dome CCTV cameras are very popular in commercial environments like shops, as the main advantage of a dome camera is when installed it is not easy for intruders to be able to see fully where the camera is facing. These usually have a metal base which connects to a glass dome which covers the lens. Often this is a dark colour which disguises the lens itself.
A turret camera is also a known as a mini dome, but sometimes also eyeball or flat faced dome camera. It is a smaller version of a dome camera most used in small and domestic CCTV systems. I install more turret cameras than other type.
A bullet camera is a cylinder with an arm of two that comes away from it to attach it to a surface. Bullet cameras usually also come with some of a hood to protect the lens for dirt, grit and block sunlight which could obscure the CCTV images. On some models this is slid-able hood.
PTZ stands for pan, tilt and zoom which means that the camera lens, angle can be controlled and moved to look in different directions and zoom in on points of interest. PTZ CCTV cameras are typically controlled with a live security guard but can also be configured to perform automatic functions on many CCTV systems.
Covert CCTV Cameras
Covert CCTV cameras are designed to not be visible and hidden from view so that intruders can not be aware where the cameras are and what views they are being recorded from. Covert cameras can be hidden in a manner of ways, these are typically used by people like the police who may not want a suspect to know that he is being monitored. These are not always appropriate for private CCTV systems as efforts should be made to inform people that they are being recorded in the interests of public safety and crime prevention.
A pinhole CCTV camera is a form of covert discreet camera where most of the body is hidden away from view, usually within a wall and very small lens protrudes ever so slightly through a very small hole.
C-Mount CCTV cameras are large bulky cameras that are only typically used for commercial CCTV installations. C-Mount Cameras allow for the camera lens to be changed to alter the field of view. They can also be used to record images of more than 40’, whereas conventional CCTV cameras would struggle with this.
IP/ Network Cameras
IP cameras have gained massive popularity recently. The cameras produce a digital camera image which means that they are capable of very high-quality CCTV images and resolutions. IP cameras are connected with network cabling and can be used to expand CCTV systems to service a very large number of cameras. Perfect for commercial CCTV installations.
Varifocal CCTV Cameras
A varifocal camera has a lens that allows the focal length and the zoom. A varifocal cameras can be used to zoom into points of interest or to remove dead zones from your CCTV images. Most varifocal cameras come with a focus adjustment also as to alter the lens can effect the image quality, on standard varifocal cameras this is usually done with a small screwdriver on the camera itself.
Motorized Varifocal Cameras
A motorized varifocal camera allows the CCTV to be zoomed in and out by a usually or by pre-programmed commands on some models. The greater the possible adjustment on the camera the further the CCTV camera can be zoomed in and out
High Definition (HD) CCTV Cameras
Most CCTV cameras are HD cameras now, even analogue based systems. If the system you're buying is not HD I would suggest buying one instead that is HD compatible. High definition is considered be anything of equivalent resolution to 720p/ 2MP or greater. High definition cameras give greater quality images meaning that the recordings are more likely to be useful.
Infra-red (IR) Cameras
IR cameras used infra-red to illuminate very dark areas.They have multiple LED's around the lens which means that the cameras can record in pitch black and at nighttime. Different IR cameras are use able at different distances so you will need to check this when designing your CCTV system. When an IR camera goes into night-mode the images will become black and white.
Wireless CCTV Cameras
Most wireless CCTV cameras connect to WIFI networks which can be used reduce installation time and materials required, often a small antenna that is visible on the camera for the wireless connection. Although, a very small amount can be battery powered, most wireless CCTV cameras still require a power cable to be connected meaning that they are not completely wireless.
Other Types of CCTV Cameras
The following camera types are less well known or not as frequently installed and you may want to consult a professional CCTV installer to help you decide if any of these are appropriate for your own system:
Ultra-wide View Cameras
People Counter Cameras
Facial Recognition Cameras
Thermal Imaging Cameras
ANPR/ LPR CCTV Cameras
Automatic Number Plate Recognition CCTV cameras are typically installed on public highways and car parks for automatically read a number plate on a vehicle. These can be used to identify the movement of vehicles. LPR stands for Licence Plate Cameras and are essentially the same thing.
Fisheye cameras are kind of like a flat dome camera that are usually mounted on ceilings and have a very wide field of view which delivers a full 360 degrees panoramic view. The benefits of this is that is can reduce the amount of CCTV cameras required to service an area, as one camera can effectively point in all directions.
Ultra-Wide View CCTV Cameras
A ultra wide view camera has a very wide angle lens that typically allow to record images in 180 degrees from camera. These can be positioned to reduce the amount of cameras required to cover an area.
“Dark Fighter” Cameras
Some CCTV cameras are branded as being Dark Fighter CCTV cameras, these cameras are capable of providing full colour images in very low light making them perfect for night time viewing/ recording. These typically cost more than most IR or day/night cameras.
CCTV cameras that are branded as being colour cameras are very good for giving full colour images in very dark surroundings, like at nighttime. The ColourVu range replaced conventional IR LED that illuminate an area with a visible white light, this allows to cameras to continue recording in colour. The are ideal for situations when separate PIR lighting was to be installed to improve night time CCTV images.
Power Over Coax (POC) Cameras
POC cameras allow the CCTV camera itself to be powered over the same coax cable that feeds into the DVR. This reduces cabling required and removes the need for a separate power supply for the cameras themselves, can speed up installation time and greater a neater installation at the DVR end. For POC cameras the DVR that is connected to them needs to also be ‘POC’ compatible as this is required to provide the voltage to the cameras.
Audio Over Coax (AOC) Cameras
AOC cameras have a built-in microphone for recording audio as well as images and can be connected with the same coax cable. Like POC cameras, for the audio to work a compatible AOC DVR/NVR is also required.
People Counter CCTV Cameras
People Counter CCTV cameras are typically installed on a ceiling or above an area to be surveyed. They work by automatically identify the amount of people that pass through an area. Perfect for turnstiles or ticketed areas and provide analytical data which could be used for business efficiency.
Facial Recognition Cameras
Probably the most controversial of all the CCTV camera types. Facial recognition cameras have the ability to automatically pick out and scan faces within crowds. Suspects can be automatically identified if you already have the information on the person.
Thermal Imaging CCTV Cameras
Thermal imaging cameras are designed to read infra-red radiation given off by animals, people and cars. Can be very useful for identifying movements suspects in dark areas for alarm triggers like line crossing, intrusion detection and so on.
Re-deployable cameras are perfect for situations for temporary CCTV cover is required, or where CCTV cameras need to be constantly moved to different locations with no power or video connections. They are usually battery powered and rechargeable and store images internally which can be retrieved at a later date.
CCTV Camera Questions - In Blog Comments Section Only Please
If you have any questions regarding this blog or any other CCTV related enquiry, please post your comments/ questions in the Blog Comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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