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Types of Security Cameras

No matter your surveillance system configuration, the type of camera you choose will have a tremendous impact, and there are many types of security cameras out there. Each of these cameras has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own benefits and downsides, so it’s imperative you make an informed choice. Remember, you’re encouraged to mix-and-match camera types when installing the security camera system that’s right for you.

Bullet Cameras

Depending on the size, these can be anywhere from a rifle bullet or a lipstick tube to a bread loaf, but the basic gist is the same in every case. They’re linear cameras that mount to your wall or ceiling with a tri-axis mount (so don’t worry about orienting them while you’re screwing them into the wall) and focus on a specific part of your premises. Given their tubular design, they have room for night-vision and IR features, and they have better range and zoom capabilities than the flatter dome-type cameras.

Since they’re so obviously recognizable as a CCTV camera, they’re a great deterrent as well, and they’re easy to mount just about anywhere. With the typical weatherproof hoods, they’re quite durable, but they don’t always come with the full IP certification of other models.

On the other hand, they’re more susceptible to damage than other models and they make tempting nests for wildlife, so make sure you choose a good spot to install bullet cameras on your premises.

Dome Cameras


The small, black orb of a dome camera offers a better field of view than its bullet counterpart. It’s also more subtle, more durable types of security cameras on the market.  If you’re looking for a less assertive security camera system, the humble dome has its advantages. All the security with none of the appearance of vigilance.

Turret Cameras


Also called “eyeball” cameras, the turret camera has a ball-and-socket joint to let you precisely redirect the field of view without remounting the camera every time. They’re great for warehouses. Some of these may resemble dome-type cameras, but there’s a simple trick to distinguish them – if the lens and the IR LEDs are in front of the glass on the housing rather than contained behind it, you’ve got a turret camera instead of a dome.

Since the glass housing doesn’t get in the way, they aren’t quite as vandal-proof as dome-type cameras, but they make up for it in capabilities. As well as being great for re-positioning on the fly, they are better for low-light and infrared since the glass housing doesn’t impede the lens. With some, it’s hard to tell at a glance where they’ve been aimed, so they can give a panoptic impression as a deterrent, regardless of their true field of view. Installing a video surveillance system with a few of these is a great option for a number of different configurations.

PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) Cameras

What PTZ cameras lack in hardiness, they make up for in versatility. They are one of the most adaptave types of security cameras and the ultimate IP camera, these “pan-tilt-zoom” cameras can be re-aimed remotely. They can track a person or a car across a range, or be programmed to cycle through different orientations to give you a much more comprehensive field of view with a single piece of hardware. They can also zoom and focus in on faces or license plates in real time. They’re exceptionally useful as NVR cameras, since they can respond to user inputs even from off-site network connections.

Panoramic Cameras

These cameras give you an unparalleled field of view. With fewer blind spots, these security cameras let you keep an eye on a dozen things at once, and their all-in-one package is hard to beat.

Fisheye Cameras

With a central focus and a condensed periphery, a fisheye lens gives you a concentrated look at a wide field of view. It’s great for a parking lot or a warehouse, where the finer details aren’t as important as the overall picture. These are self-contained and, since the lens is doing the heavy lifting, they aren’t as susceptible to mechanical failure as their multi-lens counterparts. What you lose in resolution, especially at the edges of your field of view, you make up for in reliability.

Multi-Lens Cameras

If you’re looking for the field of view of a fisheye lens but don’t want the distortion, you probably want to install a multi-lens camera. This type of panoramic camera uses multiple discrete lenses and picture channels to capture up to a 360-degree field of view and uses image-processing software to stitch the channels together into a contiguous video feed.

Multi-lens cameras are better for low-light or infrared (you can even target several cameras to the same spot and capture overlapping video feeds on different frequencies) and they’re better for high resolution over fisheye lenses. Additionally, in case of damage or blockage to any single lens, a multi-lens camera will keep broadcasting where a fisheye or other single-lens camera would fail.

What’s Right for Me?

There are many types of security cameras so when setting up and installing a security camera system, you have your own needs and preferences. There’s no single solution that’s going to help everyone. It depends on how many cameras you’re installing, what you want them to do, what you want them to watch for and what you expect them to deal with. Whether you know exactly what you want in a security camera system or just want a little more information, give us a call and let our expertise work for you. Call Safe and Sound today for a free video surveillance system consultation.

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