What Are The Different Types of CCTV Cameras?

Your company’s security camera is part of a closed-circuit television system (CCTV). CCTV uses one or more cameras, through either wireless or wired transmission, to send the broadcast from the camera directly to a monitor, set of monitors, or a recording device—providing you peace of mind in the case of crime, fire, theft, or accidents in the workplace.

While most use CCTV systems for surveillance as part of their security system, other uses include safety monitoring or video streaming to larger audiences for a limited-space event, such as an additional viewing room outside of a crowded courtroom during a trial.

CCTV Camera Styles

We've explained the two primary kinds of security cameras and their resolutions here, but let's go a little deeper. Under the IP and analog umbrella are several different styles of camera. Their names may not be super creative; however, the name tends to indicate the location of the installation or even the appearance. They include:

  • Bookshelf cameras are a relatively small, wireless camera. Depending on the width of the lens, it offers a medium to wide view. This type of camera is usually set at or slightly above eye level and used indoors for watching one specific room in a home or business.

  • Dome cameras are named for their rounded shape and are popular because they are visible yet blend well with their surroundings. Their design makes it difficult for people to know exactly where the lens is looking. Some multi-camera CCTV systems use decoy domes, keeping people guessing as to whether or not there’s even an active camera in use at a given position or moment. It’s a good idea to change up which cameras are and are not in use if you employ this tactic in your security system.

  • Bullet cameras, also known as lipstick cameras, tend to be mounted outdoors and focused on a specific area. Bullet cameras generally have a more extended range than dome cameras, making them ideal for viewing larger areas like parking lots. Most bullet cameras need a protective case and have a small lip to protect against glare and weather.

  • Fisheye or panoramic cameras usually come in 180- or 360-degree models to cover a wide angle. They can even provide legally admissible facial recognition footage up to 15 feet from the mounted position.

  • Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras move left to right (pan), up and down (tilt), and have an optical zoom to get a close look at distant areas. Users can control positioning remotely via keyboard, joystick, mouse, or even a phone app. Some PTZ security cameras feature presets and automatically scan between predetermined locations.

  • Turret cameras are a version of dome cameras. The turret is a ball-and-socket joint, similar to your hip, that swivels to allow for easy adjustment of the camera's position after installation.

Night Vision

Most CCTV cameras today feature night vision, which is a cost-effective solution for around-the-clock surveillance in comparison to installing a separate infrared system for monitoring after dark.

Cameras switch to night mode when light levels dip below a certain point. Expect a 10- to 15-percent drop in resolution compared to daylight, but rest assured, that level of performance is more than sufficient for most scenarios.

However, more is not always better when it comes to night vision. Be sure to select a camera with a night vision range no more than double the expected viewing distance. For example, if your desired viewing distance is 40 to 50 feet from the camera location, choose a camera with a 100-foot night vision range. The sweet spot is 50 to 80 percent of the camera’s max night distance.

If you use a 100-foot camera to keep an eye on an area 20 feet from the mounted position, you’re likely to create hot spots—areas that are overexposed and look bright white on your monitor.

CCTV Recording Devices

The two primary recording devices are a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or a Network Video Recorder (NVR).

The difference between the two is how they process the video captured by the camera. DVR systems handle the footage at the recorder, while NVR systems encode and process the video at the camera and stream it to the NVR recorder for storage and remote viewing.

Most DVRs are used with analog cameras and are part of a wire-based system, whereas NVRs work with IP cameras and can be part of a wired or wireless network.

As always, when you’re ready to make a security decision, we at FSS Technologies are ready to help you select, install, and maintain one that’s best for you.

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