Security Camera Types: When it comes to security cameras, you have four different types of cameras, namely:
- Fixed Indoor Cameras
- Dome Cameras
- PTZ Cameras
- Bullet Cameras.
Fixed Indoor Cameras are stationary cameras that provide focused coverage exactly where you need it. You can monitor the interior of your facilities with clarity and consistency
Fixed Indoor Cameras come in a variety of different styles and have become really popular over the past couple of years.
Fixed Indoor Cameras
Dome Cameras are what you would typically find like in the ceiling of a department store or in public places.
PTZ Cameras or Pan-Tilt-Zoom Cameras allow you to pan it side to side, tilt up and down and zoom remotely.
Bullet Cameras are fixed cameras that can be used indoors or outdoors. They’re a little bit larger than the other varieties.
But these are commonly found in most security camera kits.
Security Camera Types: Wireless and Wired Cameras
Now, let us break these cameras down into two categories, one is going to be Wireless and the other, Wired Cameras.
There are pros and cons for both these types of cameras. Wireless cameras have got really become popular over the past decade or so.
People use them for general surveillance, baby monitors or just to see what’s going on around.
Again in the Wireless cameras category, there are two different types. You have traditional wireless cameras and you have wire-free wireless cameras.
We know that this may sound kind of confusing, but it’ll make more sense in a second.
So continue reading.
The traditional WIFI cameras, also known as IP cameras, have a power cord which has to be plugged into the wall in order to power the cameras.
This is true for both indoor and outdoor wireless cameras. This isn’t such a big deal for an indoor wireless camera.
Whereas, for an outdoor camera, it can be a pain. Because you have to drill a hole into your house in order to get the wire inside the house to plug into the wall.
The other type of wireless camera we want to talk about is wire-free cameras.
These cameras are mostly battery-operated. This means they can be placed just about anywhere you want.
And most wire-free cameras like Arlo, Ring Stick up etc., are also weather-resistant so they can also be placed outdoor.
Now do keep in mind that wire-free cameras like for example the Arlo camera does have a base station that needs to be wired. So even though the cameras themselves are wireless, we do have to wire that connects with your router.
Security Camera Types: Analog and POE Cameras
Now, when it comes to wired cameras, you also have two different types of cameras as well; you have analog cameras and you have POE cameras, which is short for Power-over-Ethernet cameras.
Before we explain the differences between those two types of cameras let us explain the difference between a DVR and NVR. Because these devices are important components of a security system.
What is a DVR?
A DVR or digital video recorder is a box-type set up that you’re going to connect with your Analog cameras. And that’s going to allow you to view, manage and record videos from those cameras. DVR converts the analog signal to digital and then compresses it.
NVR or network video recorder is a system that records videos in digital format to a disk drive.
Some of the NVRs have POE ports in them. So, if you have POE cameras, you can plug the camera directly into the NVR and you can record your video and manage the cameras.
Another thing to keep in mind is that unlike DVR, NVR can support higher camera resolution.
Analog security cameras use a technology called BNC. This is an old video cable technology that used to be common among earlier surveillance equipment and video equipment.
BNC is capable of supporting full HD cameras. So, if you have a new analog camera you can use BNC to support HD resolution.
The analog cameras are going to require a DVR because that’s what you’re going to connect them to in order to see the video.
All camera kits are usually going to come with really long cables because you do have to wire throughout your house.
And, those cables are going to consist of a BNC connector on both ends and a power cord in order for you to power your cameras.
Now, the other type of wired camera is going to be POE cameras and as we said that’s short for Power-over-Ethernet.
POE cameras are going to use a single Ethernet cable for power and video. So it’s a single-cable solution.
In order to use the POE camera, you do have to have a switch that supports POE. It’s important to note that most consumer network switches don’t normally support POE technology.
You may have to actually go out and buy a switch that has POE ports on it. But instead of doing that, we normally recommend you buy an NVR that actually has POE ports on it.
The reason why we say that is because it’s going to help you with network traffic instead of clogging up your network and impacting the video quality.
As regards video quality, keep in mind that PTZ cameras definitely provide the best image quality of all the different camera types.
And, that’s just because Ethernet cable is going to support high bandwidth.
If you need a really high-resolution camera, you can buy a POE camera. And, it’s going to allow you to do things like zoom-in, or like capture the license plate of a vehicle without losing image quality.
Security Camera Types: Measurement of Resolution
Now speaking of image quality, let’s talk about resolutions. Because that can be really complicated as well.
Image quality or resolution and things like that will depend on which camera you buy. It’s either going to be measured in pixels or TVL. TVL or television lines is an older terminology.
For example, if you say a camera is 1920 TVL that’s roughly close to 1080 P. resolution
Another measurement that you’ll see is Megapixel. For instance, you’ll see some cameras either 2,3 or 4 Megapixels. 2.1 megapixels is roughly close to 1080 P. and any camera beyond 2 megapixels is usually going to be a POE camera since Ethernet can support the extra bandwidth.
So now that you know the difference between all these cameras let’s talk about some of the pros and cons here.
Pros and Cons
Let’s first start with WiFi cameras, not to be confused with wire-free cameras. Both WiFi cameras or traditional wireless cameras are one of the most common types of cameras that you’re going to see out there.
And they’re usually going to have better image quality than most wire-free cameras. There are a lot of different WiFi IP cameras out there.
Do keep in mind that the difficulty of these cameras can range from easy to moderately difficult depending on which one you get. Especially if you’re going to be putting it outside.
Also remember that if you want to buy a lot of wireless cameras, you need to be careful because you can bog down your WiFi and cripple your network.
So you definitely want to be careful with that. Now the simplest of all these camera options is definitely going to be the wire-free cameras since they’re so easy to install and set up.
We normally recommend these for a place like a rented house or an apartment or something like where you can’t run wires. Wire-free cameras are battery operated or solar-powered.
Another thing we like about the wire-free cameras is that most of them actually are really reasonably priced with monthly storage options.
So if you want to store your videos out there on the cloud that’s usually the way to go
They also come with really nice smartphone apps to walk you through the installation.
We have a lot of different features and they make it really simple for the average user.
Some of the downsides to these wire-free cameras is that they’re mostly battery operated.
So, if you put it in a high traffic area, it’s getting a lot of motion that’s going to drain your battery really quickly.
Another thing is that the image quality isn’t as good because the videos are so highly compressed. And they do this to conserve the battery life and to make the file small enough for them to store in the cloud.
Now if you do have one of these cameras in high traffic areas, you may find yourself replacing the batteries fairly often which could definitely be a pain.
However, there is way out to address this issue with other option like solar-powered cameras like in the case of the Ring stick up camera.
Because if you want to put that outside, they do have optional solar panels, so you wouldn’t have to worry about charging at all.
In that case, no analog security cameras are definitely the least expensive. if you’re looking to do multiple cameras now sorry for running cables throughout your whole house they are not that difficult to install
You will note that DVR does take a bit more patience but installing the cameras themselves not really that difficult.
One thing to keep in mind is that you do have to pay attention to the resolution of cameras you are getting.
Because there are a lot of kits and offers out there that aren’t HD. Or they have some false claims or they may be claiming that the cameras are clearer than they actually are.
And BNC being an older technology means that some of these cameras are phasing out just because people are looking for more high-resolution cameras.
And POE is going to be the way to go.
Now that brings our option to POE cameras, which are definitely our favourite. They have the best image quality and they’re really reliable, with an ability to support really high-resolution cameras like 5-megapixel cameras.
And the use of a single cable makes these a great option for business or somebody who just want to experience what is really the high video quality.
Now there are a few downsides to POE cameras.
One thing is that they are going to be a bit more difficult to install. Some of them are going to require you to make your own Ethernet cables. And, of course, you’re going to be required to run Ethernet cable throughout your house as well which is something to consider
They’re also going to be a lot more expensive than analog cameras and some wireless cameras are.