Different Types Of CCTV Security Surveillance Cameras

Unsure about the type of CCTV camera to buy for your CCTV surveillance system? Here's all you should know about the different types of CCTV camera to make sure you pick the right one.

By Dr Shyam Kumar  • 15 min read

Different Types Of CCTV Security Surveillance Cameras

Thanks to closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, we feel safer today, both within our homes and outside. Deployed for video surveillance of home, isolated neighbourhoods and public places, CCTV cameras have been successful in preventing crime and increasing security.

CCTV cameras are essentially a part of a wider security system. They are used for surveillance, observation and other purposes. Only those authorised can access the visuals recorded through a CCTV camera. Depending on the type of CCTV camera used, the recordings can be seen on either a central TV monitor or internet-enabled devices.

Are you also planning to install a CCTV surveillance system?

If so, then selecting the right CCTV camera is vital to ensure adequate security. Before choosing a CCTV camera for home or a surveillance camera, arm yourself well with information about the different CCTV camera types and prices.

Types of CCTV cameras

CCTV camera technology has come a long way. Nowadays, we have Wi-Fi cameras, night vision cameras, high-definition cameras — it’s a long list. But, which is the best home security camera for you? Which one is suitable for supervising your child's babysitter or monitoring your home while you are on vacation? Reading our article will not only help you select the best security camera from the different types of CCTV cameras, but also help you understand how to make the best use of your CCTV camera.

Different Types Of CCTV Security Surveillance Cameras

Based on design, CCTV cameras are of the following types:

1. Dome camera: This is a popular indoor and outdoor security camera. A dome CCTV camera is usually compact in size and available in different colours. The camera is encased in a protective, transparent or tinted casing shaped like a dome. It comes with options such as infrared lighting, motion sensors and high-definition imaging. All these features make the dome camera an integral part of not only home security systems but also commercial video surveillance systems.

Advantages of CCTV dome camera:

  • Vandal-proof casing: Most criminals try to break or remove security cameras before attempting any mischief. The dome type camera comes with a protective polycarbonate casing and metal base. This makes it a tamper-proof device. Also, because of its shape, it is difficult for an intruder to jump and grab the camera or remove its outer casing.
  • Wide-angle field of view: The dome camera can be mounted on either a wall or the ceiling. A ceiling-mounted camera can provide a wide-angle field of view of the surroundings (180–360 degrees). So, even a single pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) dome camera is enough to scan an entire room.
  • Unobtrusive surveillance: A dome camera has a low profile because it blends in with its surroundings. This makes the dome camera a favourite of those who want to use it for unobtrusive indoor surveillance, such as within shops, offices, restaurants and homes.
  • Visual deterrence: The dome security camera has a smoked glass casing. This makes it difficult for an onlooker to determine which way the camera lens is pointing. This uncertainty, as well as fear of the crime getting recorded, usually deters criminals.

2. Bullet CCTV camera: A bullet security camera is a type of CCTV camera enclosed in a cylindrical or elongated housing. Because of its shape, a bullet camera is also called a lipstick camera. It is designed to be weatherproof and waterproof. So, it performs well even in extreme outdoor conditions. When comparing the benefits of dome camera vs bullet camera, the latter shows superior night vision and long-distance viewing capability. However, performancewise, the bullet camera is quite similar to a dome CCTV camera.

Advantages of bullet CCTV camera:

  • Outdoor surveillance: A bullet camera can be fixed with a mounting bracket on a wall, ceiling, overhead beam, tree or fence. The angle of view can be adjusted to cover any direction without dismounting the camera from the bracket. This flexibility of placement makes a bullet camera an ideal device for a range of outdoor security applications.
  • Durable casing: An outdoor bullet camera comes with a fully-sealed metal housing and sun shield. This protects the camera from the sun, rain, dust and harsh weather. But, although the casing is tough and tamper-proof, a bullet camera can be forcefully dislodged from its mount more easily than a dome camera.
  • Formidable appearance: A bullet camera looks rugged and has a prominent presence in a surveillance set-up, unlike the dome camera which is small in size and unobtrusive. So, sometimes, bullet cameras are strategically fixed in the open to warn miscreants that they are being watched.
  • Viewing distance: The shape of a bullet camera housing can accommodate a larger lens to provide a greater focal length. This can dramatically increase the range of vision and change any bullet camera into a long-distance monitoring device.
"Installation of CCTV cameras at home helps make them more secure. Because of CCTV cameras, images of people moving in the vicinity of the house can be recorded and used to detect any suspicious movement. Those looking to commit a crime usually observe houses or people for days before committing the act. In general, CCTV cameras are a great help in ensuring protection to life, property and honour of individual citizens. They also help in maintaining public peace and order, prevention and detection of offences, and ensuring better level of security to VIPs facing threat. — Shankar Bidari, IPS – Former DGP of Karnataka

CCTV camera technology

Now that you know about the types of CCTV camera, let's understand the various features that make these an effective security system.

1. Night vision CCTV camera: This type of CCTV security camera is also called an infrared CCTV camera. A night vision security camera has infrared illuminators arranged around the edges of the lens. An infrared surveillance camera can capture long-distance images even in the dark. It captures black and white images in low light and zero light conditions. A high-end infrared CCTV camera can also capture coloured night vision footage.

2. Day/night CCTV camera: The technology used in a day/night CCTV camera is different from a night vision CCTV camera. It does not require infrared illumination to capture footage in the dark. Special sensors in the day/night CCTV camera get activated in low light conditions, to usually capture black and white images. However, during daytime, when the light is adequate, the camera automatically switches back to colour mode.

3. PTZ camera: This type of CCTV camera has a built-in pan–tilt–zoom motor. This allows the camera to turn left and right, and tilt up and down. The zoom function allows the camera to close in on distant objects and pan out for a wider view. A PTZ CCTV camera can be mounted on the ceiling, or fixed on an arm mount or pendulum mount bracket. It is generally used when a CCTV operator is handling the security system to keep watch on a large area. With a PTZ security camera, the CCTV camera operator can monitor all the activity taking place. It is widely used by the police for surveillance. PTZ surveillance cameras are installed in busy junctions and highways to identify traffic violations by zooming in on traffic violators. They are also used to monitor parking lots and vital installations such as banks, airports, railway stations and government buildings.

4. Network/IP CCTV camera: This camera makes it possible to monitor your home or office from any location. An IP CCTV camera can capture and transmit real-time footage over the Internet to remote computers and smart phones. Earlier CCTV surveillance footage could only be viewed through monitors connected to a digital video recorder system. An IP CCTV camera can capture high-definition visuals and has a wider field of view.

Network CCTV cameras have several advantages over the analogue system. A wireless network security camera is simple to set up and provides excellent real-time surveillance. However, to record video, the camera should be connected to a network video recorder (NVR) with standard network cables. With expanding Internet reach, IP CCTV camera prices are turning attractive and manufactures are bringing in advanced models to the market.

5. Hidden CCTV camera or spy camera: A spy camera can survey the surroundings without drawing attention to itself. A wireless spy cam can transmit live footage to any device. Most of them are tiny battery-operated devices with features such as motion-detection recording to conserve power. A spy camera or hidden camera is usually used for gathering evidence by law enforcement officers, detective agencies and investigative journalists. Discreet wearable cameras are worn by police officers on duty. You also have a nanny cam, which is a hidden spy cam through which you can watch over your little ones being cared for by a maid or babysitter.

6. High definition CCTV camera: This security camera is capable of capturing high-resolution footage. A high definition or HD CCTV camera can be zoomed in to better identify anything at a distance. However, it requires a large hard drive to store the footage since the volume of the recording is five times more than a standard-definition CCTV. Law enforcement agencies are increasingly switching to face recognition cameras (FRC) and automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR), both of which are examples of HD CCTV camera.

5 Reasons why you should install CCTV cameras

1. CCTV cameras help you monitor activities within the home: Whether you’re away from home or just huddled in your study, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your kids and home. If you employ household help, babysitters, home nurses or cooks, installing hidden CCTV cameras becomes even more necessary. They can help you keep an eye on your employee. Hidden CCTV cameras are small in size and easy to fix within the home. Outdoor CCTV cameras with recording capability can keep track of all those who enter and exit your house. This discourages prowlers and burglars from targeting your house.

2. CCTV camera footage helps law enforcement agencies: Many crimes are now being solved through CCTV surveillance footage. The footage recorded by home security cameras provides a first-hand view of crimes. Law enforcement agencies submit these as evidence in courts to get criminals convicted.

3. CCTV footage can be accessed from a remote location: The greatest advantage of installing home CCTV cameras is that it enables remote access! You can get live feeds of what’s happening in and around your home. Through the Internet, the video is streamed to your phone, tablet or laptop. Wi-Fi, wireless and some other types of CCTV cameras offer this unique feature for a pocket-friendly cost.

4. CCTV security system is affordable: If you look at CCTV camera prices online, you will be surprised to find that the cheapest one costs only about Rs 400! So, contrary to common belief, a CCTV security system is not a luxury made only for the rich. A CCTV surveillance system is affordable and easy to set up even for the common man. And, if you buy a camera that comes with instructions on how and where to mount it, you wouldn't need to spend on installation. However, a CCTV installation technician can help you understand your choice of CCTV camera better.

5. Installing a CCTV camera improves your quality of life: A well-planned CCTV surveillance system would not only prevent crime but also free everyone from stress. You would no longer worry about whether you had locked the windows or turned off the gas, as you can look inside your home any time you wish to.

Also read: Smart Home Security Solutions And Tips

Advances in technology have led to a wide array of CCTV surveillance cameras becoming available. However, it's important to learn about the different types of CCTV cameras and their appropriate use before making a purchase. Also, do a bit of research on the CCTV camera prices and cost of installation to arrive at the best decision. A home with CCTV camera ensures peace of mind. So, go out and shop for the best CCTV camera and home security system that fits your needs.

About the author:

Written by Dr Shyam Kumar on 21 August 2019

The author holds a degree in Homoeopathy with an MBA in Hospital Management and has worked across multiple disciplines including healthcare and technology. As a nature lover, he attended the world's first underwater CEO's conference to combat marine pollution.

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