A Guide to Codes and Standards of IP Cameras Explained

Delving into IP camera datasheets can leave you lost from understanding. Even after you define what the abbreviations mean, you’re still left wondering the relevance they have to your circumstance. If the importance turns out to be major, then the rating that you require from a camera is your next step.

TriTech Corporation of America put together this guide to help clarify some of the most common and recurrent IP camera technical specifications. These ratings and approvals can also be found with other electronic gadgets and electrical technology, such as cell phones and carpentry tools.

To learn about image elements of an IP camera, click here.

Particular Environments
Particular Environments Chart

IP Code

EN/IEC 60529 & ISO 20653

IP_ _

An IP rating is an international standard that identifies protection against solids and liquids by a two-digit evaluation. It is not exclusive to IP technology despite its acronym and will be the code you see most often.

  1. The first number rates solid protection including dust, tools, and hands on a scale 0-6.
  2. The second number rates liquid protection on two different scales: ingress and pressure, 0-6K; and immersion, 7-9.

If there is no protection against either type, this is identified by the digit “0.” If there is lack of data for either rating, it is identified by an “X” for the corresponding digit. ISO 20653 applies to cameras designed for road vehicles.

For instance, an IP camera rating at “IP6X” is sealed from dust but, although not evaluated, doesn’t mean liquid protection is nonexistent. Remember: “X” does not mean lack of protection, just lack of supporting data.

The two liquid ratings are separate and need to both be identified, if applicable. The IP code of an IP camera could possibly read “IP66/IP67.”

IK Code

EN/IEC 62262

IK__

An IK rating is an international standard that identifies resistance against impact (the force or shock as resulted by a collision). On a scale 01-10 up to 10+5 (10+++++), the test evaluates the energy and measures the joules caused from impact. IK00, if listed, means the camera hardware is not protected under this standard.

One joule is roughly an apple being dropped from the air 3 feet.
Specifics and details of IK code ratings

Motion Specification

IEC 61373/EN 50155

Category / Class

EN 50155
The specification for vibration and shock is given after test compliance. EN 50155 is a standard originally for Railway applications – Electronic equipment used on rolling stock but has since expanded beyond trains. It contains 14 tests with “11 – Vibration, shock, and bump test” as one of the 8 mandatory tests; it refers to clause 12.2.11.

Listed after EN 50155 may be a letter and number indicating the temperature class that the camera was tested in or how it responds to interruptions in the voltage supply.

Temperature Class (F˚)
Temperature class

Voltage Interruptions

  • S1: no interruptions
  • S2: no more than 10 millisecond interruptions

IEC 61373
IEC 61373 is a standard originally for Railway applications – Rolling stock equipment – Shock and vibration tests and can be seen as an independent part that’s also a requirement of EN 50155. There are three categories but “Category 1” is the one you’ll see, which means the camera is mounted directly to the shell of a vehicle; under “Category 1,” “Class B” signifies the camera is mounted via housing or case.

There are three tests defined in Sections 8-10: Random vibration – functional, random vibration – long-life, shock.

Sometimes, the two identification codes are used interchangeably; EN 61373 has the possibility of showing up, too.

NEMA Code

NEMA 250

Type __

A NEMA rating is the amount of protection a camera’s enclosure gives in specific environments. In the cold winter of Wisconsin, a camera that’s operational through ice and in below-zero weather may be what you require. Special elements such as fibers, propane, metal and coal dust, or flour could also be a deciding factor.

NEMA hazardous and nonhazardous rating codes
Click above to view the NEMA rating codes

ONVIF Code

ONVIF Profiles

Profile _

An ONVIF profile defines the features and abilities of IP cameras, video management software, and related equipment. This is useful if you will have a mix of camera brands and need only one VMS. The requirements within a profile are labeled as mandatory, conditional, or optional.

  • S: Common system functions; also applicable to video converters. This includes mandatory video streaming and conditional video format streaming, mandatory encoder configuration, and conditional PTZ commands.
  • G: Video data relations; also applicable to video converters and NVRs. This includes mandatory recording, replay control, video search, and event service.
  • C: Basic physical access controls; mandatory or conditional by either device or client. This includes door control, access control, and event handling.

 

Select IEEE 802

  • IEEE 802 Collection of standards relating to LAN and MAN. Maintained by the LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC).
  • IEEE 802.11 Group of standards for Wireless LAN (WLAN; Wi-Fi).
  • IEEE 802.1X “Port-based network access control.” It allows authenticated and authorized devices to securely communicate, such as a camera and computer.
  • IEEE 802.3 Group of standards for Ethernet.
  • IEEE 802.3af (IEEE 802.3at Type 1) Power over Ethernet.
  • IEEE 802.3at (Type 2) Power over Ethernet, enhanced.

UL 2044

Standard for Commercial Closed-Circuit Television Equipment.

DNR

Digital noise reduction. 2DNR is 2-dimensional noise reduction that polishes moving objects. 3DNR is 3-dimensional noise reduction that goes a step farther and polishes still objects.

Organizations

  • EN: European Standards
  • IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission
  • ISO: International Organization for Standardization
  • NEMA: National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • ONVIF: Open Network Video Interface Forum
  • AS/NZS: Standards Australia and New Zealand
  • BS: British Standards
  • CEN: European Committee for Standardization
  • CSA: Canadian Standards Association
  • DIN: German Institute for Standardization
  • EMC: Electromagnetic Compatibility
  • IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • KCC: Korean Certification Commission
  • UL: Underwriters Laboratories
  • UN/ECE: Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations
  • VCCI: Voluntary Control Council for Interference by Information Technology Equipment


TriTech is here to help

For over 20 years, TriTech has been the only choice for network security for businesses of all sizes. Manufacturers, such as Axis and Mobotix, certify our team of experts to deliver reliability and results.

We understand that the technology of IP cameras can be confusing. If you have further questions about specification codes or security cameras in general, don’t hesitate to call TriTech – we’re here to help you with your business.

Call TriTech today, (262) 717-0037, toll-free (800) 891-3388, or email us at service (at) tritechcoa (dot) com.

Introduction to IP Camera Digital Imaging

There are many factors to consider before buying an IP surveillance camera – a digital security camera that uses a computer network to send video – for your business. This introduction to digital imaging from TriTech helps you understand the elements that go into a video from an IP camera.

IP camera information sheets of technical specifications and data can be overwhelming to read through. Without knowledge of what different frame rates mean or when the f-number is important, it can be very difficult to know which specifications matter most to get the best surveillance video of your business.

Whether a video or still photo, there are two parts of any image: detail and clarity.

Details

Resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels that the sensor of an IP camera provides an image based on pixel count.

If you need to examine details that are small such as license plates or distant objects, resolution would be one of the more important factors because more pixels of the small details are collected.

Otherwise, just how important is resolution to you?

So many other factors go into the actual image (including those discussed below) that, essentially, resolution can be viewed as a stage where the other factors perform. The abilities of the director, actors, lighting, and sound take priority over the stage. If the other factors can’t do well, it will show on stage.

A common misconception is that resolution is the most important thing. Make sure your IP camera has the ability to capture what you want first.

IP camera resolutions
Resolutions used by IP cameras


How does resolution actually work? Think of it as the sensor’s box.

1600×1200 is a larger dimension than 1280×800 and therefore has a higher pixel count, representing the measurement of the box. 1280×800 cannot collect as many pixels as 1600×1200 because of the difference in available space, representing the area inside the box.

It’s also the reason why small images become fuzzy when enlarged. There aren’t enough pixels collected by a 1280×800 box to fill a 1600×1200 box, so each pixel reaches out to fill the space available.


Frame Rate. Frame rate specifies how often a camera creates frames of a scene.

If the speed of subjects plays a part in what will be filmed, frame rate is especially important; the faster the speed, the higher the frequency that’s needed to keep up. Situations such as accidents, theft, or threats will also be easier to clarify.

Frame rate comparison
Comparison of frame rates in a one-second duration.


If you film at 5 fps (frames per second) with a narrow field of view of a door or hallway, a person running may be recorded once or not even at all. On the other hand, if the scene is steady like a factory or hotel lobby or if field of view increases, a higher frame rate isn’t necessary.

With a higher frame rate, you’ll document a more fluid video and more precise scene but it’ll take up more of your storage. A lower frame rate will use less storage but can cause “strobing” effects that may be unpleasant on your eyes.

Clarity

Exposure. Exposure is how much light reaches the sensor as dictated by the f-number and dynamic range.

If there is less light, then the sensor needs more exposure time to get the right amount of light. Unfortunately, the more time for getting light can also get visible noise (graininess) and smeared movement.

Comparison of Exposure (overexposure and underexposure)
Comparison of Exposures


The exposure outcomes are similar to the “Story of the Three Bears;” overexposed is too bright, underexposed is too dark, and the proper exposure is just right.


F-number (or f-stop) is a lens’ ability to gather light, measured by the ratio of the focal length (distance between the lens and sensor) to the aperture (iris opening) diameter.

Aperture and F-stop Differences

The f-number of an IP camera for business is particularly important for indoor use and areas of limited light. If you’re filming a room or lobby and can’t see any of the video because it’s too dark, it won’t do you much good. A lower f-number has a better chance of delivering clear video because the aperture is more open to gather more light for the sensor, shining light onto the pixels and your image.

In contrast, if lighting isn’t an issue for your business needs, f-number also represents depth of field, which is explained below.


Dynamic range is the ratio between the brightest and darkest illuminations of a scene. A limited dynamic range is a very small window that will leave the contents of dark areas concealed or magnify the brightest spot.

Outdoor surveillance, building entrances, or cameras including windows will be visually enhanced with a wide dynamic range (WDR). If you’re filming and can’t see any of the video because the light washes everything out, it won’t do much good. WDR controls the effect of bright light while revealing shadows and dim spots.

Wide dynamic range from IP camera
Wide Dynamic Range, without and with.


Provided by many IP cameras, WDR is a very extensive scale that can process both dark and light into one frame. The sensor does this by taking different exposures, pulling light from the underexposed and dark from the overexposed, blending the patches near these areas, and making one polished image.


Depth of Field. Depth of field is the distance around the point of focus that’s equally as sharp. A larger f-number gives a larger area of focus.

Depth of field is important if objects over a long range need to be in focus, such as identifying a row of license plates or searching faces of a large area.
Depth of Field Example
Field of view is how much of the field (scene) you can view, while depth of field is how much of the field is in focus.

For example, teller windows inside a bank with an IP camera focused on the front of a customer’s face. The depth of field would be the clarity, if any, in front of (the bank teller, teller’s computer, counter, register) and behind (line of customers, lobby, main entrance) them.

TriTech is the only choice for your business

Since 1993, TriTech has been unmatched in expertise and service. Our quality partners, including Axis and Mobotix, independently certify our technicians and engineers for consistent success. TriTech serves businesses of all sizes and designs custom IP surveillance solutions.

If you want to understand more about the digital imaging of video or how an IP camera can help your business, call TriTech today at (262) 717-0037 or toll-free 24/7 at (800) 891-3388.