IP Security Camera Basics

There are many types of IP surveillance cameras, making you wonder what the best option is. Do you need a PTZ camera or would a fixed camera with zoom and a wide-lens be sufficient? These camera basics from TriTech will go over the different options on the market today and how they are used.

Types of IP Security Cameras

There are four general types of IP cameras:

  1. Fixed (the standard): With a fixed IP camera, the viewing direction is set and can only be changed manually. An unconcealed presence, a fixed surveillance camera is for businesses that want people to know it’s there – such as retail or financial.
  2. Fixed Dome (the covered): With a fixed dome surveillance camera, the set position is more difficult to see overtly by design and many allow digital PTZ. It has a masked appearance and is for businesses that want people to be unaffected by it – such as hospitality and healthcare.
  3. PTZ (the movement): Pan, tilt, zoom. The range of visibility with a PTZ security camera is much more extensive including 360° pan, 220° tilt, and 30× zoom. With numberless visual capability, a PTZ IP camera is for businesses seeking direct control, monitoring tasks, or unrestricted coverage – such as casinos/gaming and government.
  4. Thermal (the unlit): Thermal surveillance cameras break through the thickest smoke and darkest areas. Whereas the other three pick up light reflections, thermal picks up the heat of humans, animals, and objects. Since these IP cameras don’t constitute as conclusive evidence, their best use for a business is suspicion and/or in conjunction with one of the above digital surveillance systems – such as afterhours detection alerts and nighttime/outdoor monitoring.
Fixed and Dome IP Security Cameras

Examples of fixed (left) and dome (right) IP security cameras.


Design Styles of Surveillance Cameras

IP cameras are available in different styles to fit how you want them to appear.

  • Box and bullet are straight to the point, making their direction no secret most of the time. PTZ actions are noticeable, attracting both awareness and unwanted attention. Box and bullet IP surveillance cameras are one of the most common designs.
  • Domes are subtler, the extent depending on placement. Regardless, the direction is uncertain due to the covering and PTZ is much more subdued. Dome IP security cameras are the other more common designs.
  • Mini box cameras resemble more compact, square webcams. The presence of a mini box surveillance camera is between the conspicuous bullet/box and unobtrusive dome. Mini box network surveillance is ideal for entrances, checkouts, service desks, and transportation – people know they’re being watched but only for a short period of time.
  • Cube and covert have the capability of being completely hidden and unnoticed, just like the ones at ATMs. Covert/cube IP security cameras are generally fixed and used for discreet video within a small given area, such as elevators, doorways, and drive-thrus.
Mini Box and Discreet IP Security Cameras

Examples of mini box (left) and covert (right) IP security cameras.


Location Installation of IP Cameras

IP cameras have the means of being installed almost anywhere. With the appropriate lens, the camera view that you want can be attained.

  • Wall. Indoor and outdoor.
  • Corner. Indoor and outdoor.
  • Ceiling. Indoor dome.
  • Pole. Outdoor dome and box.


Lens Types for Surveillance Video

There are three types of lenses, offering field of view, focal length, aperture, and f-number.

  1. Fixed lenses offer only one focal length for one field of view. For a different view, the lens must be manually changed. These are great for cameras dedicated to one purpose – a fixed camera properly aimed can be left alone and PTZ can change directions with a steady view.
  2. Varifocal lenses have a range of focal lengths that are changed either manually or automatically and require refocusing. An automatic varifocal lens is similar to zoom but the image will not auto-focus, becoming blurrier the more it zooms. If your camera is going to be set for one field of view most of the time with minimal zoom and occasional adjustments, varifocal lenses are a much more affordable option than zoom lenses.
  3. Zoom lenses are varifocal lenses for zoom-compatible IP cameras that do not need refocusing. The zoom number is the focal length relation showing the longest to shortest. For example, 12× zoom on a 3.5mm lens would be 3.5mm × 12 = 42mm. Zoom lenses are ideal for active surveillance and motion capture cameras.
IP Camera Mounts for wall, corner, pole

Examples of IP camera (left-right) wall mount, corner mount, dome camera on a pole mount, bullet camera mounted on pole.


IP Security Cameras and Services in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Madison, Wisconsin

TriTech is an authorized partner of surveillance leaders Axis and Mobotix as well as Grandstream and Samsung. Our certified consultants can help you decide which IP camera/s are best for your business and get you started with a solution to a more secure environment. To learn more about IP cameras and surveillance services from TriTech, click here or call today at (262) 717-0037.

All photos are Axis Communications, the market leader is network video. TriTech is an Axis Solution Silver Partner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *