IP Camera Buyers Guide

A comprehensive guide in selecting the right camera for your Video Surveillance system. IP Cameras offer high resolution up to 5MP and offers a superior video image. There are many options in selecting the right IP Video Security Camera and Video Recorder. Use this guide as general information for your IP Video Security System project.

Important Factors in choosing the right IP Security Camera

• Location

• Main Field of View

• Lighting conditions at night

• Resolution Requirements

• Aesthetics and Form Factor

IP Cameras will provide enhanced monitoring of your video security system with much higher resolution than traditional analog cameras. Higher resolution means better clarity and details in the camera views with the ability to post-record zoom into critical areas with a much wider view reaching up to 90 degrees.


Outdoor cameras are contained within a weather-proof housing able to withstand the temperatures and moisture of the outdoor environment. Both dome-style and bullet-style cameras are used at outdoor facilities and home security.

Indoor cameras tend to be smaller and lighter and are not weatherproof.

Both types of cameras can have infrared night vision capabilities if required.

Mounting Location. Consideration of the camera mounting location is determined by first and foremost the most optimal view from the camera. Secondarily, but just as important, the ability to run cabling to the location and also the security of the camera. Cameras get stolen and you can sneak up on them if placed in the wrong location.

Types of Video Surveillance Cameras

The camera selection depends on several factors including the shape and form factor of the camera. Dome cameras or Bullet-Style Cameras are the most popular today and each offer essentially the same lens and video compression circuitry, so it’s a matter of personal choice in packaging.

There are several choices when choosing a surveillance camera style:

Location – Will it be intrusive? Can it be tampered with? Best Viewing Angle?

Infrared Requirements – Bullet-style cameras are available in longer IR lengths (up to 400 feet)

Deterrence Factor – Many times the mere spotting of video cameras will deter a security situation. How well do you want the cameras to be seen? Deter or Discrete?

Bullet Cameras tend to be placed in areas needing higher intensity Infrared and have larger lens for a longer Field of View. Bullet Cameras need to be placed out of reach as they are not vandal-proof devices.

Dome Cameras are the most common camera package and are discrete and can be placed on drop-ceiling tiles very effectively. The dome camera is offered in vandal-proof packages that can be placed in almost any location without fear of theft or damage.

Camera Resolutions

The resolution of the camera is the relative pixel size of the screen being recorded. The higher the resolution of the camera, the more detail and clarity is available. More data, or more pixels, means more detailed image being captured.

Camera Lens

Camera lens are generally built-in to the dome and bullet style cameras. The lens is either fixed, vari-focal, or with a PTZ Manual and Auto Vari-Focal in the case of a Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Camera

• Fixed (example 3mm),

• Vari-Focal (example 2.8-12mm)

• Optical Zoom (5mm- 100mm)

The camera lens determines the Field of View (FOV) of the Camera based on the camera image requirements. The following chart details the lens information:

Lens Size Degrees View

2.8mm 95 Degrees

3.6mm 80

5mm 68

8mm 44

12mm 24

50mm 5.3

Fixed lens and Vari-Focal lens (ex. 2.8-12mm) are available with IP Cameras. Many camera lens today are included with the cameras, and are not required to be bought separately.

Infrared Technology

Infrared cameras are very common today and are offered in almost every camera package including dome and bullet-style security cameras. Infrared cameras work from reflected infrared light off of objects that are being monitored.

An Infrared Camera provides a color image during the day, and when the amount of light drops to a certain level (automatic or adjustable) the infrared automatically switches on. The IR LEDs on the camera are then activated and the IR camera produces a black and white image which can provide great detail dependent on the camera quality.

IP Camera Networks

IP Cameras are typically setup on a private network and camera data is not shared across the enterprise local network due to bandwidth concerns. A HD camera can require up to 5MPS, so a private and local network is established for communication between the IP Cameras and Network Video Recorder. Cameras are made available by a connection to this on a demand-basis for Local and Remote Access.

PoE – Power-Over-Ethernet has made installation of IP Cameras a plug and play method achieved by most Network Video Recorders as IP addressing and configurations are a thing of the past. The quality NVRs will provide configuration tools and systems that make IP Camera systems quiet and very easy to install. Many NVRs today provide onboard PoE so external power sources for the cameras are not needed. Also, the data network for the cameras is built into the NVR device.

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