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What Is An Analog Camera?

July 17, 2023

Analog cameras are used in older surveillance systems. They capture non-digital video streams and transmit them, usually over coax cables, to Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) or video management systems (VMSs) for monitoring, storage, and analysis.

Analog Camera Video Storage

Analog surveillance systems usually store video data in DVRs, whereas modern IP (Internet Protocol) security camera systems usually store video data in Network Video Recorders (NVRs).

Analog video data stored on DVRs can be accessed via on-site network-connected interfaces. IP camera NVRs, on the other hand, include app interfaces that provide remote access to IP camera footage from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Analog Camera Installation

An analog security camera is typically installed using RG59 or RG6 coaxial cable. RG6 cables can transmit data over greater distances without any loss in the video signal, but they are thicker and more rigid than the RG59s.

cabling for analog surveillance cameras

As a result, RG6 cables are difficult to work with when rounding corners is necessary for the installation process.

CAT5 cables can also be used in an analog CCTV installation if video balun converters are employed. Baluns are connector devices that turn unbalanced analog signals into balanced ones that can be transmitted using UTP cables, such as CAT5s.

Are Analog Cameras a Viable Option for Businesses?

Advantages of Analog Cameras

  • Cost - Analog cameras are less expensive than IP cameras. The price difference can lead to significant savings when multiple cameras are deployed. Savings are increased when existing wiring is in good shape and can be used for installation.
  • Easy-to-use - Analog cameras and their connected DVRs are easy to run and do not demand advanced technical skills.
  • Transmission distance - An analog surveillance system can transmit video up to 1.5 kilometers with twisted-pair cables and up to 300 meters when a coax cable is used.
  • Video quality - You can get an analog CCTV camera that supports HD resolution of up to eight megapixels for crisp and clear video quality. It's still not as clear as IP cameras.

Disadvantages of an Analog Security Camera

  • Analog security cameras cannot provide the same level of video quality as IP cameras.
  • The cabling required for analog devices is not compatible with newer technology in IP security systems.
  • Analog cameras do not support wireless connectivity.

Why Use Analog Cameras?

The cost and ease of use of analog security cameras make them a logical choice for small-scale and personal usage scenarios.

video surveillance systems with outdoor analogue camera

When existing wiring is in good condition, an analog CCTV system can be installed using this infrastructure. In cases where the wiring is faulty, it may make more sense to replace it with new cabling and digital cameras.

Our experienced team will review your current situation and recommend the optimal method of implementing your security camera system.

How Do You Connect an Analog Camera to a Modern Security System?

There are three methods of connecting an analog system to a modern security system comprised of digital cameras.

Upgrading to a Video Management System (VMS)

Upgrading to a VMS provides enhanced functionality to your surveillance system. This can be an expensive option that requires the use of an encoder to convert analog signals to digital signals that are transmitted to a VMS server running on your computer network.

Using a DVR and NVR

A DVR can be used to facilitate an inexpensive method of integrating analog and digital cameras into a unified surveillance system. The DVR acts as an encoder and forwards the information captured by the analog devices to the digital devices' NVR.

Sufficient channels must be available in the NVR to handle the data streams. The resulting system enables all video feeds to be accessible from a single console.

Using Two Recording Devices

You can also choose to deploy two recording devices, one for the existing analog cameras and one for the newly installed digital devices. This method can complicate operations, as each system must be accessed separately.

Analog Security Cameras

Analog cameras are available in a wide variety of form factors, each filling a different security niche. Depending on your needs, one form factor may be more suitable than another, so it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of various models.

Form Factors

The following are the most common form factors you are likely to find when constructing security camera systems.

Bullet Cameras

Bullet cameras are shaped like small cylinders resembling a bullet. They are easily mounted on walls and ceilings but only capture video from a single field of view.

analog system bullet camera

Some models of bullet cameras have adjustable mounts that allow them to swivel to point in a different direction. These types of cameras are factory-sealed to protect them from the elements when used outside.

Dome Cameras

Dome CCTV cameras are extremely versatile and have become one of the most widely used types of devices in the security field. The cameras have a discreet appearance and are often mounted with a tinted dome, which makes it difficult to tell the direction the lens is pointed.

The lens can be moved freely inside the device, making it easy to aim. Most models are reinforced to protect against vandalism.

IR reflection, which can cause a fuzzy image, is controlled by a foam ring located between the lens and the dome.

Exposure to heat and cold experienced by dome cameras installed outside can cause the ring to fail. Another potential installation issue is that the domes are not sealed. Water can get into the device as it freezes and thaws, causing the camera to break.

Dome cameras need to be installed upside down when outside to avoid this problem.

PTZ Cameras

Pan, Tilt, and Zoom cameras resemble dome models but offer enhanced functionality. The range of motion can be controlled so a large area can be monitored. PTZ cameras offer an inexpensive method of monitoring a large space using a single device.

Turret Cameras

video surveillance analog and IP security cameras

Turret cameras are essentially dome cameras that have been factory-sealed for more effective use outside. While they are more reliable than dome cameras, it can be challenging to aim these devices correctly.

Night Vision in Analog Cameras

Night vision cameras use infrared technology to turn out high-quality images in very dark conditions. The cameras switch modes to provide protection during the day or night.

The lower prices of analog cameras usually mean they are not equipped with cutting-edge infrared technology, but they produce the necessary results when used in a surveillance system.

Analog vs. IP Security Camera Systems

Selecting the type of security camera system that's right for your business can be challenging. The following overview of the differences between analog and IP cameras can help you make the right decision.

Analog Security Cameras


  • Cost - Analog cameras are less expensive. When many cameras are involved, the savings can be significant.
  • Simple operation - The cameras and the connected DVR are easy to operate.


  • Reduced frame rate and image quality - An analog camera may be unsuitable for situations where you need detail and a high frame rate, such as in retail environments.
  • Cabling - Additional cables are needed for an analog setup, including one to a power supply and a DVR cable. This makes it more expensive to install initially as new. Only a single cable is needed for an IP camera.
  • Lack of encryption - Individuals gaining unauthorized access to your system can view and potentially change your video data.

IP Security Cameras

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of using IP cameras when planning a security system.

Many security camera systems use IP cameras.


  • Installation - IP cameras only require one wire for both power and data. Installed cameras can be focused and zoomed in from your computer.
  • Image resolution - The resolutions available in IP cameras are superior to those in analog devices.
  • Enhanced security - Through the use of encryption, video feeds are protected from unauthorized access.
  • Advanced functionality - IP cameras can perform onboard analytics that allows them to trigger when specific events or environmental conditions occur.


  • Cost - The initial cost of setting up an IP security camera system may be more than that of an analog alternative.
  • Steeper learning curve - A higher degree of technical proficiency is required when using IP cameras.
  • Increase storage demands - The higher resolution video produces by IP cameras takes up additional storage space.

Analog Cameras and Mammoth Security

Analog cameras and IP cameras installed by the friendly team at Mammoth Security

Whichever type of security camera you decide to implement, it's important to work with an experienced company that has a track record of successfully installing and servicing its systems.

A reputable security company like Mammoth Security will work with you to determine the best way to address your concerns and design a system that keeps you and your property safe. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and we'll reach out to set up a free, zero-obligation, on-site assessment with a friendly member of our team.





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