Cameras that are used by surveillance can go by many names, mainly because manufacturers tend to define their products based on the purpose that the unit will fulfill as well as the type it actually is. For example, a dome camera can be called an elevator cam or a garage cam, depending on where the manufacturer wants it to be placed.
Out of all these many types, here are the most popular ones:
This type of CCTV is called a “bullet camera” because of its thin cylindrical shape. It is typically wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted, making it more prominent in indoor use and in places where the surveillance equipment is not meant to be inconspicuous. These are not usually designed to have PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) capabilities but there are rare exceptions.
This type once again gets its name from the shape. It is housed in a transparent dome-shaped housing. While these are not hidden from plain sight, their shape makes them unobtrusive and will not disrupt interior aesthetics. This is the reason why they are commonly used in retail stores and businesses, where a camera needs to be seen in order to deter potential bad/criminal behavior, but need to be subtle so as not to clutter the surroundings.
This type comes in all shapes and sizes, but the one common trait is that they are designed to be mistaken for something else. They may be disguised as a smoke detector, or a clock, or simply designed to blend into the surroundings so as to be inconspicuous. Their main purpose is to capture surveillance video discreetly.
Night Vision Cameras
These types use IR LEDs in order to provide the ability to see images in pitch black or extremely low light conditions. They are very useful in security applications, since theft, burglaries, and trespasses are more likely to occur when it is dark.
The key feature of this type is that the housing is built to withstand moisture and must be impenetrable to dust, insect, and other elements that could ruin other types of cameras.
These come in both hardwired and wireless forms, but the common feature is that they use TCP/IP to transmit images to a storage device, a monitor, or through a network.
High definition cameras are a niche product, mostly because the really good ones can be on the expensive side. They are frequently used in settings where video clarity is required. For example, a casino may require this so that they will have the ability to zoom in on player’s cards and hands and still retain maximum detail. This will allow them to check if a player is cheating or hiding something up their sleeve.
Fish Eye Cameras
Fish eye get their name from the use of ultra-wide angle lens. These lenses produce a strong visual distortion that can create a hemispherical image, which is similar to a fish’s ultrawide hemispherical view under the water. The wide viewing angle is particularly useful in security cams, because a single cam can cover a much wide area. Fisheye are typically found in doors, corners, or narrow areas and mitigate the need for pan/tilt/zoom controls.
License Plate Recognition Cameras
LPR cameras are specialized CCTV surveillance equipment that has a built in software that helps identify and record license plates. These are more complex than the average security versions because they have to capture images of license plates on fast moving vehicles. For this purpose, LPR have special hardware that allows it to compensate for weather, speed, and lighting issues that would otherwise hinder recognition of license plates. As the name implies, these cameras are typically used to monitor traffic and frequently employed by the city government.
Keep in mind that these types are not the only examples. There are versions that mix and match features that qualify them for two or more of the types mentioned above. For example, there are HD versions that are also wireless or discreet and feature night vision capability. When choosing the best one for a CCTV system, it is best to consider the features you need first so that you can choose those that suit your needs.