Indoor outdoor Bullet cameras
The term Bullet Camera comes from its resemblance to a
rifle bullet. Generally long and tapered like a cylinder, it looks like an
oversized ammo cartridge. Bullet cameras offer a versatile mounting bracket that
can be pointed in any direction.
Bullet cameras can be both fixed
lens or varifocal. Fixed lens cameras usually come in 3.6mm. Other lens sizes
are available but 3.6mm is the most common. Varifocal lens can be adjusted on
the camera with a screwdriver at the time of mounting. Varifocal lens are
usually 2.8mm to 12mm which will allow you to zoom to the target and maximize
Some devices capture images in color which is best for daytime
lighting. For nighttime viewing, its best to choose an infrared camera, which captures
images in black and white at night which is better. Many of the products will display color
during the day and automatically switch to black and white infrared viewing when
light levels are low. Resolution levels for black and white are usually about
500-600 lines, any higher resolution and the benefits are minimal. For color, the
higher resolution the better the picture.
Bullet cameras contain the
same electronics as every other camera. Nothing makes a bullet
camera better than a dome camera or box camera. They are just a
different shape and allow for different mounting positions.
Bullet cameras most commonly use 12 volt DC power.
However, their are some models available that are dual voltage, 12
volt or 24 volt.
Megapixel IP Bullet Cameras
Digital (Megapixel) Indoor outdoor Bullet cameras
Just like analog Bullet cameras, the term Bullet
refers to the shape of the camera. The biggest difference between
Analog and IP is the video quality. Megapixel cameras produce HD
quality video. IP Bullet cameras come in different resolution
ranging from 1 megapixel to 5 megapixel. If you are looking for true
HD video quality, then you need a camera that is at least 2
megapixel. IP Bullet
cameras can be fixed lens or varifocal lens. Megapixel cameras can
be powered using standard 12 volt DC or PoE (Power over Ethernet).
Some bullet cameras are dual voltage, 12 volt or 24 volt. Megapixel
cameras can be accessed through the internet or NVR system.
PRO C-Mount Cameras
600TVL Lines Professional High Resolution DAY/NIGHT Box Camera
The advantage to a c-mount camera is that the lens can be
changed. If you need to see further than 35 or 40 ft then you'll need a c-mount
camera with a special lens. C-Mount lenses are available from 4mm to 100mm. A
4mm lens provides facial detail and a 70 degree angle of view focused up to
about 35 ft. An example of where you might use a fixed 4mm lens is in a small
office, or at home to focus on your driveway. Refer to our
A higher millimeter
lens will provide further distance, but narrows the field of view. So, a 16mm
lens would provide about a 15 to 20 degree angle of view at a focus distance of
about 35 ft (or a 70 degree angle of view at about 140 feet). In general, a 8mm
lens is like a 4mm lens zoomed in 2 times. Similarly, a 16mm lens is like the
4mm lens zoomed in 4 times.
Many times, the best option is to use a
varifocal lens. This will allow you to vary the focus from 5 to 50mm. So when
you install the camera you can fine tune the focal distance and angle of view.
An example of where you might use a varifocal lens is outside (or inside) a
large commercial building where you need more distance than 35 ft. and the
varifocal lens will allow you to adjust the focal distance to your preference.
If you want to use c-mount cameras outside, you must put them in an outdoor
See Outdoor Housings HERE
CCTV lenses are available in two different lens
mounts. "C-mount" lenses have a flange back distance of 17.5mm; "CS-mount"
lenses have a flange back distance of 12.5mm. The flange back distance is the
distance from the flange of the lens (beginning of the lens mount) to the focal
plane. All of the C-Mount cameras we sell can be adjusted for installation of a
CS-Mount lens as well as a C-Mount lens.
See Varifocal Lenses HERE
Security Camera Lens
Which Security Camera Lens Should I Use?
How far you need to see will determine what security camera lens you should
use to best fit your application. A 4mm lens will give a 70 degree angle of view
with 35 feet of facial detail. This works great for residential or small office
security camera applications. If you need to see further you would go with a
higher powered lens. Keep in mind that the further you want to see will narrow
the field of view of your picture.
A rule of thumb is that a 8mm lens is like a 4mm lens zoomed in 2 times.
Similarly, a 16mm lens is like the 4mm lens zoomed in 4 times. For example, a
16mm lens would give you about a 15 degree angle of view focused at 35 ft.
[Click here to view our Lens Chart]
What If I Do Not Know Exactly How Far I Need To See?
Instead of going with a fixed focus lens you can go with a varifocal lens.
With a simple adjustment you can manually zoom in or zoom out and focus the
camera to the exact distance needed to get a clear picture. Varifocal lenses
come in all different sizes: (3.5-8mm; 9-22mm; and 5-50mm) just to name a few.
This is the best option for large commercial applications because you can adjust
the focal distance to what works just right.
Analog Indoor Outdoor
The dome camera is obviously named for its dome shape. Everyone has seen
these security cameras in businesses and stores. Because of its shape, its
difficult to tell exactly where the camera is aiming unless you see it up close.
Dome cameras are generally used inside buildings, although the armor domes can
be used outside as well (more about the armor dome below). You can mount them on
the ceiling or on a wall. They are available in black and white (b/w) and color,
and the basic unit has good video resolution (420 lines up to 700 lines).
License Plate Recognition
License plate recognition cameras
License plate recognition cameras are becoming very popular in a
number of scenarios. LPR cameras are very different in the way they process the
images. LPR cameras are designed to capture license plates in all types of
conditions. License plate cameras are designed to capture vehicle license plates
in video. There are some systems that are capable of seeing the license plate
and recognizing the characters on the plate and saving the information to a
database that can be searched later. A good LPR camera should have the ability
to be adjusted to the environment to capture plates successfully. Not all
cameras are capable of recognizing license plates. A standard CCTV camera may
not have a fast enough lens, or deal with adverse lighting conditions. Most all
LPR cameras are analog, however, Geovision has a model coming in January 2013
that is 1.3 megapixel.
Which type of Security Camera should I use?
A security camera can come in many different styles including dome, bullet,
infrared and c-mount. The security camera that will work best for your
application will depend on several factors such as whether you will use the
security cameras inside or out, during the day, nighttime, or both.
Bullet style security cameras are the most popular. They can be used inside or
out. These security cameras come in black and white or color and come with all
of the required mounting hardware. The security camera casings are weather
resistant and don't require added external protection. Most security cameras
have a fixed 4mm lens that allows you to see facial features out to about 35
feet and provides a 70 degree angle of view. This is the widest angle you can
have without distorting the picture. Click here for more information about
bullet security cameras.
Resolution levels for black and white
security cameras are about 400 lines, any higher and the benefits are minimal.
For color cameras, the higher the resolution the better.
security cameras are also very popular as they allow an image to be seen in
little or no lighting conditions. Most infrared security cameras are bullet
style and can be used inside or out. The cameras have infrared lighting
installed around the outer edge of the lens which allows the security camera to
see in no light for up to 25 feet - even further with a little bit of light
(like street lighting or an outside light.) Click here for more information
about infrared security cameras.
A relatively new type of security
camera to the market is the day / night security camera. These types of security
cameras have an extra sensitive imaging chip which allows it to capture a good
picture in low light situations without using infrared leds. This is especially
handy in outdoor applications because infrared security cameras do not do well
in outdoor housings. Unless the infrared security camera is installed flush up
to the glass of the housing, the infrared lights can reflect off of the glass of
the housing which degrades the image.
The advantage to c-mount
security cameras is that the lens can be changed. You'll want a special camera
lens if you need to see further than 35 ft. The color c-mount security camera
allows you to change lenses on the camera giving you the ability to zoom into a
particular area. Varifocal camera lenses allow you to adjust the focus from 5 to
50 mm. These lenses can be used inside only unless you put it in special housing
for outdoor use. Click here for more details about C-Mount security cameras or
Security Camera Lenses.
Dome security cameras
basically provide a different look. Also, if you have any concerns about
tampering, check out our Infrared Armor Dome Security Camera. It will withstand
a 10 lb sledgehammer blow and can be used inside or out, daytime or nighttime.
Click here for more facts about dome security cameras.
What is a PTZ camera?
A Pan Tilt Zoom camera (PTZ) allows you to pan (back and forth), tilt (up and
down), and zoom (focus in and out) your camera remotely. The PTZ is controlled
using a remote PTZ controller or you can control it through most DVRs (look for
PTZ support). The disadvantages of a PTZ camera is that they are very expensive
(usually around $1000 without the controller). And all the moving parts make it
susceptible to wear and breakdown. There are some new digital versions of PTZ
cameras just coming on the market that have no mechanical parts. These PTZs are
very promising but are still a little too expensive to be practical for most
uses. PTZ cameras require a data cable to be run to the camera in addition to
the video and power cables. Unless you have a person who is watching the scene
and adjusting the field of view of the camera based on what's going on its not
as useful. Most times you are better off buying more of the non-PTZ cameras to
continuously cover the area rather than a PTZ.
What is the difference between no iris and auto iris?
The iris controls how much light is let into the camera lens. In the old
days, cameras came with no iris control. If you needed to control the light
levels you would have to purchase a special lens. Nowadays, most cameras come
with automatic shutters which perform the same function as the iris -
controlling how much light is let into the camera. Unless you have an
application with extreme light levels (like at a beach) you probably won't need
a special lens with iris control.
Video Compression and Transmission Terms
bandwidth||Its popular meaning refers to the amount of data
that can be transmitted per second over a wire or network. When it comes
to video surveillance applications you need a high amount of bandwidth
to transmit the large files. For remote viewing, 56K modems will not
work well. DHL is OK, and cable modems or T1s (or better) are best. And
you also want the best video compression you can afford to make the
files as small as possible. |
Common Intermediate Format - a set of resolution standards used in video
applications, defined as follows:|
- FCIF = 352 x 288 ('Full
CIF' or just 'CIF')
- QCIF = 176 x 144 ('Quarter CIF')
SQCIF = 128 x 96 ('Sub-quarter CIF')
- 4CIF = 704 x 576 ('4 times CIF')
"Code-Decode" or "Compression-Decompression") ||A term
referring to any technology used to compress and decompress large files
such as audio and video files for efficient data transfer.|
compression standard (or compression algorithm) ||A standard
approach or 'formula' for compressing (and decompressing) data (in our
case, video and audio data). There are many standard image or video
compression algorithms available today (many are described below) and
new ones come out each year.|
D1 is a video resolution standard. In NTSC it is 720 x 480 pixels. Its
affect on video compression and transmission is due to the fact that the
excellent resolution of a D1 image produces larger files to be
compressed and transferred. |
Compression (aka MPEG4+ or |
MPEG4-Part 10 or AVC (Advanced Video
|The latest MPEG4 compression technology, released
in 2003. H.264 provides excellent video compression. You get the same
quality image as MPEG4 even at the higher resolutions like full screen
|ISO (aka International
Organization for Standardization) ||ISO is an international
organization founded in 1946 that organized and reviews standards
worldwide. Their members such as ANSI (American National Standards
Institute) and OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) create the standards
and they review them for completeness and other criteria. ISO is not an
acronym; the name derives from the Greek word iso, which means
Sometimes a compression algorithm will lose some detail of the original
image in its compression of that image. An algorithm that loses some
detail of the original image is called a 'lossy compression' algorithm.
JPEG, for example, is considered to be a 'lossy' compression. |
NTSC||National Television Standards Committee - the analog
video representation standard used in the US and South America. Compare
to PAL. |
Alternating Line - the analog video representation standard used in
Australia, and most of Europe and Asia. Compare to NTSC. |
JPEG compression |
(aka Joint Photographic Experts Group)
A standard format for image compression (defined by the group who gave
it its name) It was first introduced around 1986 and is a very common
image format used on the web. JPEG is only used for photo (single frame)
images (not video). JPEG is a 'lossy' image format - some of the detail
of the image may be lost in its compression. |
MPEG compression (aka M-JPEG or |
"Moving Picture Experts Group")
A standard format for video compression first introduced around 1988.
MPEG achieves high compression rate by storing only the changes from one
frame to another, instead of each entire frame. Although MPEG is lossy
compression, the loss of image detail is generally imperceptible to the
human eye except at the highest resolutions. |
MPEG has gone through
several revisions as follows:
- MPEG or MPEG-1 - The original
MPEG, produces image quality similar to a conventional VCR
MPEG-2 - used in DVDs
- MPEG-3 - there wasn't one
MPEG-4 - combines MPEG-2 and Apple's QuickTime technology (see below
for more details)
compression (aka MPEG-4 or H.263) ||MPEG4 was standardized in
1998 by the ISO and combines MPEG-2 and Apple's QuickTime technology.
This resulted in a nice clear picture but also compressed much better
than previous technologies. |
compression (aka H.264) ||The latest MPEG4 video compression
technology. See H.264 compression for more information. |
proprietary compression algorithm||This refers to a
compression algorithm that does not follow one of the compression
standards such as MPEG4. Many times a proprietary algorithm will follow
a standard mostly but then tweak it in some specific way. The
result may be a better (more efficient or better quality) compression
but the downside is that since it uses a proprietary formula it may not
be compatible with other products. Many DVRs and IP systems will use a
proprietary algorithm within their product (for example to store the
images to the hard drive) but provide interfaces in standard formats to
communicate with other systems (for example when backing up a particular
video event to a DVD). |
Resolution Standard) ||Resolution is a measurement of the
quality or level of detail of an image. Usually expressed in terms of
pixels, dots, or lines per inch. CIF and D1 are examples of some
standard resolutions. The higher the resolution is, the greater the
detail and number of pixels in the image will be, and also the larger
the resulting video file will be. |
Length Encoding (RLE)||This is a very simple form of data
compression in which sequences of the same data value which occurs in
many consecutive data elements are stored as a single data value and
count, rather than as the original sequence.