What CCTV Camera Should I Buy?
When designing a security system, one of the most common questions that comes up is “which type of camera should I use?” There are dome cameras, bullet cameras, box cameras, IR cameras, IP cameras, and a whole lot more.
With so many options, it’s nearly impossible to give a direct answer. As you might expect, the answer to that question is “it depends.”
Box Security Cameras
Perhaps the oldest style of camera is the box camera. While at one point, the box camera was the only choice; its role has changed into a specialty camera.
There are two things that make a box camera an excellent choice for specialty applications:
1) The Lens – The lens on a box camera can be changed swapped out depending on the application. Apex CCTV offers lenses ranging from 1mm to 100mm, and all of them are varifocal. This allows the end user cover to very specifically adjust the field of view from a very wide range at a close distance, to a very narrow range at a great distance.
2) The software – Many box cameras has additional built in software that allow them to get better images than other camera styles like dome or bullet. For example, the AP-WDSHQ offers Wide Dynamic Range, the ability to correct bight back-lighting that might cause other cameras to only record silhouettes and not functional videos. Another example is the Samsung SCC-B2331 which features eXtended Dynamic Range, the ability to differentiate light and dark areas at a greater range than other cameras.
While the rise of dome cameras and bullet cameras has reduced the market share for traditional box cameras in everyday applications, box cameras still remain the best choice for specialty applications.
Bullet cameras are highly versatile in an entirely different way. The two main differences between a box camera and a bullet style camera are the lens and the housing.
A bullet camera does not have the ability to simply change the lens. This means one should pay careful attention to size of the lens when selecting a bullet style camera. Fortunately, many bullet style camera are outfitted with a varifocal lens which allows the camera to be adjusted within a set range.
The housing is also a major difference. While virtually all box cameras require a housing for outdoor use, many bullet style cameras are designed to be weatherproof. For this reason, many bullet cameras are more cosmetically appealing for outdoor use than box cameras mounted in housings.
In addition to being weatherproof, many housings will have IR illustrators built in. This allows the camera to monitor in pitch black conditions without additional accessories. The two primary advantages to this feature are more simple/straightforward wiring and more cosmetically appealing.
One final feature some bullet style cameras has is called cable management. This is a mounting bracket that houses the cables, so they are not exposed. This is particular useful to prevent vandals from cutting the cables.
While the lens choices available for a bullet camera may not be as flexible as a box camera, the ease of install and flexibility of the housings make bullet cameras a staple security camera for most surveillance systems.