Security cameras come in all shapes and sizes and with a varied set of features. When deciding on a camera, there are many things to consider, including lens type, housing, placement and other features.

The Different Types of Cameras and their Features

Here’s an overview of some of the most popular types of cameras to help you decide which is right for you:

    • Fixed Cameras are positioned to capture a specific image and can be optimized for applications with different housings and features. Fixed cameras tend to be more reliable than other types and are always pointing in the intended direction.
    • Pan, Tilt, and Zoom (PTZ) cameras are fixed cameras that can be positioned remotely. Higher-end cameras have a greater zoom and magnification range, but using greater magnification means smaller areas are covered. PTZ cameras can follow people or objects through an area – and can even be programmed to automatically patrol an area – but are most effective when manually controlled. The can also only face in one direction at a time.
    • 360-Degree Cameras, also called a virtual PTZ, is several high-resolution fixed cameras in a single housing. Images are stitched together and users can zoom in after the fact. Because all images are being recorded, the camera can face in all directions. However, even though you get a 360-degree view, most rooms contain some kind of view obstruction, so users may not get a full field of view.

Camera Housing

Once you’ve selected the type of camera that will work best for you, the next decision you have to make is about housing. And, there are several options:

    • Outdoor cameras are weather-resistant and include heaters and blowers that adapt to environmental conditions.
    • Dome housings conceal a camera’s orientation, which is great for security. When someone can’t tell which direction a camera is pointing, they assume it’s covering all directions.
    • Bullet cameras clearly show the direction of orientation and often provide a better picture. The front of the housing is close to the camera lens, which reduces the amount of reflections and makes them easier to clean.
    • Discreet housings allow you to hide the entire camera and can be designed to look like something else, like a smoke detector, and feature pinhole or flush-mount lenses mounted on a wall or ceiling. Discreet housings are not designed to be deterrents.


There are two basic types of camera lenses for security cameras: fixed lens and security camera varifocal lens.

Focal length of a fixed lens is permanently set, meaning the field of view can’t be modified. So, you’ll need to decide if a wide-angle or narrow-angle lens is best for your situation. A fixed-lens camera is best when you need to monitor interior spaces, and scenes don’t change often.

A varifocal lens lets you adjust the focal length to meet your needs. Cameras with a varifocal lens tend to be more expensive. The cameras of often outfitted with a motorized zoom lens. Varifocal lenses are best when you need to get a close shot to identify a person or vehicle or monitor entrances or large areas.

Extra Features

Along with housing and lens type, there are several extra features that you should consider when looking for a security camera. Resolution is something to consider. Measured in millions of pixels, or megapixels, the higher the resolution, the more space needed to store images.

Low-light performance is another area to consider. Some cameras have day-night capabilities, meaning they can adapt to different light situations. Cameras with infrared illuminators contain their own light source and produce better images in the dark, but offer lower resolution.

Other things to consider are wireless signal transition, ultra-high resolution, thermal imaging, explosion proof housings and more.

With so many options, choosing a security camera can be a tough decision. Be sure to carefully evaluate your needs, including why you want to install a security camera, and that will lead you in the right direction.

To learn more about which camera and camera options are best for your needs, give us a call.

We’ll be happy to provide suggestions that work best for where you live and can help give you peace of mind.