An IP camera, also called a network camera, is a camera with an IP network connection. It can also be described as a camera and computer combined into one unit. Captured video is transported over an IP network via network switches and is recorded to a PC server with video management software.
That sounds simple enough but when you’re trying to choose the right IP camera you’ll begin to notice how many different types of cameras there are:
- Fixed IP Cameras
- Dome IP Cameras
- Wireless IP Cameras
- Indoor IP Cameras / Outdoor IP Cameras
- PTZ IP Cameras (Pan/Tilt/Zoom)
That list can be even further segmented but you get the idea. It can be a dizzying process to wade through the available choices. But, there’s a reason for all the options and in our ongoing discussion of how to find the right IP camera for your project I’ll be detailing the camera types and how/where they are used.
Oftentimes it’s not just one camera type that’s needed but rather a mix of camera types are utilized to fit the intricate needs of a surveillance system solution.
IP Cameras vs. CCTV Analog Cameras
Aside from how they’re connected and accessed, IP cameras surpass their analog predecessors with advanced features such as video motion detection, alarm handling, audio monitoring, and audio alarms.
Indoor / Outdoor
IP cameras are designed for indoor use only or both indoor and outdoor use. A protective housing for the camera or a certain lens (to regulate the amount of light) may be necessary for outdoor use.
Day / Night
IP cameras can also offer day and night functionality with use of a IR-cut filter or IR-blocking filter that improves light sensitivity to provide clear, high quality black and white images at nighttime. IR illuminators can also be used in conjunction with an IR-sensitive camera to further enhance quality during low-light or nighttime periods.
Thermal IP Cameras are also available that use thermal imaging, which allows users to detect people, objects and incidents in complete darkness and difficult conditions such as smoke, haze, dust and light fog.
IP Camera Functions
Other useful functions that IP cameras offer are:
- EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization): The camera’s processor will automatically stabilize images in areas with high wind or heavy vibrations.
- Privacy Masking: Sensitive areas of a scene can be blocked or masked from an operators view.
- E-Flip: To ensure images will not be viewed upside down from a PTZ camera there is an electronic rotation of the image when a person passes directly underneath.
IP Camera Types Summary
|Fixed IP Camera||
|Fixed Dome IP Camera||
|PTZ IP Camera(Pan, Tilt, Zoom)||
|Nonmechanical-PTZ IP Camera||
|PTZ Dome IP Camera||
|Day & Night IP Camera||
|Megapixel IP Camera||
Coming up next I’ll begin to provide example surveillance systems that highlight the different IP camera types and show how they have effectively utilized these multiple categories for their varied applications.