Security Cameras 101: Types and Uses Explained

Are security cameras essential for businesses and homes? In most urban areas the answer is a resounding YES.

Security cameras are increasingly becoming an important part of our lives. Whether it’s for business security, home security, or even just to monitor a pet, security surveillance systems enable us to have the peace of mind to leave the house and know that everything will be alright.

But with the multitude of types and uses for security cameras, how do you know which one to buy? That’s why today I’m here to guide you through the basics of Security Cameras 101: Types and Uses Explained. I’ll be covering everything you need to know to pick the right security camera for your needs, from what type of camera to buy, to how to set it up, to the importance of proper security camera placement. Let’s dive right in!

Types of Security Cameras

There are many different types of security cameras available today that can suit a variety of needs and budgets. The type of camera that works best for a given environment depends on a variety of factors, such as the budget, the size of the area to be monitored, and the level of security needed.

Network Cameras: Network cameras send video footage over an existing infrastructure to devices on the same network. These cameras are more common in industrial, commercial, and enterprise environments due to their higher complexity and robustness compared to other models. Security conscious operators may prefer this type because it is challenging for outsiders to gain access through breaches or remote manipulation.

Bullet Cameras: Bullet cameras are cylindrical-shaped and considerably smaller than network or dome cameras. They often come installed with infrared capabilities for night vision. The range for most bullet cameras is around 50 feet for detailing objects like faces or license plates. The low profile design makes them inconspicuous from bystanders but still effective at keeping watch of an area or entryway.

Wireless Cameras: Wireless security cameras transmit footage wirelessly from the camera to a nearby storage device or recording system via radio waves. These offer benefits such as less installation time since they don’t require any wiring, and can be moved around more easily than wired systems if monitoring locations need to be changed. On the downside, however, wireless signal transmission can have interference issues in crowded areas due to its reliance on bandwidth auctioning off which can cause latency issues in video recordings.

Dome Cameras: Dome cameras have flat faces with angled lenses contained within a bubble-like dome casing making them very difficult to detect if they aren’t marked clearly as a security measure. They provide 360 degree views with wide angles so that these relatively small cameras can cover substantially large regions or halls when placed properly within ceilings or walls. Dome security cameras are highly resistant to vandalism making them good choice for retail stores or museums where people frequent often.

Now that you have an overview of the various types of security cameras available, we will explore further into their detailed specifications by starting with their wired counterparts in the next section…

Wired Cameras

Wired Cameras are cameras that require the use of a physical cable for connection and power transmission, typically an Ethernet or a coaxial cable. Wired cameras can provide better video quality and reliability than their wireless counterparts due to the direct connection from the camera to the network without interference from external sources. Wired cameras also have lower latency, which translates to smoother streaming and displaying recorded footage on screens in real-time. The installation of wired systems require professional setup, as well as more time due to the positioning of cables, though wiring can be concealed through walls for a discrete look.

The negative side to wired cameras is that they are usually more expensive than wireless cameras due to the components needed to connect them and limited portability when compared to wireless options; they need additional cabling whenever they are repositioned. However, it is important to note that rewiring can often be done easily and effectively as long as it is done with care.

Although wired cameras have several pros and cons, they remain popular because of their ability to maintain a secure, high quality recording system suitable for multiple applications such as retail stores, office buildings, parking lots, homes and more.

Moving on from wired cameras, let’s talk about wireless cameras – the next step in surveillance technology.

Wireless Cameras

Wireless cameras can provide an excellent solution for a variety of surveillance applications. These cameras are designed to transmit images wirelessly, eliminating the need for wiring and associated installation costs, making them an attractive option for those who want to upgrade existing systems or install new ones without breaking the bank.

Wireless cameras are most often used in situations where a fixed wired infrastructure is not available, such as outdoors or in remote locations. In such cases, they offer flexibility and portability that can be ideal for short-term construction sites or temporary events.

On the downside, wireless cameras may be vulnerable to interference or jamming from other wireless signals present in their vicinity. Additionally, since wireless cameras may also use radio signals that can transmit over hundreds of feet, it is important to make sure that they are only visible within the limited range of the property line to ensure security.

Despite potential limitations and concerns, wireless cameras can be an economical and reliable surveillance solution, especially when used wisely under secure networks.

Indoor Cameras

Indoor security cameras are becoming increasingly important elements in any home or business security plan, both in terms of deterrent and insurance value. Indoor cameras can record people’s activity, track who is entering and leaving a building, monitor critical areas, and alert the appropriate personnel if an intruder gains access. While there are pros and cons to installing indoor security cameras, having this type of surveillance system in place can give users peace-of-mind knowing their premises is safer.

The most significant benefit of installing indoor cameras is that they can help identify and deter intruders from entering a facility by serving as a visual reminder that they could be visible on camera at all times while inside the property. This knowledge alone is often enough to keep potential thieves away. Furthermore, with an intelligent analytics-based software installed, indoor cameras can also detect unusual or suspicious behavior, such as loitering in an off-limits area or opening a door without unlocking it ahead of time.

On the other side of the debate, there are those who argue that security cameras invade our privacy by monitoring people’s activities without their consent or knowledge. Nevertheless, if privacy violations are a concern for users, there are options available with features that blur out certain parts of the image itself (such as faces), prevent data from leaving the premises and only grant access to individuals operating under strict protocols.

Of course, just like any other technology advancement, under no circumstances should people rely solely on CCTV systems for perimeter surveillance purposes and keep it as one part of a comprehensive safety protocol.

When taking into consideration all the advantages indoor cameras can bring in terms of protection from unauthorized access and peace-of-mind, it would seem prudent for businesses and homeowners to look into adding these devices as part of their overall security strategy.

The next section will outline what Outdoor Cameras have to offer so one can make an educated decision on how best to protect their premises.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the most commonly used type of security camera is an IP or Internet Protocol camera, which accounted for nearly 40% of all security cameras in 2016.
  • According to S&P Global, video surveillance systems have grown by more than 19.6 percent each year since 2010 and accounted for total revenue of $20.5 billion in 2017.

Outdoor Cameras

Regarding security cameras, outdoor cameras are essential for protecting the perimeter of your property or business. These special types of cameras are designed to be weatherproof and able to withstand various temperature fluctuations so that they can be placed in various areas outdoors. It is important for people purchasing outdoor cameras to ensure that the camera can also capture footage in low light or night time conditions, since having a wide field of view is not as useful if you cannot make out the details.

Outdoor cameras have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the advantages they provide in terms of property and asset protection. For example, surveillance footage can help deter crimes such as theft and vandalism, while still allowing you to monitor activity on your property as well. However benefits such as these should be weighed carefully against potential drawbacks such as privacy concerns or even the occasional false alarm triggered by passing wildlife.

Outdoor cameras offer numerous advantages when properly used in protecting your property or place of business from intruders. As such, it is important for individuals and businesses seeking to maximize their security considerations to consider all options including the use of outdoor surveillance systems.

What are Security Cameras Used For?

Security cameras are used for various purposes, most commonly to deter crime. This is because they allow businesses, homes, and other organizations to monitor their premises to protect people and assets. Security cameras can also be used to gather evidence if a crime occurs, as well as to help identify criminals.

There has been some debate on the effectiveness of security cameras as a deterrent. Supporters argue that having cameras visible often discourages potential criminals from attempting any illegal activities. Detractors argue that cameras don’t actually stop any crimes from taking place, which could in fact create a false sense of security.

Regardless of these debates, security cameras are still a popular means of deterring crime and helping identify wrongdoing when it does occur. For example, many stores have them set up in their establishments to ensure the safety of employees and shoppers alike.

Security cameras can also be used for unintentional benefits such as resolving neighbor disputes or identifying wildlife behavior in nature preserves.

Home Surveillance

The use of cameras for home surveillance is becoming increasingly popular nowadays, as homeowners seek to protect their property from burglaries and vandalism. Most home surveillance systems include several cameras that are strategically placed around the house, such as in front of the entrance, garage door, and windows. The footage captured by these devices can be stored on a hard drive or cloud storage, allowing users to access it remotely at any time. In addition to providing security and evidence during break-ins, home surveillance also allows owners to monitor the comings and goings of family members or pets.

There are both pros and cons to installing surveillance cameras in a residence. On the positive side, they can provide an extra layer of protection against intruders and offer peace of mind when leaving the house unattended for extended periods of time. Moreover, video footage captured from surveillance cameras can be used to help solve incidents like thefts or vandalism in case they occur. On the downside, some people consider using private cameras an invasion of privacy if their footage is monitored without permission. Furthermore, depending on the model selected and the purpose for video footage recording, high quality video feeds could require costly investments in terms of hardware and data services.

Installing surveillance cameras in one’s home should be done carefully after assessing all risks and benefits involved. After taking into account potential privacy issues, any necessary upgrades for maximum output quality, and proper regulations regarding legal installation practices; homeowners should be better equipped to make informed decisions about whether or not home surveillance works for them. Ultimately, it’s up to each homeowner to weigh whether the perceived protections afforded by home surveillance outweighs any drawbacks associated with it.

Business Surveillance

Business surveillance is an important part of security, both for physical locations and digital networks. With a multitude of types of surveillance cameras available, businesses can ensure their premises are monitored and secure. Surveillance cameras can detect intruders faster than most human security guards, capture footage of any incidents that occur in the facility, enable remote viewing of a facility from another location, and act as a deterrent for criminal activity.

Surveillance camera systems come with both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, camera systems provide a substantial amount of benefits including enhanced security, improved safety within the facility, and increased owner/manager peace of mind. On the other hand, there are concerns over privacy issues that arise with heightened surveillance, the risk of technology failure or malfunction resulting in data gaps, cost associated with installation, maintenance fees, and the time needed to monitor footage.

Despite these drawbacks, businesses reap many rewards with proper use of surveillance camera systems. Utilizing industry-leading technology and practices to protect employees, customers and property gives businesses an advantage in today’s competitive market space.

Motion Detectors

Motion Detectors are a type of technology used in security systems that provide an additional layer of protection. Motion detectors work by sensing any sudden or unexpected movements within their field of view and then triggering the security system’s alarm. They can be placed indoors or outdoors, are available in various sizes to fit different spaces, and come with options such as infrared technology and pet-friendly sensors.

While motion detectors generally offer a greater degree of protection than other security features, such as door locks or window-barring, there is considerable debate over the effectiveness and accuracy of motion detectors and some individuals may feel uncomfortable having motion detectors installed in their homes and businesses. Their opponents point out that motion detectors may be prone to false alarms caused by natural sources such as wind, light changes, and animals; this can lead to unwanted disruption for homeowners or overwhelmed police responding to false alarms too often.

Proponents argue that when properly installed, motion detectors provide a good layer of security to help combat crime and deter burglars. When coupled with surveillance cameras, motion detectors can form part of an effective home security system that helps protect people’s assets while providing peace of mind.

In conclusion, while there is a strong debate surrounding them, motion detectors remain an important component in many home and business security systems that help protect against intruders.

Video Monitoring

Video monitoring is an essential component of a comprehensive security system. Using cameras to monitor and record activities within a space can provide invaluable information which can be used to identify suspicious activity or investigate crimes after-the-fact. By regularly monitoring video footage, it is possible to spot unusual or concerning behaviors, or even sections of the facility that have been left unprotected due to human error.

Though the benefits of video monitoring are clearly beneficial, there is great debate around the issues and ethical considerations of its implementation. A key concern is the need for adequate privacy protections and policies for those being monitored without their knowledge. Proper protocols must be in place to ensure that viewable areas and times are limited, and any data stored securely in accordance with local laws.

Other concerns include how surveillance data may be used, who should have access to the recordings, and how long video footage should be kept before it is disposed of in accordance with best practices. Pertinent legal regulations should always be observed in order to remain compliant with relevant legal requirements when using a video monitoring system.

Different Types of Lenses

When it comes to security camera lenses, different types of lenses can determine the quality and accuracy of the footage. The most common types of lenses for security cameras are fixed, varifocal, and motorized zoom lenses. Each lens type has its own set of pros and cons that must be considered when determining which lens type is best suited for your particular surveillance needs.

Fixed Lenses: Fixed lenses provide the sharpest image at night due to their wider aperture setting, as long as there is enough ambient light available to capture a clear image. Fixed lenses offer better depth of field than other lens types and are cheaper than the other two lens types. However, they offer no flexibility by which the user can zoom in or out on certain areas.

Varifocal Lenses: Varifocal lenses offer adjustable focal lengths and allow the user to manually direct the camera to capture various fields of view with one given camera. This means that within a single frame you can have multiple areas of different magnifications that can dramatically increase viewing reliability compared to a single fixed lens. One disadvantage of this lens type is that focusing on nearby objects may cause blurring at wider angles due to a decrease in depth of field.

Motorized Zoom Lenses: Motorized zoom lenses combine both features of fixed and varifocal lenses into one. Motorized zoom lenses are quite expensive compared to the other two options, but they offer convenience and efficiency by allowing remote tracking operations from any location that is within line-of-sight range from the camera. This means that you don’t have to physically move the camera to adjust its view angle or zoom in/out on certain areas or objects. Motorized zoom lenses provide high levels of optical clarity during both day and nighttime operations and boast an impressive range, making them ideal for long distance surveillance needs.

Overall, each type of lens offers its own advantages depending on your individual surveillance needs. Proper consideration should be taken when deciding which type best suits those needs since all three come with varying degrees of cost effectiveness and capabilities.

Benefits of IP Security Cameras

IP security cameras are quickly becoming the go-to choice for many businesses and public spaces for a variety of reasons. With their versatile features, scalability, and affordability, IP security cameras provide organizations ranging from malls to small offices powerful surveillance options. Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits that these cameras offer:

Enhanced Clarity: Thanks to IP technology, IP security cameras are better suited than analog cameras to record higher resolution images with less noise – no matter the lighting condition or time of day. This capability results in improved image detail and accuracy when identifying people, objects, or activities captured by the camera.

Networked Systems: Unlike traditional surveillance systems that require local servers and separate cables for each camera, IP security cameras can be connected through existing networks. This allows organizations to reduce infrastructure requirements and scale surveillance effortlessly as needed.

Remote Access: IP security cameras provide users with access to live video streams over the internet from anywhere on any compatible device. This mobile access makes it easy to check in on a store or office whether you’re inside or away. Users can also access recorded data easily for review and audit compliance if needed.

Affordability: When compared to traditional surveillance systems, IP security cameras are more cost-effective and easier to install since they don’t require wiring beyond an ethernet connection. Additionally, most systems come with built-in storage solutions so that companies don’t have to pay hefty recurring fees for cloud storage.

It’s important to note that there are potential drawbacks associated with using IP security cameras such as cybersecurity risks, limited viewing angle ranges, and higher power requirements compared to analog solutions. That being said, when deployed correctly and monitored regularly, most organizations stand to gain much more than they lose by integrating IP security cameras into their surveillance systems.

Different Types of Infrared Technology

When it comes to security cameras, one of the most sophisticated technologies incorporated within them is infrared technology. Infrared technology uses specific wavelengths in the non-visible light spectrum that allow cameras to take a visible image—even in total darkness. This type of imaging technology has become increasingly popular as a form of perimeter and surveillance because of its inconspicuous nature compared to traditional lighting options.

Generally, there are two types of infrared technology used by security cameras: active infrared (AIR) and passive infrared (PIR).

Active Infrared (AIR) Technology: Also known as “electronic flash” or “near IR,” active infrared works by emitting a powerful beam of light onto a subject and then capturing the reflecting light with a specialized camera lens. The power of this process is measured in terms of watts and can range from 20 to 100 watts. AIR technology offers distinct advantages over traditional lightning methods such as reduced power consumption, improved signal-to-noise ratio, and wide field of view. Furthermore, it also creates uniform illumination with no blind spots. However, the biggest downside to using this type of infrared is its cost due to the higher wattage of power needed to generate the beam.

Passive Infrared (PIR) Technology: Passive infrared, also known as thermal imaging, detects heat emitted by an object, person or animal instead of relying on visible light. As long as a body’s surface temperature is above absolute zero (-459°F), it will emit some sort of thermal energy which can be detected by PIR sensors inside the camera’s lens. The biggest advantage to using PIR over AIR is its low overall cost when compared to an AIR system due to its reduced power consumption needs. Additionally, it does not detect movement inanimate objects such as clouds and water vapor which adds an extra layer of accuracy when determining if something within an environment is living or not. The main drawback to using PIR is that certain objects with similar temperatures—like trees—can be mistaken for something that has the same heat signature as a human or animal.

How Security Cameras Record Footage

Security cameras record footage by first capturing what is seen by the camera onto a medium such as an SD card, digital video recorder (DVR), network video recorder (NVR) or cloud storage. Footage is recorded continuously, or can be triggered manually or by motion or sound detectors. Most systems allow for looping of the footage, so when the medium storing the recorded footage is full, it can overwrite existing footage to continue recording.

The frequency of data being recorded depends largely on the resolution and compression method used. Higher resolution images often require more space and therefore have less of a “buffer” before they begin to overwrite footage. Higher-end systems are generally more reliable at maintaining continuous recordings even in continuous full storage scenarios.

Storage capability of the surveillance system will affect how much footage can be kept on hand for future review, if needed. Local storage on an SD card or DVR allows for easy access with proper compatibility between devices, but may become costly for larger operations that need additional storage space. Cloud storage with offsite backup offers greater flexibility and scalability to businesses seeking to ensure their data is safe from physical threats such as fire, theft and other disasters as well as from cyber-attacks. Some systems feature integration between local and cloud storage capability that provide businesses with both security options simultaneously.

Due to increasing crime rates and advancements in technology, it is important to know all the options available when considering purchasing a security camera system. 

What to Consider When Purchasing Security Cameras

When deciding to purchase security cameras, there are a few key factors to bear in mind. Before setting out to get the right cameras for your property, it is important to consider your intended purpose and chosen environment for the cameras. Additionally, one must factor in budget constraints and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different types of security cameras.


The primary factor that should be taken into consideration when purchasing security cameras is the desired use. Some people may be looking for larger systems with more features for use in marketable settings such as hospitals and retail stores, while others may just want a smaller system exclusively for home security. Depending on the application, certain camera types may be more suitable than others, like surveillance cams used for recording wide areas or PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) models used to observe smaller spaces or multiple targets simultaneously. In specific applications, such as wildlife monitoring, specialized wildlife cameras might even be necessary.


Choosing the right location is another essential point to keep in mind when buying security cameras. Factors such as the weather condition of outdoor installations and potential hardware limitations when installing indoors should all be taken into account when selecting an appropriate location for each camera. Outdoor cameras need weather-proofing protection against dust or water; indoor cameras also require careful evaluation of any surrounding obstacles like furniture or walls as they tend to impede the field of view of the lens.


Similarly, one’s budget should be factored into the decision-making process when selecting cameras. Security solutions can range from basic inexpensive IP–based systems with limited capabilities for small businesses or homes to more sophisticated wireless solutions capable of covering large properties with numerous functionalities for enterprises. Depending on what type of system is being sought after, costs can vary greatly from company to company so it’s important to shop around if you have money limitations.

Advantages & Disadvantages

It is also important to consider the advantages and disadvantages between traditional analog versus digital system before deciding what type of Cameras are best suited for their application. For example, while analog systems provide clear images in overlapping zones with lower cost equipment they can lack advanced functionalities found in some digital systems like facial recognition or biometric identification software which come at higher cost points but are becoming necessary components of today’s surveillance infrastructure due technological advances and enhanced security measures being mandated by governments.. Additionally, analog systems may require additional processing hardware required to decode data signals which could add cost or create inefficiency depending on needs. On the flip side digital systems can also incur extra costs due to compatibility issues since they depend on internet connection and other networking components that might not work well with existing infrastructure.

Therefore before investing in any type of camera system, it is important to make sure that one understands the pros and cons of both kinds and make an informed decision about which setup best suits their application considering all the abovementioned factors.