Complete guidance for selection cctv surveillance cameras

Video surveillance systems play the vital role in deterrent criminals and provide the high quality video footage for investigation either for analysis or as evidence for legal purpose. Since the rapid development of video surveillance technology, the systems become more and more affordable for residential users.  Today you can find huge amount of similar cctv cameras with same price in the market. How to choose the right cctv cameras become the headache for some people who are not familiar with features of cctv cameras.

To make sure you can get the right cctv cameras for your application or meet your needs. It's better to understand the basic and important specification of cameras. We herein provide some key points to consider that can help you to choose appropriate security cameras for your video surveillance system.

The classification of cctv cameras

The difference on the appearance is one of obvious factor to classify the security cameras. With adopting different housing, the camera with many types including box camera, bullet camera, dome camera, PTZ dome camera and hidden camera. The appearance also determined the applications which these camera should be installed.

Typically box camera are installed indoor environment, box camera without equipped with infrared illuminators, therefore used under good light condition. This type of camera also can be installed outside as long as put them into weatherproof housing. Box cameras are equipped with C/CS lens, the camera itself without equipped with lens, this can allow user to choose appropriate lens for specific installation environment, increased the flexibility.

Bullet camera - one of most popular selling and installed security camera. The all-in-one features allow user to install cameras with ease. It contains lens, camera module, as well as infrared illuminators board. The bullet sharp design makes camera very obvious for better deterrent of criminals. People is easy to notice the exist of cameras and know places where the camera target to. With weatherproof housing design, bullet camera both suitable for indoor and outdoor video surveillance solutions. The integration of Infrared technology (or LED Array, white light, laser infrared) enables camera see under complete darkness, providing long range night vision.

Infrared bullet cameraInfrared Array Bullet Camera
Unique pro bullet design all-in-one camera,equipped with 2 pcs infrared array for IR illumination, vari-focal lens. Sony Effio solution, deliver 650TVL horizontal resolution, with OSD menu.
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Long range IR bullet camera960H bullet camera
9 pcs cold light infrared LEDs, long range night vision, based on Sony Effio-P 960H solution, deliver crisp images at day&night, with unique OSD menu design. IP66 rated waterproof housing.
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Dome camera - similar to IR bullet camera, it's all-in-one camera, but with dome sharp design. The dome sharp design not only brings the aesthetic appearance, but also increased the durability of camera. Typically, dome cameras with vandal-proof features, which utilized the vandal-proof material as dome cover. Dome camera is very suitable for indoor installation, especially requires blending into interior decoration. Unlike bullet camera, the dome camera is less visible and occupy less space for installation, it supports both ceiling mounted and wall mounted installation.

Vandal-proof dome cameraVandal-proof dome camera
Professional design vandal-proof dome camera, with 30pcs infrared LEDs, built-in 2.8-12mm vari-focal lens, Sony Effio technology, 2DNR+3NDR, WDR, deliver high resolution images at 700TVL (960H)
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Outdoor dome camera with IROutdoor dome camera
30 meters IR range dome camera, 2.8-12 vari-focal lens, equipped with Sony Effio 700TVL CCD module, multiply functions, support motion detection,privacy mask, with OSD menu.
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PTZ camera - Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera is the most sophisticated camera, which integrated with high speed motor rotation system. The camera can be rotated in 360 degree with high speed, or 180 degree vertically rotating with auto flip feature. This can help camera to cover the large area. PTZ camera is equipped with optical zoom lens, the optical zoom lens can be controlled for enlarging the scene or inspect the details. Combination with auto focus function, the PTZ camera can be worked to track moving objects or do some smart video surveillance. PTZ control requires the RS485 connection. RS485 is the standard connection for PTZ control. Majority of PTZ cameras with big housing size, they are deployed in commercial security solutions such as parking lot, banks, library, government facility, military, city surveillance.

Hidden camera - or spy camera. Hidden camera with tiny size, it can be hidden inside toys or clocks for spy purpose. The camera makes people under video surveillance without awareness. Hidden camera should be used in legal purpose, the law forbidden using hidden camera to intrude privacy.

Important of TV Line

CCTV camera is belong to analogue system. The traditional analogue systems are using the TV lines to measure the resolution of video footage. The higher of TV Lines, the higher of resolution. The most selling security cameras with 420TVL, 600TVL, 650TVL, 700TVL.  700 TVL is the highest resolution for traditional cctv cameras. 700 TVL security cameras is the core component for 960H cctv surveillance system.

420TVL VS 600TVL VS 650TVL VS 700TVL
Item 420TVL 600/650TVL 700TVL
Effective Pixel PAL(512Hx582V) NTSC(512H×492V) PAL(752Hx582V) NTSC(768Hx494V) PAL(976Hx582) NTSC(976Hx494)
Total Piexel: PAL:752(H)*582(V);NTSC:768(H)*494(V) PAL:795(H)*596(V);NTSC:811(H)*508(V) PAL:1020(H)*596(V) ; NTSC:1020(H) x 508(V)
Total number of pixels 270K 440K 480K/570K
CCD Sensor Type 510H  760H 960H
CCD Sensor Model ICX632BKA/ICX633BKA ICX639BKA/ICX639BKA ICX811BKA/ICX810BKA, ICX673/672
ISP (processor) Sony 3142 Sony Effio-E Sony Effio-E, Effio-S, Effio-P

 Choosing the camera with right lens

Lens is the eye of security camera. It determines the field of view of security cameras. The focal length is the measurement of lens. Majority of security cameras with fixed lens, vari-focal lens, auto zoom lens. Fixed lens means the filed of view and view angle are fixed, can not be changed. Vari-focal lens allow user to zoom&focus manually to adjust the focal length. Auto zoom lens, it can be controlled with camera for changing the field of view. Different size of lens with different field of view.

Security camera lens comparison

True WDR or D-WDR

WDR - wide dynamic range, this technology can increase the sensitivity of security cameras while working in different light condition. The WDR function enables camera provide clear images under back light circumstances. The working theory is image sensor process different areas of the image at different exposure times and combined them into a clear image. D-WDR or Digital wide dynamic range function can allow the camera to capture one image and modify it digitally, the details are much less than the image processed by WDR, that's the difference between WDR and D-WDR.

WDR vs DWDR vs Regular Comparison

Infrared illumination technology

Infrared technology is the most mature illumination technology, which enables camera to see under complete darkness. Infrared (IR) security cameras is equipped with many infrared LEDs for illumination purpose. Since the development of illumination technology, different technologies are available in the market including infrared LEDs, LED array, white light, laser infrared.  Infrared LED and array, laser infrared are emitting invisible infrared light, which allow camera to capture black/white (B/W) images at night. White light LEDs are emitting visible white light, which allow camera delivers color images at night. 

Because the infrared emitting will consume huge power, therefore generating huge heart, which reduce the stability and lifespan of security camera. Being equipped with different quantities of LEDs can achieve different night vision distance. Choosing a camera with appropriate night vision distance can keep your camera provide long-life service with high stable performance.

Camera Infrared Technology Comparison


We won't discuss the difference between the CMOS and CCD image sensor. Both of them can provide high quality resolution can reach up to megapixel. Today we can find many very cheap 420 TVL cameras with CMOS image sensor, therefore we are focusing on difference between the 420TVL CMOS and 420TVL CCD security cameras. When 420TVL CMOS sensor integration with mechanical IR-Cut filter, the camera can provide same effects (or images) like same resolution of CCD camera, but CCD camera are with higher sensitivity for light illumination, therefore providing low noise images at night surveillance condition.

The function of OSD menu

OSD means On-Screen-Display, it's menu system which allow user to adjust the product's specification. Different from embedded OSD menu for TV, Monitors, the OSD menu inside of security camera is very useful. In order to make the security camera can capture desired video footage, we can't merely rely on the camera to automatically adjust the specification. Typically, above 600TVL security cameras are with OSD function or menu. Using the OSD menu, the user can adjust the brightness, contrast, enable high light compensation (HLC), back-light compensation, WDR, DNR, Sens-up features and choosing white balance modes, as well as setting the motion detection zones and privacy masks...etc.

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Tags: CCTV Cameras, CCTV Tips