How Many Different Security Camera Types Are There in the Market?

Updated on Dec 2, 2021

There are many different security camera types in the market, which have various functions due to diverse parameters. When deciding to have a video surveillance system, one of the significant factors that installers will need to consider is the types of surveillance cameras required. This article can help you make the optimal choice based on your needs for your security camera system.

Security Camera Types Classified by Appearances

Security cameras can be divided into the dome, bullet, turret, and fisheye cameras by their appearances. Dome cameras are named for their dome shape, bullet cameras with cylinder-shaped appearance look like bullet shells, turret cameras are with turret style 3-axis construction, and the image from a fisheye camera is hemispherical or wide panoramic, just like the effect of a fisheye and that's how it gets the name.

Figure 1: Security Camera Types Classified by Appearances

Each of these types of surveillance cameras has a distinct appearance and features and is best suited for different security needs (as the table below).

Dome Camera Bullet Camera Turret Camera Fisheye Camera

Dome shape

Small size

Bullet shell shape

Highly visible and can easily be damaged

Sliced sphere shape

Small size

Flat round shape

Small size

Visual range Small lens and range Bigger lens with a wider range Small lens and range Ultra-wide range
Indoor use More discreet and less distracting More visible and easier to vandalize More discreet and less distracting More discreet and less distracting
Outdoor use

High concealment

Condensation and IR Bounce back

Wider range

Visible deterrent

Prone to wildlife nesting

Clear image

No IR Bounce

Easy to be damaged

Clear panoramic image

Vandal resistant

Installation Professional installation Easy installation Easy installation and adjustment Easy installation and adjustment

To learn more: Dome vs Bullet Camera, Turret vs Fisheye Camera: How to Choose?

Security Camera Types Classified by Functions

As security cameras are applied in various environments, different problems and requirements are coming up. To deal with the problems and needs, diverse security camera types by functions are offered: night vision security cameras are designed to get clear images even in complete darkness, WDR IP cameras are invented to deal with overexposure issues, PTZ IP cameras with zoom capability are used to offer a broader field of view with no blind spots, etc. Keep reading to learn more about these functional security cameras.

Night Vision Security Camera

Night vision security cameras are equipped with built-in small LED bulbs (when looking at the camera lens, you will find them set inside around the lens), and an IR cut filter, which is used to detect daylight and to block out the light falling on the image sensor during the day to keep color in daytime looking accurate. While the light fades, the cameras automatically switch to infrared mode and can “see” in darkness.

Most outdoor night vision security cameras capture footage in black and white, while some can offer color night vision. Night vision security cameras can ensure clear, full-time video coverage in low or no-light areas, leading to the most common installation spots being large-scale enterprises, shared footprints spaces, hotels, driveways, and so on.

Figure 2: Night Vision Security Camera

WDR IP Camera

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology compensates for problems with exposure to light. It enables the camera to capture details clearly in both the poorly and strongly illuminated areas of the video. This dynamic treatment of light notably improves the image quality of security cameras under high-contrast lighting conditions where there are both dim and bright areas in the field of view.

WDR technology in IP cameras allows them to capture detailed features by appropriately exposing both the darkest and brightest parts of the entire scene. WDR IP cameras can provide much more concrete images for the identification of people or vehicle license plates, which makes them extremely important for video surveillance systems. Therefore, WDR IP cameras are particularly recommended for building entrances, ATMs, and transportation facilities, as well as near windows or similar areas. To learn more: Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) in IP Cameras

PTZ IP Camera

PTZ IP camera is equipped with pan, tilt, and zoom functionality controlled by a remote operator using monitoring software or a joystick. You can also use camera management software to set up guard tours so that the security cameras will automatically move to monitor pre-set locations on a schedule. To pan horizontally, tilt vertically & diagonally, and zoom in on a subject, the PTZ IP camera can enhance the image quality without digital pixilation and allows security staff to respond quickly to events they spot with the surveillance camera system.

With the advantages of a large field of view, auto-tracking, remote control, and zoom capability, PTZ IP cameras are commonly applied in guard stations, supermarkets, airports, large outdoor areas, and so on.

Deep Learning Camera

Deep learning is a form of machine learning that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to comb through a massive amount of data, recognize patterns, and learn from those patterns. For example, we want to teach security cameras to recognize specific objects. We can programmatically input the size, shape, speed of the objects, and the information of the different components of each object so that the camera can recognize the relevant features. Through this data, the machine learns how to differentiate between the types of movement and decide whether to ignore it.

Figure 3: Standard Machine Learning vs Deep Learning Camera

By learning different object classifications, such as a human, animal, vehicle, etc., deep learning cameras can automatically recognize familiar faces, so as to quickly identify people and count the numbers remotely, and realize intelligent alarms in advance. For this reason, face capture cameras are suitable for shops, schools, meeting rooms, and outdoor events.

Thermal Security Camera

Thermal security cameras work by detecting and measuring infrared radiation (heat signatures and patterns) emanating from objects and then constructing images from the differences in their temperatures. As thermal surveillance cameras don't rely on light to get imagery, and atmospheric events like rain, fog, or smoke will not affect their ability to see detailed visibility, they are embraced as ideal “people detectors”.

When properly equipped, they can automatically “catch” intruders attempting to breach outdoor perimeters with high reliability even in an unpredictable outdoor environment. Thermal security cameras support human body temperature screening and face detection with abnormal temperature alarms, ideal for military and commercial vessels, medical facilities, and home and building inspections, especially essential for accurate detection and effective control in the COVID-19 Period.

Figure 4: Image of Thermal Security Camera


As technology continues to advance, security camera types are getting more and more for a better and smarter video surveillance system all the time. The functions of IP cameras are also developing. For example, the motion detection of a deep learning camera purchased today maybe even more accurate a year from now. By the way, these functions do not exist alone in an IP camera, and several functions can coexist for better imagery. You can choose the appropriate security camera according to the required application scenario.

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