IP CCTV Camera Buying Guide

With so many different IP CCTV cameras available and new features added frequently it can be confusing choosing the perfect IP camera for your needs. This guide will help you decide what specifications and features your camera has to have. Once you have decided these, simply go to the IP CCTV Camera section and use the filters to find the ideal camera.

Choose by Brand

To use all of the features an IP camera offers, it is recommended that the brand of cameras and recorder that you have on your system is the same for everything. If you do need to mix brands then please contact us so we can advise you on what features will be supported.

Choose by ONVIF profile
If you are using a different brand of recorder to the camera you choose, then depending on the ONVIF profile supported by the camera (and recorder) the features that are compatible will be different. See this link for detailed information on what each profile supports. Below we have listed the most common differences. For further help with ONVIF comaptibility please call us.
Profile G - For edge storage and retrieval
  • Configure, request and control recording
  • Receive audio and metadata stream.
Profile M - Metadata and analytics for smart applications
  • Analytics configuration and information query for metadata
  • Configuration and streaming of metadata
  • Generic object classification support
  • Metadata definition for geolocation, vehicle, license plate, human face and body
  • Event handling interfaces for object counter, face and license plate recognition analytics and for sending ONVIF events in JSON format over MQTT
  • Rule configuration for events
Profile Q - For quick installation
  • Easy setup
  • Discovery, configuration and control of conformant devices
Profile S - For basic video streaming
  • Video streaming and configuration
  • PTZ control
  • Audio in
  • Multicasting
  • Relay outputs
Profile T - For advanced video streaming
  • H.264 / H.265 video compression
  • Imaging settings
  • Motion alarm and tampering events
  • Metadata streaming
  • Bi-directional audio
  • PTZ control
  • PTZ configuration
  • Motion region configuration
  • Digital inputs
  • Relay outputs
Choose by Resolution:
The higher the resolution the greater the detail in the images provided by the camera.
      • 2MP (1080P) - Our lowest cost cameras, offering 5x the resolution of  legacy analogue CCTV cameras. 2MP cameras are an ideal entry in to high definition surveillance. 
      • 4/5/6MP - Our most popular cameras. 4/5/6MP cameras provide the best balance between cost and performance. They offer up to 3x the resolution of 2MP systems and 15x the resolution of legacy analogue CCTV cameras. 
      • 8MP (4K) - 8MP IP CCTV cameras offer 4K image quality  (that's 4x the picture quality of 2MP cameras, and an amazing 20x the resolution of legacy analogue CCTV cameras).
      • 12MP - Our highest performance IP CCTV cameras. 12MP cameras are used for 360° fisheye viewing. The high resolution allows you to digitally zoom in to the image and still pick out details. For example a 2x zoom, the image resolution will be 6MP, and at 3x it will be 4MP, even at 6x zoom the image resolution is equivalent to a 2MP camera!
Choose by Frame Rate:
When looking at IP camera specifications you will notice that fps is often mentioned. This is an abbreviation for Frames Per Second.
The best frame rate for high risk CCTV applications is 25fps (you will see some cameras offer higher fps, this allows them to have smoother pictures when viewing the recorded footage in slow motion) and in an ideal world all cameras would record at this. However the higher the fps and image resolution the camera is streaming at, the more processing power it will use, and the higher the amount of recording space that will be needed. Another factor is cost, the higher the processor in the camera, the more it costs.
For example a camera may be capable of producing 2MP resolution images at 25fps, 5MP at 15fps,  and 8MP at 10fps. The best way to think of a frame is as a still picture, so for 25fps, the camera is streaming 25 still pictures every second. When these are viewed, they will give you smooth real time video, without any gaps in the footage. If the camera was recording 1 fps (frame per second) then when the stream was viewed it would be like viewing still images not a smooth video, and 96% of every second of footage would be missing! 

See our recommendations for fps below: 

Application Ideal FPS Lowest FPS
Identification or High Risk (such as cameras located in premises that serve alcohol or handle cash) and Identification 25 15
Recognition or Medium Risk (business premises) 15 10
Observation or Standard Risk (homes) 10 5
Detection or Low Risk 5 1

 

Choose by lighting environment:
Unless the camera is being used in daylight or applications where there is good lighting, it is important to choose a camera that is designed to perform in the lighting conditions present in your application. 
      • No Light - Our most popular option, these cameras are designed for applications where there is no light. They have either IR (Infra Red) or White Light LEDs which will illuminate the area being watched.
      • Night (Starlight) - Our best performing low light cameras, designed for applications where the only light source is starlight. These cameras will have integrated IR (Infra Red) or White Light LEDs which will illuminate a limited area, however beyond this range they will use their Starlight imaging sensor to provide clear images over longer distances.
      • Night (Street Lights) - Cameras designed for applications where there is ambient light, such as street lights.
      • Day/Good Light - All of our cameras can be used in daylight and in applications where there is good lighting.
Choose by lens type:
Your choice of lens will depend on whether you want to Detect, Observe, Recognise or Identify objects and people with the camera.
      • Wide Angle Lens - Cameras with horizontal viewing angles that are greater than 75°. These are perfect for observing and detecting objects and people in large areas, or for recognition of objects and people that are close to the camera.
      • Standard Lens - Cameras with horizontal viewing angles that are between 30° and 75°. These are perfect for recognising objects and people in large areas, or for identification of objects and people that are close to the camera.
      • Telephoto Lens - Cameras with horizontal viewing angles of less than 30°. These are perfect for identification of objects and people in areas of all sizes. The further away the object or person, the narrower the lens angle required.
Choose by Audio requirements:
Our cameras are available with built in a microphone or audio input (for connecting a microphone) for monitoring and recording audio from the area they are watching. Some cameras also have a built in speaker or audio output (for connecting a speaker). These cameras allow you to have 2 way audio communication with people by the camera remotely from a Windows PC, OSX PC, iOS or Android device.
      • Built-in Microphone - The camera has a built-in microphone for listening to the area where the the camera is located.
      • Audio Input - The camera has an audio input connection for connecting a microphone.
      • Built-in Speaker - The camera has a built-in speaker. This allows people near the camera to hear you when you coomunicate with them remotely.
      • Audio Output - The camera has an audio output connection for connecting a speaker.
      • 2 Way Audio (from Windows PC) - You can have a 2 way audio conversation with people near the camera, from a Windows PC, connected to the camera either locally or across the internet.
      • 2 Way Audio (from OSX PC) - You can have a 2 way audio conversation with people near the camera, from an OSX PC, connected to the camera either locally or across the internet.
      • 2 Way Audio (from iOS device) - You can have a 2 way audio conversation with people near the camera, from an iOS device, connected to the camera either locally or across the internet.
      • 2 Way Audio (from Android device) - You can have a 2 way audio conversation with people near the camera, from an Android device, connected to the camera either locally or across the internet.
Choose by Style:
The style of the camera you ultimately choose will be decided by the location and application.
      • 180°/360° Fisheye (Panoramic) - Fisheye cameras provide the ability to view very large or wide areas with a single camera, and curcially without blind spots. A 180° camera is ideal for mounting on a vertical surface, and will provide complete coverage of the area directly in front of it, from edge to edge. 360° cameras are designed for vertical or horizontal surface mounting, for example on a ceiling. They provide complete coverage of the area in front of them without any blindspots. 
      • Auto Tracking PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) - Auto Tracking Pan Tilt Zoom cameras have a motorised auto focus lens that provides wide angle, standard and telephoto angles from the same camera. They also have a Pan Tilt motor, which allows the camera to be panned and tilted remotely. The Auto Tracking function lets you set them up to view a wide area and then when the camera detects movement in that wide area it will zoom in and follow the movement until it leaves the cameras range. Once it has finished tracking it will return back to it's original position and wait for the next movement.
      • Auto Tracking Speed Domes - Auto Tracking Speed Domes offer the same features as Auto Tracking Pan Tilt Zoom cameras. A motorised auto focus lens that provides wide angle, standard and telephoto angles and a built in Pan Tilt motor for high speed panning and tilting. However they offer a more discreet design when compared to Pan Tilt Zoom cameras.The Auto Tracking function lets you set them up to view a wide area and then when the camera detects movement in that wide area it will zoom in and follow the movement until it leaves the cameras range. Once it has finished tracking it will return back to it's original position and wait for the next movement.
      • Bullet - Bullet cameras provide the greatest visual deterrent and are best suited to applications where you want to make it very clear that an area is under the protection of CCTV.
      • Discreet/Covert - Our discreet and covert cameras are designed for applications where you require the cameras to blend in to their surroundings, for example in a high end restaurant, or be hidden from view completely.
      • Dome (Traditional) - Traditional domes are very popular for applications that require a discreet camera and where it should not be obvious which direction/ area they are watching. For these reasons they are perfect for restaurants, shops, offices and similar premises.
      • Dome (Turret/Eyeball) - The latest style of domes are called Turret or Eyeball, unlike traditional domes they do not hide which direction/area they are watching. This makes them a good visual deterrent but in a compact form factor.
      • Speed Domes - Speed Domes offer the same features as Pan Tilt Zoom cameras. A motorised auto focus lens that provides wide angle, standard and telephoto angles and a built in Pan Tilt motor for high speed panning and tilting. However they offer a more discreet design when compared to Pan Tilt Zoom cameras.
      • PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) - Pan Tilt Zoom cameras have a motorised auto focus lens that provides wide angle, standard and telephoto angles from the same camera. They also have a Pan Tilt motor, which allows the camera to be panned and tilted remotely.
      • Vandal Resistant - Vandal resistant cameras provide additional resistance against vandalism when compared to non-vandal resistant cameras.
      • Zoom Cameras - Zoom cameras have a motorised auto focus lens that provides wide angle, standard and telephoto angles from the same camera.
Choose by Intelligent Features (AI, Video Analytics, Deep Learning, Active Deterrence):
Some IP cameras have powerful processors that allow them to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to analyse the scenes they see and detect certain types of movement or information. The camera can then use these instances to send alerts, communicate with the recorder. or trigger devices (both local or external). Standard AI cameras use default algorithms for detecting, whilst these produce far, far fewer false alarms than standard motion detection cameras, for reducing false alarms to a bare minimum, Deep Learning AI cameras are recommended, as these will adjust their algorithms automatically to learn from the scene they are watching.
      • Active Deterrence - Active Deterrence cameras go one step further than standard cameras by proactively responding to what they see. They will detect movement using an integrated PIR detector. Once detected they can turn on or flash a white light, sound a siren or play a recorded message. The camera can also alert you via an APP or Email.
      • Active Deterrence TIOC (White Light, Blue/Red Visual Alert & Audio Alert) - Active Deterrence Three in One Cameras (TIOC) detect movement using AI to detect breaches of perimeters, humans and vehicles. Once detected they can turn on or flash a white light, turn on blue and red strobe lights, sound a siren and play a recorded message. The camera can also alert you via an APP or Email. There are many applications that this technology can be used for, here are some examples below:
      1. Vehicle Detection - for example you could detect vehicles entering a No Parking area. If a vehicle enters this area have the camera sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, alerting the driver that they cannot park.
      2. Human Detection - for example you could have the camera detect intruders entering your driveway or garden. If they do enter the camera can alert you on your Smartphone/tablet and also sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, scaring the intruder away.
      3. Perimeter Detection - for example you can draw a perimeter around a pond and have the camera alert you on your Smartphone/tablet if anyone crosses this perimeter. At the same time it can sound it's built in siren, play a recorded message and flash a strobe light, warning the person to stay away from the potentially dangerous area.
      • Advanced Motion Detection - Whereas motion detection will detect every motion in the cameras view as motion, Advanced Motion Detection uses AI to ignore "noise" in the scene, such as lighting changes, natural tree movements etc...
      • Capacity Control (Queue Management) - The camera will detect how many people enter and exit a premises entrance. The number of people left in the premises can then be displayed on a monitor connected to a PC that is connected to the camera. The camera will also display a Stop or Go traffic light on the monitor if a maximum capacity for the premises has been set. The relay output on the camera can work in tandem with the stop and go to control access.
      • Face Detection - The camera will detect faces in the scene and a recorder and monitor connected to the camera will then display these as they are detected and also allow you to playback all recordings where a face was detected.
      • Face Recognition - The camera will detect and recognise faces in the scene. You can then search for a face from the recorder, or have the camera alert you if a recognised or unknown face is seen. These alerts can also control a relay output.
      • Heat Map - The camera will show you a heat map of where motion occurs in the camera view, on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. This is very useful for example for Retail Stores, allowing them to see where customers spend the most time in a store.
      • Human Detection The camera will detect humans in the scene. You can then search the recordings for human movement or have the camera alert you if a recognised or unknown face is seen.
      • Line Cross Counting - The camera will detect objects crossing a user defined virtual line and report the number crossing in either or both directions.
      • Loitering - The camera will detect people loitering when they are in a defined area for a specific amount of time. The camera will alert you when loitering occurs.
      • Missing Object (Object Removed) - The camera will detect when an object is removed from the scene. The camera will alert you when this occurs.
      • People Counting - The camera will count people crossing a user defined virtual line and report the number crossing in either or both directions.
      • Perimeter (Line Cross) Detection - The camera will detect objects crossing a user defined virtual line or perimeter. You can then search the recordings for line crossing or have the camera alert you when a line or perimeter is crossed. 
      • Region Entrance/Exit Detection - The camera will watch a user defined region in its view and alert you when a person or object enters or leaves that area.
      • Stationary/Left Object Detection - The camera will detect when an object is stationary/left in the scene for a specific amount of time. The camera will alert you when this occurs.
      • Tamper Detection - The camera will alert you if the camera view is obstucted or moved.
      • Vehicle Detection The camera will detect vehicles in the scene. You can then search the recordings for vehicle movement or have the camera alert you if a vehicle is detected.
Choose by Special Features:
Some applications will require special camera features to ensure that you capture the exact footage you require.
      • 120dB+ WDR - Cameras with a Wide Dynamic Range of 120dB or above are designed for use in areas where the camera will be viewing foreground objects that have bright background, such as looking at people coming through a glass entrance or foyer on a sunny day.
      • 24 hour Colour View (White LED) - White LED cameras incorporate discreet White LEDs which come on at night and illuminate an area so that the camera can see in colour. The White LEDs are visible but have a lower brightness then floodlights for example, this is because the camera incorporates a high sensitivity imaging sensor which requires very little light to provide a colour image. These cameras are good alternative to IR cameras as they will provide colour images at night, providing additional information such as colours of vehicles or clothes. The White LEDs could also replace the need for a separate light source such as a floodlight.
      • Number Plate Recording - As long as you choose the right lens angle and make sure the number plate fills 25% of the area being watched you should be able to record the vehicle number plate clearly during the day or in good lighting using any of our cameras. However for recording at night, especially if the vehicle will have its headlights on we recommend using Starlight cameras and ensuring the number plate fills at least 50% of the screen.
      • Number Plate Recognition - In addition to number plate recording we also offer number plate recognition, the difference is that using recognition number plates are recorded and converted in to a text so that they can be stored in a database, allowing you to search by numberplate, open and close access control equipment according to number plate and raise alerts according to number plate.
      • PIR Movement Sensor - The camera has a PIR sensor that will detect movement. PIR sensors are less prone to false alarms than Motion Detection, as they will ignore minor movements of trees etc...
      • Smart IR - Standard IR cameras will have fixed brightness on their IR LEDs, this can result in over exposure of people and objects close to the camera. Cameras with Smart IR will adjust the brightness of the IR LEDs so that people and objects are not over exposed when they are directly in front of the camera. 
      • Starlight - Starlight cameras use special imaging sensors to provide clear images without any additional lighting. All they require is the ambient light that can be found on a night with clear skies. They can see clearly even when human eyes cannot.

Choose by Location/Environment:

Choose from the list below to select cameras best suited to the location where you are fitting your camera.
      • Indoor - All of our cameras can be used indoors.
      • Outdoor (Covered Areas) - Cameras best suited to mounting in covered outdoor locations. 
      • Outdoor (Exposed Areas) - Cameras best suited to mounting in areas that are very exposed to rain and snow.