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Choosing between Bullet and Dome Cameras
There are five main body styles of IP cameras, but most people end up choosing between Dome and Bullet Cameras. Our Bullet cameras are weatherproof, mount on the side of the wall, and can have long-range lenses; they are best used outdoors. Dome cameras can hang from the ceiling or mount on the wall and can be used indoors and outdoors. Some IP Dome cameras are vandal-proof and most of our dome IP cameras are weatherproof. Unless you want a long range lens (which has trouble fitting in a dome design) or need protection from vandalism (which the compact design of a dome is better suited for), there is very little difference between a dome or bullet camera's capabilities, the decision is mostly about what you think looks better in your space.
Choosing between Fixed, Vari-focal, and PTZ lenses
IP cameras come with one of three lens types. Fixed lenses have a focal point and angle of view that are not able to be modified. Both vari-focal and PTZ cameras have the ability for you to choose your viewing angle and level of zoom, but PTZ can Pan and Tilt as well as Zoom (that's where we get PTZ). PTZ can be controlled remotely via a joystick or smartphone. The viewing angle and level of zoom for a Vari-focal camera must be changed in person.
Vari-focal cameras have lenses that allow you to physically adjust the viewing angle and focus of a camera. The most common form of vari-focal is wide angle 2.8mm to telephoto 12mm. The terms sound complicated, but you've actually done this a ton of times already. Every time you twist the lens of a DSLR camera or push the zoom button on a digital camera, you are changing the focal length and viewing angle. In photography, we call this "zooming," but in surveillance we call these types of cameras "vari-focal."
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IP cameras are Digital and connect via Cat5 (Networking) Cable
Cat5 Cable, as shown in the image to the left, is the cable used in creating computer networks. IP cameras have their own internal IP addresses, so you will not need to do a home run (a cable run from the camera to NVR) for every camera. As long as you put your camera and your NVR on the same network, they will be able to see each other and work flawlessly. You can use network switches to consolidate cable runs so that you can do a branching cable design.
With an IP camera system, this one wire caries both your video data and your power. The power is added by the NVR (if you made a home run and are using our Networker Pro POE models, which has built-in POE ports) or you can use a POE injector or POE switch to power your cameras at convenient locations.