What Are the Different Types of Computer Security Cameras?

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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Bullet, pan/tilt/zoom and pinhole are some of the different types of computer security cameras available to consumers and industries alike. Multiple cameras make up a network security system viewed as a live stream display, recorded onto a computer's hard drive or on a remote security website. These cameras have a variety of capabilities, including audio and visual surveillance, motion detection, and night vision. Manufacturers design computer security cameras for both indoors and outdoors, using wired and wireless technology.

Bullet computer security cameras are named for their distinctive bullet shaped design. Cameras designed for outdoor use are typically housed within a weatherproof casing. Some have low light technology enabling a clear visual display when located on buildings receiving low light levels from streetlights or building security lighting. Other cameras contain light emitting diodes (LEDs) positioned around the lens, which provide sufficient infrared light for viewing exterior landscapes up to 500 yards (457 meters) away. In addition to live stream signals, some cameras can also capture still frame images.


Pan, tilt, and zoom models may be used as computer security cameras both indoors and outdoors. Many versions have internal blowers and heaters, which enable exterior use in cold and wet weather conditions. These cameras are either fixed inside a dome housing or attached to an external rotating frame and require hardwiring to function. The cameras change viewing position remotely by manual or preprogrammed instruction. The zoom feature allows users to enlarge an image up to 36 times, depending on the make and model of the particular camera.

Pinhole cameras are typically used with indoor computer security systems. Commonly referred to as nanny cams, the small size of the camera enables users to camouflage the device in inconspicuous areas of a home. Each camera uses a battery pack or plugs into an electrical outlet, sending signals to a remote receiver plugged into a computer. Owners generally view the audio-visual signals as a live stream display or from a recording on a hard drive. Most models are designed for daytime use or positioned in areas with adequate lighting, but some versions are equipped with night vision function.

Individuals use computer security camera networks for both online and offline viewing. Wired or wireless cameras, much like other plug and play devices, send signals to computers. Offline systems require that the computer receiving the signal always be on for recording or viewing purposes, and some computer security cameras require additional computer security software. Online systems link directly with a website that not only records live signals, but also allows users to view results from any location.


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