CCTV systems on a commercial setting have been out for years but more and more people are putting them onto their own property. It makes total sense – it’s a simple way to protect your property and once installed, it’s relatively trouble free. But are you sure of the different camera types that you can get on your home? Here is a guide to help you with some of the terms you may see when researching your CCTV cameras.

  • Bullet cameras

These are the common “bullet shaped cameras” that you tend to see in a more commercial setting but can be installed anywhere (inside or out). They’re more visible so a good deterrent to anyone looking and tend to cover open spaces. They have a good, long field of view and are robust in our Scottish weather. They come with a variety of features too (detailed below).

someone fitting a bullet camera

  • Turret cameras

Very similar to a dome camera but without the plastic cover, these smaller cameras are more subtle and tend to be used more in a domestic setting. They’re still obvious to those who are looking however and can be installed in most areas of the property (internally and externally). Now available in white and dark grey so are able to co-ordinate more with the building too. They come in fixed & variable lenses and have a full range of features as detailed below.

white turret camera

  • Pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) 

These allow more control over your viewing, they can be adjusted to pan left to right, tilt and zoom in and can move to cover a wider range. Due to the fact that they can have a much longer infra-red range and zoom hey tend to be used in a more commercial setting or areas such as large car parks, farm buildings and shopping centres. It may seem like a good idea to use this type of camera but often they require more attention and if you’re busy focusing on one area, then it leaves others un-monitored so it can be an expensive option which isn’t always the best.

  • Vandal proof/dome cameras

These are pretty much what they say – cameras with a clear plastic dome shaped covering to avoid tampering. As they can be fitted on or from various areas on the property such as walls, ceilings or on brackets, they are very versatile. They come with a wide range of features such as infra-red, wide angle lens and motion sensor chips. These are used widely in various settings, both commercial and domestic and allow a great wide-angled vision. If the camera dome isn’t correctly sealed however, then moisture can get into the cover and obscure any image. If installed in an area where rain can get to it, then it can affect the image too over the cover so something to be aware of.

vandal dome camera

vandal dome camera

  • Wide Angle

This covers a wider area and are great as part of a bigger system. They image may be a bit distorted around the edges but can capture a large area with good detailing. Generally not used so much domestically, more retail, hospitality etc.

Most common features of some of these cameras:

  • Infra red – infra red sensors are built into the camera enabling an image at night. They are pretty much built into all cameras now and are needed for accurate identification at night. They come in a wide range – 20,30 & 40m tend to be the most common used in a domestic setting but commercial can be much farther.
  • Colour vision camera – These allow colour vision in both night and day images. There are lots of formats of this technology and some are better than others but a good, colour image makes identification much easier if anything happens.
  • Variable zoom – A wee bit more expensive than a fixed lens, these cameras have an adjustable focal length and can zoom in and out of an image. It allows more control and can zoom in to give more detail.
  • Fixed lens – this means the lens is fixed to cover a specific area. It means that a large area can be covered and if the there is a good quality chip in the camera, then the image will be consistently good all over.
  • Thermal imaging – this type of camera is a lot more common in commercial settings now (for obvious reasons) and allows the ability to track thermal fluctuations and create a thermal map. It’s most commonly used in commercial settings, not so much for domestic.
  • HD/4K cameras – due to the improvement of the chips in these cameras, manufacturers are able to produce much higher quality than ever before at a much more affordable rate. It makes identification much easier and when combined with other features such as motion sensors, facial recognition and thermal imaging, makes the image much more likely to be usable should anything happen.


If you’re thinking about getting a CCTV system, get in touch before you do anything. These are a selection of terms used but there are many different options out there and you want to be sure that you get something which will work well. We have an extensive stock of cameras which work in a variety of places and there are many factors to consider – placement, control, power, lighting, range etc so give us a call and we can pop out and work out exactly what you need so you get the right product for you.