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Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.

If you need basic technical information
on the range of CCTV equipment available ....


Around the world, the vast bulk of installed CCTV cameras are conventional industrial "box" types. With almost all now using CCD imagers, from 1/4” to 2/3” format and with a range of resolutions and sensitivities, the choice is actually quite mind numbing. (there are actually cameras being used outside of the UK using still smaller imagers, 1/6th CCD being available in the Far East, but with significant technical limitations)

Interestingly enough though, cost isn’t always a reasonable benchmark for performance. Some absolutely cracking (very good) cameras can be bought for relatively little cost, whilst some hugely expensive units, still have the capacity to disappoint.

Most cameras are capable of accepting a wide range of interchangeable ‘C’ or ‘CS’ mount lenses, although some now have a half decent varifocal or zoom optic fitted as standard.
Whilst some models are relatively idiot proof to use, others practically require a PhD in electronics, just to get them out of the packing carton!

Seriously though, to get the very best from any camera does require a modicum of appropriate knowledge, and so Doktor Jon has sought to explain in some detail, a few of the more complex technical terms elsewhere on this site.


Whereas conventional cameras are only capable of putting out a composite (CVBS) video signal, Network and Server cameras are specifically designed to output computer data signals, that are normally displayed through a web browser such as Internet Explorer.

These ‘plug and play’ cameras are designed to interface directly with existing network cabling, and are therefore ideally suited for use in larger appropriately equipped (LAN or WAN networked) commercial premises; unless of course, you want to put the pictures straight onto the Internet.

At present, there are only a relatively small number of server ready camera designs, but that is quite literally changing as you read this. More information on this in the 'IP/Network section', due for launch early in 2005

Specialist and Infra Red cameras>

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