A Beginner’s Guide to Security Camera terms and technology

Are you looking for a way to improve the security of your home or business? A security camera system might be the perfect solution. But with so many different options and technical terms to choose from, it can be overwhelming for a beginner to know where to start. That’s where this guide comes in!

In this beginner’s guide to security camera terminology and technology, I’ll break down all the important information you need to know to decide which security camera system is right for you. I’ll define key terms like “resolution” and “frame rate,” give an overview of the different types of cameras available and discuss the various features that can enhance the performance of your system. I’ll also explain how security cameras can be connected and powered and provide tips for choosing the right system.
So whether you’re a tech-savvy security enthusiast or a security camera novice, this guide has something for everyone. By the end, you’ll be a security camera pro and be well on your way to keeping your home or business safe and secure. So let’s get started!

Smart home security cameras are a convenient and effective way to keep an eye on your home or business when you’re not there. Whether you’re looking to protect your property, monitor your pets, or simply feel more secure, a smart security camera can be a valuable addition to your home or business. But how do you make a smart home security camera work? Here are the general steps to follow:

1. Set up the camera and any required hardware:

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the camera and any required hardware, such as mounting brackets or cables. Make sure to carefully read the instructions and set up the camera in a location with a good view of the area you want to monitor.

2. Connect the camera to your home Wi-Fi network:

To access the camera remotely and receive notifications, you’ll need to connect it to your home Wi-Fi network. This may require you to enter your Wi-Fi password or use a QR code to connect the device.

3. Download and install the manufacturer’s app or software:

To control and access the camera remotely, you’ll need to download and install the manufacturer’s app or software on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This app will allow you to view the camera’s live feed, control the camera’s settings, and receive notifications.

4. Configure any additional settings or preferences:

Once the setup is complete, you should be able to access the camera’s live feed and control it remotely using the app or software. You may want to configure additional settings or preferences, such as motion detection or notifications. For example, you can set the camera to send you a notification when it detects motion, or you can set up a schedule for the camera to turn on and off at certain times of day.

5. Test the camera to make sure it’s working properly:

Once you have completed the setup process and configured any additional settings, it’s a good idea to test the camera to make sure it’s working properly. You can do this by accessing the camera’s live feed through the app or software and checking to see if you can see and hear what’s happening in the camera’s field of view. If everything is working as expected, you’re good to go!

6. Keep the camera updated:

To ensure that your smart home security camera is working at its best, it’s important to keep it updated with the latest firmware and software. The manufacturer’s app or software may notify you when updates are available, and you can usually install them with just a few clicks.

Some common security camera terms

When it comes to security camera terminology, it can feel like you’re learning a whole new language. But don’t worry, it’s easier than it seems. Here are some of the security camera terms you should know:


This refers to the clarity and detail of the image captured by the security camera. The higher the resolution, the clearer the image will be. Most security cameras have a resolution of 720p, 1080p, or 4K (the highest available). Remember, the higher the number, the better the image quality or video footage.

Frame rate:

This refers to the number of frames (or images) captured by the camera per second. A higher frame rate means the camera can capture more action and movement in real-time, which is especially important for surveillance purposes. Most security cameras have a frame rate of 30 or 60 frames per second.

Lens size:

The size of the lens determines how much of an area the camera can capture. Larger lenses can capture a wider angle, while smaller lenses have a more narrow focus. Keep in mind that lens size can also affect the depth of field (the amount of the image in focus).


Infrared (or IR) cameras are equipped with infrared sensors that allow them to capture images in low light or complete darkness. They use infrared light (invisible to the human eye) to illuminate the area being filmed. Infrared night vision cameras are great for outdoor surveillance or areas prone to low light conditions.


PTZ stands for pan, tilt, and zoom. PTZ cameras are equipped with motors that allow them to move horizontally (pan), vertically (tilt), and zoom in and out. This allows the camera to cover a wider area and look closely at specific areas or objects. PTZ cameras are often used in larger surveillance systems where multiple cameras are needed to cover a large area.

Different types of security cameras

Different types of cameras are designed for specific situations and environments, and choosing the right one for your needs is crucial. Here’s a brief overview of the main categories of security cameras:

Security Camera

Wired cameras:

This security camera is connected to a recording device or monitor using a physical cable, such as a coaxial cable or Ethernet cord. This connection allows for a steady and reliable flow of video and audio data from the camera to the recording device.
One advantage of wired cameras is that they generally offer high-quality video and audio, as there is no interference or degradation of the signal caused by wireless technology. Wired cameras also tend to be more secure, as it is more difficult for someone to hack into a wired connection than a wireless one.

On the downside, wired cameras can be more difficult and costly to install, as they require a physical connection to the recording device or monitor. This can be a particular issue if you want to install cameras in hard-to-reach places or if you want to install many cameras and want to avoid dealing with a tangled mess of cables.
Wired cameras or Hardwired cameras are a good choice if you want a stable, high-quality connection and are okay with the extra installation time and effort. Make sure you plan where to route the cables, or you might end up with a security camera system that looks like a bowl of spaghetti.

Bullet cameras:

This type of security camera gets its name from its long, slender shape resembling a bullet. These cameras are typically mounted on a wall or ceiling and are pointed in a fixed direction, making them well-suited for capturing footage of a specific area or object. Bullet cameras are often used for outdoor surveillance, as they are weather-resistant and can withstand extreme temperatures.
One of the benefits of bullet cameras is that they are relatively easy to install and configure. Many models come with mounting hardware and instructions and can be easily plugged into a power source and connected to a recorder or monitor. Some bullet cameras offer wireless connectivity, making them even easier to set up.

Bullet cameras are also known for their wide-angle lenses, which allow them to capture a large field of view with a single camera. This makes them a cost-effective choice for covering large areas or using other security cameras to create a comprehensive surveillance system. Just be aware that bullet cameras may not be as discreet as other security cameras, as their shape and size can be more noticeable. Sometimes it’s better to be upfront about your surveillance (after all, you don’t want anyone messing with your property).

Security Camera

Dome cameras:

Also known as “eyeball cameras,” they are a popular choice for indoor surveillance. As their name suggests, they have a dome-shaped housing that can be mounted on a ceiling or wall. The dome shape helps to conceal the direction of the camera lens, making it difficult for people to tell which way the camera is pointing. This can be an advantage in deterring potential burglars or vandals, as they won’t be able to tell if they are being watched.

Dome cameras are typically smaller and more discreet than other security cameras, making them a good option for businesses or homes that want to maintain a low profile. They also tend to be more vandal-resistant, as the dome housing can make it harder for someone to damage or tamper with the camera. One potential drawback of dome cameras is that they may have a narrower field of view than other cameras. This means that they may not be able to capture as much of the surrounding area in a single shot. However, many dome cameras offer pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) functionality, allowing the camera to be remotely controlled to sweep across a wider area or focus on a specific object or person.

Overall, dome cameras are a versatile and popular choice for indoor surveillance, offering a balance of aesthetics, functionality, and security. Just be sure to choose a high-quality model with good resolution and low-light performance to get the most out of your dome camera system.

PTZ cameras:

PTZ cameras, short for pan-tilt-zoom cameras, are a type of security camera that allows the user to control the camera’s movement and zoom settings remotely. These cameras are often used when a wide area needs to be monitored, such as a parking lot or a large event space.
One of the main advantages of PTZ cameras is their versatility. They can be moved and zoomed in real-time to follow a moving object or to get a closer look at a particular area of interest. The user can do this manually or automatically using preset tours or tracking algorithms. PTZ cameras also often have high zoom capabilities, allowing the user to get a detailed view of a distant object or license plate.

In addition to their movability and zoom features, PTZ cameras often have other advanced features such as night vision, wide dynamic range (WDR), and high resolution. These features, combined with their ability to cover a large area, make PTZ cameras popular for professional surveillance applications. However, PTZ cameras can be more expensive than other security cameras and may require more complex installation and maintenance. They may also have slower refresh rates and lower frame rates than other cameras, which can affect their performance in fast-moving situations. Before purchasing a PTZ camera, it’s important to carefully consider your surveillance needs and budget, as well as the capabilities of the camera.

Top 5 Security Cameras of 2023

The most Common various features that you can find on security cameras Nowadays

Security cameras can be powered in various ways, including through a wall outlet, a battery, or a solar panel. Each power source has pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which option best suits your needs. For example, a battery-powered camera may be more convenient to install but require regular battery changes. A solar-powered camera may be more eco-friendly but only suitable for some locations.

When it comes to security cameras, there’s more to consider than just the basic design and functionality. Modern security cameras have various features that can enhance their performance and make them more effective at fulfilling their intended purpose.

Night vision:

Night vision is a feature found on many security cameras that allows the camera to capture clear footage in low light or complete darkness. This can be particularly useful for outdoor security cameras, as it allows them to continue functioning and provide surveillance even when the sun goes down.
But how does night vision work, exactly? Most security cameras with night vision use infrared technology to detect light levels and adjust the camera’s settings accordingly. Infrared (IR) sensors pick up on the heat signatures of objects, animals, and people in the camera’s field of view and use this information to create an image that can be displayed on a screen or saved to a storage device.

Some security cameras with night vision have built-in IR LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that emit a low-light beam, allowing the camera to see in complete darkness. Other cameras use passive infrared technology, which means they rely on the ambient IR light in the environment (such as the moon or streetlights) to create an image.
While night vision can be a useful feature for security cameras, it’s important to note that night vision quality can vary greatly between camera models. Some cameras may produce grainy or distorted images in low light, while others may have a clearer and more detailed picture. It’s a good idea to research and read reviews before purchasing a security camera with night vision to ensure you’re getting the best quality for your money.
And remember, just because your security camera has night vision doesn’t mean it can see through walls or other solid objects. So don’t expect it to help you solve that age-old mystery of where the cat goes at night (although it might give you some clues).

Motion detection:

Regarding security camera features, motion detection is one of the most popular and useful. Whether you’re trying to catch a thief in the act or want to be notified of any activity on your property, motion detection can help you stay on top of things.
So, how does it work? Most security cameras with motion detection feature sensors that can detect movement within a certain range. When the camera detects motion, it will trigger an alert by sending a notification to your phone or recording a short video clip. Some cameras even can differentiate between people, animals, and other objects, so you can customize your alerts to only receive notifications when certain types of motion are detected.

One of the benefits of motion detection is that it can save you storage space and battery life. Instead of constantly recording footage, your security camera will only record when it detects motion, which can help extend the life of your camera and reduce the amount of data you have to store.
However, there are also some potential downsides to consider. False alarms can be a common issue with motion detection, especially if your camera is placed in an area with frequent background movements, such as a tree blowing in the wind or a busy street. Some cameras offer adjustable sensitivity settings to help reduce the number of false alarms, but it’s still important to be aware of this potential issue.
Overall, motion detection can be useful for a security camera, but it’s important to consider its pros and cons before deciding if it’s right for your needs.

Remote viewing capabilities:

It is one of the security camera’s most convenient and useful features. With remote viewing, you can access your security camera feed from anywhere, anytime, using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This means you can check in on your home or business from work, vacation, or even the couch.
You can access your security camera feed in a few different ways. One option is to use a dedicated app specific to your security camera system. Many security camera manufacturers offer apps that allow you to view live footage and control your cameras.
Another option is to use a web browser to access your security camera feed. Some security camera systems come with a web interface that you can use to view your cameras from any device with an internet connection.

To use remote viewing, your security camera system must be connected to the internet. This can be done through a wired connection, such as Ethernet, or a wireless connection, such as Wi-Fi. Some security camera systems also come with cellular connectivity options, which allow you to access your cameras even if your internet connection is down.
Remote viewing capabilities are a great way to keep an eye on your home or business from anywhere and give you peace of mind knowing that you can check in on your property anytime. Just make sure to use a strong and unique password to protect your security camera feed from unauthorized access.

Various methods for connecting and powering security cameras

Regarding security cameras, one of the key considerations is how they will be connected and powered. Several options are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief overview of the main options:

Wired systems

A wired connection is one option for connecting and powering your security camera system. As the name suggests, this involves physically attaching a cable from your camera to a power source and potentially to a recorder or router. Wired systems offer some benefits, including:

Reliability: Because the connection is physical, wired systems are generally more reliable than wireless. There is no risk of interference or loss of signal, which can be a concern with wireless systems.

Speed: Wired systems can transmit data faster than wireless systems, which is important for activities such as streaming video or uploading large files.

Security: It can be more difficult for someone to hack or disrupt a wired connection than a wireless one, as they would need to access the cables physically.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider with wired systems. They can be more difficult to install, especially if you need to run cables through walls or long distances. They also require a power outlet or other source of electricity, which may only be convenient or possible in some locations. Additionally, if the cables are damaged or cut, it can disrupt the entire system. Overall, wired systems can be a good choice for those who prioritize reliability and speed and are willing to invest in installing and maintaining a physical connection. There may be more practical or cost-effective options for some.

Wireless systems

Wireless security camera systems have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience and ease of installation. Unlike wired systems, which require cables to be run from the cameras to the recording device or power source, wireless systems transmit data wirelessly, often using Wi-Fi or cellular technology.
There are several benefits to using a wireless security camera system:

Easy installation: Wireless systems are much simpler to install than wired systems, as they don’t require drilling or wiring. This makes them a great option for renters or those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of running cables.

Flexibility: Wireless cameras can be placed anywhere within range of the wireless transmitter, which means you can easily move them around or add more cameras to your system without worrying about cables.

Remote access: Many wireless security camera systems come with apps that allow you to view live footage or recorded footage from your phone or tablet. This can be especially useful if you’re away from home or want to check in on your property while you’re on the go.

Expandability: Adding more cameras to a wireless system is easy, as you don’t have to worry about running new cables. This makes it easy to expand your system as your needs change.

Overall, wireless security camera systems offer a convenient and flexible home and business security solution. While they may have slightly higher upfront costs than wired systems, they can save you time and money in the long run with easy installation and expandability.

Solar-powered systems

Solar-powered security camera systems are a unique and innovative option for those looking to keep an eye on their property while being environmentally friendly. Instead of relying on electricity from the grid, these systems use energy from the sun to power the cameras, making them a great choice for remote locations or areas with limited access to power.
There are several benefits to using a solar-powered security camera system:

Cost savings: Solar-powered systems can save you money on electricity bills in the long run, as you’ll be using a renewable energy source rather than paying for electricity from the grid.

Low maintenance: Solar-powered systems require minimal maintenance, as they do not have any mechanical parts that can break down. All you need to do is keep the solar panels clean and charged, which is easy to do with a little bit of regular upkeep.

Long lifespan: Solar-powered systems have a longer lifespan than traditional systems, as they do not rely on electrical components that can wear out over time. You can expect your solar-powered security camera system to last for years with proper care.

Scalability: Solar-powered systems are scalable, so you can easily add more cameras or expand your system as your needs change. This is especially useful for businesses or individuals with large properties or multiple locations.

Solar-powered security camera systems offer many benefits, including cost savings, reliability, environmental sustainability, easy installation, low maintenance, long lifespan, flexibility, and scalability. These features make them a convenient and attractive option for those looking to protect their property and the environment.

Guidelines for selecting the appropriate security camera system

When choosing the right security camera system for your needs, there are key considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you find the best security camera system for your home or business:

1. Determine your coverage area and choose the right number of cameras

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is the area you want to cover with your security camera system. Do you need to monitor a large outdoor space or a small indoor room? The size of your coverage area will help you determine how many cameras you need and what type best suits your needs.

2. Think about where you want to place your cameras.

Where you place your cameras is just as important as how many you have. Consider the key areas of your home or business you want to monitor and place your cameras accordingly. Doorways, windows, and other entry points are good places to start.

3. Choose the right type of camera for your needs.

Many different types of security cameras are available, each with unique features and benefits. Bullet cameras are popular for outdoor surveillance, while dome cameras are often used indoors. PTZ cameras can pan, tilt, and zoom, which can be useful for larger coverage areas. Consider the specific needs of your home or business and choose the right type of camera accordingly.

4. Decide on wired or wireless cameras

Another important decision you’ll need to make is whether to use wired or wireless cameras. Wired cameras are generally more reliable but require a physical connection to your home or business’s electrical system. Wireless cameras are more convenient and easier to install, but they may need to be more reliable and require regular battery changes.

5. Consider storage options

Finally, you’ll need to think about how you want to store the footage captured by your security cameras. Some cameras offer local storage options, such as a microSD card, while others use cloud-based storage. Cloud-based storage can be more convenient but may come with a monthly fee. Consider your budget and the specific needs of your home or business when deciding on a storage solution.

6. Look for cameras with high resolution.

Regarding security cameras, the resolution is an important factor to consider. A higher resolution means the camera can capture more detailed footage, which can be especially useful for identifying faces or other small details. Look for cameras with at least 1080p resolution for the best image quality. Also, consider the high video resolution for video surveillance.

7. Look for cameras with infrared capabilities.

Infrared, or night vision, capabilities can be useful for security cameras, especially if you want to monitor areas that are not well-lit. Infrared cameras use special LED lights to capture footage in low light conditions, allowing you to see what’s going on in complete darkness.

8. Motion detection capabilities

Motion detection is a useful feature for security cameras, as it allows the camera to start recording when it detects movement automatically. This can help reduce the footage you need to review, as you’ll only be alerted to potentially important events. Some cameras also offer adjustable motion detection sensitivity, allowing you to fine-tune the camera’s responsiveness.

9. Consider the camera’s weather resistance.

If you’re planning to install outdoor cameras, choosing a weather-resistant camera is important. Look for cameras rated for outdoor use and able to withstand extreme temperatures, rain, and other weather conditions.

10. Think about the camera’s power source.

Security cameras can be powered in various ways, including through a wall outlet, a battery, or a solar panel. Each power source has pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which option best suits your needs. For example, a battery-powered camera may be more convenient to install but require regular battery changes. A solar-powered camera may be more eco-friendly but only suitable for some locations.


In conclusion, this beginner’s guide has provided a helpful introduction to security camera terminology and technology. With a better understanding of the different types of security cameras, features, and connectivity options available, you can make an informed decision on the best system for your needs. Whether you’re looking to enhance your home security, protect your business, or feel more secure, a security camera system can be an effective and affordable solution.

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Jerry Arceneaux

Jerry is a professional framer, and his hobby is custom framing & digital framing! He has been framing for the last 5 years, and he likes the digital frame. Based on his experiences with different types of framing; he is sharing his opinion about various frameworks so that beginners can get started the right way. Happy reading!

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