Average Camera Models Used Per Project

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 02, 2012

Choosing the right camera model for the job can be challenging. In high camera count systems, numerous models may be required, each with their own strengths. Using too few models may lead to overspecified and overpriced systems, while using too many may make installation more complex than it needs to be. In order to see how integrators are balancing these factors, we asked the respondents of our Spring 2012 survey the following question:


The Responses

chartAs this chart ro the right shows, responses were heavily weighted towards two or three models, with no respondents answering that they used only one model. Integrators generally felt that using fewer models reduced installation complexity, since installers did not need to determine which models went in which locations. However, using fewer models also means that the camera is less location-specific, and may be over or under-specified for its application. Users need to balance these two factors when selecting cameras.

Two Models

Typically, respondents using two models differentiated between indoor and outdoor models using either fixed domes in both locations or a fixed camera indoors and PTZs outdoors. Using a single model for both locations drives costs higher than necessary, as outdoor, IP66-rated models are more expensive. Limiting models to two keeps complexity to a minimum and makes servicing and replacement simpler.

  • "Normally 2...PTZ and Dome are the usual ones. We do small projects so normally we try to keep our cameras to a low model count, to get more quantity discounts."
  • "Functionality (fixed or PTZ), environment (indoor/outdoor, day/night), quality (use cheaper camera models where possible), application (e.g. IR for ANPR, thermal for analytics)"
  • "generally the mix is indoor and outdoor. I use traditionally use a box camera externally (due to better day/night performance plus ability to vary lens options) and a dome internally (due to usual predetermined/confined spaces as well as consistent lighting)."
  • "Indoor and Outdoor are typical and although we mostly use domes both outdoor and in I recommend a box camera with a housing for most outdoor applications. This is mainly for the deterrent factor. I'd rather my outdoor camera stick out like a sore thumb than blend in like a small dome."
  • "Most often it is standard 3.8-10mm vari-focal dome cameras but either PTZ or box cameras with more zoom capacity depending on the requirement"
  • "Price. For instance, indoor/outdoor jobs don't require more expensive IP66 outdoor cameras to also be used indoors on the same job. You also tend to try and be more aesthetically pleasing or less obtrusive with indoor cameras."
  • "Most sites will have a vandal resistant dome with varifocal lens, with the remainder being PTZ. This means when servicing, there are only limited number of spares required to be carried."

Three Models

Respondents selecting three models often cited indoor/outdoor placement as one determining factor, as well. These integrators also chose a third model tailored for specific applications, such as WDR environments, larger fields of view requiring multi-megapixel cameras, IR cameras, or others. Multiple users cited three different models as the happy medium between best fit for the application and installation simplicity.

  • "Because of our work with financial institutions, they like to maintain a consistency with their aesthetics as well as performance, so they typically go more with box cameras vs. dome. For commercial applications, it's almost all domes. Less PTZ's being sold."
  • "The primary issues related to camera placement for us is determining the customer needs at each particular site. If the customer is interested in General views, then we put in a hemispheric. However, if they are interested in a monitoring leading to identification, we put a suitable camera and lens configuration. It all depends upon the customer goals. Oftentimes, on a job, a customer may want to change their implementation and we have been flexible to meet their changes based upon the views that they are trying to accomplish."
  • "End users tend to get confused if you use too many different types of cameras. However, there is a huge cost advantage to picking cameras that address the specific needs of the installation. With an average of 3, it obviously means that some projects require 5 or more models to address all of the project issues."
  • "Basically, I believe in always using dome cameras whenever possible. So, with that being said, the most common difference is using an indoor model and an outdoor model. The third option is when placing a camera in an interior room with no windows. We may choose to us a camera that doesn't have WDR to save on cost."
  • "We design our systems to satisfy what the customer has expressed as their desire or need without overselling. If what the customer wants can be achieved witha 2MP Dome camera we do not push a 3MP just to make an increased sale. Each system, application and camera placement/use scenario warrants a unique camera in many cases."
  • "Usually it is dome camera for public areas, Bullet or cased box camera for outside (if not PTZ) and IR Bullet for dark storages."
  • "Typcially we will install a vandal dome for exterior cameras. Inside cameras will be an interior dome with a vari-focal lens as well. Depending on the lighting conditions or the location we might also put in some of the small form factor cameras with a fixed lens with no day/night such as the Sony DH110's to keep the cost down. Lastly, we might mix and match the above camera types with different resolutions. A small office area with a drop ceiling gets a 1.3 MP where a larger area might get bumped to a 1080P. Outdoor cameras will typically be 1080P but we might even go down to 1.3 if the lighting isn't adequate to get better low light performance or we are trying to give the customer the best bang for their buck."
  • "Typically we use three different models. One being a standard interior dome where the lighting is consistent. The second being a more high performance model to handle difficult lighting conditions. The third being an exterior cameras. On top of that we sometimes use a mixture of 1 and 3 mega pixel cameras to get the detail the customer wants. We try not to use too many models/manufacturers but we do not just want to put in all 3MP cameras where 1MP will do fine in most cases."
  • "Besides the obvious choice between fixed or PTZ, the number of camera models on a project pretty much depends on the type of housings involved and whether the cameras are indoors our outdoors. Using Axis as an example, on many projects we will use P5534/-E for the PTZ's, P334X/-V for the indoor fixed cameras, and either P134X-E or P334X-E for the exterior fixed cameras. Generally, we like to keep the cameras as uniform as we can through the project for ease of installation, programming and service purposes."
  • "We basically stick with a common model for our outdoor cameras. For the most part this is true of the indoor cameras as well, with the occasional WDR camera mixed in. We've considered varying it more (i.e. increasing resolution as the FoV gets wider), but that comes with a support cost. The more models on given site, the harder it becomes to maintain replacement stock."
  • "We make a conscious effort to keep this number down. This makes it easier to document and service the system, allows the client to move camera positions later as they change the way the facility is used, and reduces the number of cameras the customer has to evaluate during the sales process."

Four Models

Fewer integrators installed an average of four models. These users commented that they tried to best fit the camera model to the application, requiring more models to specifically tailor each to the field of view.

  • "Different cameras for different applications, especially with HD/MP IP Cameras. An outdoor camera might be a PTZ or a 3MP fixed, a lobby or cafeteria might be a few 180 degree cameras, a camera focused on a door can be a 1MP, etc. We can now utilize higher MP cameras to cover larger areas whereas before we were stuck spacing more cameras closer together."
  • "Key factors include fitting the camera model to the task at hand. Sometimes a huge lens requires a box camera on an open mount. A need for integrated IR emitters, or heater/blower kit may require a particular model. Tall, narrow field of view areas may require a camera capable of 90 or 270 degree image rotation to allow full use of pixels. If a human is to man a live view station, then a PTZ model may be included."
  • "Location, customer preference, ease of install... We prefer outdoor domes in areas subject to dust, water, damage, etc. Box cameras we prefer in inside location or in outdoor locations with appropriate housing. Many of our customers still prefer the look of domes and some of the domes used by us have tinted covers making their observation area unknown to customers, and employees."

Five Models or More

Very few integrators answered that they used five models or more on average. The following comment best illustrates the reasons for doing so, in detail, with the integrator choosing to specify the exact camera they felt best for each individual location:

  • "Once again we are all over the map. We love to custom design each camera location for the right camera. Sometime it's been of price and sometimes it's based of performance. Like I know the client can only afford a Vivotek FD8134 so that's what they get. But if I have a bright lobby with lots of natural light, then they need an Sony DH-140 for the WDR shots. I will give a few real world examples. Analog client with multiple locations. For indoor cameras we used Bosch Flexidome 445s, for the cash registers and general store viewing. Also used Honeywell HD50s when they had drop ceiling at that store. Each manager's office got a HD60 IR mini dome camera. Each front entrance got a Pelco IS20 indoor mini dome for the WDR so we could see through the windows. Inside each donation center got a Bosch Flexidome 455 because we need a camera with a wall mount. Outdoor cameras were a Bosch VTI-216 bullet camera looking at each dumpster because I needed an good IR camera for the low situations. And for the drop off location got an Samsung Box camera SUB-2000 looking at drive through. Working on a IP quote with 13 Pelco Spectra HD, (6 of them on top of a roof of a 10 story building) 2 Sony DH-260 (indoor only) 5 Sony DH-280 (outdoor cameras), 3 Arecont AV8365DN (client's request). Hoping to convince them to add a few Axis Q1604 for tough WDR shots in a parking garage."
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