10 Recommended IP Cameras 2021

[Note: this list is now outdated – for our latest recommendations, please see Our Camera Picks]

Here are our network camera picks for 2021. They are listed in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy CCTV software for the Mac.

Some abbreviations used below are as follows:

  • MP – Megapixel resolution – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image, but resolution isn’t everything: the optical quality of the lens system is also extremely important.
  • PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and so doesn’t require a separate power supply.
  • IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include Infra-Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters.
  • P-Iris / DC-Iris – These features (collectively called “auto-iris”) allow the camera lens to automatically adjust its aperture based on the amount of incoming light. P-Iris is more sophisticated and will give better results than than DC-Iris, but both are far better than a Fixed-Iris lens, especially for outdoor applications.
  • Varifocal – These lenses allow you to adjust the field of view at installation time. A focal length of 2.8mm is wide-angle; 4mm is medium; 8mm is moderately telephoto (a bit “zoomed in”). This is not the same as true “zoom” lenses: varifocal lenses are designed to be set once at install time, whereas zoom lenses are designed to be operated continually.
  • PTZ – Pan/Tilt/Zoom – motorised remote control of the camera’s horizontal and vertical angle and focal length.

For purchasing IP cameras, we recommend B&H Photo Video – they are a reliable, established outlet. Amazon is another option, however there are many “grey market” cameras sold on Amazon (e.g. cameras designed for the Chinese market only, but sold into the US against the manufacturer’s rules), which should be avoided due to lack of support from the manufacturer.

We are not affiliated with any outlet or manufacturer mentioned on this page, and we get no financial incentive for recommending them.


Dahua make a dizzying array of cameras across all form factors. Turret cameras (sometimes called “eyeball” cameras) like these have advantages over traditional dome-type cameras in that they are generally physically smaller, and there is no curved perspex outer dome to gather dirt and reduce image quality. This particular camera is notable for its good all-round feature set, offering 5 MP resolution, IR night vision up to 30m (98′), PoE, a built-in microphone, and excellent low-light sensitivity. Its 2.8mm lens offers a wide view. Retailing at $250, this would be an inexpensive and effective addition to any CCTV system.


The aspect that sets this camera apart from the profusion of similar domes on the market is its high-quality optical system, which employs a DC auto-iris lens and provides a motorised varifocal range of 3.2-10mm, allowing for a good amount of control over the field of view. Other features include 5 MP resolution and built-in IR night vision to 30m (98′). The retail price is $390, which is very competitive for a camera with such a good feature set.


When you buy an Axis camera you can be sure you are getting a high-quality product from a long-established manufacturer of IP surveillance products. This mini dome camera is notable for its lens options: a wide 2.4mm or an ultra-wide 1.8mm that offers an amazing 152° field of view. It’s also very compact, measuring only 10cm (4″) in diameter. The 4 MP sensor provides detailed images, but the lack of night vision and moderate low-light performance means that this camera must have good lighting in order to function well, so a retail location would be an appropriate use case. Retail price is around $280.


This panoramic camera offers a full 360° field of view at an outstanding 12 MP resolution. Designed to be installed in the ceiling in the centre of a room, this offers a single-camera solution to cover the entire space. It can provide a full “fisheye” panoramic image in addition to multiple de-warped images of specific areas. Light sensitivity is very good, and although there is no built-in IR illumination, the camera is sensitive to IR light, so separate IR illumination can be used if required. PoE allows for easy installation. At $600, this camera represents very good value in its class.


We can’t decide on our favourite between these two models, so we are going to cheat and recommend both! Both these cameras have compact form factors, PoE, and offer built-in IR night vision to 30m (98′). The Vivotek has the edge on resolution, offering a 5 MP sensor compared to the Dahua’s 4 MP, but the Dahua offers better low-light sensitivity. A useful feature of the Dahua is that it can operate in harsh temperature conditions – down to -40°C (-40°F), making it more suitable for colder latitudes than most other outdoor bullet cameras on the market. Another difference is the lens focal length: the Vivotek has a 3.6mm lens whereas the Dahua has a more wide-angle 2.8mm lens. Prices are similar, with the Vivotek retailing at $190 compared to $140 for the Dahua.


This camera is a step up in quality from basic fixed-lens bullet cameras due to its high-quality optical system that incorporates varifocal and P-Iris. A comprehensive focal length range of 2.7-13.5mm allows the camera to be adjusted from wide-angle to moderately telephoto, allowing for a range of installation setups. A 5 MP sensor provides detailed images, and built-in IR night vision to 50m (160′) combined with good low-light sensitivity ensure clear images at night. PoE allows for easy installation, and an audio input connector allows the connection of a microphone if required. This camera offers an excellent all-round feature set, in our view justifying the price tag of $560.


Box cameras can be difficult beasts, as they usually require separate lenses, which adds complexity to purchasing and installation, introduces the possibility of compatibility issues, and requires manual adjustment of focal length and focus upon installation. As an all-in-one unit, this camera suffers from none of these drawbacks. The built-in high-quality lens offers a useful zoom range of 3.1-13.3mm, P-Iris and auto-focus. The huge 10 MP resolution, combined with the high-quality optical system, provides outstanding image quality. PoE allows for easy installation, and an audio input ports allows addition of a microphone if required. There is no built-in IR lighting for night vision, but this can be added separately if required. Outdoor use requires an additional housing from ACTi. The price is $510.


This compact indoor cube camera has an extensive feature set and is suitable for many applications, from home to retail to commercial use. Features are: 5 MP sensor, PoE, WiFi, two-way audio with built-in microphone and speaker, IR night vision with 10m (30′) range and a 2.8mm lens with 97° angle of view. The price tag of $250 represents good value for such a versatile camera.


This is a good basic pan/tilt camera that would work well for indoor domestic or small business usage. Features include a 4 MP sensor, built-in 10m (30′) IR night vision, WiFi, and two-way audio via a built-in microphone and speaker, all for under $100. Don’t expect stellar image quality, but it’s a good all-rounder if you need a basic movable camera.


This is a great all-round outdoor PTZ camera, offering 4 MP resolution, 4x zoom (2.7-11mm) and auto-iris, all in a surprisingly compact package of 12cm (5″) diameter. PoE makes for easy installation, and good low-light sensitivity provides good image quality at night as long as there is some ambient lighting (there is no built-in IR illumination, though this can be added separately if required). The price tag of $300 makes this camera extremely good value.

We hope this list helps you choose cameras for your own CCTV system based around our Mac NVR software SecuritySpy. If you have any questions about cameras, or about anything related to SecuritySpy, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help!

30 thoughts on “10 Recommended IP Cameras 2021

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Unfortunately not – SecuritySpy requires continuous video streaming from IP cameras in order to work, and battery-powered cameras simply cannot do this.

  1. Jim lewis

    Any thoughts on good quality doorbell cameras? I also run the house using HomeKit but would put higher weight of choice on Security Spy compatibility than HK.

    1. Ben Software Post author

      The Hikvision DS-HD1 is a good one. Other ones that work with SecuritySpy include the Dahua DHI-DB11, dbell, DoorBird, or EZVIZ Video Doorbell Cam.

  2. Paul Christenson

    Panasonic has a camera for outdoor viewing but mounts on the inside of a window with suction cups so you don’t get a reflection back to the camera or of the infrared lights. Will it work with SecuritySpy. Panasonic HomeHawk Window Home Monitoring Camera https://tinyurl.com/yemxgpt2

    1. Ben Software Post author

      It’s not completely clear, but it looks like this camera only works with the HomeHawk app. There is no indication that it supports standard protocols such as ONVIF or RTSP, which would allow it to work with SecuritySpy.

      1. Stephen.S.

        According to Amazon Customer Questions & Answers:

        Q: Does this support onvif or rtsp?
        A: No our window camera does not support RTSP or ONVIF. Only smartphone app is supported and does not have any option for streaming the live video.
        By Team Panasonic on August 18, 2021

        No upgraded model(s) have been released by Panasonic as of this post – August 22, 2022

  3. Kari Linden

    What about the AXIS M3068-P mini-dome camera, I have experimented with older AXIS M3007-P demo model and in the camera I can choose diffent modes (quad, panorama, etc.), but when I record it with latest SecuritySpy I only have full dome image recorded. How can you record different views in SecuritySpy ie. Quad view, Dual Panorama etc. out of dome cameras? I could not find this information from the manual.

    1. Ben Software Post author

      With Axis panorama cameras, you can select the different views via the “Input or stream number” setting in SecuritySpy under Preferences > Cameras Device. I think the first one is the full view, the next few are individual de-warped quadrants, while the highest input number is the quad view. If you want multiple views in SecuritySpy at the same time, simply add the camera again with a different stream number. The only caveat to this is that this counts as multiple cameras towards SecuritySpy’s license limit.

  4. Dave Poole

    I have a problem with power outdoors and live in very rural area where I like to monitor and record wildlife. Are any solar powered cameras compatible, happy to charge periodically to boost in winter.

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Unfortunately not – SecuritySpy requires continuous streaming from cameras, and solar-powered cameras do not have the power required to achieve this. It should be possible to achieve this with a custom solution (low-power 12v camera, 12v lead acid battery, large solar panel), but I don’t know of any off-the-shelf solution.

  5. Jeff

    Where can I purchase the DAHUA N42BD32 ? I am having a hard time finding it.
    Amazon has it with a non prime vendor that is probably not covered under warranty.

    any ideas?


  6. Dale

    I bought the VIVOTEK IB9380-H – thanks for the recommendation!

    Any suggestions for wireless outdoor cameras – ideally dome.

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Amcrest and Dahua have a few models of outdoor WiFi camera (e.g. the Dahua DH-IPC-HDBW1435EN-W-S2) and these will work well with SecuritySpy. However, I would strongly recommend using wired Ethernet to connect all outdoor cameras. Unless the camera is situated very close to the access point, the WiFi signal may prove unreliable.

  7. si

    I don’t have wifi capable cameras , is there any way of using your software , my old system was hard wired to a recorder for several reasons

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Hi – you do not need WiFi cameras, in fact we would always recommend using wired Ethernet cameras over WiFi as this offers much better performance and reliability. Whether you can use your existing recorder and/or cameras with SecuritySpy depends on the type of recorder/cameras you are currently using. If the cameras are network cameras that support ONVIF, or are on our list of supported cameras, then you will be able to use them with SecuritySpy. If the cameras are analog cameras, then you can use them with SecuritySpy with an Axis video server (however, the video quality from analog cameras is very poor by today’s standards, and in this case we would recommend replacing them with modern IP cameras). If you let me know the make and model of the cameras and the recorder then I will be able to advise you further.

  8. Hopeful

    I bought an Amcrest 2K security camera. Since I don’t have a cell phone, it seems I am unable to use it. All I have is a mac laptop. Do you have any ideas, or should I return it and look for one that can be set up with a laptop?
    Hopeful in Hawaii

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Hi – all Amcrest cameras have web interfaces so you can use a normal web browser (e.g. Safari) to connect to the camera to adjust its settings. Use our Network Device Finder app to locate the camera on your network so that you can determine what address it is using. Hopefully you will see the camera listed in Network Device Finder, then simply double-click on it to open its web interface in a web browser.

  9. Jay

    Have you updated and/or tested the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera?
    I like the idea of remote video storage and a permanent licence, but could not find the specs that it is or isn’t ONVIV compatible… It’s fairly pricey over here in Canada – via Amazon – but at least it could be returned if it doesn’t work.
    Looking for a 4K outdoor camera… with PTZ that would work well with SecuritySpy…
    The Amcrest web interface does not work well with a Mac, nor does their hobbled-together app…

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Hi Jay, the Netatmo camera is a closed system that does not support the standard protocols (ONVIF, RTSP) that would allow it to work with NVR software such as SecuritySpy. Amcrest cameras, on the other hand, all work well with SecuritySpy, and I believe they do have an outdoor PTZ model too. While not all features of the Amcrest web interface work fully on the Mac, it works well enough to set up the camera for use with SecuritySpy, so Amcrest is actually a good brand to go for if you are on a budget, as they are the best of the “low cost” cameras in our opinion. Dahua Technology also have some outdoor PTZ cameras, but they are more expensive. Sunba have some nice outdoor PTZ cameras at very good prices, but their web interfaces really don’t work well on a Mac, so for those you may need a PC (or emulator) for configuration. Lorex also have some good ones at reasonable prices (e.g. the LNZ44P4B).

  10. Jay

    Thanks, … trying a Trendnet one next… apparently they will work with SecuritySpy, so let’s see.
    I contacted Lorex here in Canada, and they could not recommend any of their cameras that would work without an actual NVR, or one that had an app that could run on a Mac (not that much of a surprise, but they also said there’s no PC app either….) so that rules them out…

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Any camera that supports the ONVIF protocol will work with SecuritySpy, so you can use any Lorex camera that advertises ONVIF compatibility. It seems that some do support this but others don’t, so check the specifications sheet before ordering. Other good brands that are highly compatible with SecuritySpy are Dahua, Hikvision, Axis, and Vivotek.

  11. Savoyd Beard

    HI, I Have used your software for many years, probably 10 or 15 years I don’t remember. My problem is
    I think my Toshiba security Camera is starting to die. i love your software, and would like to continue to use
    it. Do you know of any cameras that I could just plug in, and be comparable with my current Security-Spy software?
    It would be great to not have to go through a lot of set-up procedural stuff.

    1. Ben Software Post author

      Hi Savoyd, any ONVIF-compatible camera should require minimal setup: SecuritySpy will detect it automatically so there should be no need to configure things like IP addresses (I am assuming here that you are using the latest v5 version of SecuritySpy). The brands we like the best are Axis, Dahua, Hikvision and Vivotek. For more information and a list of supported camera brands, please refer to our supported cameras page.

  12. kaps

    Does anyone have a recommendation for an indoor camera similar to the Hikvision cube which has been discontinued. Unfortunately the unifi g4 instant is not compatible

    1. Ben Software Post author

      You could check out the Hikvision DS-2CD2463G0-I(W), which seems to be the newer 6 MP version of this camera. Dahua also has a few “Cube” models, though availability seems to be an issue. Then there’s the Axis M10 series, though resolution is not great.


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