[Note: this list is now outdated – for our latest recommendations, please see Our Camera Picks]
Here are our network camera picks for 2022. 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 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 – very useful for easy setup.
- IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include IR LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters (though this rating is sometimes overly optimistic).
- Auto-iris – This allows the lens to automatically adjust its aperture based on light levels. 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. Generally, 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.
All “outdoor” cameras can be used indoors, however they tend to have larger form factors due to their waterproof housings. This isn’t always the case though – many of the cameras listed below are compact and absolutely suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage – we have marked these “indoor/outdoor”.
B&H Photo Video is a good source for buying cameras in the USA. Amazon is another option, however it lists many “grey market” products (e.g. those designed for the Chinese market but sold in the USA against the manufacturer’s rules), which should be avoided due to lack of manufacturer support.
We are not affiliated with any outlet or manufacturer mentioned on this page, and we get no financial incentive for recommending them.
BASIC INDOOR/OUTDOOR BULLET: DAHUA N42BD32
This is a basic, inexpensive outdoor camera with 4 MP resolution, good low-light performance, IR night-vision, and a compact form factor. It has a fixed 2.8mm lens, which produces a wide-angled view covering 102° horizontally. At only $100, this camera is great value and can make an effective addition to any CCTV system.
HIGH-SPEC OUTDOOR BULLET: HIKVISION PCI-B18Z2S
This camera is a significant step up in quality from basic fixed-lens cameras due to its sophisticated optical system that boasts varifocal and auto-iris. A useful 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. 8 MP resolution provides detailed images, and an IR range of 60m gives clear images at night, even at a distance. At $330, this camera is excellent value.
BASIC INDOOR/OUTDOOR TURRET: DAHUA N53AJ52
Turret cameras (sometimes called “eyeball” cameras) have some advantages over traditional dome 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 has a good all-round feature set, offering 5 MP resolution, IR night vision up to 30m (98ft), PoE, a built-in microphone, and excellent low-light sensitivity. Its 2.8mm lens offers a wide view covering 98°. Retailing at $170, this camera would make an inexpensive and effective addition to any CCTV system.
MID-SPEC INDOOR/OUTDOOR TURRET: GEOVISION GV-EBD8711
This camera packs a comprehensive set of features into its small (130mm/5″ diameter) form factor, including 8 MP resolution, a 2.8-12mm varifocal lens with motorised focus, a built-in microphone, IR night vision to 30m (98ft), PoE, and great low-light performance. At $350, it’s well worth spending the extra compared with a basic turret camera, if your budget allows.
HIGH-SPEC OUTDOOR DOME: VIVOTEK FD9391-EHTV
This is a professional camera with a great set of features: 8 MP resolution, 50m (160ft) night-vision, a varifocal 3.9-10mm lens with motorised focus and P-iris, PoE, and great low-light performance. 3.9mm doesn’t sound very wide at the lower end of the focal length range, however due to the large 1/2″ CMOS sensor, this actually allows a remarkably wide 119° field of view. Larger sensors typically also allow for sharper images, less distortion, and better low-light performance than smaller sensors, all other things being equal. This camera retails for around $850.
INDOOR MINI-DOME: AXIS M3066-V
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 has an unusually wide 2.4mm lens that provides an impressive 131° field of view. It’s also very compact, measuring only 10cm (4″) in diameter. The 4 MP sensor provides reasonably 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. The price is around $380.
INDOOR CUBE: HIKVISION DS-2CD2455FWD-IW
This compact indoor cube/compact camera has an extensive feature set and is suitable for many applications, from home to retail to commercial use. Features are: 5 MP resolution, PoE, WiFi, two-way audio with built-in microphone and speaker, IR night vision with 10m (30ft) range and a 2.8mm lens with 97° angle of view. The price tag of $180 represents good value for such a versatile camera.
INDOOR/OUTDOOR PANORAMIC: HANWHA TECHWIN XNF-9010RV
This is a fisheye camera that provides a full 360° view of its surroundings, which can be streamed in a number of different formats (fisheye, single panorama, double panorama, quad view). The 12 MP sensor provides plenty of detail, while IR lighting allows up to 10m (30ft) of night vision. Other features include PoE and a built-in microphone. This camera retails for around $700.
INDOOR/OUTDOOR PTZ DOME: HIKVISION DS-2DE2A404IW-DE3/W
A comprehensive pan/tilt range plus 4X optical zoom is very impressive considering the small size (130mm/5″ diameter) and low price point ($250) of this camera. Other features include PoE and WiFi, a built-in microphone, and 20m (66ft) IR night-vision. Great value and equally suitable for indoor and outdoor usage.
OUTDOOR PTZ DOME: LOREX LNZ44P12B
This camera provides an impressive 12X optical zoom range (5.3-64mm) and IR night vision distance to match, extending to 100m (330ft). The 4 MP sensor provides good resolution, while an auto-iris lens ensures high quality images in all lighting conditions. PoE allows for easy installation, and the $500 price tag is very reasonable.
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!