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.