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IP Cameras: Fixed Lens VS. Varifocal Lens

IP cameras are proven to be one of the most effective security devices to deter burglaries and intrusion. They play a crucial part in combating crimes and upholding justice. And in recent years, IP cameras are widely deployed in residential, commercial and industrial applications for asset protection and theft prevention. Choosing the right IP camera is especially important for your surveillance system. IP cameras are priced differently for many reasons, but one of the main factors is the lens, and generally, you’ll be faced with two options: fixed lens and varifocal lens.

What’s a Fixed-Lens Camera?

The fixed-lens camera, as its name implies, is equipped with a fixed-focal lens that doesn’t allow you to change the focal length and field of view of the camera, so the position of the fixed-lens camera is crucial provided it has a limited view and there is no zooming activity occurring. But a limited view also guarantees more details captured in the frame. Almost all of the fixed-lens cameras are wide-angle, which helps eliminate dead zones in smaller areas.

The fixed-lens camera is the most cost-effective and appropriate choice for domestic use to help housekeepers build a comprehensive surveillance camera in a more budget-friendly way. It’s relatively cheaper. Although the viewing angle of the fixed-lens camera cannot be easily adjusted once installed, if properly positioned, it can still make sure the most critical areas be covered. Moreover, the footage of such cameras can be ‘zoomed’ in on after. Additionally, the fixed-lens camera always comes in a compact size. With few moving parts, it’s also easier to set up. Compared with a varifocal lens, the fixed lens has a less complicated construction and can generate clearer images.

Mini 5MP IR IP Camera with 2.8mm Lens

This 5MP IR IP Camera comes in a dome shape, featuring a high resolution of up to 5MP at 25ps and a wider-angle lens of 2.8mm. It’s equipped with a removable IR cut filter: in the daytime, the filter covers the sensor to provide color footage, while at night the filter opens to generate B&W clear 1080p images in the dead of night, offering a maximum night vision range of 10 meters. Protected in an IP66 waterproof, vandal-proof housing, this PTZ camera can operate safely in any imaginable environment under a wider temperature range of -35°C to 55°C. Compliant with IEEE802.3af, this 5MP IR IP Camera can be directly powered by a PoE switch or PoE injector via the same network cable, eliminating additional power cabling.

What’s a Varifocal-Lens Camera?

The various-lens camera, however, is built with an adjustable focal length, which allows you to adjust the viewing angle for any particular application to deliver a larger field of view. If you plan on changing the angle of the camera every now and then, the varifocal camera is obviously a wiser investment over the longer run. In this way, you don’t have to reinstall the camera to a different location every time. With the various-lens camera, you can change the focus of the camera to adjust the view to the desired location. And you can easily zoom in or out on a target to capture faraway or small objects like license plates.

Unlike the fixed-lens camera, the varifocal camera gives you more flexibility and adaptability when selecting an installation site and it’s great for focusing on one area. It’s more suitable for business applications to monitor the main entrances of the buildings, gateways, parking lots, warehouses, etc. Since it’s very hard to envision the exact field of view you need on the installation site, using a varifocal camera allows you to get the desired view. Thanks to variable focal length, you can easily zoom in the lens to get a clearer image and zoom out to get a wider view without affecting the image quality.

How does the varifocal camera work? Is it necessary?

Unlike the PTZ camera which can change its focal length automatically via scheduling or controlled through a smart app, most varifocal cameras only support manually adjustable lenses, which means you need to adjust the lens to the desired angle during the installation. Once adjusted, it will stay at this angle forever unless you adjust it once again. With the varifocal security cameras, you can capture a wider area in enough detail. And here are the situations, you must employ a varifocal camera: 1) when you only have the budget to install one camera in the room; 2) when you cannot mount the camera close to a place of interest; 3) when you need to get a close look at the passing person and vehicles; 4) when you need to identify a subject or target 15 meters away.

H.265 5MP PoE Bullet IR IP Camera with Vari-focal Lens

Long and cylindrical in shape, this PoE Bullet IR IP Camera is designed to target one specific location with a substantial viewing angle. It’s capable of housing a larger lens, covering a larger area, which makes it ideal for surveillance in places like parking lots, airports, and traffic intersections to provide higher levels of detail. Additionally, its distinguishable appearance also serves as an effective visual deterrent to burglars and thieves. It can record videos at stunning 5MP with a 2.8-12mm varifocal lens and 4x optical zoom. The infrared illuminators will automatically switch on to light up the monitored area 30 meters away. This camera is also equipped with an intelligent person detection function, so when a person enters the detection zone, auto-tracking will be automatically triggered.

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