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C-mount security cameras are the long-time favorites in this industry. C-Mount cameras can sometimes be known as CS-Mount Security Cameras.
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In 1970's and 1980's, when security cameras were in their infancy, c-mount cameras were really the only kind of video surveillance camera. Their shape and size was determined greatly by the size of the boards and chip-sets at the time. As technology has improved over the years, with the size of circuit boards getting smaller, newer style security cameras were able to be developed. Since then, bullet cameras have taken over the market. However, c-mount cameras still offer the best resolution of any security camera, and are the only cameras that can use the 1/2" chip sets. C-Mount cameras make great indoor cameras and they require specific housings and mounting brackets to work outside. C-Mount cameras are really popular in commercial uses (like banks) and local government compounds.
C-mount cameras are the "seniors" of the group. They were the very first commercial security camera models and created the CCTV industry in the early 70's. At that time, the only foreseeable market for security cameras was government buildings, which are still the largest segment of security camera purchases today, and so the c-mount camera defined the industry. Today, c-mount cameras are still known for having the best resolution because their larger size allows for larger chip sets. Whereas, dome cameras and infrared cameras, can only support lenses up to 1/3 of an inch, many cmount security cameras have 1/2" chip-sets. A larger chip-set means you will have superior video, especially in very low level lighting conditions.
A C-Mount Camera's power to see in low lighting is measure by it's lux stat. Lux is the metric unit of for measuring the amount of light that falls on an object. A lower lux rating indicates how well the c-mount camera works in low light. A lower lux rating usually means that the camera will be more expensive.
One of the drawbacks to owning a c-mount camera is the parts come separate. This means that you have to know what you need before you buy, and, as such, are considerably less adaptable than bullet cameras. For example, in order to have a cmount security camera work outside, you need to purchase a lens, brackets, infrared lights, and a housing.
Many stores sell cmount security cameras, and although most of the pictures show the cameras with lens mounted to them, c-mount security cameras do not come with lens. The reason for this is so that the customer can manipulate their CCTV system and add a variety of different lens to the c-mount camera to get the video they truly desire. As a result, the price for a single camera can be higher than other types of security cameras. But for those customers who are seeking high resolution video, cmount security cameras are the only way to go.
If you want color video outside at night, then you will need a c-mount camera, however C-mount cameras are not designed for the outside, so you will need a housing. The housing protects the camera from rain, snow, and projectiles that could be flying around in the air during windy conditions. Some housings come with heaters and blowers to protect the life of a cmount security camera in very extreme environments. Many high rise commercial businesses use c-mount cameras in housings because of their high resolution color video needs.
If your CCTV application calls for an indoors approach, consider c-mount security cameras first. These camera are great because they most of them have a very good ability to see in color during the day and night -- without the use of infrared technology. So if you want a color image no matter what, c-mount cameras are your best option.
If you are looking to deter crime by having a security camera, a c-mount security camera is your best bet. C-mount cameras are designed to deter crime by being obvious, with their CB-brackets mounted to drop-down tile ceiling and their professional "We mean business!" look.
You may also want to consult our C-Mount Camera FAQ.