Getting 20/20 Vision From Your Surveillance Camera

Tips on picking the right lens for the job

Final Recommendations

As with any technology, the science of camera lens-making continues to make advances — though nowhere close to the rapid pace of improvements in semi-conductors and image processors. Like all leading-edge improvements, pricing will fluctuate depending on the quality of the lens and the features it includes. For instance, a low-cost fixed iris lens could be found for as low as $10, while a varifocal P-iris lens for a 5 megapixel camera could cost several hundred dollars, and a zoom lens even more.

Comparable to professional SLR still photography cameras, the lens is often the surveillance camera’s most expensive component. Often, buying a camera with the lens included provides optimum price performance — so shop wisely. Compare costs and features across multiple manufacturers to make sure the type of lens you choose is the perfect fit for you.

Fredrik Nilsson is General Manager of the Americas for Axis Communications and author of the book Intelligent Network Video. He is a regular expert contributor on topics of networked video surveillance systems and cameras, including his "Eye on Video" and "Eye on Hosted Video" series available at