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Guide to Security Camera Field of View

Lorex Guide to Security Camera Field of View (FOV)

One of the most important considerations when choosing security cameras for your home or business is how much area you need to monitor. The best way to determine which camera will capture the full area you are interested in monitoring is to look for the camera's field of view. This article addresses the pros and cons of both wide and narrow angle lenses, and will help you make more informed decisions when choosing which camera is the best one for the job.

What is Field of View (FOV)?

The field of view of a security camera, also called the viewing angle, is the area that the camera can see. On a specification sheet, you will see the field of view measured in degrees. Think of the field of view as the angle between the two horizontal edges of the camera image. Check out the following examples to see this principle at play:

Camera with 60 degree FoV sees lesser area with greater detail

The 60 field of view captures some of the objects but in greater detail

Camera with 90 degree FoV sees greater area with lesser detail

The 90 field of view captures all of the objects but in lesser detail

As you can see in the example images above, the camera with 90 field of view captures all 3 objects in the scene, though each object takes up a small part of the camera image. The camera with 60 field of view captures some of the objects but in greater detail.

Remember, a wider field of view isn?t always better! There are pros and cons to each scenario – click here to learn more about how lens size affects field of view and what type of lens you should look for when choosing a security camera.

Wide angle security camera from Lorex

Wide-angle Lens

Smaller lenses are known as wide-angle lenses, which produce a greater field of view than cameras with a larger lens. They capture a large area, though objects will appear smaller within the camera image. Wide-angle lenses are designed for monitoring large areas, such as:

Security Cameras for Foyers


Security Cameras for Warehouses


Security Cameras for Yards

Back or Front Yards

Security Cameras for Parking Lots

Parking Lots

Wide angle security camera from Lorex

Narrow-angle Lens

Larger lenses, or narrow-angle lenses, have a smaller field of view. They capture a limited area, but objects will appear larger and more detailed within the camera image. Narrow-angle lenses are designed for monitoring a specific target, such as:

Security Cameras for Cash Register and Point of Sale

Cash Registers

Security Cameras for Doorways and Entrances

Doorways and Entrances

Security Cameras for Hallways


Security Cameras for Valuables and Collectibles

Objects of Value


How is lens size related to field of view?

The size of the camera lens, or focal length, is the main factor that determines the field of view. The example images compare multiple focal lengths and the resulting fields of view:

Camera image for 3.6mm focal length

Focal length: 3.6mm
Field of view: 78

Camera image for 5.1mm focal length

Focal length: 5.1mm
Field of view: 58

Camera image for 6mm focal length

Focal length: 6mm
Field of view: 51

Camera image for 9mm focal length

Focal length: 9mm
Field of view: 39


What different types of lenses are available?

A fixed lens is one where the camera?s focal length is permanently set and cannot be adjusted by the user. This means that the field of view is permanently set, so it is important to select the correct field of view (i.e., wide- or narrow-angle) for your application.

A varifocal lens allows the user to manually adjust the camera lens, generally using adjustment screws or knobs. Varifocal cameras are typically more expensive than the equivalent fixed lens model, but they allow for greater flexibility to optimize the camera picture for your specific needs. The focus settings on a camera with a varifocal lens may need to be adjusted from time to time.

If your application demands you to quickly switch between a narrow and wide field of view, we?ve got a solution for that too! Consider buying a PTZ camera – they have a motorized varifocal lens that can be used to change the field of view from your DVR, NVR or a connected smartphone or tablet. PTZ cameras have other advanced features making them the most expensive type of camera, so they are only recommended for the most demanding applications.