IP Camera vs Webcam

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Updated July 25, 2022

If you are new to the world of digital video, you may look to compare IP cameras vs webcams. Some of the best webcams, after all, ship in a multitude of unique designs to suit different consumers. So what are the differences between these two camera types, and which is best for you? Keep reading to find out.


  • IP cameras, otherwise known as Internet protocol cameras, are intended for capturing surveillance footage.
  • Internet protocol cameras are particularly robust for filming and storing surveillance footage, offering more options and better video quality than CCTV systems.
  • Traditional webcams are easier to use for video conferences and for conducting a standard video feed, and they’re cheaper than Internet protocol systems.

Webcam vs IP Camera

There are plenty of differences between these two types, many more than when comparing a 720p vs 1080p webcam. First of all, what is an IP camera? Internet protocol cameras are intended for digital security, operating similarly to CCTV devices. In other words, IP cameras and webcams are not exactly similar, with differences more in line with a Raspberry Pi camera vs a traditional webcam.

Insider Tip

Familiarize yourself with the surveillance capture software before starting with your IP camera.

Internet protocol cameras are primarily intended for surveillance, so you won’t have a need to learn about webcam color correction. Traditional webcams, on the other hand, are intended for live streaming and making videos. Here are more differences between the two types of cameras.

Surveillance Benefits

You could technically conduct surveillance using a suite of traditional cameras, but you’ll have to find the appropriate software, and there will be something of a learning curve. IP cameras, on the other hand, are built from the ground up for surveillance, shipping in large packs to cover multiple areas at once and typically including integrated surveillance-focused software. If you are looking to replace an aging CCTV system, Internet protocol cameras are the way to go when compared to standard webcams.

Cloud Storage

Both types of cameras access cloud storage, but Internet protocol cameras are really made for it, in addition to including standard storage options. If you are looking to hold on to massive amounts of data in the form of days or weeks of surveillance footage, Internet protocol cameras are the best option. If you have no need for cloud storage and just want to live stream and chat with friends, go with a traditional webcam.


Standard webcams are budget-friendly, especially when compared to IP camera systems. Internet protocol cameras are specialized pieces of equipment with plenty of bells and whistles catering to the task of surveillance. This makes them more expensive than entry-level and even medium-grade webcams. High-end webcams rival IP cameras in price.


What is a CCTV camera?

CCTV stands for closed-caption television and was the gold standard for capturing surveillance footage before IP cameras. These analog cameras excelled as outdoor cameras and security cameras.

What is a field of view?

Field of view refers to how wide the camera lens can see at one time. Generally speaking, network cameras and CCTV-style cameras excel with the field of view, providing they have an Internet connection and Ethernet cable.

What type of camera has which lens?

When it comes to digital video, different types of cameras boast different lenses. Some excel with capturing a static image, while others are best for video recording and modern video resolution types.

STAT: An IP camera connects directly to your network, broadband router, or modem. This type of webcam does not need a computer to connect to the Internet as it has all the electronics needed for this built-in. (source)

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