The Lens Iris
CCTV security cameras that are used in good and constant light conditions (e.g. indoors with electric lighting) will perform satisfactorily with a "Fixed Iris Lens". Fixed Iris lenses with fixed focal length are the least expensive and the most widely used.
In varying light conditions (e.g. outside or inside facing a window) the iris on the camera will need to open and close to accommodate changes in light intensity, otherwise the camera images will be too bright or too dark. Lenses with electrically powered irises which automatically adjust as light conditions change are called "Auto Iris Lenses". They are more expensive but do a much better job in varying light conditions.
In constant light conditions that are either dim or very bright, a "Manual Iris Lens" may be the answer. As it's name implies, this type of lens can have the Iris aperture adjusted by hand to give the optimum camera image quality. Pricing for "Manual Iris" lenses is higher than Fixed Iris and lower than Auto Iris lenses.
The "F Stop" value of the lens
While "F Stop" is actually a ratio between focal length and lens aperture, in practice, when comparing lenses of the same focal length, it is an indication of the lens aperture. The smaller the "F Stop" the wider the lens aperture and the more light that lens will let into the camera. This is of particular importance in lenses with adjustable irises (both manual and auto). Our vari-focal, manual and auto-iris lenses have an "F Stop" value of 1.0, giving a far better aperture than most and consequently a better image, particularly in lower light conditions.