There are basically two types of surveillance cameras to choose from when selecting video surveillance cameras for your home or business. The two types are dome cameras and bullet cameras.
When you decide to add security cameras to your home or office, you will undoubtedly find yourself in the situation of choosing between dome camera or bullet cameras. Bullet cameras look cool. They were the first readily available surveillance cameras on the market. Because of this, they quickly became very popular.
Then along came dome cameras. When purchasing surveillance cameras for your home or office, you should purchase dome security cameras, rather than bullet cameras for your home or office security surveillance system.
Dome security cameras are the better choice for several reasons.
About Dome Cameras
Dome security cameras have dome-shaped housings designed to function well in outside weather conditions. Although they work great for outdoor installations, they also work well inside homes and offices for several reasons.
Versatile Mounting Options
Dome cameras easily install horizontally on ceilings or vertically walls. Mounting cameras vertically on walls is great for mounting cameras outside on walls in high locations out of reach. This is common for parking lot surveillance.
Horizontally mounting cameras is the most common way of installing dome cameras on ceilings at any height.
Dome cameras are more aesthetically pleasing and less intrusive than bullet cameras, which is one reason they have become so popular. Generally speaking, dome cameras look good anywhere. They blend with most decors and can be mounted in out-of-sight locations so they are initially less noticeable. They are less obtrusive with a minimalist design. This is important inside homes.
Dome cameras are generally less conspicuous. Intruders are less likely to notice them.
Several options exist for dome cameras:
- Wired Analog – These cameras connect via cat5 or cat6 cables to a DVR and possible a POE device.
- Wireless IP – These camera connect wirelessly to DVRs.
- IR Night Vision – These cameras have infrared LED lights built into them for recording in low light situations.
- Fixed Lens – These cameras have preset focal lengths. Common focal lengths are wide angel 2.8mm and standard 4mm.
- Pan/Tilt/Zoom lens – These cameras can pan left and right, tilt up and down, and and have variable zoom lens to zoom in to locations.
- Motion Sensor – These cameras detect motion and record only when there is motion. Some cameras will track the moving object.
- Thermal Sensor – These camera detect heat signatures.
Wired dome security cameras usually cost much less to purchase, but they may be more difficult to install because they must be connected via CAT5 or CAT6 cables. These cameras send video through the CAT5 or CAT6 cables. This allows you to conveniently access your dome cameras from any location on your smart devices over Internet.
Because wired cameras get their power from CAT5 or CAT6 cables through a POE device, they can be installed in more versatile locations than wireless cameras which require locations near a power source.
The challenge to installing wired cameras is running cables to locations which may be distant or in obscure locations. You may need to run wires in crawl spaces under homes, through attics which may be hot or inaccessible, or through brick or concrete walls which require drilling.
Wireless cameras, on the other hand, transmit video wirelessly over your WiFi network. This makes wireless cameras much easier to install, but they cost more. It is also much easier to add additional wireless cameras at any time because additional wires do not need to be run.
The only requirement to install wireless cameras is an electrical outlet. This may limit the locations where you install the security cameras.
The other concern for wireless cameras is making sure they are not located far away in a place where the wireless signal must pass through multiple walls. Walls can impede the signal.
Light Levels For Dome Cameras
Dome cameras record video well inside, outside, during daylight and at night. Many of these cameras have infrared LED lights which allow them to record in dim light. Some cameras can see up to 100 feet at night or in total darkness.
Fixed vs Pan/Tilt/Zoom
The choice of a fixed lens or PTZ lens may be decided by the size of the area that the cameras watch.
For obvious reasons, fixed lens security cameras cost less than PTZ cameras. For most installations, fixed lens cameras are okay. Generally, there is no reason to spend extra on PTZ lens cameras. For example, if a fixed lens dome camera is installed in the far corner of a room and the lens sees the entire room, there would be no need for a PTZ camera.
On the other hand, if the cameras watch large areas like retail stores, warehouses or parking lots, PTZ cameras may be beneficial. Some PTZ lenses can also track the movement of people or cars.
Dome camera typically have white or off-white base colors to blend in with light colored ceilings. If another color base is needed, the bases can be easily painted.
The standard zoom for a dome camera is a 2.8mm wide angle lens. An optional medium wide angle 4mm lens is also available. Other focal lengths may be available, but these are the most popular.
Fisheye dome cameras use a special lens to produce 360° panoramic video. These require higher ceilings.
The dome camera you choose should be rated IK10 vandal resistant. This prevents wires from being compromised. The domes cannot be easily removed. This is especially important if the dome cameras are located in an easily reachable location.
Dome cameras are designed to be weather resistant for installation at most outdoor locations.