Dome Cameras are very stylish cameras and make great indoor cameras. Many models can also be used outdoors, but because they mount from above, this often limits the places that dome cameras can be mounted. They can also be armored which protects them from vandalism and extreme situations. Although they can be used in other situations, they are most commonly used in retail stores and other small business applications that have high traffic. The smokey colored shell hides where the lens is pointed, which helps deter theft, shrink, and other situations that could cost small businesses a lot of money.
Most people who are looking at a dome camera are trying to determine whether domes or bullet cameras better suit their needs, so we made a flowchart to help you decide which would be better for you.
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About Dome Security Cameras
Dome Security Cameras are Low priced, Flexible, Adaptable, Consistent Indoor Security Cameras.
In most cases, dome cameras mount from the ceiling. Compared to Bullet cams which mount on to a vertical wall, installing domes outside requires more effort than a standard bullet camera mounting bracket. However these exact same reasons make dome cameras significantly easier to install inside, and, for this reasons, many small business use them frequently, especially in hallways where space can be tight. Small professional offices, doctor offices, hospitals, fast-food chains, and restaurants use them indoors because they are less obtrusive and more pleasing on the eye, especially when compared to the traditional c-mount security camera. Dome cameras can come equipped with infrared lights, vari-focal lens, vandal-proof casings, and 3 axis adjustment lens brackets.
Another reason that Dome cameras are great indoor cameras is that, in general, most are designed to focus on short distances (unlike bullet cams that are designed to see long distances). Also many have the option to have smoke colored shells that make it hard to see where the lens is pointed, which also reduces the distance that they can record.
Using Dome Cameras Outdoors
In our collection, we have a few models that fill multiple roles and break some of the generalizations. One thing that sets a dome camera apart is that it can beencased in a vandal proof shell. Certain models may can endure some pretty harsh conditions like bullet cams, and thus can be placed outside, where they are exposed to hot, cold, and wet conditions. Although they were originally designed for use indoors, many security personnel use dome cameras outdoors specifically because of their vandal proof casing.
Until about five years ago, dome cameras were not able to be equipped with infrared lights. The reason was that the IR lights embedded around the lens produced so much glare on the dome's shell that they washed out the video. The invention of a "sponge style" ring against the shell of the dome, opened up the potential for many models and styles of domes to have the technology once unique to infrared cameras.
As you might imagine, having your video surveillance system have additional protection from vandals is a necessity.
Dome Camera Restrictions
Infrared Dome Cameras
Using them indoors without infrared lights bring up a few restrictions. Dome cameras without infrared lights cannot see in low to zero level lighting conditions, so you that would require you to have indoor or emergency lights. For home owners, a night light in the foyer or hallway can do, but this can reduce the quality of the video captured by color dome cameas.
It also is important to remember that if you spend the money to have a vandal-proof dome camera that does not have infrared light technology, it may be rather impervious to being damaged but might still be rendered useless if someone smashes your lights. Security does not always give you the most stable conditions. Often it is imperative to have a backup plan to account for things when conditions can change, so we suggest getting infrared lights in vandal proof dome cameras.
You will also need to exercise common sense when mounting an infrared dome camera. Never face it at a glass window or any other reflective surfaces as this will result in a washed out image (a white video feed with no image at all).
Dome Camera Viewing Distances
If you are looking for the ability to see past 100 meters (300 feet), think about using a different type of cctv camera. Dome Cameras are much smaller than other models, and even the models that have a vari-focal lens can only use 4-9mm settings. This means that a dome camera will not record well past 60 meters. (The maximum viewing distance depends heavily upon the amount of LED light emitted by the dome camera. Because the shell reflects part of that light back to the camera, dome security cameras cannot have as many LED lights as other models.) You can use our lens calculator to determine the correct lens based upon your target viewing area.
This is why dome cameras are commonly used in hallways and at the front of a door of a home or organization, where the security personnel need to see the face of a visitor or customer. If you are looking for a camera with a protective shell that can be used at distances greater than 100 meters, you may want to consider a PTZ camera.
You may also want to consult our Dome Camera FAQ.