All IP Camera manufacturers provide product specification sheets. These sheets claim to give you all the information you will possibly need to make an informed choice in selecting the right camera for your IP security and video surveillance system.
However, unless you already have an understanding about the subject, this information can be confusing. For example, how do you know which specifications are important? How do you decide between dome and bullet cameras, and most importantly of all, how can you hope to choose the right security camera if you don’t really understand or appreciate the importance of resolution, minimum light sensitivity, the workings of lenses and irises or how the angle of view can affect the usefulness of your captured video footage?
Well, hopefully the following information might help you better understand some of these issues and ultimately help you make the right choice when you finally get around to buying your security camera.
What types of security cameras are available?
Dome cameras are also a common and popular surveillance choice. Dome cameras are generally much less obtrusive than box cams – depending on their size – and they’re easy to mount in most locations. Interchangeable dome cam lenses are available at the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Bullet cameras are similar to traditional box cameras. They serve as a visible deterrent and they come in a variety of sizes — some are large, others are extremely compact. For monitoring flexibility, many bullet models come with variable focal length zoom lenses, whilst some also offer an interchangeable lens option.
Dome security cameras
Dome security cameras are named after their circular, dome shape. The dome is the transparent protective covering that encases the camera. Although dome security cameras are capable of being used both indoors and outdoors, most domestic users choose them for external security purposes. Some businesses, like hotels and retail outlets on the other hand chose to position their dome cameras indoors because they are discrete and unobtrusive.
Do dome cameras have any major advantages over other camera types?
Well, yes, they have several. One of the principal benefits of a dome camera is that because of its dome shape, potential intruders will struggle to determine which direction the camera is pointing in. Moreover, dome cameras are usually more durable and resistant to vandalism because the camera lens is protected.
If you still have concerns about the camera’s resilience, you can buy vandal-proof dome cameras which are encased with durable covers that are resistant to general acts of vandalism.
How do dome cameras compare to bullet cameras?
Well, bullet cameras can be knocked off their mounting or manually repositioned to point in a different direction. The shape and design of dome cameras also allow you to monitor a wider angle as the lens moves, Bullet cameras by contrast can only point in one direction.
Dome cameras offers variety in terms of shape, size, and angle. Some cameras are packed with night vision while others have pan-tilt-zoom features and motion sensors. These cameras can be placed practically anywhere, from cross-roads to parking lots, to someone’s backyard. One huge selling point of dome cameras is their massive area coverage options. The wide angle of the dome camera provides a maximized viewing area and, if equipped with the proper sensors, can act as panoramic surveillance cameras.
Major dome camera advantages
- More discreet cameras which can more easily blend in with their surroundings
- Variety and flexibility
- Rotating camera with a consequent wider-angle coverage
- Vandal resistant
- Ideal for use both indoors and outdoors
Bullet security cameras
Bullet cameras are also named because of shape – a distinct cylindrical shape which looks like a bullet shell or lipstick tube. They are one of the most common types and most widely used security cameras, and undoubtedly offer a clear visible deterrent. Numerous studies have shown that the presence of a security camera will make any property a less desirable target. Like dome cameras, bullet cameras can be installed indoors and outdoors.
Do bullet cameras have any major advantages?
Well, yes, they have a number of them. The main advantages of bullet cameras are their range and easy installation. Bullet cameras have a longer range which makes them ideal for viewing large areas like grounds, gardens, and parking lots. Their field of view is narrow; however, the shape of the camera allows for the use of much larger lenses on bullet cameras. Long distance viewing is the bullet camera’s major strength.
The camera’s narrow viewing angle allows the camera to see clearly at greater distances. Bullet cameras are also good at capturing clear images of people and licence plates at great distances, making identification easier when viewing video footage.
Bullet cameras are also easier to install, and due to their cylindrical shape, bullet cameras can also accommodate bigger lenses in their bodies. Bullet cameras are ideal for outdoor use, as the tip of the bullet camera includes a small protruding lip which helps protect against glare and adverse weather conditions.
Major bullet camera advantages
- Longer range
- Ease of installation
- Suitable for both internal and external usage
What are the main differences between dome cameras and bullet cameras?
Dome cameras can be used indoors or outdoors and can hang from the ceiling or be mounted on walls. Although dome security cameras are less visible, they are slightly more challenging to install than bullet cameras, although the difference is marginal in most instances.
If you want to change the angle of view with a dome camera, then it is necessary to undo the camera and remount in the desired position. With a bullet camera you can usually reposition the angle of view with the camera still mounted in situ, provided that the new area you wish to view is still within the cameras range. Having to remount the dome camera to reposition is inconvenient, but it’s a minor issue in the grander scale of things.
Bullet cameras as previously mentioned can also be installed both internally or externally. Bullet cameras are typically mounted to the side of the wall. Bullet cameras are generally easier to install because they come with a mounting handle. Once installed, you can easily position the camera lens to monitor the area you want the camera to view.
The camera’s range is determined by a number of factors including, its sensor chip, the type of lens, width of range dynamic, the lines of resolution, and backlight compensation. While the cameras range will largely be dependent on the exact camera and specification chosen, generally speaking dome cameras have smaller lenses than bullet cameras, as the shape of a bullet camera makes it easier to accommodate larger lenses. Because of this design advantage bullet cameras are generally more suitable for areas that require a camera with a longer range.
While light sensitivity is usually a primary consideration when choosing any camera, it’s less of an issue with security cameras. Both bullet and dome cameras are often specified with infrared LEDs which means that ensuring continuous light availability to the camera’s lens isn’t such a big deal. The infrared LEDs ensure that the cameras can continue to perform even in low light conditions.
Although the differences between dome and bullet cameras are relatively minor, it is important to understand these differences when selecting a security camera. It is generally thought that if you want to send a clear and unequivocal message to would-be intruders that your property has security coverage, then the camera of choice should be a bullet security camera.
However, that is, at best, a generalisation and not necessarily wholly accurate. If you really want all-singing and all-dancing security protection in your building, then it is probably the wisest course to build a system that incorporates both dome and bullet cameras, by doing that you can monitor not just all angles, but also inside and outside your property for total security