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Two of the most popular security cameras on the market today are dome and turret cameras. Both camera types can be used for CCTV or IP video surveillance, but they're designed to meet different security needs. Today I'd like to compare their strengths and weaknesses and walk you through questions to ask before choosing one over the other.
Dome security cameras are named for the dome shape of their protective housing. They can blend into background environments more easily than turret cameras and they're more vandal resistant. A downside to their protective casing is that dome cameras are more prone to glare effects and night vision complications, such as IR bounce. And while the unique structure of a dome camera's lens makes it the better of the two cameras if you need wide, near panoramic video surveillance, they aren't a great choice if you need to zoom in for detailed images of distant objects.
Turret security cameras are named after the armored turrets on military tanks because their cameras are able to rotate freely within their socket-like mounts. They are the easiest security camera to aim and reposition thanks to their ball and socket design. And while their lack of a protective dome shell means they are less vandal resistant than dome cameras, they make up for it with their ability to capture clear images both up-close and at a distance.
Most dome cameras are great for taking wide shots and collecting nearly panoramic images and video. The tradeoff for this width of vision is less definition when surveilling farther subjects. Unlike dome security cameras, most turrets have optical zoom capabilities, which means they can capture clear images both nearby and at relatively far distances. This optical zoom feature can be helpful in situations where close-up images of suspect faces or license plates are needed.
While both dome and turret security cameras can be installed outdoors, dome cameras are often favored because their compact shape and size makes them unlikely to gather spiderwebs or attract nesting birds--issues which sometimes come up with outdoor turret cameras. A dome camera's glass housing, if properly installed, can also prevent their lenses from being damaged by the elements. On the other hand, even when installed correctly, outdoor dome cameras are prone to condensation collecting within their housing--a complication which results in blurry surveillance images.
Turret cameras are usually less compact than dome cameras and they may attract spiderwebs or even birds' nests, but they make up for this inconvenience when it comes to night vision. Simply put, a turret camera has better night vision because its camera lens is not behind an extra layer of glass. The protective glass of a dome camera can result in IR bounce back at night, especially if the dome's anti-glare mechanism is warped by changes in the weather.
The very best turret cameras for nighttime security have special EXIR (extended infrared) capabilities. EXIR night vision turret models are designed with separate windows for lenses and IR LED lights, resulting in superior, crisp night vision.
One of the many benefits of an outdoor dome security camera is its resistance to vandalism. Because the camera lens is protected behind a dome casing, vandals are unable to readjust its viewing angle--a maneuver intruders have successfully attempted with turret cameras. In parking lots and other areas with expected or repeated vandalism, specialized "vandal proof" dome camera models are an even smarter option. They earn a rating of IK10 for resistance to physical force, the highest rating possible for vandal-resistant security cameras on the market.
Whether indoors or outdoors, turret cameras can be mounted vertically on poles and walls or upside-down on ceilings and overhangs. The installation of an outdoor dome camera is a trickier matter. They should always be installed upside-down to prevent water from pooling above their seals, freezing, and causing damage. Therefore, before deciding to use an outdoor dome camera to cover a vulnerable location, make sure there's an eave, soffit, or other overhang nearby.
The small size and obscuring cover of most dome security cameras allows them to blend in with their environments much more easily than their turret counterparts. A small glass dome can easily fit in with most interior designs. And if you're looking for extra discretion, new Mini Dome cameras are small enough to fit in the palm of a child's hand.
While domes don't add the same deterrent effect as turret cameras, they allow for a less aggressive and more customer-friendly environment. It can be off-putting to shop while a turret camera (or an even more aggressive bullet camera) is pointing at you, so the subtlety of a compact glass dome that doesn't even look like a camera is a great choice if you want to keep customers at ease.
Turret cameras are a great choice if you want people to know that they are being surveilled. The deterrent effect in and of itself adds security value, which is why turret cameras are commonly found in retail stores where shoplifting is a recurring problem. And while obvious surveillance can be off-putting in some environments, there are situations where a noticeable IP camera or CCTV camera can make people feel safer.
In my own walk-up apartment building, there's a flat faced dome camera (a kind of turret camera that is also known as a "dome turret camera") monitoring every single landing space, as well as the vestibule where my packages are delivered. While it's a little weird that my landlord can watch me come and go, I appreciate the deterrent effect these turret cameras provide--not to mention the comfort of knowing video will be available if a package goes missing.
A turret dome camera or "flat faced dome camera" is a type of turret camera shaped like a partial dome with a flat face for its lens. While it can be confusing that the term "dome" appears in turret camera models, a simple rule of thumb to differentiate a really dome camera from a camera with just a dome shape is that a really dome camera is completely behind glass.
When planning the installation of surveillance cameras for your CCTV or IP security system, it's necessary to learn about these two cameras and think about how they can meet your needs. If you need outdoor footage, do you have eaves or other overhangs near the location you'll surveil (necessary for outdoor dome installation)? Do you need a security camera with clear, reliable night vision (turret), or is resistance to vandalism more important (dome)? Do you need a camera that people will notice (turret), or a camera that can blend into your décor and be forgotten (dome)? Most importantly, ask yourself if you need easy angle adjustment and a great zoom range (turret) or a camera lens designed to capture nearly panoramic angles of view with superb resolution (dome)? While dome and turret security cameras are available in many models with specialized features, understanding their key differences will set you in the right direction to make a wise decision efficiently.