THOUGHT CENTER > Blog > Security Cameras

What is a Dome Camera and How Do They Work?

April 29, 2024

Mammoth Takeaways

  • Dome cameras are used by businesses to provide discreet surveillance, record activities, and offer a layer of security.
  • Their dome-shaped housing blends well with indoor environments like retail spaces and offices, making them ideal for monitoring without being obtrusive.
  • When installing outdoor dome cameras, mount them face down.

In an era where security threats are ever-evolving and half a trillion dollars is lost to property crime annually (FBI), having a set of eyes in the sky (or on the ceiling) is a necessity for businesses and organizations like yours.

Dome cameras, with their blend of form, function, and flexibility, continue to be a top choice for those looking to fortify their defenses.

But what exactly is a dome camera, and how do they operate in the bustling ecosystem of surveillance solutions?

Keep on reading. We’re about to dive deep and uncover the nuts and bolts of these security devices.

What is a Dome Camera?

Dome camera in hallway.

Appearance and Uses

At its core, a dome camera is a type of video surveillance camera that’s encased in a dome-shaped housing.

These cameras are a common sight in a variety of indoor settings—from retail spaces to offices—because they blend in so well with their surroundings.

That said, don't let their discreet presentation fool you: dome cameras watch, record, and provide a layer of security that's tough to beat.

Discretion and Deterrence

The dome housing isn’t just for aesthetic purposes; it's a strategic choice.

The housing can make it difficult or impossible for potential intruders to determine which way the camera is pointing, thereby providing an effective psychological deterrent to potential bad actors.

Vandal Resistance

While dome cameras should usually be installed indoors, there is one circumstance in which outdoor dome installations are necessary: vandalism.

In areas with regular or expected crime and vandalism, a dome camera’s housing provides additional resistance.

How Dome Cameras Work

Dome cameras, while popular for their discreet design and versatility, come with their own set of challenges and operational nuances that are often glossed over. Understanding these aspects is crucial for anyone considering adding these devices to their security arsenal.

The Reality of Optical Clarity

Contrary to what you might expect, the dome-shaped cover of these cameras can be a double-edged sword. The cover, while protective, can attract smudges and dust, which may obscure the camera's view if not regularly cleaned.

Outdoor Installation

Unlike some surveillance cameras that offer flexible mounting options, outdoor dome cameras are not typically designed for wall mounting. They're engineered to shed water effectively in a downward orientation.

Infrared Performance: Navigating the Complications

Addressing the infrared capabilities of dome cameras, it's essential to note that they might not always offer the best performance in low-light conditions.

The additional layer between the scene and the lens—namely, the dome cover—can introduce complications. These issues range from the aforementioned IR bounceback to a general reduction in the effectiveness of the camera's night vision capabilities.

This doesn't render dome cameras ineffective at night, but it does mean their placement and the environment in which they are used should be strategically planned to lessen these limitations.

Best Practices for Dome Camera Installation and Use

Strategic Placement: Position indoor dome cameras to cover as much area as possible. Pay particular attention to entry points, sensitive areas, and any locations where valuable assets are stored.

While indoor domes can be installed at any angle, outdoor domes should always be installed in an upside-down position.

Regular Maintenance: For optimal performance, keep the dome clean and free from obstructions. A dirty or scratched dome can significantly reduce the quality of video footage.

Network Security: Ensure that your network is secure to prevent unauthorized access to video feeds.

Consider Lighting Conditions: Placing dome cameras in areas with consistent lighting can help avoid issues with image quality.

Mammoth Knows Dome Cameras

Mammoth Security logo

Dome cameras, with their discreet appearance and robust capabilities, have become indispensable in the modern security landscape.

Whether it's deterring would-be criminals or providing invaluable footage following a security event, these cameras play a pivotal role in safeguarding businesses and organizations.

Need help selecting the right camera types for your security needs? We’ve got you covered.

Our team at Mammoth Security knows the ins and outs of commercial-grade security cameras, and we install dome cameras and other camera types every day.

If you’ve got questions or concerns, we’re just a phone call or click (on the contact button) away.

And don’t forget to request a free, zero-obligation site survey and consultation with a knowledgeable and friendly member of our team.




Dome cameras are considered vandal-resistant because their dome-shaped housing provides additional protection against tampering and vandalism. This makes them suitable for areas where crime and vandalism are concerns.

Dome cameras can be used outdoors, especially in scenarios requiring vandalism resistance. However, they must be installed facing downward to prevent water accumulation and to ensure effective water shedding, which is crucial for maintaining their operational integrity.

Keep the dome clean and free from smudges and dust, ensuring network security to prevent unauthorized access, and considering consistent lighting conditions for better image quality.

Dome cameras are a strategic choice for security because their discreet dome housing makes it difficult for potential intruders to determine the camera's direction. This acts as an effective psychological deterrent while blending seamlessly into various indoor settings.

The design of dome cameras can affect their optical clarity as the dome-shaped cover may attract smudges and dust, potentially obscuring the view. Furthermore, in low-light conditions, infrared (IR) bounceback can cause video glare, reducing night-time surveillance effectiveness.

The best practices for installing dome cameras outdoors include positioning them in an upside-down orientation to ensure effective water shedding and prevent water accumulation. Strategic placement to cover critical areas and regular maintenance are also vital for optimal performance.

Regular maintenance is crucial for dome cameras to ensure they function correctly. Keeping the dome clean and free from obstructions like smudges and dust is necessary to maintain high-quality video footage and effective surveillance.

Infrared capabilities can affect dome camera performance in low-light conditions due to potential complications like IR bounceback, which can result in video glare. Careful consideration of the camera's placement and the environment is essential to overcome these limitations and ensure effective night vision surveillance.



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