Before selecting a surveillance camera or a mix of cameras for your security needs, it helps to have a basic familiarity with the variety of security cameras on the market and the useful features individual models boast. We're here to support you with our expertise by providing a clear and simplified overview of your video surveillance security system options.
Dome cameras are named for the protective glass that gives them their dome shape. Discreet, sturdy, and stylish, dome cameras can support many indoor and outdoor video surveillance needs.
Dome security cameras are favored in many settings because their small size and discreet appearance allows them to blend in with almost any décor. They can often be found on the walls and ceilings of hotel lobbies, restaurants, retail stores, and other highly decorated indoor environments where more obvious security cameras, such as bullet cameras and turret cameras, might undermine interior design or be off-putting to customers and clients.
Wireless cameras are not reliable enough for commercial use yet. Instead, we use purpose-built antennae to connect hardwired cameras on light poles and buildings.
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Because dome cameras have a wider viewing angle than other CCTV and IP cameras, they can monitor large areas with near-panoramic views in single shots--at high resolution and with no distortion. Dome cameras are especially suited to capturing footage at wide angles because their compact design leaves a relatively small amount of space between their lens and their imaging sensor. And while a dome camera's surveillance range is limited by its short focal length, most domes have 3 or 4 axis adjustment options, which allow for plenty of adjustment to achieve a specifically desired field of view.
The circular, dome-like casing of a dome camera can protect its lens from the elements in outdoor environments and from vandalism both indoors and outdoors. For example, while the lens of a bullet camera can be shifted by vandals with force, a dome camera's lens is relatively vandal resistant behind its casing. A further security and deterrent effect is provided by the dome housing's obscuring effect, requiring an onlooker to stand close to the camera lens before discerning its field of view.
While dome cameras are the right choice in many situations, some of their main benefits come with trade-offs.
A dome camera's small size and capacity for near-panoramic views at high resolutions are perfect where large areas must be monitored. But a drawback to their compact construction is a constricted focal length and decreased depth of field. This means that they can't zoom in to capture clear images of distant objects.
While domes offer extra protection from would-be vandals who might attempt to reposition their angle of view, those very same protective domes also make it more difficult for property owners to make axis adjustments after installation. Readjusting the dome after installation can also lead to blurry or distorted images if fingerprints or dust get inside the dome. Your installation expert should make sure your camera lens is pointing in the desired direction before the dome is tightly secured.
While domes offer extra protection from vandalism and rough outdoor environments, they can run into a lot of trouble outdoors. Most outdoor dome cameras have a foam part that presses against their housing to prevent IR night vision from bouncing back into their camera lens. This works well inside, but domes installed outside sometimes run into issues if this piece warps with changes in the temperature--resulting in infrared light passing through the camera lens and distorted video surveillance captured at night.
Even when installed correctly, outdoor dome cameras that are not weatherproof are prone to condensation collecting within their covers--resulting in blurry or distorted footage.
All outdoor dome cameras must be installed upside-down to prevent water from pooling above them and freezing to break their seals. Fortunately, most dome camera products are small enough to be properly installed in tight outdoor ceiling-like spaces, such as eaves, soffits, and other building overhangs.
While all dome cameras feature the hemispherical dome from which they get their name and share a reputation for being more sleek and stylish than their bullet camera and turret camera counterparts, not all dome cameras are the same. They come in a wide variety of specialized models with features tailored to particular environments and needs.
The best place for most dome cameras is indoors in spaces such as large halls and reception areas where wide angle views are desirable and depth of range is not important. Dome cameras discreetly mounted on ceilings and walls are an excellent security option for restaurants and other locations where people should forget that they might be on an IP or CCTV monitor.
Dome security cameras with motion detection features can be useful in private lots, warehouses, and other areas that may be entirely or only partly restricted. This type of security camera can be programmed to recognize unwanted movement in predefined areas and can either begin recording footage or start an alarm when triggered. Smart Motion Detection Dome models provide even more advanced motion detection filters which can differentiate between movements caused by human actors and movements such as shadows moving in the wind.
Dome security cameras are a good idea for environments where vandalism is expected or reoccurring. Vandal proof dome cameras are models that earn an IK10 rating, the highest possible rating a camera can receive for resistance to physical damage. They are housed in tougher casings than most dome models and this tougher casing, in combination with out-of-reach placement, makes them the most vandal-resistant dome model available. However, there is no such thing as truly vandal proof dome. Even those receiving the coveted IK10 rating can be damaged if attacked with significant force--such as artillery fire from a distance or even a metal bat if they are installed too close to the ground.
Dome security cameras with high IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are often favored in outdoor settings, such as parking lots and patios, because they are designed with a focus on keeping dust, moisture, and other elements from entering their camera's housing. If properly mounted, these waterproof models can be the difference between clear surveillance year-round and the need to call in support to correct blurry video footage after a thunderstorm or a morning of intense condensation. Cable connections running to all outdoor security cameras, including turret and bullet cameras, should be treated with sealing grommet by your installer.
New mini dome cameras come in sizes small enough to fit in a child's palm. They are the most discreet security cameras on the market and they are a great choice where there is limited space. They can fit into small wall or ceiling mounts and are great for challenging installation environments while still providing high-resolution, wide angle images and video surveillance.
It's important that you select the right security system products for the right types of visibility in the locations you need them. Like their turret and bullet security camera counterparts, dome cameras can be used as part of an IP or CCTV camera system. And they are a great option when you need discretion, resistance to vandalism, or clear images and video footage from a wide angle.