Subscriber Discussion

Best Low Cost Minidome

What do you think the best value in low cost minidome cameras is?

The requirement would be standard resolution, multi stream H.264, flush mount minidome

Dependability is the most important criteria followed by picture quality.

You want 'standard resolution' or 'standard definition' (i.e., SD)?

Dependability is a tough one to judge.

Obviously, companies like Dahua, ACTi, Hikvision, Vivotek etc. tend to be the lowest cost.

You have the Axis M30s which are low cost for Axis ($200-$300 range) but are much more expensive than the Asian equivalents which tend to be closer to $150.

The other thing that makes me nervous is your 'multi stream' requirement. While most list that as a spec, how well and whether it works would be a serious risk for many of these super low cost cameras.


In general, manufacturers, if you want to recommend your product, identify yourself and explain why it meets this specific requirements.

The Axis M30 are what is being considered for the project now

In the past we worked with ACTI, but they suffered about 5% out of box failures, and also if they fell offline required manual intervention to get them back up. Haven't used them since so don't know if that has improved

Seems someone would step up to challenge here - mini domes make up a very large segment of the vertical

Companies are trying to step up. Every budget provider now has a super low cost HD minidome. What's tricky, as you indicate above, is validating reliability and support issues.

Dahua and Hikvision have the best low cost minidomes if you want to stay uder $200. For commercial applications, I would say the Dahua is better due to its low profile and no on-board IR as well as a SD card slot. They both have a limitation though in which there is limited positioning features, but if you ceiling mount them, you should have no issues with them.

The Panasonic SF135, SF138, SW135 and SW138 are pretty nice cameras. They come with a 1.95mm but you can get 2.8, 6 and 12mm lenses as well (M12 style).

The Pansonic WV-SF135 is $350 - $400 online. Am I missing something?

Yeah it's a little more expensive than the average mini dome I suppose.

Presumably, OP is ok with Axis M30 except for the price?

Yes - The Axis M3004 are dependable which is top priority. Their problem is the hoops the partners have to jump through to get competitive pricing

The purpose in surveying the membership here is to find if any of the lower cost options meet the SD spec as well as offer any track record of dependability below that $259 MSRP

Sony DH110 and CH110 are pretty good price and performance (thought they tend to be a little "noisy" in low night). The Samsung SND-5010 is a pretty nice little camera, too.

We tested the CH110 and 210 here. They are ok but the big problem remains, those cameras are still more expensive than the Axis M30s :)

How about the Vivotek FD8136? I used their FD8133 and FD8134s and they worked fairly well. I can find them online as low as about $225.

I agree the Sony cameras are pretty good and the low light performance is to be expexcted.


When you say they've worked fairly well - can you elaborate? What if any % of out of box failures? Did they stay online? When they went offline did they reboot automatically?

any other good or bad things you noticed?

I'm not aware of any out of the box failures and they stayed up. The only time they went out they booted back up and reconnected to the VMS with no problem (exacq).

The FD8133 does not support PoE but the other models models do. Tech support was not the greatest. Overall they produce a good image but like any low cost dome they lack low light performance.

This begs the question of what amount of discount does one need to justify taking on the increased risk. Axis M30s are obviously not perfect, but they are known, vetted quantity. Do you switch if it's $10 less per camera? $20? Do you need $50? I am genuinely curious how much is needed to justify taking a chance.


in a small install there would be no sense in taking on risk at $20 / $50 per camera.

However in a competitive shootout, with thousands of cameras going to the winner, the multiples may justify some risk for the integrator. Performance is always the first factor, but total roll out cost is a very close second

I could see $50 per camera, especially on a $250 base. However, at $20, that's harder for me personally to justify relative to the risk. Ultimately, this comes down to the end user buying in on the risk and approving the lower cost cameras as eligible for consideration.

In most "pilot" or ""shootouts" an end user will bring in several integrators to compete, all may have differents cams, encoders or VMS. Most times these test are smaller than the actual system to be rolled out. They also may test only the core functionality of the products. Remembering also that these end users have no real knowledge of the products other than what the SI tells them.

So in a lab enviornment they put 4 cameras in, they all work for the 2-3 weeks of the test and the picture quality is comparable the next measurable becomes price. Vendor A proposes the more expensive and dependable camera while vendor B goes $20 cheaper. The rollout calls for 2,000 cameras the first year. That $40K becomes the difference between winning and losing if both products pass muster in the lab. The end user may only learn after a substantial portion of the rollouut is completed that the cheaper cam doesn't auto re-boot, or the VMS is lacking features they wish they had thought about. But by then the product has been deployed and it is very hard to change course

We have been using the fd8134 for two years now. MovEd to it from the axis m3204. Much better firmware, true day/night, sd card, and ir. The vandal ip66 model is also less than 30 bucks more. Now also using the ACTI E series, which is less than 200 bucks. We installed hundreds of ACM3401 starting in 2008 with very few failing to this point so I am not concerned with reliability. Have always had firmware and integration issues with Axis and Exacqvision.

I tested Acti about four years ago and they were horrible. Their 1.3 Mega Pixel camera looked worse than a analog camera. I called their tech support and I could barely understand them and they couldn't help me anyways, they did not seem to have any idea about their own cameras. I'm guessing they're better now?

As far as firmware issues between Axis and Exacq what are those issues? We had some issues initially with some early H.264 cameras not triggering motion events using the H.264 stream but that's about it everything else has been solid with them.

Anyone use the ACTI D51 mini domes before? They are super cheap ($150ish) and that price is tough to ignore

Steve, we tested the ACTi D11 as part of the Pelco value line test. The D11 is the cube camera equivalent of the D11 and it performed fairly solid.

I've used the Lilin LD2222, not had any failures a good image and a good price.

When you say low cost, also factor in ease of focus and installation. Some of the mini domes can require multiple people to focus or a mobile device connected to network to focus the camera as there are rarely a service/focus port under the dome cover. Make sure to factor this item into the installs. Axis mini dome M series are cool, quality and low cost.

Does anyone have any input on the Bosch minis? Price and stability?

Hikvision 1,3 mega pixel great frames speeds and excellent low light performance

Gerald, we're going to be doing some testing of the Flexidome Minis. I have 720p, 1080p, and 5MP models. I'm not 100% on price yet, because they're not quite available last I checked. As far as stability, I've had one running for a couple of weeks in the office with no issues, day and night. Granted, not really a long term test, but there really were no bugs to it.

Thanks Ethan...I will reach out to my local rep to get a sample. Look forward to the test case.

We've started using the 1080p Dahua minidomes (whenever practical) where we would have use analog CNB domes before, as long as it's a well-lit scene (think restaurant back-of-house, retail fuel sites, etc.), since they run about the same price but give way higher resolution (sorry, John: PIXEL COUNT ;)

They aren't as versatile for mounting and aiming, and in fact, mounting and aiming can be a challenge sometimes, whereas the CNBs are dead-simple to use in a wide variety of situations... BUT the image quality is far better when there's decent lighting, the DWDR is generally more effective than CNB's "SBLC", andof course, infrastructure options open up completely when you no longer have to worry about point-to-point, home-run cabling.

I wouldn't mind trying out some other options for the sake of comparison, but on the whole, we've been pretty happy with the Dahuas so far.