Subscriber Discussion

Elevator/Lift Camera

Which is best suitable IP dome camera for Elevator (compact & stylish)?

For a general background, see our elevator surveillance guide though that covers communications/cabling.

Elevator cameras are typically corner mounts:

While there are many analog ones, I am not sure how many IP ones exist. Also, it's not clear to me the value of an IP / MP one for a small elevator.

Can anyone help here?

I've always felt those cameras were butt-ugly!  We've used a few angled cameras that are smaller and less obtrusive, like the Pelco IS210:

The CSI 2KB1:

 and the Speco CVC691AMW:

One of the biggest things we look for is a super-wide lens (typically <2.0mm) so that the camera can see the entire car, including directly under the camera.  This is one application where the wider, the better - not for the horizontal field of view, but for the vertical.  The last elevator cameras we installed came with 3.6mm lenses; too narrow for our purposes, so we bought aftermarket 1.6mm or 1.8mm lenses and changed them out.

Carl, you feel the 3 cameras you embedded are smaller and less obtrusive than a corner mount? They look kind of bulky and protruding whereas the corner mount smoothly blends into the corner.


The Speco is 2.25” (W) x 2.75” (H) x 2.5” (L). Pretty small. Also, our elevators have gaps between the wall and the ceiling and rounded corners - not conducive to a corner mount.

I like the super mini domes I've seen in a few elevators and the ball cameras might also work but it's a pain to cut or drill through our elevator ceilings (pretty thick stainless steel) and those were pretty simple - a couple of holes for self-tapping screws and a 1/2" hole for the cables.

Funny story: we attached the first few with extra-strong Velcro until someone stole one - right on camera. Even funnier, a few days later, he came back and attempted to steal another one after we screwed them down. He was caught and arrested because we were watching the elevators at the time.

Another issue: we've had customers scratch, magic marker, lipstick and even push lit cigarettes into the windows of the cameras. We finally had a shop make up glass windows for them - plastic melts, you see.

Which of these is the best suitable IP camera in an elevator?

While the Axis offers the most covert option, it also has the narrowest HFoV - 57 degress compared to 80+ degress for the other models on your list.

I've only had to put a camera in an elevator once... we used one of the old tapered aluminum Extreme domes (because the customer liked the way they looked), with just a 2.8mm lens, stuck on the ceiling in one corner. Not a stupidly wide view, but more than wide enough - when an elevator car is barely taller than a person and fits 5 or 6 at most, you really don't need to see EVERY CORNER.

Here it is - records at CIF, but I've enlarged the exported still to D1 size for better viewing. The noise is at least in part because it uses a pair in the Cat5e used to send signal to the three little monitors in the corner (it must run near some high voltage at some point, because those screens get lots of noise in them as well... not my problem though, we were just told we had to use the one extra pair, so...).

I have received emails for a laser based elevator transmission system.

Hernan, we did a review/overview a few years ago of a laser based elevator system. We did not follow up nor have we heard about production use. Has anyone deployed one of these?

John, what do you think of AXIS 209MFD-R?

Axis specifically recommends this for mobile surveillance, can this also be used for elevators?

It has a low profile, for sure. It's discontinued though. Let me ask Axis if they have a recommended solution for elevators and follow up here.

Yeah, it has been replaced with AXIS M3114-VE, it looks pretty similar in construction though.

Also, the initial impression of AXIS M3011/M3014 looks good. However, according to the installation video most of the camera is actually hidden, and may require much larger space which the elevator cars usually don't have.

Actually it would have been replaced by the 3114-R. R is the Axis "Rugged" differenciation from "VE" (Vandal-proof, Environmental) because it is also vibration resistant i.e. for Autos and Elevators.

I was going to suggest the M3006-V among the Axis models, becuase of its super wide FOV (134?), but it's a bit bigger than other models, ~5.2 in diameter, 3.4" tall. The M3004/3005 are practically the same size as the M3114-R, though I think the dome is slightly bigger.

I have had some customers use these Samsung cameras in elevator cabs before. Both have about a 90deg FOV and are similar in form to the above Axis 209 and M31-R cameras.

Analog: SCV-2010F

IP: SNV-5010

The new M30 cameras listed by Ethan are a great suggestion as well.

Here's feedback from Axis:

"We’ve had customers use our 209 or it’s the replacement the M31 with good results. We’ve also had customers use our M3013/4 series as well for very low profile options.

With the release of the P12 series we have also had customers that are looking at using the P12 in either covert or non-covert elevator scenarios."

We've never installed one in an elevator, but the Sony SNC-DH110 give a pretty nice image and they're pretty small. Comes in black or white. Porblem is that I don't think even the "anti-tamper" models, the DH110T, would stand up very well to even minimal abuse.

Why not just using a S14 ?

S16 DualFlex

Luc, thank you for promoting your company! At IPVM, we so enjoy manufacturer promotions.

Let me think of a number of reasons why one should not use an S14:

  • It's crazy expensive compared to conventional elevator cameras.
  • The additional resolution tends to be overkill in the small spaces of an elevator
  • It has little third party support codec support, forcing users to spend even more on storage with MJPEG.

Thanks for the response John. I did not expect anything else from you.

1 - It is not only a camera. It is a camera, with DVR, with storage (64GB) for 800€+100€ for the SDcard or 150€ for a 2TB USB-HDD

All end-user prices.

2 - Hemispheric cameras need that resolution.

3 - Mobotix is fully supported (including MxPEG) by most european VMS providers (including Milestone & Seetec)

Name who else supports MxPEG. You named 2 VMSes. How many VMSes are there in the Americas and Europe? What percentage support MxPEG? It's very low.

Also, if am using your hemispheric cameras how do I dewarp them on other VMSes. How many support Mobotix hemispherix dewarping?

Finally, do not promote Mobotix again on IPVM. If someone specifically asks for Mobotix, feel free to respond. Otherwise, do not pollute IPVM with unasked for promotions.

You also have the Panasonic WV-SF135 with a 104 degree FOV. With this there is nowhere to hide. Here's a video demonstrating it in an elevator:

> You also have the Panasonic WV-SF135 with a 104 degree FOV. With this there is nowhere to hide. Here's a video demonstrating it in an elevator:

Atle, perfect shot. That's exactly what we want to see in an elevator FOV - nowhere to hide!

My questions for anyone using IP cameras in elevators would be: how are you transporting the data and powering the camera?

Hey, how about a Arecont? Only 10 inches wide, 5 inch drop, and a huge blind spot below it.

kidding of corse. I do like the looks of the Panasonic Atle suggested. Also I have one of the 3114-R. It should work ok but not sure it has the FOV necessary for an elevator.

UPDATE: I must correct myself. I have the 80 degree M3114-R. Axis also has the M3114-R M12. A quick website lookup shows that "The wide-angle AXIS M3114-R M12 2 mm, with an M12 network connector and a 105° angle of view"

this would put it on par with the Panasonic. Sorry for my hasty first posting.

How often are people putting minidomes in elevators vs corner mount cameras, i.e.,

Minidomes just strike me as a huge eyesore. I make a point of checking out cameras in elevators and in any high end building I go to, it's seemingly always corner mount.

I have to agree with John the corner mount camera is the overwhelming choice for elevator applications. All the high rises in NYC I have seen and also all the casinos in Atlantic City have corner mounts in their elevators. I also agree that the dome camera for aesthetics reasons is not the best fit for elevators. Of course, this is my opinion.

Can you list the best corner mount cameras available in the market?

Pushkar, I don't know of any IP corner mount cameras. I have to believe there are some. Maybe you could put the Axis P1214 into a corner mount?

Anyone have any IP corner mount recommendations?

John, Here is one from Bosch: The EX36-IP. Looks like it might only be certified in Europe however.

Michael, thanks. Let me rephrase then: Are there any MP IP corner count cameras? If it's SD IP, that does not provide much of an advantage over using any number of analog cameras plus an encoder (either in the elevator or at the far side).

In the process of installing the EX36 in an elevator. My tests in the office were great and it had a very good image quality and very good FOV. But then again this is a mental hospital to quote others, it is "butt ugly" . But its built like a tank. Also worthy of note is that i have not been successful in getting an elevator manufacturer to provide CAT cables into the elevatator traveling cable. Mostly, have to go into a coaxial, then into an encoder. Here is a wireless unit designed for elevators and another using light transmission. Never used either, get more sales stuff from video comm, and they seem to have a larger and more diverse line. Anyone know of a CAT 6 cable RATED for traveling cable applications? I have not found one, and i checked every source i could find (a couple of years ago). The constant flexing would seem to me to be the issue.

Oh yes, one other thing. Consider IR illuminators. If the elevator goes dark, it would be a great asset to have eyes inside the cab.

John, Recently we spec'd the Axis M3006 for 11 elevator cabs. We reviewed a few different Axis IP cameras and this one met our requirements of being small and a wide field of view. We are adding cameras but do not want covert. We want folks to see them. However do not want them to be an eye sore.

Damon, thanks for the feedback! Btw, the M3006 has a 134 degree HFoV. Is that overkill for an elevator or just what's needed? Is it corner mounted or?


We are a few weeks away from actual install. I can tell you we are doing a full eleven elevator upgrade. * for a 22 story office building and three for an eight story parking garage. We did a walk through / site survey with our integrator and our regional sales rep from Axis who provided three cameras for us to review.

1. M3004

2. M3306

3. P33 series

Our preference was to not to go covert. However we did not want to go with such a large camera inside the cab of elevator that it was an eye sore. My original thought or plan and suggestion to both the integrator and Axis rep was to use the Axis indoor corner model 24887 or wall 24886 mount with a traditional box camera. The Axis rep discussed this with me and suggested one of the above mentioned domes. He brought all three with him and a laptop and switch. We placed all three inside of the cab one at a time surface mounted them with velcro and tried center of ceiling, center of wall, and ceiling mounted in the corner. e did this in all three mounted locations. Took screen shots in all positions and in the end decided that the wide field of view of the m3006 provided the best overall picture. The others have a narrower field of view and once inside the cab you could not see all details of every inch. a person could simply hide under a camera and you would not see what he or she was doing. Now this is a small window of space but we wanted to see every inch of the inside with no blind spots.

Hope this helps.

Axis M3006 is physically huge compared to other Axis minidomes. M3005 for example, is comparately tiny and provides a 118 degree coverage which usually suffice for a small/medium size elevators.

I would definitely like to test the Axis P12 series with angled mounting bracket in elevators.

This is how we do it using regular analog 470 TVL cameras at the time, we focus at the mirror at the back of the elevator cab. Attached are the pics I just shot, hope this info helps.

At the top of the pic "elev 1" you can see the dome camera right after the door, ceiling mounted

Damon, Harold, awesome! Thanks for sharing! We need a like button asap :)

Pushkar, Ethan's about to start a test on the P12s. I am almost certainly you'll need a P1214 for an elevator because the other one (the P1204) is only 57 degrees. The P1214 is 81 degrees, which still might miss a little on the sides but is probably close. See P12 datasheet.

Yes, P1214 seems to be a better fit.

The angle mount provided by Axis is pretty tiny. I am wondering if any 3rd party custom mounts can be used...

Pushkar is right on with the M3005 recommendation. M3006 seems like overkill to me.

Carl brings up a good point. You will probably need som sort of ethernet converter to get the data through the elevator travel cable. If your choosing a camera that only supports PoE, that further complicates said converter choice. Cameras that still support 12VDC / 24VAC tend to run on the pricier side (many of the options discussed here do not).

In light of those difficulties, I will ask the next question: "WHY are you using an IP camera?". You would need to have a fairly large elevator before the resolution offered by analog failed to provide a decent pixels per foot metric. We are now routinely installing systems that are entirely IP with the exception of the elevators, which remain analog. It is precisely the difficulty and cost associated with transmitting IP from the elevator cabin that motivates this decision.

Putting wireless in an elevator shaft is a tricky proposition. We have retrofitted a few cars that were not wired with data cable. The multipath in the shaft is difficult to overcome. The system that someone else posted a link to their webstore for does not look like it would work for much more than a lowrise structure (5 or 6 stories or less). The reflection in the shaft would be significant over this distance. Also you would have issues with timining if you tried to do this in a multi car shaft due to the variations of distance using CSMA (802.11 protocol wifi). The rubber duck omni antennas would be completely wrong.

We used a combination of circular polarity antennas with long wave guides combined with our TDMA protocol to overcome these issues.

You also have to consider fire codes, wall penetration into the shaft, leaking fluids from the hydrolics or cables (depending on design). Non-stick radomes over the antenna to prevent gunk if you go from bottom up. Less of an issue if you go top down.

With proper design and the proper equipment, you can do 30-40 stories pretty well with the right wireless equipment.

One way we have done this is by usinng a spare pair in the elevator traveling cable to send 110 VAC power from the engine room to tthe cab, attach a pair of powerline/ethernet adapters and you are done, works like a charm.

Hope this info helps

Thanks Atle.

Harold, Mirror is very good idea :)...

Nowdays we can request to lift companies (through client) for additional Cat6 cables (for CCTV & ACS) while ordering new elevator, that will solve our cable issue.

Several years before we have installed camera in existing lift by tying co-axial cable along with traveling cable, it works fine initially but after few weeks we got a call for "signal break", We have tried somany options such as flexiable coax, UTP nothing worked-out well, so finally we have suggested to install separate traveling cable (RG6 Coaxial + 2C for Power) for lift camera.

Lot of cable companies constructing lift traveling with custom specified cables (such as coax, cat6 etc), it will be costlier for one lift, but it may cheaper for 10 lifts

Hi Velayuthan,

Thanks for the response. However, you did mention, upon request lift companies can install Cat 6 cables, but the issue will be testing the cabling to meet CLASS E performance. I believe when someone start installing IP cameras within a building and install Cat 6 cables, customer will be expecting test results for the structured cabling to confirm cable is installed to standards.

I believe lift manufacturers need to test the Cat 6 able to see it is providing desired data throughput with not losses. Another aspect is to specify shielded cabling to minimize EMI. And stranded cabling for flexibility.

My suggestion is to use analogue cameras with coaxial cable with encoders to convert to digital or use Ethernet over coax converters. I have not used the latter.

Do a lot of you have issues with the elevator (or lift) companies actually coming down and doing the work?

Not camera related, recently upgraded an access control system and had to replace a reader in an elevator. Old reader used 4 conductors (2 pairs) new reader needed a fifth conductor. Took two months, multiple phone calls and finally calls from the customer to the elevator company to go down and do the work. I've heard this same thing from multiple other people in my area, just curious if it's an area problem, or all over.

Daniel, put it this way. I consider you lucky to even get a call back from the elevator company at all!

I am sure it varies across the world, etc., but I've seen many cases like yours.

Daniel, put it this way. I consider you lucky to even get a call back from the elevator company at all!

In my experience, no integrator ever got a call back from the elevator company. It took the customer calling or it wouldn't get done.

Well in addition to being visually pleasing, the corner mount instal is by far more vandal resistant as there is no surface area to gain leverage to damage the camera. I have seen all sorts of crazy ways to damage housed cameras but the corner mount is about as secure as anyting to vandalism or outright attack. I would not even consider placing a dome in an elevator unless i'st a moderate or upscale enviroment.

In Australia's largest capital city Sydney, pretty much ADT has the contact for all train stations and they put Bosch normal vandal domes in.

Isn't a lift a good cadidate for a vandal resistant 1MP/2mp panaromic saucer cam?