Box Camera Usage Statistics

By John Honovich, Published Jun 12, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Box cameras are the 'original' surveillance form factor. But how are they doing today?

Over the last few years, options have proliferated, including domes, minidomes, bullets and cubes.

How has this impacted box cameras? How often are they being used? Why and where are they being deployed?

In this note, we share exclusive IPVM integrator survey results that answer these questions.

Overall Usage Down and Limited

Less than 1 out of 9 surveillance cameras integrators deploy are now box form factor:

Indeed, hardly any integrators use box cameras more than one fifth of the time, with just a few 'holdouts' using box cameras for a majority of their deployments:

Reasons Against

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The reasons against using box cameras are literally the mirror opposite of why domes are so popular:

  • "I don't like having to install tacky, boxy, ugly housings"
  • "Too vulnerable to a simple broomstick whack. Needs a housing."
  • "Once you put the box in a weather proof enclosure/mount they become bulky and an eyesore thus prefer bullets."
  • "They are ugly and obtrusive in most instances. We would only use them in order to accommodate a longer zoom lens."

Specialty Applications

Integrators repeatedly emphasized that box cameras are typically used only for special purposes, saying:

  • "Only used in specialty applications."
  • "Specialized to the situation/purpose of the camera."
  • "0% unless there is a specific application that requires a special lens requirement that a dome can not offer"

Longer Lens

The most common speciality application was the need for longer lens. With domes, the bubble limits the maximum length but with box cameras, the lens can be as long as needed, since their is no fixed covering / enclosure built in. As integrators noted:

  • "If we need something with a more powerful lens."
  • "Where we want flexibilty of lens selection"
  • "Cases where longer lenses are needed"
  • "Only when extended focal length lenses are needed and only exterior."
  • "Used when the lens options for the dome cameras do not provide the FOV desired."

Other Specialities

Replacing existing cameras was another speciality use case for boxes:

  • "We only install Box cameras if we are replacing an existing box camera."
  • "Usually when replacing and existing box camera or if a dome mounting would physically not work."

A few integrators noted that certain capabilities, like super high resolution, were only available in a box form factor:

  • "Only on high megapixel cameras where there are not dome or bullets options available."
  • "The only box cameras we currently sell are the Avigilon PRO series cameras."
  • "2% are box camera's but it's only Avigilon Pro camera's."

More feature used to be a big reason for using boxes over domes but manufacturers have mostly caught up in adding advanced features to domes.

Finally, a few noted there use in harsh applications:

  • "Typically installed in harsh environments, i.e. explosion proof housings, negative environment housings, etc."
  • "outdoor and industrial and mining applications with a enviromental housing where esthetics are not usually an issue."

Move to Dome and Bullets 

Comparison IPVM statistics show that domes and bullets have been gaining at the expense of box camera. For indoors, the better aesthetics and simpler install of domes pulls the market away from boxes. And for outdoors, the all-in-one outdoor enclosures and vandal resistance of bullets drives integrators from boxes.

1 report cite this report:

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