Camera Form Factor Guide

By IPVM Team, Published on Mar 16, 2018

When selecting surveillance cameras, users may choose from a number of different form factors, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses, varying in physical size, aesthetics, vandal resistance, and advanced features provided.

In this report, we review these form factors and their advantages and disadvantages, including:

  • Form factor popularity
  • Domes
  • Turrets
  • Bullets
  • Boxes
  • Cubes
  • Price differences
  • Other form factors - fisheye, multi-imager, remote / head, wall mount, door stations
  • PTZ options

Inside, we review these topics and give our recommendations on when and when not to use each.

Domes Most Popular

Dome cameras are by far the most popular form factor in surveillance, with integrators preferring them to non-dome form factors nearly 2-to-1. Bullets and turrets are have become more popular with box cameras as integrated IR preference has increased, with cube and PTZ cameras both smaller segments than others.

Dome ****** ********

**** ******* ***** *** camera's ****** *** **** under * ********** ***** of ***** *******, **** often *************. *** ****** is ******* ** ** articulating *********, ****** * gimbal, ***** ****** *** camera's *** *** **** to ** ********. *** more ** ****** *********** and ***** **** *******, see *** **** ****** ******* *****.

***** ********* **** **** two **********, (*) **** minidomes/microdomes ** (*) **** size *****, ***** ***** *** comparison.

******* ***** ********* ******* fixed ****** *** **** audio, */*, ****** ***** IR, ***., ***** **** size ****** ******* ***** advanced ********. ******* ****** ****** ****** for ********* ** ****** size.

Dome Pros *** ****

***** *** ******* ********** of ***** ***** ****** boxes *** *******:

  • ****** ********** **** ******:***** *** ***** ***** against * ******* ** wall, ****** **** ********** inconspicuous, ********** *********. *******, not **** **** ***** vary *************, *** ****** dome *** ***** ** quite *****/*********.
  • **** ****** ***** *******: **** ***** *** **** ****** *****, ***** ** **** less ****** ** ****** cameras (***** **** ** lower) *** ** *** common ** *** ** box ******* ***** *** intended *** *** ** add-on **********. *******: ****** ********* **********
  • **** ******* *******: *** ******* ***** *******, domes ******* * ******* number ** *******, ********* outdoor ******, ******* ***-******, flush *****, ******* *****, etc., *** ***** ** other ******.

*******, ***** *** ******* drawbacks, ** ****:

  • ***** **** *******:**** ******* ********* ** not ***** **** ***** length ****** (***** ~****). If ********* ****** *** required, ****** ******* *** offer ********** *******, ** box ******* **** ***-** lenses ****** ** ****.
  • ******* ** ***********:** ************ ***** ** **** ******* ** often ******* **** ****** models, **** **** ********* for *********** ****** ** domes.
  • ***** **** ******:*******, ** ***** *** not ********* *******, *********** image ******* *** ** reflectance ****** *** ******. See *** ***** **** ****** **** *** **** *******.

Turret ****** ********

****** ******* *** * relatively *** ****** ** domes, ***** ********* *** a ********* ****** ********** the **** *** ** illuminator(s) ***** ** ******* sealed *** ********* *** cable **** ******* ** cables ******** *** ******* as ** ******* *****.

Turret **** *** ****

***** *** ***** *** ********** of using ****** ******* ******* of *****:

  • ******* *****:****** ******* **** **** of * ******* **** IR ***** **** (****) dome ******* ***** ************ are ********** ********* **** the ******'* ****.
  • ****** ******** **********: ***** ****** ******* *** typically ******* ******, **** may **** ***** ******** with ******** *** ******** than **** ** *** housings ***** ******* ***** to **** *** ****** to **** ***********.
  • ****/******* **********: *** ** *** ********* surface **** ** *****, dirt *** ********* *** more ****** ****** **** in *******.

*** **** ******** ** turrets ** **** **** **** ****** show *** ******'* *** than *****, ** *** **** and *********** *** **** visible ******* *** ******'* body **** ** **** models.

Bullet ****** ********

****** ******* *** ** **** thought ** ** * specialist **** ** *** camera. *** **** ******** of ******* *** ******* rated (**** ** ******) and ******* ********** **.

******* ** **** *******, bullets *** ********* ** both ******* ****** (********* fixed ****) *** **** size ****** **** ********* lenses, ********* ** *****, I/O, *****, *** ***** features.

Bullet **** *** ****

******* **** * *** key **********:

  • ****** ** ***** *******:****** ******* ********* ***** longer ** ***** **** dome ** ****** ******. 
  • **** ***** **********:******* *** **** ********* than ***** *** *******, which *** ** ********** for ***** ******* *** greater **********. 

*******, ***** *** **** disadvantages, ** ****.

  • **** ***** **********: ******** ** *** ** an ********* *** ********** purposes, ****** ******* *** bulkier *** **** **********, reducing **********.
  • **** ** *** ********:*** ** ***** ************, it ** ****** ** see ***** ****** ******* are ***** **** ***** ** turrets, ***** *** ****** body ** *** ****** must ** ******* ** the ********* ** ** aimed.
  • ******* ****** *******:**** ***** ****** ******* are *** **** ****** than *****. *****-***** ****** (IK07/IK08) *** **** ******, but **** ****** ******* are ****** *** ****** rated.
  • **** ****** ************:******** ** ***** *** turrets, ****** ******* *** be **** ****** ******* out ** ********, ******* to *** *******.

Box ****** ********

************, *** ******* **** the **** ****** **** factor. *******, ***, *** cameras *** ************* ***** uncommon. *** ***** ****** and ***** ********** *** enclosed ** * "***" housing, **** ** *************** lens ******** ** *** front *** ******* *** other *********** ** *** rear.

****** *** ******* ********* us */** ***** ******, though ****** *** ****** using **** ** ***-* sensors ********** ** *** past *-* ***** *** use ** ** * mount ******.

Box ****** **** *** ****

*** **** ********** ** box ******* ***:

  • *************** ******: **** *** ******* ***** users ** ****** ****** lenses. **** ** ********* especially ** *** *** trying ** **** ********* that ** *** **** (and **** ******* * telephoto ****). ** ********, very *** ***** *** bullets ******* *************** ******.
  • **** **** ** *******: ******* *** ******* are ***** ******** **** via * ***** ***** to * ******* ** wall, **** *** ***** be ********* **** ******* and **** **** ***** than ***** ******* ***** require ******* *******, ******** mounting, ***.
  • **** ******* **** ******: *** ******** **** as ***** *** *****, high *** ***, *** others **** ************ ******** first ** *** ****** models, *** ***** ** bullets. **** *** ****** somewhat ** ****-**, *** new **** *** ****** still ***** *** *** box **** ******.

*** ******* ***** *********** the **** ********* ** bullets: *****/********* **********, ****** determined ***, ****** ** knock *** ** ********. ************, b** ******* **** ** mounted ** ** ***-** ******* in ***** ** *** them ******* ** ******* any **** ** ****** resistance. ******* ** ****, bullets **** ********* *** cameras ** ******* *****, limiting ***** ** *********** applications.

Cube ****** ********

**** ******* *** *********** similar ** ******* *** models, ********* **** ******* featuresets. ***** *** ******** ********* *** ***** ****** models *** ****** *** use ** ***** ********/******, DIY, *** **** *******. 

Cube ****** **** *** ****

**** ******* ************ **** been **** ******* ******** to ***** **** *******, with **** ****** ******* PoE, ***, ***/***** ******* and ***** ********* *** standard ** *******, *****, and *****. *******, **** has ******* ** *** past *** *****, **** many ** ***** ******** now ******** ** ** least **** ****** ** a ************'* ****.

***** *** *** *** *************** found ** **** **** cameras *** ********* ***** in ***** ****** ***** may ** ********** ** some ************:

  • ******** ************:**** **** ******* ******* 802.11 ******** **********, ***** may ** ****** ** applications ***** ****** *********** are *** *********.
  • *** ****** *********:**** ******* ***** ******* PIR ******* *** ****** detection, ***** *** ** more ******** **** ***** motion ********* ********* ****.

Pricing *********

** ****, ***-**** ******* dome, ******, *** ****** models **** *** $***-***, much ***** **** ******* box *******. ** ******* ****** are ********, ****-**** ***** *** bullets *** ********* *** most ********* ****** *********, ranging **** ~$***-*,*** *** to ***** ******* ********, vandal **********, ****** ***** IR, **** ***, *** other ********.

*** ******* *** *** most ********* ***** ****** form ****** ** *******, ****** ******* ***** drops due ** *** **** ** *** ****** **** *** ******** ***** as ****, **** *** cost ****** ******** ** dome, ******, *** ****** models *******. *** ******* box ***** ***** ** the **** ****** ****** is ********* ~$*** ***, vs. ~$*** *** ***** and *******.

Less ****** **** *******

***** **** *** **** factors ********* *****, ***** are ******* **** ****** form ******* **** *********** applications:

  • ******* *** *****-****** *******: *** ******** ***** areas ****** ********* **** less ***** ******* / detail, ******** ******* ********* ************-****** ******* *** ************** *****-****** ******* (**** *** ********* ****** for **** ** ***** options). These ******* *** **** physically ** * **** form ****** ****** **** particular **** *** **** different **** ***** ******-******, narrower *** ********.
  • ******/****** ****:****** ******* ********* ******* ** a **** **** ********** Ethernet ***/** ***** *********** attached ** ** ****** module ** * ****** of ***** (*****). *** imager ****** ****** *** be **** ** ***** mount, ** ***** ****** (*******), ** ******* **** height ****** ** **** applications.

  • **** *****:**** ************* **** ******** cameras ***** ***** **** to * ****, ******* to * ****, *** intended **** *** **** orientation, *** ******* ********. The ****** ********* **********/********* ******** ******* * ***° view.

  • **** ********:*********, ******* ** ****** manufacturers **** ******** **** station *******, ******** ** replace *********** ****** ******** models. ***** ******** ********* include * **** ******, mic, *** *******, ********** to * *** ** phone ******. **** ******** are ********* ******* ** residential ************ *** **** so ** ********** ****. 

  • ****** ********/****** *******:****** ******** ******* ******** a ********* **** **** two *******, **** ************ in ****** ******** ******** applications, ***** ******* ** the ********* ** ****** stores.

PTZ *******

**** ***** ******, ***/****/**** cameras *** ********* ** several **** *******, ** well, **** **** ******** advantages *** *************, ******** here:

********** *** ** *** the **** ****** *** in *** *****. **** PTZs *** ***** *** have ****** ****** ***** their *** **** *** *********** for *******, ***** ****** areas. ***/**** ********* *** the ***** ****** ** the *****. *******, *** capabilities **** ***/**** *********** provider *** **** ******* tracking ** ******** *** higher-end ************.

Comments (2)

In the Mini Dome comment "Compact domes typically include fixed lenses and lack audio, I/O, longer range IR, etc., while full size models include these advanced features" is WRONG. there are several Mini Domes in the market with Audio, Alarms, Analytics and even WiFi ! made by the leading manufacturers.

Same for the Cubes, most Cubes from major manufacturers actually are PoE with WiFi. Alarm, analytics and more. They are positioned as Low-Cost option, so, not very wide selection of lenses and the vast majority are indoors.

FYI, I do not consider the 'crap' being used by alarm companies (ADT and such) as a reference to security camera. 

Great to know there are so many varieties of cameras.

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