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.

**** ********* ************ *******, users *** ****** **** a ****** ** ********* form *******, **** **** its *** ****** ********* and **********, ******* ** physical ****, **********, ****** resistance, *** ******** ******** provided.

** **** ******, ** review ***** **** ******* and ***** ********** *** disadvantages, *********:

  • **** ****** **********
  • *****
  • *******
  • *******
  • *****
  • *****
  • ***** ***********
  • ***** **** ******* - fisheye, *****-******, ****** / head, **** *****, **** ********
  • *** *******

******, ** ****** ***** topics *** **** *** recommendations ** **** *** when *** ** *** each.

Domes **** *******

**** ******* *** ** far *** **** ******* form ****** ** ************, with *********** ********** **** to ***-**** **** ******* nearly*-**-*. ******* *** ******* are **** ****** **** popular **** *** ******* as********** ** ************* *********, **** **** and *** ******* **** smaller ******** **** ******.

[***************] 

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.

Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 6,429 reports, 865 tests and is only available to members. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a member? Login here | Join now

Related Reports

Access Credential Form Factor Tutorial on Feb 10, 2020
Deciding which access control credential to use and distribute, including...
VMS 101 on Mar 03, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals about video management...
Facial Recognition 101 on Mar 18, 2020
Facial recognition interest, use and fear is increasing. This guide aims to...
Hazardous & Explosion Proof Access Control Tutorial on Feb 27, 2020
Controlling access to hazardous environments requires equipment meeting...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
Mobotix Thermal Detection Camera Tested on Jun 09, 2020
For years Mobotix has struggled but now sales are surging driven by Mobotix's...
Faked Convergint Fever Camera 'Expert' Marketing on Jun 16, 2020
Convergint touts they are "THERMAL CAMERA SOLUTION EXPERTS" while faking...
How Mobile Access Control Can and Cannot Help With Coronavirus on Mar 23, 2020
With coronavirus concerns continuing to rise, many access control companies...
Dynamic vs Static IP Addresses Tutorial on Apr 16, 2020
While many cameras default to DHCP out of the box, that does not mean you...
Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter...
FLIR Markets Windows Temperature Screening, Violates IEC And Causes Performance Problems on Jul 17, 2020
FLIR, one of the largest thermal screening manufacturers, is marketing...
Surveillance Storage 101 on Mar 23, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
Directory of 199 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...

Recent Reports

Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 199 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Access Control Online Show July 2020 - On-Demand Recording of 45+ Manufacturers Presentations on Jul 30, 2020
The show featured 48 Access Control presentations, all now recorded and...
Face Detection Shootout - Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jul 30, 2020
Face detection analytics are available from a number of manufactures...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
Ink Labs Relabels China YCX Fever Camera And Steals Dahua's Marketing on Jul 30, 2020
A US company marketed a 'thermal temperature scanner' as its own, selling...
Genetec and Dahua-Backed Intelbras Split Examined on Jul 29, 2020
China is the cause of the breakup between Canada's and Brazil's largest video...
This YouTuber is Now Selling ThermoHealth Temperature Screening on Jul 29, 2020
An enterprising 20-year old is mass marketing medical devices on Facebook and...