Dirty Dome Camera Test

By: John Scanlan, Published on Nov 28, 2016

Dome cameras are the most widely used type professionally but many note that dirt, dust, rain, and scratches can cause image quality problems, especially with integrated IR.

We tested an integrated IR dome with these very issues to see how it impacted images day and night, testing the dome with light and heavy fingerprints, dust/dirt, and finally slight scratches, shown as best as possible below. Note that to the eye, some of these issues were not noticeable unless carefully inspecting, and could easily go overlooked in the field.

See our full results and recommendations inside.

**** ******* *** ******* ****** **** **** professionally*** **** **** **** dirt, ****,****, *** ********* *** cause ***** ******* ********, especially **** ********** **.

** ****** ** ********** IR **** **** ***** very ****** ** *** how ** ******** ****** day *** *****, ******* the **** **** ***** and ***** ************, ****/****, and ******* ****** *********, shown ** **** ** possible *****. **** **** to *** ***, **** of ***** ****** **** not ********** ****** ********* inspecting, *** ***** ****** go ********** ** *** field.

*** *** **** ******* and *************** ******.

[***************]

*******

** *** *****, **** slight *******, ****, ** scratches *** *********** ******** impact ** ***** ******* at ***** **** ** on, ******** ******* *** blurring ******** ** *** FOV, **** ** ***** issues **** *** ******* during *** ***, ** visible ** *** **** itself.

***** ****** ** ******* when ******** *** ******** domes ** ******* ******* issues, ***** **** **** scratch-free *****/*******, *** ***** should ** ******* ********* to ******* ***** ** of **********.

Warning: ******* ***** ****** *********

**** **** ** *** tests, **** ****** ***** was ******** ** ******* the ************* ****. ***** which *** ******* ** hard ******** ** **** grass *** ****** ** scratched. ***** ****** **** protective ******** ** ***** as **** ** ******** to *** *** ******* damage, *** ******* ***** should ** ********* *********, and ******** ********.

Test *******

** **** * ******* IR ****, *** ********* DS-2CD2542WD-I, ***** ******** ** LEDs ***** *** **** dome ** *** **** (though ********** *********, ***** in ***** ****** ********** ****), *** ******* *** dome ** ***** *****, prior ** ******** *** retested. * ******** **** cover *** **** *** the ******* ****, ** it ***** *** ** cleaned/repaired.

Significant ** ******* ******

*** ** *** ****** above ************* ******* ***** quality ** ***** **** IR **, ****** *** to *** ******** *********** caused ** ********* ** the ****, ***** ********* IR **** ****** *** lens, **** **** ** debris *** ******* ******** in *** ******'* ***. We **** *** **** FOV ** *** ****** with **** ** ***** issues *****:

*** ********** ***** ***** the ****** ** *******/***** details. **** ****** **** of ***** ****** **** barely ********** ** *** dome ******, *** *** significant ****** ** ********* image *******. **** ******* were *** **** *********. Despite ***** *****/*******, **** degraded *** ***** ******* to *** ***** ** providing **** *********.

Daytime ******* ******

******* ***** ******* *** less ******** ********, ** most ***** ****** * "fog" ******. **** *** scratched **** **** *** unusable ** ***** *** was **** ** ******* usable ****** / ********. The ********* ***** ***** the **** ** ******** impact ** ****:

Other ****** ******

**** **** ***** ******* may **** ********* ** dome *** ** *********** layout, ****** ** *** tests, *** **** ***** covers **** *** **** and ** **** *** be ******** ** ***** issues. ****** ******* *** turret ***** ***** ***** separate *** ** *********** and **** (*.*.********* **** *.*) *** **** ****** to ** ********.

****

*** ** *** ****** them? **** ** ** the ******** *****.

Comments (22)

Great test John! We too have seen quite a bit of this issue, particularly with dirty IR dome cameras. As you mentioned IR Bullets are less suspect - this is because most have a physical barrier that blocks IR LED light from being transmitted through the glass in front of the lens.

With most IR dome cameras no barrier cuts through the actual dome itself. So even with the foam IR rings and rubber gaskets around the lens - IR Light is still transmitted through the thickness of the dome itself.

We have a product that combats this called the IR Shield.

I feel that this is a relevant cross post.

For the dirty domes, can I recommend the DomeCleaner?

I am hoping they offer a heck of a discount! $357 for a pole, some cotton pads, a couple strips of aluminum and a small bottle of what is probably deionized water is pretty steep.

If you source the parts separately, you can get it much cheaper than the kit price...

If you source the parts separately, you can get it much cheaper than the kit price...

Dirty Domes Done Dirt Cheap?

From them you mean Jon or someone else? You have any links? I would like to get these for a few of our sites, but can't justify that expense.

Pole $123

Head $62

Mitts $42

Solution $15

Grand total $242 (plus shipping?)

That's a savings of $100 per kit.

Cool, thanks Jon!

Our location sees salt spray deposited as fine crystals on the dome and has a similar effect as the fine scratches. Turret style devices and bullets work well and have completely replaced outdoor IR Domes for us.

Any specific model(s) you can recommend? I am having serious issues with salt spray blinding dome cameras at night on a ocean front house and would love to know what you have been installing instead.

We've found that any of the Turret style devices which feature a separate camera lens and IR LED are more immune to dirt/salt IR reflection than a dome device. That said - in waterside locations a once a week cleaning with a spritz of water and a soft cloth work wonders for the day and night image.

We started applying novus #1 to our domes. Worked well for us. Given only been couple months since we started.

At my time working for Hikvision we found the the 2CD25xx Dome (being a micro dome) was the most susceptible dome in the range for image degradation if there was dust/fingerprints on the poly-carbonate.

Like you stated some domes are impacted differently to others and the standard sized Hik domes while also suffering some performance issues were not as bad as the 2CD25xx range.

Obviously if IR performance is paramount then a turret or bullet are the best options, the main issue here is from what I can see there are not many Vandal Resistant turrets or bullets on the market so if this is a requirement there are not too many other options left unless you use a separate illuminator.

Excellent test, except we find raindrops the most common cause of dirt issues on the domes installed without a wall bracket, it would have been interesting to compare rain drops with the other causes of dirt

Thanks John,
The Rain Camera review is another great IPVM article, but the issues we have are when the rain dries leaving small dirt marks on the dome cover.

Given enough days of a few drops of rain you can end up with a really bad IR reflection.
Complaints of IR reflection have invariably come from a dome installed directly on a wall.

Reminds me of my customer who wasn't happy with the quality of picture he was getting a short time after installation.

Wasn't there a discussion we had about this too? Something about the certain type of IR lights attracting spiders if I recall correctly. I suggest Miss Muffet's Revenge That stuff is like kryptonite to spiders. Lasts a LONG time too.

I have noticed some analytics companies recommend not using built in IR cameras but suggest an external IR light for this reason.

This is why I prefer turret style cameras,they seem to take a lot more abuse before image degradation.They don't require disassembly during install so no moisture issues. On the other hand they are not the aesthetically pleasant to look at.

We almost exclusively use "eyeball style" cameras.

1. For their infinite positioning ability

2. The ring of IR leds is separated from lens and no IR flashback

I have found that the turret style cameras don't get as dirty nor do they get a lot of scratches..

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