Minidome vs Full Size Dome Stats

By: John Honovich, Published on Jun 03, 2014

Domes are the most popular overall type of surveillance camera but two main types of domes exist: the 'mini' and 'full size versions:

What are used more? Why? When?

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

Integrators use full size domes more than they use minidomes.

However, minidomes were not that far behind. Indeed, quite a number of integrators use minidomes at least half of the times they choose domes:

Reasons for Minidomes - Cost / Aesthetics

The two main drivers for using minidomes are lower cost and better aesthetics, as multiple integrators emphasized these themes:

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  • "The minidomes are usually cheaper and better aesthetically"
  • "Preferred for aesthetics and price"
  • "Normally it is just for looks when installing the mini-domes"
  • "Budget driven"
  • "Mini domes are always cheaper."
  • "Mini domes where a architect or interior designer has influence over the decision due to aesthetics. 'make the camera disappear' folks."
  • "Cheaper, look better"
  • "I used mini just when appearance is a concern."
  • "Minidome in retails and commercial customers due to small footprint and aesthetic look." 

The aesthetics aspect is especially important to many users who want to minimize the impact / overtness of cameras for their customers and/or employees. 

Reasons for Full Size Domes - Better Features

By contrast, the theme for full size domes was getting more advanced features, with integrators noting that: 

  • "Mini domes can lack the specs that full sized domes have."
  • "Mini domes typically lack specific features that we are looking for."
  • "Full size features are typically more enhanced and used where critical quality drives requirements."

The lack of varifocal was the most common complaint against minidomes and driver for full sized domes, with comments including:

  • "varifocal is the main reason for the full sized."
  • "most do not have varifocal lenses or it would be more."
  • "The full sized cameras typically have more lens options or varifocal lens, while many minidomes have a fixed lens"
  • "Usually we need vari-focal so mini-domes don't typically have that." 

Other feature sets, including image quality ones were noted:

  • "Video quality (WDR, integrated IR, low-light etc) points us to full sized domes"
  • "Mini domes tend to not have integrated IR, a feature that we typically utilize."

The lack of outdoor rating for minidomes also was called out as a driver for full sized domes:

  • "Minidomes are not usually rated for outdoors."
  • "Cannot handle outdoor environments well"

And a few noted installation limitations for minidomes: 

  • "Minidomes do not have back boxes or mounting hardware which makes installation in new construction difficult."
  • "Full size domes tend to have more mounting brackets and options"

Finally, two integrators cited their customer's preference for larger, more obvious cameras:

  • "The presence give our customers peace of mind."
  • "Provide a better deterrent then a smaller dome for most of our customers in the commercial world"

Minidomes On the Rise

These limitations noted, IPVM believe minidome use has been on the rise and will continue to do so, simply because more and more suppliers have enhanced their minidome offerings over the past 3 years.

Indeed, a number of integrators see their minidome use rising:

  • "Growing percentage as the available performance shrinks its form factor."
  • "This percentage will increase for mini-domes and the offerings increase."
  • "Full size domes typically have more features but lately we see mini domes being more fully featured so that will probably mean we install more if them."
  • "That appears to be changing as the Axis M30 line increases. Once again, our go-to is Axis and their camera line has been full sized for the most part until recently, so I expect that to change over the coming years."


1 report cite this report:

Testing Varifocal Minidome (IQeye) on Jul 02, 2014
Minidomes are increasing in popularity, as IPVM statistics show. However, the...
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