Ranking The Lowest Cost True Minidomes

By Derek Ward, Published Jun 10, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Minidomes are popular.

But lots of manufacturers fake being truly mini.

To help surveillance professionals, IPVM has ranked the lowest cost, true minidomes, using our unique size search engine.

This compact form factor is most commonly used indoors, when aesthetics are key.

In this analysis, we examine 12 manufacturer products (from ACTi, Arecont, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, D-Link, FLIR, Hikvision, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Vivotek), breaking down the following:

  • Lowest Cost Compact IP Domes
  • Lowest Cost Compact HD Analog Domes
  • Trends/Differentiators

Lowest Cost IP Compact Domes

Below are the least expensive IP camera models from major manufacturers. Cameras are listed from lowest to highest price, with resolution, IP and vandal rating listed:

Lowest Cost HD Analog Compact Domes

As in other categories, HD analog (CVI/TVI) cameras are less expensive than their IP counterparts, though by a narrower margin here, as little as ~$20.

  • Dahua DH-HAC-HDW1100MN 720p HDCVI indoor IR: ~$50 [link no longer available] Street Price.
  • Honeywell HD29HD1 720p HDCVI indoor IR: ~$60 Street Price.
  • Hikvision DS-2CE56C2T-IR 720p HDTVI outdoor IR: ~$70 Street Price.

Varifocal Rare

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All of the lowest cost cameras listed above are fixed lens only, with no varifocal options. Due to their extremely small size, with domes often only 1-2" in diameter, varifocal lenses do not physically fit in most models. Further, this form factor is most often regarded as especially cost conscious, with less expensive fixed lenses preferred for cost measures.

IQEye offers a varifocal option (~$500) in their Alliance-mini series, which is classified as "Small" in the IPVM Camera Finder, due to a larger dome than the compact cameras listed here. In the majority of other manufacturers' lines, users must move up to larger full size domes for varifocal (often motorized zoom) capability.

Competitive Analysis

There are two notable trends in this segment:

Dahua Aggressive

Most notably in this segment, Dahua (as well as OEM FLIR) is far more aggressive than even low cost competitor Hikvision, with indoor dome cameras at only ~$75, less than half the price of Hikvision's lowest cost model. Compared to major manufacturers such as Axis, Sony, Avigilon, etc., they are priced 70-75% lower. 

Integrated IR Uncommon

Unlike the low cost bullet segment, integrated IR is uncommon in domes this size. Only Hikvision, Dahua, D-Link and FLIR offering models with built in illuminators. Note that among these manufacturers, IR is a low or no cost addition, with Dahua, D-Link, and FLIR's lowest cost comes including IR. Hikvision's lowest cost model, the 2520F, is priced only $10 below the IR equipped DS-2CD2512F-I, ~$160 vs. ~$170 street price.

Many manufacturers such as Axis, Sony, Panasonic, etc., do not offer IR in any models this size.

Camera Finder

Using the IPVM Camera Finder and BestMatch, users can compare lowest cost options between other factors, such as lowest cost PTZ's, lowest cost panoramics and so on. If there is a particular camera application you would like us to cover in future updates, let us know in the comments.

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