Bullet vs. Dome Camera
The most noticeable difference between the bullet and dome camera is their shape, which impacts their angle of view, application, and utility. Details on their unique distinctions, durability, and use cases can be found below.
Jump to each section to learn more:
• Bullet Camera Differences, Advantages & Disadvantages
• Dome Camera Differences, Advantages & Disadvantages
• Which is Better, Bullet or Dome Camera?
Bullet Camera Pros, Cons, Differences:
The bullet camera is named after its barrel-like design — its unique shape can be a benefit as well as a disadvantage.
- Bullet-Shaped Housing: Due to its recognizable shape, the bullet camera is more obvious and easy to spot. For this reason, it works well for use cases where you want people to know they’re being monitored. Because of its neck-like base, the bullet camera is also easier to tamper and change direction.
- Long-Range Vision: Bullet cameras tend to work well for long-distance viewing. Like a pair of binoculars, it is often used to view images of subjects — such as license plates or people — from far away.
- Installation: The bullet camera is typically found mounted to walls, though some do mount to ceilings. It typically comes with a mounting handle and can be readjusted to monitor different angles.
- Durability: Due to its shape and conspicuous design, the bullet camera is more commonly subjected to vandalism and tampering. Unlike the dome camera which has a protective cover for its lens, the bullet camera can be repositioned to point in a different direction, thus allowing criminals to slip under its surveillance.
- Overt Use Cases: The bullet camera works well in situations where you want people to see and know the area is being monitored. For this reason, it’s commonly deployed in industrial settings, traffic lights, and high crime areas.
Dome Camera Pros, Cons, Differences:
As its name implies, the dome camera is encased in a dome-shaped housing made to withstand all elements — inside and out.
- Discreet dome housing: Due to its minimal design, the dome camera is a subtle but equally effective surveillance solution. Its lowkey profile makes it ideal for places like front doors, churches, or areas where people may not expect there to be a surveillance camera. The dome housing can also hide the direction in which the camera is pointing, which makes it useful in retail settings to deter shoplifting. The protective encasing also makes it difficult for vandals to change the direction of the camera.
- Wide field of view: Although there are also wide-angle bullet cameras, dome cameras are known to cover a wide field of view. Those equipped with a varifocal lens provide a variable focal length, which gives you the flexibility to adjust the camera lens to the desired distance. The shape of the dome housing also allows for monitoring at a wider angle since the lens has the flexibility to move.
- Installation: The dome camera is typically found mounted to ceilings or eaves, but can also be mounted to walls and adjusted to suit a variety of settings. Though the dome camera can be flexibly deployed, once installed, it can be a challenge to reposition. Changing the field of view may require the hardware to be remounted.
- Durability: The dome camera tends to last longer and is generally considered more durable than the bullet camera. This is mostly attributed to the dome casing, which helps protect the camera — especially if a vandal-proof option is chosen. Another indicator of durability is the camera’s Impact Protection (IK) rating, which measures the degrees of protection provided by its dome enclosure against brute force. The most vandal-resistant dome cameras are certified with an IK10 rating, meaning they can sustain up to 20 joules of external mechanical impact.
- Covert or Overt Surveillance: With its discrete design and dome cover, the dome camera makes it hard to determine where the lens is pointed. This makes it less intrusive for covert surveillance settings where people may not feel comfortable having a camera pointed at them. Intruders also have a harder time determining which areas are being monitored, thus making it an effective deterrent against crime.
Which is better: Dome or Bullet Camera?
When choosing between the dome and bullet camera, it is pre-emptive to know where and how the camera will be used and deployed. Some questions that can help guide you in your decision include:
- What type of area are we trying to cover? (Distance? Width?)
- What visibility do we need? (2MP vs. 4K resolution? Field of view?)
- What type of environmental hazards do we face? (Operating temperatures? Waterproof?)
- What does the installation require? (Cabling? Supporting equipment? Professional system integrators?)
Generally speaking, bullet cameras are used for overt security that sends a clear message to intruders that the area is being watched. At the same time, the dome camera can send the same message in a more discreet way (as there are options for mini domes as well as larger models).
To discover more insights, download a video security eBook on how to choose a camera for your organization.