What is a Bullet Camera?
Bullet security cameras are known for their longer outside casing, giving these surveillance cameras a distinguished and noticeable presence. Due to this form factor, bullet surveillance cameras can typically house a larger lens, making them an excellent outdoor camera capable of providing higher levels of detail over greater distances. This also lends itself to extended night vision for larger outdoor areas such as parking lots and traffic intersections. In addition to the traditional form factor, there are also options for mini bullet cameras, which provide wider viewing angles for footage at a shorter distance.
Jump to each section to learn more:
• Where are Bullet Cameras Used?
• What are the Benefits of Bullet Cameras?
• What are the Types of Bullet Cameras?
• What to Consider When Buying a Bullet Camera
Bullet cameras are commonly used in:
- Parking Lots
- Traffic Intersections
- Manufacturing Sites
- Gas Stations
Main Benefits of Bullet Cameras:
- Easier to Install: With a mounting handle attached to the body of the camera, bullet security cameras are easier to install compared to other types of surveillance cameras. Without having to remove any cover, bullet cameras can be quickly mounted to a wall, ceiling, or a bullet camera mounting bracket. Bullet cameras also often have flexible positioning, making it simple for an installer to quickly and easily move the camera into position, as well as reposition when needed.
- Weatherproof: Many outdoor bullet cameras are designed to be weatherproof and water-resistant, so monitoring is ongoing despite weather conditions. These outdoor bullet cameras often carry a rating of IP65, IP66, and IP67. Many security vendors provide outdoor bullet cameras that also provide integrated temperature gauges and heaters so cameras can operate in extreme temperatures.
- Larger Lenses: Due to the longer form factor, bullet cameras are typically capable of housing larger lenses. For longer distances, bullet cameras with a telephoto lens are ideal for coverage in large areas and environments, including parking lots, airports, and roads. At a shorter distance, mini bullet cameras have a wide-angle-lens that can provide a wider viewing angle in smaller areas, such as a traffic intersection.
- License Plate Recognition: Bullet cameras are an ideal solution for license plate recognition (LPR). While LPR requires specific software for picking up license plates, bullet cameras and their form factor of a larger lens, built-in IR illuminators, and protective covers from intrusive lighting enhance the ability to effectively detect license plates.
- High Resolution: Depending on the make and model of the bullet camera, resolution may vary; however, most vendors offer bullet cameras with fairly high resolution. Many modern video security solutions offer bullet cameras with a 2MP (1940 x 1080 pixel), however, there are premium options with sensors that enable recording up to 50% greater detail than 1080p, as well as varying options ranging from 2-8 megapixels.
- Noticeable Presence: Unlike other surveillance cameras, bullet security cameras are often much easier to spot due to their larger, protruding bodies. While this may make them more distinguishable, this added presence actually makes bullet cameras highly effective at deterring criminal behavior such as vandalism and theft.
- Night Vision (Built-in IR Illuminators): Most bullet cameras come equipped with infrared (IR) illuminators to enhance and continue surveillance into the night. With the longer range of bullet cameras, these cameras can provide some of the furthest night vision.
Types of Bullet Cameras:
- Mini Bullet Camera: Essentially a small bullet camera, mini bullet cameras provide video surveillance at a shorter distance while typically having wider viewing angles. Mini bullet cameras are equally as easy to install, with included mounting brackets and flexible positions for creating the right viewing angle. Mini bullet cameras are a great fit for entrances, as well as an option for an outdoor bullet camera solution for smaller areas outside of buildings.
- Pan-Tit-Zoom (PTZ) Bullet Camera: PTZ bullet cameras make it possible to monitor large areas due to the ability to remotely adjust the zoom and direction of the lens. Depending on the model, many PTZ bullet cameras feature flexible viewing angles, as the body of the camera can be positioned in virtually any direction due to the mobility of the bullet camera mounting bracket. With this flexibility, PTZ bullet cameras are an excellent choice for covering wide areas, such as parking lots, as well as building exteriors.
- Outdoor Bullet Cameras: Outdoor bullet cameras are highly effective at deterring vandalism and theft because of how present they are. However, due to the exposed mounting arms, outdoor bullet cameras are easier to access and are prone to be tampered with. Outdoor bullet cameras are also ideal for viewing footage recorded at night, with IR bullet cameras also supporting night vision at an extended distance.
- IP Bullet Cameras: IP bullet cameras provide video surveillance over an Ethernet or a WiFi connection for a wireless bullet camera. Depending on the system, IP bullet cameras will either connect to an on-prem DVR system or will connect directly to the internet for cloud-based storage and access. While these systems are flexible, they often lead to greater potential for vulnerabilities with on-site access, port forwards, out-of-date software, and insecure ecosystems.
- Analog Bullet Cameras: Also regarded as a bullet CCTV camera (closed-circuit television), analog bullet cameras are security cameras that rely on on-prem recorders like DVRs. CCTV bullet cameras pass video footage to the recorder via coaxial cables and require all cameras to be directly connected to. While analog CCTV bullet cameras are typically regarded as a safe solution, they’re vulnerable to threats that come with accessible recording hardware, port forwarding, and opening firewalls should remote access to footage be required.
What to Consider When Buying a Bullet Camera:
- What type of area are we trying to cover? (Distance? Width?)
- What visibility do we need? (2MP vs. 4K resolution? Field of view? Low-light IR illuminators?)
- What type of environmental hazards do we face? (Operating temperatures? Waterproof?)
- What does installation require? (Cabling? Supporting equipment? Professional system integrators?)