What is a “bullet camera?”

Here’s one hint. It’s not a camera that would take a bullet for you. A bullet camera is a small, cylindrical camera designed to look unobtrusive. The name comes from the overall shape which resembles a firearms cartridge. (Shooting sports enthusiasts call the whole thing with shell, cap, powder and lead a “cartridge” even though most people refer to it as a “bullet.”) Early ones had rounded-off backs that added to the overall bullet-like shape.

Also called lipstick cameras or pepperoni cameras (by some people)

Bullet cameras are also called “lipstick cameras” because they also resemble a tube of lipstick, at least to some people. They are generally considerably larger than a lipstick, and in fact are the size of a large pepperoni in general, although I’ve never heard one referred to as a “pepperoni camera.” You have to wonder why that is.

Bullet cameras are perfect for areas where you want to show people that they’re on camera without making a really big show of it. Unlike dome cameras, bullet cameras are generally stationary and cannot be moved or aimed remotely. They sometimes use fixed-focus lenses rather than variable focus or zoom lenses, so that the size and price can be relatively manageable.

What’s that light ring all about?

You may notice that some bullet cameras have a ring of LEDs around them. This is usually to give the camera limited night-vision capability. The LEDs are actually not visible light but infrared, so that the camera can see people without people seeing the camera. However, some bullet cameras use white light LEDs.  White light LEDs provide improved picture quality. There’s also another purpose: intimidating an intruder. After all, these cameras should also deter crime, not just record it. A crime that doesn’t happen is even better than one you record in progress.

Bullet cameras have become quite popular in low-end surveillance systems because they tend to be very inexpensive and easy to use. They often use the same sensors and electronics as low-end digital cameras and smartphones so they can be very reasonably priced, but higher-end models that feature internal zoom lenses, white light LEDs and waterproof cases can edge up in price to where only professionals are interested in them.

Almost all security cameras today record IP video. IP video differs from the old-style composite video used in security cameras in the last century. Keeping the image digital makes wiring easier because often times a surveillance system can share category wiring with a computer network.

Get your bullet camera now

If you’re interested in a bullet camera, shop now at SolidSignal.com! We’ll help you put together the surveillance system of your dreams. We have all the best brands. Not only that we specialize in systems that are more comprehensive than what you’d get in other places. Sure it’s nice to have something hooked up to your doorbell. On the other hand when you need something a little more serious, we’re here for you. Solid Signal is the perfect place to outfit your large home or business with all the technology you need. Shop our selection of over 30,000 items and you’re sure to find what you need!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.