What is a “dome camera?”

When you need to look around the room, you need a dome camera. Dome cameras are mounted on ceilings to give an almost 360-degree view. Depending on their features, they can be very inexpensive, as well.

What makes a dome camera, a dome camera

Look at the picture above. Dome cameras are the ones that are shaped like a half-globe. That shape is designed to let the camera inside move more freely. Some dome cameras also use super-wide-angle lenses to have a much larger field of view. In the past, dome cameras were fixed, in other words there were no motors that let them move. That sort of camera is still found out there, but PTZ cameras with a dome shape are also quite common now.

The dome generally makes the camera more weather or environment-resistant. The camera isn’t affected by dust or humidity because it’s sealed. While that isn’t always important, it sometimes is.

A little deeper dive

The most basic dome camera just sits there pointed at a specific spot. It’s aimable by going up to the room and moving it. This usually involves someone in another room shouting “a little to the left… a little to the right…” which obviously isn’t the best way of doing things. That’s why people tend to opt for more expensive dome cameras that can be remotely aimed and controlled over the internet from anywhere. One advantage of such cameras is that the smoked plastic dome usually stops people from knowing exactly where they are aimed or hearing the motors that move it. This makes people less likely to misbehave if they even see such a camera.

Dome cameras are often fitted with infrared LEDs so that they have limited night vision capabilities, and come in different sizes from smaller than a baseball to the size of a large grapefruit. Larger cameras have the benefit of larger lenses, potentially optical zoom, and this means sharper and clearer HD images. Obviously you can put an HD image sensor in a very small format but as any filmmaker will tell you a bigger lens and a bigger sensor will make for a better image.

The psychology of a dome camera

Due to the wide variation in size and quality levels, dome cameras can be an obtrusive reminder of a security system, hung several feet from a ceiling, or a tiny hidden way to spy on people who don’t realize you’re even there. Dome cameras have been adapted into baby monitors, home security systems, and all sorts of special applications.

Dome cameras can be especially effective when the dome is tinted a bit. When people know there’s a camera, but don’t know exactly where it’s aimed, they’re going to be on their best behavior. That sort of deterrent works even when the camera’s disconnected.

And of course… dome cameras are available at Solid Signal. If you’re not sure which one you need, call us at 888-233-7563 and we’ll help get you totally set up! If it’s after business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you.

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.