Modern security plans often necessitate the use of surveillance equipment. There are many choices in today’s marketplace for security cameras to fill this role. If you are seeking a camera style to do that is versatile enough to take advantage of technologies like high-definition video, then take a look at one of the most iconic camera designs available, the bullet security camera.

The Bullet Security Camera

The original bullet security camera was small and cylindrical in shape, resembling a bullet or lipstick tube. As the technology advanced, so did the size, but the name remained. This camera is attached to an articulated mount which can be a wall, ceiling, or pole mounted. Bullet cameras can be fitted with infrared LEDs for low-light applications. The bullet security camera is a mainstay of the surveillance camera world. Its presence in space has been shown to be an effective deterrent.

The bullet camera design, a lens coupled to an image sensor, allows it to be a very versatile choice for security needs. Situations that require a low-resolution video of a closed area can be accomplished by a simple fixed-lens bullet camera like a mini bullet security camera. If the situation requires a camera with high-definition video capture of images at a considerable distance, then a larger bullet security camera with an appropriate high-definition optical sensor and quality lens can be acquired.

Typical Application of Bullet Security Cameras

Bullet security cameras can be used to view wide spaces or outfitted with a longer lens to observe small portions of distant areas.

Bullet cameras are often used for monitoring outdoor areas such as manufacturing plants, warehouses, transportation and logistics companies, and commercial site buildings. Another common use is monitoring large open spaces from a distance like parking lots, airports, traffic intersections, and institutional spaces like detention facilities.

Advantages of a Bullet Camera

  • Easy Installation/Repositioning: Bullet cameras are typically surface mounted to a wall or ceiling. This is easy to accomplish when compared to installing another popular type of security camera called the dome camera. Similarly, repositioning a bullet camera is a simple task as no components need removal to reposition the device.
  • Visible Deterrent: The standard bullet camera, unlike its counterpart, the dome camera, does stand out. The long barrel-shaped body, especially when enclosed in an outdoor case, is hard to be mistaken for anything other than what it is- a surveillance camera. This fact alone tends to deter potential negative activity in an area.
  • Weatherproof: The bullet camera can be built into a hardened weatherproof enclosure for outdoor use. This is a common application of the bullet camera in part because the enclosures work very well with the cameras.
  • Larger Lenses: The bullet camera design allows for larger lenses to be used with it compared to the other popular style of security camera, the dome camera. Large telephoto lenses allow the camera to be used to monitor areas quite a distance from where the camera is mounted. The large lenses also allow for very clear images at a distance. This feature is often used for such things as license plate recognition.
  • Low Light Capabilities: While many types of security cameras can employ infrared LEDs to give them low light capabilities, the bullet camera design allows for more significant numbers of infrared LEDs to be used. This, coupled with the larger lenses, gives bullet cameras some of the furthest low-light vision capabilities found in security cameras.

Disadvantages of a Bullet Camera

  • Susceptible to Vandals and Animals: While the presence of a bullet camera can be a deterrent to some, this same obvious presence makes it a frequent target for vandalism. Additionally, externally mounted bullet cameras are often compromised by birds and other animals building nests that obscure the camera’s view or move the camera away from its intended focus.
  • Aesthetic Concerns: Once again, the very obvious nature of the bullet camera puts it at a disadvantage as it can be somewhat visually jarring. As much as the camera’s presence might deter someone from performing wrongful acts, others may see the camera’s presence as proof that there is questionable activity occurring and avoid it.

Different Styles of Bullet Cameras

The bullet camera family includes many lens and image sensor combinations and many connectivity options to integrate them into a new security system. There are also a few specialized types of bullet cameras that address some unique security opportunities.

Mini/Micro Bullet Cameras

As the name implies, these cameras are essentially smaller versions of bullet cameras. Due to their size, the cameras tend to be easier to place discreetly.

The size of these devices means the lens choices would also be smaller ones, more appropriate for wide-angle viewing of relatively close areas. The size would limit adding things like infrared LEDs and external hardening. Altogether, these factors make these cameras good for monitoring inside entrances or other well-lit smaller spaces like elevators.

PTZ Bullet Cameras

These cameras have motors to articulate the camera and lens, allowing for panning from left to right, tilting along the vertical axis, and zooming the lens’s focus from object to object.

PTZ camera’s ability to cover large areas and actively track a moving object coupled with bullet camera lenses allowing for this to be done at a distance at high-definition resolutions makes the camera very desirable for uses such as traffic cameras tracking motorists. However, the PTZ camera is a costly device and may not be the most cost-effective choice.


The versatile nature of the bullet camera family makes it a very appealing choice for inclusion in any security plan. Bullet cameras vary in size and configuration. Most will be 2-8 megapixels. But there are others with larger sensors that will record up to 50% more detail. With a wide variety of models in multiple configurations, finding a bullet camera to fill a requirement of a security plan can be easy.

Written by : Carlo Di Leo

At the age of 24, with no experience in the security industry or any money in the bank, Carlo quit his job and started Spotter Security from his parent's basement. Founded in 2004, Spotter grew from a single man operation into a multi-million dollar security system integrator that caters to businessess and construction sites across Canada.

Contact Us

Free Up Your Time To Get Back To Your Most Important Work