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Guest Message by DevFuse


Home Camera Systems?

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12 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   SayWhat?


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Posted 29 December 2013 - 06:45 AM

Had a possible incident a week or two back that got the hairs on the back of my neck up a bit, so I decided to start looking into camera systems.
I've had a couple of IP cameras, but the resolution isn't that great at any distance. They're OK for a general view, but not much detail beyond about 10' or so, especially at night. To record, you either need to allow space on your PC's HDD or use a dedicated machine.
Tiger and Newegg both have what look like decent systems, but reviews are mixed. Of course, none of them are recognizable brand names, at least not outside of their field. To cover the perimeter, I figure I'll need at least an 8 channel system with 6-8 cameras. I may get one with four cameras included and then add a couple of specialty cameras with longer range or brighter IR LEDs for better nightvision.
Candidates so far are:
8 Channel, 8 Camera, 1TB HDD: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16881523061
They have a 8 CH/4 Cam/500GB HDD version, but it's only about $30 less.
8 Channel, 4 Cam, 500Gb HDD: http://www.tigerdire...19036&csid=_61
Extra distance nightvision camera: http://www.newegg.co...67&ignorebbr=1
Most of the Tiger systems are 480 TVL while the Newegg systems are 600 TVL (which is better, right?)
Most all that I've looked at have remote viewing capable and can be accessed/viewed from a web browser across the LAN, but I think I'd also need a separate monitor. Those are pretty cheap now though. I've seen 19" LED screens for $50 or so.
Anybody using anything like these?

Edited by SayWhat?, 29 December 2013 - 06:49 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   dogbreath



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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:35 AM

Lowes has camera systems and home automation also. 

#3 OFFLINE   gov



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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:35 AM

I don't have direct experience with those systems, but of the different brands I have worked with, my biggest problem with all of them is having too slow of a fastest speed on the fast forward and rewind. You will never want to spend 3 or 4 hours f*rting around with the thing trying to find the footage of the kid that trampled your flower bed last week.  With a fast forward speed of 16X your looking at ~4 minutes/hour of look time and if you have to watch a whole day, that takes an hour and a half, per camera. You're not going to want to do that unless the kid shot up your house.  


Also, some of the date/time navigation features to find footage I want to look at are 'clunky' and unfriendly, hence having to watch hours of footage trying to find something.


In general, I think for folks like me doing the occasional install, is to always install the same brand.  Proficiency in operating any system is commensurate with the amount of time spent operating it. Dividing time on installs over 2 or three brands if they have pretty different user interfaces can be frustrating as you might not get very good at running any of them.  And if you can't run it, you can't show a customer how to run it.


And people with these systems if they don't have frequent cause to check out some footage never get any skills in running their system.


I've had not much luck with the motion capture features either.  Seems like having the DVR not capturing static scenes would really pare down the amount of footage you need to look at, but the settings for that can be tedious and complicated, and setting the sensitivity is by trial and error.  Also, insects set off the cameras, and you generally don't want to watch a spider build a web over the course of a week, or watch the leaves flutter in the wind on your peach tree.  And that's why I think having a higher speed on the fast forward and rewind is important.

#4 OFFLINE   jimmie57


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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:30 AM

TVL is the Horizontal lines of resolution on a monitor / screen that it can produce.


This video shows the difference at night in a warehouse. It is quite a lot of difference.



This is a very good video by Monoprice.com.


Edited by jimmie57, 29 December 2013 - 09:37 AM.

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#5 OFFLINE   klang


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Posted 29 December 2013 - 10:42 AM

I've been dabbling a bit with this. I've settled on http://www.blueirissoftware.com/ for PC based recording and monitoring. Most of the DVR's and NVR's tie you into a particular brand of camera. With Blue Iris you can pick whatever camera works for a particular situation. You do need the PC up 24x7. I have an old Windows desktop I rebuilt for this purpose.


I have been testing a couple Foscam indoor cameras. They are considered junk by most serious camera users but they have been a way to get my feet wet. The 720P cameras have a pretty good picture but the quality of the hardware is inconsistent.


Bought a couple Hikvision 2032's to mount outside at a second house we are building in Colorado. These are 3 megapixel HD cameras. Haven't actually tried them out yet but the video I've seen online is impressive.

#6 OFFLINE   harsh


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Posted 29 December 2013 - 02:25 PM

The DVR systems are arguably the easiest to set up. All you need to set up is a port forward on your router and you're pretty much good to go. No figuring out how to allocate storage or worrying about whether your computer will crash out from underneath the system. Working a DVR is typically more straightforward as it uses familiar controls versus an obscure on-screen remote.

The computer-based systems like Blue Iris would be my next choice. They only record when there's something that needs recording but because they're not based on solid operating systems (Windows and OSX versus Linux), they tend to be less reliable.

For quite a bit of money, there are self-aiming Pan-Tilt-Zoom PTZ systems and megapixel cameras that give you more detailed images but you have to be afully paranoid to spend this kind of money.

In my experience, the worst PTZ system is typically going to give you better images than the best megapixel camera but the maintenance of a PTZ system can be difficult and good ones involve two or three spotter cameras for each PTZ camera.
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Posted 29 December 2013 - 10:15 PM

Just remember if something bad happens and you have a video of it, then what?


Unless you or the police have recognition of the person(s), then what?   You can relive it over and over but it occurred.


In additions to cameras, prevent it. Stop it before or when its occurring.

For example, if you have 20 windows in your home and 4 doors, be sure no one can get in through anyone of them without sounding alarms and possibly notifying a third party, like a very reputable security company.


In my neighborhood, someone had his car jacked up and all tires taken. Has some nice video clips too of the event. But no arrests, no recovery of the items.  So all he can do is relive it if he chooses.


Cameras are a good idea but don't let that be your first and last line of defense.

#8 OFFLINE   SayWhat?


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Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:54 AM

I have been testing a couple Foscam indoor cameras.

That's what I've been using and they're fine for what they are.  But there's no detail at distance.  You can see someone moving across the yard, but not who.

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#9 OFFLINE   phrelin


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Posted 31 December 2013 - 08:10 PM

A few years ago I used to have a camera system that took decent pictures and fed them to a computer. But the computer had to be on and, as noted by others, I realized I would have a great picture of someone stealing things unless I was glued to the computer. Then i stumbled across these things:




It's a SmartGuard AEC-931BSD-SP8 Motion Sensor LED Light with Camera and Audio. When someone triggers the motion sensor a bright LED light illuminates a huge area, the audio choice I use is a barking dog (there are other choices), and it takes a video (640x480). I have three of them and have fun video recorded on SD cards of racoons, cats, deer, and even cars driving by at a long distance. The point is, of course, that brightly lighting things up at night along which with a dog starting to bark makes intruders of every species nervous and they leave. Plus I know when there is an intruder and can choose to do more if needed.


The downside is that they need 120v which required me to wire up one on an old doghouse at a high point out in the yard to get maximum coverage. But it works. And if the intruder indeed does steal something I do have video to stare at.

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#10 OFFLINE   Spaingod


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Posted 12 January 2014 - 05:45 AM

I bought 3 of these cameras: http://www.ipcampric...mera-p-283.html

It was around $120 on BF sale, but now the price is about $100. That was a trap!? Just curious...

#11 OFFLINE   harsh


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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:43 PM

I bought 3 of these cameras: http://www.ipcampric...mera-p-283.html

I'm pretty sure the enclosure isn't really iron alloy.

I had to see the picture at the bottom of the page to figure out what in Sam Hill a TF card was.

Megapixel cameras are, by definition 1080p, but this one is only 720p. Nice try Mr. marketing guy.

I wish they had a wireless power connection.

Aside from the wonky ad copy, if it works, it works.

I've got two VideoIQ megapixel cameras at work and they're amazing (and fully self-contained) but they're also well over $1,500 each for an outdoor dome with 250GB drive.

The nice part about the megapixel cameras over the PTZ cameras is that the bad guys can't confuse the megapixel camera by creating two events a distance apart. Megapixels cover the whole area all the time.
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#12 OFFLINE   carl6


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Posted 12 January 2014 - 06:02 PM

My experience with a couple of different systems is the camera is what will make the greatest difference. The higher resolution camera, the better.  Most of the consumer grade (Lowe's, Costco, etc.) systems will give you a general idea of what is going on, but unless the subject is within a few feet of the camera, with good light, you will not get facial recognition.  You can see someone 15 or 20 feet away, but it is doubtful you will be able to get a usable enough detail image to do much good.  You won't read a license plate with any of these systems, but in daylight can get a make/model/color of car fairly easily.


So it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  Putting up a few fake cameras and video surveillance signs will give you as much deterrent effect as a real system at much less cost. Using pan/tilt/zoom, either manual or automatic, can give you good close up images but automated systems are very expensive and manual requires you to be monitoring/controlling the camera while a subject is in view.


I've got a home office in my basement without an outside view. I've got some cameras mounted around my house and a monitor in my office. That's very handy for glancing at quickly if I hear something, or if the doorbell rings, etc. I also record the cameras and can remotely access them. The remote access is nice for "peace of mind" but really isn't going to do much good should something actually happen.

#13 OFFLINE   houskamp


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Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:41 PM

I run a geovission 8 port card in my server at home.. premium cameras (both in res and 30 or so ir leds) are a must..

The other thing I have is motion sensors to trigger recording so I only get recordings of something actually happening..

Also has lots of options including email a pic on trigger..


quite frankly the red glow of cams makes most nervous enough to skip my place..

MRV was all that's left on my wishlist (wishlist done) :D

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