Experience with Outdoor Surveillance Cameras

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Dec 18, 2014
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I'm looking for some insight in regards to setting up an outdoor security camera system. I have two spotlights front and rear that I think placing the cameras near (either above or below) would be good, especially for nighttime recording (they are motion-activated.) Requirements: 1. Being able to open up my iPhone and look at the cameras in real time 2. Recording & storage 3. Motion detection & night vision Any ideas? I did a quick search on Amazon and found mixed reviews on pretty much everything. I'm also not looking to spend a fortune here. Thanks in advance!
 
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I have them installed on and in my new home. My wife likes it. I feel like it's something else I now deal with mentality I didn't in the past.
 
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You're going to get mixed reviews b/c of the crabby people who can't read license plates of cars 50 feet away at night with a wide angle lens. This is something where quality of installation and expectations will mean much more. Though if the reviews say the things freeze up or flake out, keep shopping.
 

oilpsi2high

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Originally Posted By: skyactiv
I have them installed on and in my new home. My wife likes it. I feel like it's something else I now deal with mentality I didn't in the past.
Which ones did you get? I was thinking, I might not even need outdoor ones, I can just install them indoors and point them out of a window, no?
 
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I don't believe you can set the cameras indoors and have them look through a glass window for IR use at night. The IR would cause glare off the glass. Budget and layout of the property (ie distances between cameras and base station or router) would be the main limiting factors here. My two cents... I have outdoor cameras as an adjunct to a regular, central station monitored alarm system. I figured that early warning is a good thing, and over time have come to love the cameras for simple things like knowing the rate of snowfall at my house and when packages are delivered. I started building a budget system a few years ago with ZModo products. The compromise of price and features seemed to be what I was looking for. I had tried Swann products before that, with poor results. Even their higher-grade outdoor-rated cameras were subject to mood swings depending on temperature and humidity, signal dropping out for no apparent reason, etc. Please understand I am not very tech-savvy nor much of a do-it-yourselfer outside of automotive things. I have been fairly happy with ZModo, but if I could start all over again I am not sure I would choose them. I use the wifi cameras and buy them only from places that are legitimate retailers. There seem to either be fakes out there, or just some terrible-quality products by ZModo. The headaches I have with ZModo lie in the iPhone app interfacing with the cameras, and not the hardware. It seems that the older the camera, in both physical age and software, the less the latest app updates want to interact with it. It is frustrating with two of my oldest cameras as their functions are limited because the app doesn't seem to recognize their firmware more and more as the app gets updated. I can't even view the recordings of motion from those cameras on the latest app, I need to use the MyShare website, which is neither user-friendly nor intuitive, and rather primitive and wonky. That being said, if you do choose ZModo, make sure you are getting the latest cameras with the latest firmware. Negatives aside, the newest ZModo cameras perform worlds better than the older ones in most aspects. Wider viewing angle, more motion detector sensitivity adjustments, almost never susceptible to lens fogging due to weather, etc.
 

oilpsi2high

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Originally Posted By: methusaleh
I don't believe you can set the cameras indoors and have them look through a glass window for IR use at night. The IR would cause glare off the glass. Budget and layout of the property (ie distances between cameras and base station or router) would be the main limiting factors here. My two cents... I have outdoor cameras as an adjunct to a regular, central station monitored alarm system. I figured that early warning is a good thing, and over time have come to love the cameras for simple things like knowing the rate of snowfall at my house and when packages are delivered. I started building a budget system a few years ago with ZModo products. The compromise of price and features seemed to be what I was looking for. I had tried Swann products before that, with poor results. Even their higher-grade outdoor-rated cameras were subject to mood swings depending on temperature and humidity, signal dropping out for no apparent reason, etc. Please understand I am not very tech-savvy nor much of a do-it-yourselfer outside of automotive things. I have been fairly happy with ZModo, but if I could start all over again I am not sure I would choose them. I use the wifi cameras and buy them only from places that are legitimate retailers. There seem to either be fakes out there, or just some terrible-quality products by ZModo. The headaches I have with ZModo lie in the iPhone app interfacing with the cameras, and not the hardware. It seems that the older the camera, in both physical age and software, the less the latest app updates want to interact with it. It is frustrating with two of my oldest cameras as their functions are limited because the app doesn't seem to recognize their firmware more and more as the app gets updated. I can't even view the recordings of motion from those cameras on the latest app, I need to use the MyShare website, which is neither user-friendly nor intuitive, and rather primitive and wonky. That being said, if you do choose ZModo, make sure you are getting the latest cameras with the latest firmware. Negatives aside, the newest ZModo cameras perform worlds better than the older ones in most aspects. Wider viewing angle, more motion detector sensitivity adjustments, almost never susceptible to lens fogging due to weather, etc.
Great post, thank you. I had an old Sony Handycam that used IR for nightvision, and it worked fine through windows. I guess I'll have to look into it some more. For recording, I see there are cloud solutions and local as well. I have an old desktop I could probably use for this, but I definitely don't want to pay for cloud storage just to store video. More research is probably needed.
 
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This is literally an area where spending more gives you more, at least with the current market. As someone mentioned before, focal length matters. You can capture a wide general image or you can capture specific details, but generally not both. A fixed lens can't do it all, although paying big bucks for high end cameras can give you more resolution that lets you find details. The typical 4 or 8 channel kit you find at Sam's or Costco will be good for general surveillance under ideal lighting conditions. These are usually the kind with the 'bullet' shaped cameras that connect to the master DVR with a BNC type connector and require a separate (but typically concurrently-run) power line. A slight upgrade would be to get POE network cameras that only need a single CAT5. These will be their own device which allows you to use software like iSpy to capture the stream from each server independently. I have found these to be more durable and produce a better image, but they cost more ($80 and up per camera) and then you need to figure out a way to record the footage of each device.. and a spare PC that can be running all the time is often the simplest route. No matter what you do, I would advise you run the cameras in such a way that: 1. You don't point them directly at a source of bright light. 2. You don't point them in an area where the contrast between light/dark is extreme.
 
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Chicago, IL
I put together a Hikvision branded system. I'd recommend piecing a system together over a kit cine you'll have different camera needs for different locations. I wouldn't plan to point a camera out a glass window with the IR LEDs. In addition, if you can avoid it, avoid a WiFi connected camera if you can physically run wires.
 
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Mar 19, 2011
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New Mexico
I have several Foscam exterior cams. iPhone app(also android) is easy to use, gives me motion detection emails and cost about $50-60. Ample for most uses but not in the caliber of high end (expensive) cams as far as resolution. 1 MP as apposed the 4-8 MP which Foscam also sells. Video depends on router speed.
 
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Originally Posted By: pkunk
I have several Foscam exterior cams. iPhone app(also android) is easy to use, gives me motion detection emails and cost about $50-60. Ample for most uses but not in the caliber of high end (expensive) cams as far as resolution. 1 MP as apposed the 4-8 MP which Foscam also sells. Video depends on router speed.
The 2nd pic is exactly what I was mentioning in my previous post. I'm sure it isn't always like that, but you can see how the optics just don't work well when you have a really light area next to a really dark area. The exposure handling isn't good on most security cameras.
 
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I have also had good luck with Zmodo stuff. Buy good cameras. repeat that 20x never get less than 1200TVL, High def is worth the little bit extra money. Buy a few dummies. Make sure every approach angle is covered. If someone is sabotaging a camera, make sure another camera can see it happening.
 
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Oct 25, 2012
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Taiwan
Has been mixed. On the one hand, I havn't been caught once. OTOH, I've had vehicles damaged and plundered in allegedly camera-controlled areas and there was never anything useful recorded. I think they are as good as the people operating them, which tends to mean, not very.
 
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Jul 27, 2012
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Perth, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
The exposure handling isn't good on most security cameras.
No, the exposure handling isn't good on most cheap Chinese [censored] security cameras. Quality cameras have great dynamic range, sensitivity and exposure adjustment, it's just that most people aren't willing to plonk a grand on one camera, let alone a few of them.
 
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Aug 2, 2005
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dayton oh
no! they strictly record to a nest subscription cloud. no local recording. #AVOID the best ones i have are arecont vision ip cams. av3100m you need a poe switch and a pc running ispy which is free.
Originally Posted By: Gebo
Nest ?
 
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Originally Posted By: Gebo
Nest ?
Bosch, Panasonic, Sony, GBO... stuff like that. Anything aimed at the IOT market or the mainstream consumer is going to be a $100 camera in $500 clothes at best (most are like a $35 camera/lens combo). Just like a professional photographer, glass matters as much as the back end. On the other hand, how much do you want to spend vs what value will it give you? For around the house, I still tend to recommend Hikvision, because what do you really need out of a household CCTV system?
 
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