Help setting up a small system

Safari

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I'm brand new to security camera setups so bear me. I started researching the topic a few weeks ago, and I couldn't find the answers to my questions, so I came here for help.

I want to set up a small 2-3 camera setup in a isolated section of my warehouse that is local only, I dont need or want remote viewing over the internet, and I want to do is as cheap as possible. The 4 camera NVR systems are more than I want to spend on this

So I figured I could forgo the NVR and use cameras with sd cards that can record 24/7 and hook them up to a wireless router and access the live feed and recordings from my phone or PC by connecting to my routers wifi (offline). Then I thought maybe I dont need a router or cameras with sd cards if I can wirelessly access the live feed and recordings from a wireless NVR that my cameras are hooked up to.

1. Can I use a NVR with PoE or wifi cameras directly connected to it so I can record and view live local feeds, either through rtsp or free software?

2. Or should I use a router with cameras that have sd cards that can record 24/7 to view the recordings and live local feeds?

3. Or is it necessary to use both a router and NVR to achive my goal of a offline/local system only that records 24/7 and can be viewed from my phone or PC?

4. Or option 4 that I have not considered?
 

mat200

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I'm brand new to security camera setups so bear me. I started researching the topic a few weeks ago, and I couldn't find the answers to my questions, so I came here for help.

I want to set up a small 2-3 camera setup in a isolated section of my warehouse that is local only, I dont need or want remote viewing over the internet, and I want to do is as cheap as possible. The 4 camera NVR systems are more than I want to spend on this

So I figured I could forgo the NVR and use cameras with sd cards that can record 24/7 and hook them up to a wireless router and access the live feed and recordings from my phone or PC by connecting to my routers wifi (offline). Then I thought maybe I dont need a router or cameras with sd cards if I can wirelessly access the live feed and recordings from a wireless NVR that my cameras are hooked up to.

1. Can I use a NVR with PoE or wifi cameras directly connected to it so I can record and view live local feeds, either through rtsp or free software?

2. Or should I use a router with cameras that have sd cards that can record 24/7 to view the recordings and live local feeds?

3. Or is it necessary to use both a router and NVR to achive my goal of a offline/local system only that records 24/7 and can be viewed from my phone or PC?

4. Or option 4 that I have not considered?
Welcome @Safari

See the cliff notes, and look for the introduction notes from SourthernYankee

Best to first look what you functionally want to accomplish with the cameras and then decide what your options are.
 

ajwitt

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Stay away from wifi cams - they are inconsistent, frequently lose signal, easy to jam, and will always cut out when you needed them the most.

SD cards in cams are not intended to record 24/7 and will cause you more problems than it is worth to try - they are more for motion detected recordings and not 24/7. And even then some of the cams start bugging out when the card is full and it needs to figure out how to record and erase at the same time - a few of my cams I have the SD card set on a periodic erasing of events after X number of days so that the card wouldn't fill and the cam bug out.

Have you considered analog cameras and DVR instead - cheaper than IP/NVR kits and probably accomplish what you are looking to do.
 
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Safari

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Stay away from wifi cams - they are inconsistent, frequently lose signal, easy to jam, and will always cut out when you needed them the most.

SD cards in cams are not intended to record 24/7 and will cause you more problems than it is worth to try.

Have you considered analog cameras and DVR instead - cheaper than IP/NVR kits and probably accomplish what you are looking to do.
Yes I did initially, but thought the video quality wouldn't be the same as a 5mp camera. Am I wrong on the video quality?
 

ajwitt

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Don't chase megapixels because most cameras with a higher MP rating are placed on the same sensor as a 2MP camera, which means you need a lot more light. A 5mp camera on a 1/2.8" sensor will need over double the amount of light for a 2mp camera on the same sensor. And then being on a 2.8mm lens and you are probably going to be disappointed.

If you are trying to stay on a budget, go with 2MP or 1080 analog and call it a day.

The other thing to keep in mind is what is your goal - to observe or identify?

Look at this chart below - the person would need to be within 13 feet to recognize them with a 2.8mm lens. As I tell my neighbors with their 2.8 mm cams on their house saying they can recognize people at the street, I am like that is only possible if you already know the person and be able to recognize them based on their walk, clothing, body type, etc., but put a total stranger in the frame and the picture will be fairly useless. I recognize most of the people I see on my 2.8mm overview cam, but a total stranger goes by and not much you could tell the police, maybe clothing color, but nothing to identify them.

So are these going to be installed up high and be more observation or to try to identify and recognize something?

You can detect someone at 75 feet and beyond and maybe be able to "recognize" them if you know them and can tell their body dimension, walk, etc., but will never be able to identify a stranger or have a good enough image to share with the police.

You would need probably around 32mm for 75 feet. In cameras, a 2.8mm versus a 32mm results in a dramatic improvement over a distance. If the bigger lens is what you need, then you would need to go the IP route and it will get more expensive than the route you already looked at.

1604638118196.png


And you will see because of that small lens size, that if you digital zoom, it is a pixel blurry mess real fast.
 

Safari

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Welcome @Safari

See the cliff notes, and look for the introduction notes from SourthernYankee

Best to first look what you functionally want to accomplish with the cameras and then decide what your options are.
If I had $500 to blow on this my decision would be easy. I'm trying to keep this below $200
 

ajwitt

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If I had $500 to blow on this my decision would be easy. I'm trying to keep this below $200
That will be tough!

This is under $200:


Or these even though not below $200:




These are starter kits that many people start with. I was there once and have since upgraded to IP and better cams, but we all start somewhere.
 

Safari

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Don't chase megapixels because most cameras with a higher MP rating are placed on the same sensor as a 2MP camera, which means you need a lot more light. A 5mp camera on a 1/2.8" sensor will need over double the amount of light for a 2mp camera on the same sensor. And then being on a 2.8mm lens and you are probably going to be disappointed.

If you are trying to stay on a budget, go with 2MP or 1080 analog and call it a day.

The other thing to keep in mind is what is your goal - to observe or identify?

Look at this chart below - the person would need to be within 13 feet to recognize them with a 2.8mm lens. As I tell my neighbors with their 2.8 mm cams on their house saying they can recognize people at the street, I am like that is only possible if you already know the person and be able to recognize them based on their walk, clothing, body type, etc., but put a total stranger in the frame and the picture will be fairly useless. I recognize most of the people I see on my 2.8mm overview cam, but a total stranger goes by and not much you could tell the police, maybe clothing color, but nothing to identify them.

So are these going to be installed up high and be more observation or to try to identify and recognize something?

You can detect someone at 75 feet and beyond and maybe be able to "recognize" them if you know them and can tell their body dimension, walk, etc., but will never be able to identify a stranger or have a good enough image to share with the police.

You would need probably around 32mm for 75 feet. In cameras, a 2.8mm versus a 32mm results in a dramatic improvement over a distance. If the bigger lens is what you need, then you would need to go the IP route and it will get more expensive than the route you already looked at.

1604638118196.png


And you will see because of that small lens size, that if you digital zoom, it is a pixel blurry mess real fast.
That's good to know, the 2mp cameras are also cheaper. I dont need to identify the people on the video because I know all of them. So clarity is not the biggest issue. I guess the NVR or DVR are the most practical solutions.

If I use a DVR I have the added expense of a router so I can wirelessly access the live video feed, although routers are cheap. But if I get a wireless NVR can I connect wired PoE cameras to them, and connect my phone to the NVR and cameras via lan wifi ? (I assume the NVR is accessible through a 2.4ghz wifi hotspot) or do I need a hard wired monitor to view the NVR feeds?
 

ajwitt

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I believe nightowl has wireless DVRs.

You will probably spend more on an IP camera/NVR solution than an analog and buying a cheap router.

Or if you have a spare computer not being used, you could either do Blue Iris or whatever free software is available with the cams you buy and record to the computer hard drive.
 

Safari

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That will be tough!

This is under $200:


Or these even though not below $200:




These are starter kits that many people start with. I was there once and have since upgraded to IP and better cams, but we all start somewhere.
 

Safari

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That will be tough!

This is under $200:


Or these even though not below $200:




These are starter kits that many people start with. I was there once and have since upgraded to IP and better cams, but we all start somewhere.
That $150 two camera Swann looks nice, but I assume I would need to connect them to a wireless router to access the live feed. Also I don't want to use a monitor, i want to view live feeds and recorded videos through a phone or PC
 

Safari

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I believe nightowl has wireless DVRs.

You will probably spend more on an IP camera/NVR solution than an analog and buying a cheap router.

Or if you have a spare computer not being used, you could either do Blue Iris or whatever free software is available with the cams you buy and record to the computer hard drive.
I'm going to start researching analog cameras. I stayed away from them because I thought they were out dated with poor video quality. Thanks
 

ajwitt

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Can you get an ethernet cable from the DVR to a computer? If so, then you can just do that and pull up on computer and skip the router.
 

Safari

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Now I'm leaning towards getting a $50 DVR, a $25 router and two $50 ip cameras. Or $150 Swann 2 cam system. That should do it.

I tried to find a system for $100 by using p2p ip direct cameras with sd cards bypassing the router and NVR, but finding a camera with those features is difficult. Most cameras on Amazon require internet access to function
 

Safari

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I would have to buy another PC. I only have one functioning laptop. I prefer to access the feed through a phone. I want two other people to view the feed and recordings. That would be easiest through a phone app or rtsp
 

ajwitt

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Just a distinction - for analog cams it is a DVR and it is an NVR for ip cameras - so make sure that $50 unit is indeed an NVR.

P2P is simply a method to make a camera "plug and play" for the consumer where they can simply scan a code and it pulls up on an app, but it needs an internet connection initially (P2P should be avoided BTW for security concerns), but many cameras have that and you can still use it without an internet connection. Most the cameras people use on this site have P2P capability and we have turned that off as our cams are not on the internet. In all honesty, with very little computer knowledge, most can set these up without P2P. Or you configure the system initially connected to the internet, let P2P connect it, and then disconnect and hang up the cameras and place the NVR where you want to (but try to avoid that if possible).

Look for an IP cam that has ONVIF capability and in all likelihood it means it can work offline like you intend. Anything else is proprietary and will need an internet connection like Ring, Nest, Arlo, etc.
 

Safari

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Just a distinction - for analog cams it is a DVR and it is an NVR for ip cameras - so make sure that $50 unit is indeed an NVR.

P2P is simply a method to make a camera "plug and play" for the consumer where they can simply scan a code and it pulls up on an app, but it needs an internet connection initially (P2P should be avoided BTW for security concerns), but many cameras have that and you can still use it without an internet connection. Most the cameras people use on this site have P2P capability and we have turned that off as our cams are not on the internet. In all honesty, with very little computer knowledge, most can set these up without P2P. Or you configure the system initially connected to the internet, let P2P connect it, and then disconnect and hang up the cameras and place the NVR where you want to (but try to avoid that if possible).

Look for an IP cam that has ONVIF capability and in all likelihood it means it can work offline like you intend. Anything else is proprietary and will need an internet connection like Ring, Nest, Arlo, etc.
I'm not concerned with privacy considering this is at work, and there are a host of other cameras on the property.

I'm still not sure of correct terminology. Months ago I tested a simple direct connection with two of my offline phones using the app "ip webcam" and my phones hotspot, but that connection was short range and not too stable. I thought that was p2p but maybe not. I read about ONVIF and I'll look more into them, thanks.

My first plan was to find a wifi camera with a built in hotspot and a 256 sd card slot that would record 24/7. Then connect my other phone to its hotspot to view live video and its recorded video, it's simple, local and cheap. But those cameras are not easy to find. I was going to buy two reolink e1 pros because they record 24/7, and they will connect directly to your phones hotspot mitigating the need for a router and NVR. But the e1 pro only supports a 64 max sd card, and that was a turn off. So I'm still searching. Thanks for the help
 

Safari

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Hard wired cameras are far more stable than wifi is, so I'm thinking I would like to get two PoE cameras with sd card slots that support at least 128gb and a cheap wireless router to connect my phone to its wifi and access the live view and recordings. I can deal with finicky sd card recording on the camera once in a while if I can bypass the NVR.
 

ajwitt

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Keep in mind that if you go the SD card route, you will have to go with reduced video quality if you plan to record 24/7 unless you only care about a day of footage.

I have a 2MP camera set with a bitrate of 8192 that I record 24/7 to a hard drive and it consumes around 3.9GB per hour - so at that setting you are going to not even get a day and half of recording on a 128GB card. A 4MP camera could even go thru it faster.

Though this wiki if for hard drive space considerations, it would still be valid for an SD card - so make sure you are comfortable with not a long recording time: Calculating Required Hard Drive Size

I would also only buy one camera first and try it out - some of these will not let you record and watch at the same time of an active file - maybe not a deal killer for you, but you should be aware that you may have to not record while reviewing.
 
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