Hiya from the PNW!

jpshook

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Hi everyone! Found this forum a few weeks ago and just can't get enough! I am a long time geek and have dabbled a bit in IP cams in the past. Just purchased a home in rural Washington and going down the rabbit hole of ip cams and home security options. Came across IpCamTalk forums when searching for NVRs and camera specs since our upstream internet bandwidth is not great and I realized that I would be better off with a local server solution. Love all the camera reviews and community engagement here on the forum. I am Currently looking to obtain full cam coverage around our home (maybe 10-12 cams). Here is where I am at:

Working with local security vendors to revive the Vista 20p hardwired security system (if you have recommendations for UL monitoring, send them my way!)
Trying to find an electrician to install security lights (I would love to be able to remotely turn them on, but have them either dimmed or on motion detection by default)
Read through most of the cliff notes
Decided to go POE all the way and picked up my first POE+ switch
Purchased some outdoor rated CAT6
Leaning towards mostly turrets
Purchased 2 4mp varifocal IPC-T5442T-ZE from Andy on Amazon and some of the soffit and wall mounts.
Purchased and started setting up BI.

I have reached an inflection point where I am starting to 2nd guess my camera choices. I know that I will likely need different focal lengths for different locations. The area around my home is pitch black at night and I am not sure when I will be able to afford to have the security lights installed, so trying to ensure I get the best low light bang for the buck.

I was super-impressed with the recent review on the EmpireTech 4k X camera with the 1/1.2" sensor. Wish that one was available as a turret! Since I don't think I need varifocal for every cam, also starting to look at these cams:

Loryta Outdoor Security 4MP Ultra Low Light Starlight+ WDR IR Turret AI IP Camera, Fixed Lens IPC-T5442TM-AS 3.6mm
EmpireTech Security Surveillance Camera 4 MP ColorVu Fixed Turret Colorful Camera DS-2CD2347G2-LU 6MM English Version

I know these are different focal lengths - thinking about ordering both to check them out.

What do you all think about the camera's with built in illuminators? Wondering if those will be helpful while I am waiting for my lights to be installed?

Also, any thoughts about 3.6mm vs 6mm for general use?

And finally, I am leaning toward Dahua but wanted to get everyone's thoughts about Hikvision cams - I see that Andy sells both.
 

looney2ns

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Welcome, Your off to a good start.

The Dahua 5442 series is king of the hill currently.

The cams with built in white lights are mostly a gimmick, they don't provide enough light to matter in most case's.

Plan for more external IR illuminators to augment the built in Ir in the cams.

Be sure to spend time with this to determine what focal lengths you need in a certain location. IPVM Camera Calculator V3

You want to know, who did it, not just what happened.

Always test a proposed location for a minimum 24hrs with a temp test rig made of 5gal bucket, 8' 2x4, and rocks as ballast.
 

Rob2020

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Welcome

:welcome:

You are off to a great start, don't second guess your existing cameras. As long as you have quality cameras, which you have, you will find a use for them.

It is OK to start slow and build, I went from one camera, to 2, 3, 4 installed and a few more that I did not get installed before PNW "Winter" hit.

BI5 and Dahua (Andy) cameras.
 

wittaj

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It indeed looks like you are off to a good start!!!

You need to identify the areas you want to cover and pick a camera designed to cover that distance. In some instances, it may be a 2MP or 4MP that is the right camera. DO NOT CHASE MP!!!

It is why we recommend to purchase one good varifocal and test it at all the proposed locations day and night to figure out the correct focal lengths and cams.

To identify someone with the wide-angle 2.8mm lens that most people opt for, someone would have to be within 13 feet of the camera, but realistically within 10 feet after you dial it in to your settings. Most of us have seen at night you should probably go with about half to 75% of these numbers.

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Here are my general distance recommendations, but switch out the Dahua 5442 series camera to the equivalent 2MP on the 1/2.8" sensor or equivalent Hikvision works as well. These cameras meet all your requirements.
  • 5442 fixed lens 2.8mm - anything within 10 feet of camera OR as an overview camera
  • 5442 ZE - varifocal - distances up to 40-50 feet (personally I wouldn't go past the 30 foot range but I like things closer)
  • 5442 Z4E - anything up to 80-100 feet (personally I wouldn't go past 60 feet but I like things closer)
  • 5241-Z12E - anything from 80 feet to almost 200 feet (personally I wouldn't go past 150 feet because I like things closer)
  • 5241-Z12E - for a license plate cam that you would angle up the street to get plates up to about 175 feet away, or up to 220 with additional IR.
  • 49225 PTZ - great auto-track PTZ and in conjunction with an NVR or Blue Iris and the cameras above that you can use as spotter cams to point the PTZ to the correct location to compliment the fixed cams.
You need to get the correct camera for the area trying to be covered. A wide angle 2.8mm to IDENTIFY someone 40 feet away is the wrong camera regardless of how good the camera is. A 2.8mm camera to IDENTIFY someone within 10 feet is a good choice OR it is an overview camera to see something happened but not be able to identify who.

One camera cannot be the be all, see all. Each one is selected for covering a specific area. Most of us here have different brands and types, from fixed cams, to varifocals, to PTZs, each one selected for it's primary purpose and to utilize the strength of that particular camera.

So you will need to identify the distance the camera would be from the activities you want to IDENTIFY on and purchase the correct camera for that distance as an optical zoom.

If you want to see things far away, you need optical zoom, digital zoom only works in the movies and TV...And the optical zoom is done real time - for a varifocal it is a set it and forget it. You cannot go to recorded video and optically zoom in later, at that point it is digital zoom, and the sensors on these cameras are so small which is why digital zoom doesn't work very well after the fact.


I have said this before, but worth repeating. Do not be sold by some trademarked night color vision (Full Color, ColorVu, Starlight, etc.) that is a marketing ploy in a lot of ways lol. It is simply what a manufacturer wants to claim for low-light performance, but there are so many games that can be played even with the how they report the Lux numbers. They will claim a low lux of 0.0005 for example, but then that is with a wide open iris and a shutter at 1/3 second and an f1.0 - as soon as you have motion in it, it will be crap. You need a shutter of at minimum 1/60 second to reduce a lot of blur from someone walking.

All cameras need light regardless of what any marketing claims. I can make a crap camera look like noon at midnight, but then motion is a blur. But with any light at all, this camera does really well.

Sensor size, F number, MP, quality of the lens and sensor and software running the cameras are the real determining factors. And then obviously dial each cameras specific software settings to optimize the image and video. A brightness of 50 for example will look different between two different brands, or even the same brand but different cameras.

It is interesting how many of us experience better camera images with the camera LED off, regardless of whether it is a Hik or Dahua! I personally don't think they cast a far enough light to be effective. They are blinding looking at the camera, but do not project enough light out far enough to be effective. I have 3 different cameras with the LED and I do not run any of them on! It lights up the yard the equivalent of a phone flashlight LOL.

Unless you know you have enough ambient light or can live with the camera's white LED on, go with a camera that can see infrared. The full color type cameras cannot see infrared, so you couldn't add external IR later.

But in a completely black situation without any ambient light and without the white LED on, it looks like crap and you cannot add external IR as it won't see it.
 

looney2ns

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:welcome:

Every camera even the 4K-X needs some light. my backyard is very dark and I light it up, roughly 200x250, with one of these -

Blaster

It's mounted away from any of the cameras and I don't need to use the built-in IR on any of the seven cameras that cover the back yard.
How far from the cams? Height in relation to cams?
 

jpshook

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Wow! You all are awesome. I expected a warm welcome but this one was over the top. Thanks for the reassurance in the direction I am going and all the extra tips and ideas. Spent 4 hours yesterday running my first 100' of CAT6 through the attic. 1st cam has been installed and is working properly. Placement is not perfect, but it is less than 9ft from the ground and has an unobstructed view. Just 10-15 more to go!

If anyone has recommendations for alarm monitoring services, please share them!
 
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