We're trying to tell you not not just randomly buy a camera you see listed somewhere. You're buying a pig in a poke. Unknown vendor, unknown manufacturer, unknown firmware, generally doesn't meet basic specs for decent night video. Don't be in such a rush.
The cameras listed here do meet minimum specs for good night vision and provide it.
Start out by looking in the WiKi
in the blue bar at the top of the page. There's a ton of very useful information in there and it needs to be viewed on a computer, not a phone or tablet. The Cliff Notes
will be of particular interest although the camera models listed there are a generation old at this point. The best way to determine what kind of camera you need in each location and where each location should really be is to buy one varifocal camera first and set up a test stand for it that can be easily moved around. Test using that, viewing using the web interface of the camera, during the day and at night. Have someone walk around behaving like a miscreant and see if you can identify them. There is also information for choosing hardware and securing the system along with a whole bunch of other good stuff.
Don't chase megapixels unless you have a really BIG budget. Chase sensor size and bigger is better. To confuse you more sensor sizes are listed in fractions so do the basic math to be sure, 1/2.7 is bigger than 1/2.8 or 1/3. General rule of thumb is that a 4MP camera will easily outperform an 8MP camera when they both have the same sensor size. Reason being that there are twice as many pixels in the 8MP versus the 4MP. This results in only half the available light getting to each pixel in an 8MP that a pixel in the 4MP "sees".
A dedicated PC doesn't need to be either expensive to purchase or to run. A used business class machine can be had from eBay and various other sources. The advances made in Blue Iris
make it easily possible to run a fairly large system on relatively inexpensive hardware which also makes power consumption low, as in under 50 watts in many cases. The biggest expenses turn out to be hard drives for storing video and a PoE switch to power the cameras and, of course, the cameras themselves.
The three basic rules of video surveillance cameras-
Rule #1 - Cameras multiply like rabbits.
Rule #2 - Cameras are more addictive than drugs.
Rule #3 - You never have enough cameras.
Quick guide -
The smaller the lux number the better the low light performance. 0.002 is better than 0.02
The smaller the "F" of the lens the better the low light performance. F1.4 is better than F1.8
The larger the sensor the better the low light performance. 1/1.8" is better (bigger) than 1/2.7"
The higher the megapixels for the same size sensor the worse the low light performance. A 4MP camera with a 1/1.8" sensor will perform better than a 8MP camera with that same 1/1.8" sensor.
720P - 1/3" = .333"
2MP - 1/2.8" = .357" (think a .38 caliber bullet)
4MP - 1/1.8" = .555" (bigger than a .50 caliber bullet or ball)
8MP - 1/1.2" = .833" (bigger than a 20mm chain gun round)
Don't believe all the marketing hype no matter who makes the camera. Don't believe those nice night time captures they all use. Look for videos, with motion, to determine low light performance. Any camera can be made to "see" color at night if the exposure time is long enough, as in half a second or longer. Rule of thumb, the shutter speed needs to be at 1/60 or higher to get night video without blurring.
Read the reviews here, most include both still shots and video.
Avoid Reolink, Foscam, SV3C, Nest, and all the other consumer grade cameras. They all struggle mightily at night and never get anything useful on video. Here's a link to a whole thread debunking Reolink in particular.
Compiled by mat200 -
Executive Summary: DO NOT be a sheep. Ask what a reviewer can be missing, ask if a reviewer is using hype words to sell the cheapest product. Test your cameras and kits right away. Just do a bench test. Test real world conditions. Test moving suspects. Test at night, test at day. Use a test rig...
Avoid WiFi cameras, even doorbell
cameras. WiFi is not designed for the constant, 24/7, load of video that a surveillance camera produces. At best, with two cameras on WiFi, they will still experience dropouts multiple times daily. Murphy's Law says that will happen at the worst possible moment.
Lens size, focal length, is another critical factor. Many people like the wide, sweeping, views of a 2.8mm lens but be aware that identification is problematic with a lens that wide. Keep in mind that it may take two cameras, or more, to provide the coverage you need or desire. Another factor that effects view angles is the sensor size. Typically larger sensors will have a larger field of view in any given lens size.
The 5442 series of cameras by Dahua is the current "king of the hill". They are 4MP and capable of color with some ambient light at night. The 2231 series is a less expensive alternative in 2MP and does not have audio capabilities, no built in microphone, but is easier on the budget. The 3241T-ZAS has similar spcs as the 2231 and has audio. There are also cameras available from the IPCT Store
right here on the forum and from Nelly's Security who has a thread in the vendors section.
Review - 8MP 1/1.2" sensor full color camera
Intro I’m excited to be doing another Worlds First Review. this time as I mentioned in the full color thread, I’ve been testing the new Dahua full color 4K camera. This was provided courtesy of @EMPIRETECANDY for a fair, honest, no holds barred, unbiased review. I’ll attempt to answer any and...
Hey guys The full color 2.0 has been released. Most cams I already posted here. Like: IPC-Color4K-X
Bullet 4MP Motorized Full color. Today I bring a secret model, 1st release for the Dual-Lens Full color model in the world. Dual-lens Camera( Sample at Early Sep ) Ø Dual light fusion...
Review - Loryata (Dahua OEM) IPC-T5442T-ZE
IPC-T5442T-ZE Varifocal from @EMPIRETECANDY 4MP WDR Turret Varifocal Network Camera Review unit courtesy of Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Andy's ipcamtalk store: link Andy's AliExpress store: link Andy's Amazon store: link Price Approximately US $200.00...
Review - OEM IPC-B5442E-ZE 4MP AI Varifocal Bullet Camera With Starlight+
All, thanks to Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY ) we have a new 4MP AI camera for testing. This camera has been provided by Andy in exchange for a fair and honest review. This camera is using the OEM model number of IPC-B5442-ZE which is the equivalent of the Dahua IPC-HFW5442-ZE for reference. The IPC-B...
Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS
Dahua OEM IPC-T5442TM-AS from EMPIRETECANDY 4MP WDR Turret AI Network Camera Review unit courtesy of Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Andy's ipcamtalk store: link Andy's AliExpress store: link Andy's Amazon store: link Price Approximately US $160 Link to camera...
Review IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED (Turret, Full Color, Starlight+)
Dahua OEM IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED from EMPIRETECANDY 4MP WDR Turret AI Network Camera Review unit courtesy of Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Andy's ipcamtalk vendor forum: link Andy's AliExpress store: link Andy's Amazon store: link Andy's Email: kingsecurity2014...
Review: IPC-HDBW5442R-ASE-NI - Dahua Technology Pro AI Bullet Network Camera
Many thanks once again to Andy @EMPIRETECANDY we have for testing the OEM IPC-B5442T-ASE-NI 4MP Starlight+ Full Color bullet. This camera has been provided by Andy in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is a fixed 3.6mm bullet (Pro AI) series with the 1/1.8” sensor. It has no built in...
Review-OEM IPC-T2231RP-ZS 2mp Varifocal Turret Starlight Camera
Again courtesy of @EMPIRETECANDY EmpireTech Andy we have a new cam to look over. Its a new model in Dahua's new Lite H265 Series of cam's. Available for purchase here: Aliexpress.com - Online Shopping for Electronics, Fashion, Home & Garden, Toys & Sports, Automobiles and more Price is approx...
IPC-T3241-ZAS from EMPIRETECANDY 2MP WDR Turret Varifocal AI Network Camera Review unit courtesy of Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Purchase in the IPCT Store Andy's ipcamtalk vendor forum: link Andy's AliExpress store: link Andy's Amazon store: link Price...
Less expensive models -
Well here we go. I dont see anywhere more approriate to discuss this. Ive been messing around with putting together a cctv system for close to 3 years now. Ive bought everything i needed and also bought 2 cheap cams from a third party seller on walmart. Those cams cost me a grand total of $50...
VPN Information Thread
The internet is a force of nature; no video surveillance system made was designed to be exposed to those forces.. NEVER FORWARD PORTS to your NVR or Cameras, doing such things not only exposes you to severe security problems, but everyone else on the internet too.. Hackers dont want your video...