What is a decent IP cam for my budget?

rwsstudios

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This camera supports ONVIF open source, but it's rather cheap. Seems like a China cam...but the vendor DOES accept returns. I assume BI is ONVIF compliant?

 

wittaj

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Yes, BI is ONVIF compliant.

That camera is 4MP on a 1/3" sensor. You would be better off with a 2MP on the 1/2.8" sensor.

It looks like a Dahua OEM.

Keep in mind purchasing from an unknown vendor could mean a camera that you cannot update the firmware.

Many units being sold are Chinese hacked units that will either brick or go into Chinese upon updating. Some vendors will be upfront and tell consumers that as part of their website, but many do not or the consumer forgets...here is one such example....

1639069607282.png

I would strongly suggest you look at EmpireTech or Nelly's that are both trusted vendors on this site with cameras that can be updated. EmpireTech has an Amazon store:

 
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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 -

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


5442 Reviews

Review - Loryata (Dahua OEM) IPC-T5442T-ZE varifocal Turret

Review - OEM IPC-B5442E-ZE 4MP AI Varifocal Bullet Camera With Starlight+

Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+ Turret

Review IPC-T5442TM-AS-LED (Turret, Full Color, Starlight+)

Review: IPC-HDBW5442R-ASE-NI - Dahua Technology Pro AI Bullet Network Camera

2231 Review
Review-OEM IPC-T2231RP-ZS 2mp Varifocal Turret Starlight Camera

3241T-ZAS Review

Less expensive models -

VPN Information Thread
 

rwsstudios

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I'm not in any rush sebastiantombs, thanks for the posted reviews. Yea, I'm not going to buy from anywhere that does not guarantee what I buy.

Anyone ever heard of Amcrest?
 

wittaj

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I mentioned Amcrest in Post 2 and Post 13 of this thread to you as a camera that would meet most of your requirements.

It is a Dahua OEM camera, but usually built with less specifications and functions. It will be better than any other consumer camera at that price point or lower.
 

mat200

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I'm not in any rush sebastiantombs, thanks for the posted reviews. Yea, I'm not going to buy from anywhere that does not guarantee what I buy.

Anyone ever heard of Amcrest?
HI @rwsstudios

All the vendors in the vendor section here have passed quality checks by the ipcamtalk community and imho are good vendors.
( Nelly's Security, Amcrest, EmpireTech Andy )

Amcrest and EmpireTech have Amazon store fronts, so you have additional support from Amazon there.

I have bought products from all 3 and I can recommend them as I have had good experiences.
( note, remember each do carry a wide range of products and members prefer some models over others )

1639251262553.png

 

rwsstudios

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Andy, at EmpireTech, guarantees what he sells and has excellent service. Plus you may be able to save a few more buck buying through him. On top of that he sells known, quality, products.
Thanks Sebastian, I will give Andy a call. Do you want me to tell him who referred me?
-Monte
 

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rwsstudios

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It seems you may be not reading all of the posts in this thread, be sure you are reading them all.

Blue Iris Website is here: Blue Iris - Video Security Software

Blue Iris can be purchased here:
Cameras can be purchased from Andy here: Amazon.com

And also from here: Cameras - IP Cam Talk Store
Thanks looney,

I assure you I AM reading all the posts. Keep in mind they are spread out over days, and I don't have an eidetic memory. I also read the introductory email, and ready the intro to forum information pages, most of which I already knew, but was a good refresher.
 

abrogard

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No mention here of Ispy. It's a free Blue Iris.
I was able to get connections via Ispy when my Blue Iris wouldn't make one.

And Contacam. I used for a long time. I could make connections with it that Blue Iris and Ispy wouldn' t make. I actually had more pleasure and smooth ability with Contacam than anything. Don't know why I stopped using it. Because that computer crashed I think and I just stopped looking at my cameras all the time. Contacam is free and a nice bloke to talk to if you get probs. Seems to be kinda like a one man business. Good guy. Good stuff.

I've used Foscam, Dahua, Sricam and most recently a 'click' 'grid connect' thing.

And an NVR.brand name ( or metal label at least ) 'NVR'. Turns out it will only see Dahua cameras.
I learned you've got to be careful when buying an NVR. It might have crappy software. Might not have enough ports. Might not have enough disk space. Might not allow exanding/changing the disk. Might be specific for one kind of camera. Might not have wifi only cable.

The Foscams I used were Foscam clones, even. Dirt cheap. Did a good job. Some lasted for years. All dead now though. But horses for courses. They were good. I don't think I've seen anything better yet at their price point.

The most recent thing from Bunnings was that dirt cheap 'click' with the 'grid connect'. This turns out to a bluetooth sort of thing and not worth bothering with. Except - as with anything I say - I might have it all wrong from failure to properly comprehend/operate the stuff I have. But we couldn't get it to reliably connect, couldn't save the stream to disk, etc.

The Dahua are as near as I've ever got to 'professional' or 'real' and they're okay. One is Wifi watching the driveway and the other is wired, watching the main room in the house. That one feeds into the NVR. Can't remember exactly now and too lazy to check the NVR but I think the wifi can also be seen by the NVR but that's the only wifi cam it can see.

They are good cameras, for sure. But whether they're best bang for buck or lacking some features we can get nowadays I just don't know.

The Sricam were a hassle early on because they're ONVIF. The nvr won't see them. But Ispy and Contacam will and of course they both allow recording. Ispy allows for motion recording and you can edit which areas of screen and such.

One of them is watching the mailbox for thieves and vandals and that's about 20 paces distance, maybe 18 yards? And facial recog wouldn't be possible at that range I think. But was it a bunch of schoolkids that bloke we see around and so on - yep, it can do that okay.
Whereas the other one bought at the same time is watching the inside of the shed and it's a very pixellated and rough image. That camera has half died somehow.

And I forgot - yes, there's still a Foscam clone in operation. Up in the corner of the kitchen watching that area. I'ts working fine and must be four years old now at least.

I like WiFi because I don't like running cables around the house. I'm not real worried about hackers but I recognise it'd be better to close that loophole so I'm looking for ways.

I'm supposed to be looking into Ethernet over Power if that's the right way to say it. Connecting to your network via the electricity lines in your house. Got some plugin adapters from Netcomm are supposed to do it. But a quick look one time with an IP cam plugged into it and I couldn't see it on the router. Put it in the 'pending tray' where most of my camera stuff is.

I feel there's got to be a way via the router/network setup. Routers are cheap. I've got about 5 old ones from my ISP he's left with me when upgrading to the next one. And a couple of others, too. One of them right now and for the last three/four years has been plugged into the 'main' router in 'bridge' mode. Legacy. I can't even remember what that was all about now. But the point is I'm thinking I could have one network of cameras with its own local IP range and it plugs into the other router where all the house computers etc. are and which has a completely different local IP range.

I could pull my finger out and get up and try it one day. I should. I've put all this camera stuff in the pending box recent times.

So, end of a long rave. What was it all about?
. Just a typical user's experience showing what sort of set ups and hardware/software actually works in home settings. With bumbling, stumbling, diy home guys.
. Bit of a comment on specific hardware and software.
. Bit of a statement about persevere with Wifi - it can be really useful.
. Bit of a statement about free software of value.

and in the end this:

I feel it is very much a 'horses for courses' thing. Very much. No 'one size fits all'.

And I think possibly the quickest way to get started would be a couple or so cheap wifi like the foscams and a bit of good free software like contacam and record to a dedicated pc.

You wouldn't want to stay there very long. A dedicated pc hasn't really got the beefy reliable fan to run 24/7 and it's too much hardware anyway. So you would soon be looking for an nvr and then you should be careful about that purchase.
And the cameras would soon be obviously performance short here or there so then you'd get better ones.
And wifi or wired would become apparent to you, which you'd feel more comfortable with.
And the software to access it all is a wide field to cover the very wide range of applications. You'd get to search that and find what you want.

But to jump in and start, yep, that's what I'd do. That's what i did. And though I can see now ways forward and enhancements and improvements I could make it's really still where i'm at: because that's all I really need at home it turns out.


:)
 

rwsstudios

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Thanks for sharing your experience Abrogard! I have one more day that I can return the two POS Wyze cameras I picked up last month that initiated my desire to look further into cameras that will do what I want them to do. I am happy with the Foscam camera that I have(not a clone), so I think I'm going to try and get Ispy or Contacam to recognize it. Will they both push notifications to my phone? I really like it when I'm away from the house and I get a "motion detected" alert. Eventually for inside my shop I want to get a nice Dahua camera, but for the low risk areas where I don't need to make a positive ID I can toss my Foscams there. Oh, hey, I know Foscam cameras are low end, and that you get what you pay for. To all of you who are going to tell me this again I ALREADY KNOW. The Foscams are just stepping stones. Dahua replacements will be added periodically. Happy New Year all!
 
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I have one more day that I can return the two POS Wyze cameras I picked up last month that initiated my desire to look further into cameras that will do what I want them to do.
In defense of Wyze cams, they are perfectly suited to the job they are designed for. They are not professional-level Dahua or Hikvision gear, but in terms of bang for the buck they are a good choice for someone who is on a budget or who is too technophobic to tackle a better system. They are a better choice (IMO) than a Ring camera because they can record continuously.

Inexpensive cameras have their place. My philosophy has always been "any camera is better than no camera at all". You now realize that you want better performance than a low-cost camera can provide, and that is a good thing. But many of your neighbors will never make that leap. A Wyze cam may be the perfect solution for them.

So here's a suggestion: if you have a couple of neighbors with homes that could use a little extra surveillance, offer your Wyze cams to them, with the suggestion that they share the video feed to your own Wyze account. That gives you a bit more useful information in case of some incident, and will also make your neighbors a bit safer as well.
 

Mike A.

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You can bring the Wyze into BI now too with the RTSP beta. Which is an advantage over some of the others. But they have some limitations. OK for fill-ins where you might not have anything otherwise but I wouldn't depend on them.
 

abrogard

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Thanks for sharing your experience Abrogard! I have one more day that I can return the two POS Wyze cameras I picked up last month that initiated my desire to look further into cameras that will do what I want them to do. I am happy with the Foscam camera that I have(not a clone), so I think I'm going to try and get Ispy or Contacam to recognize it. Will they both push notifications to my phone? I really like it when I'm away from the house and I get a "motion detected" alert. Eventually for inside my shop I want to get a nice Dahua camera, but for the low risk areas where I don't need to make a positive ID I can toss my Foscams there. Oh, hey, I know Foscam cameras are low end, and that you get what you pay for. To all of you who are going to tell me this again I ALREADY KNOW. The Foscams are just stepping stones. Dahua replacements will be added periodically. Happy New Year all!
HI. I don't know about push notifications. I haven't got a smart phone. Well I do but I never use it.
I find I've got two Foscams still running. Spotted another one here today. Just saying. Also got 3 that died. :)

Big thing is storage I think. No matter what the cameras see or how well they see it there's no point if they don't record it.

And Ispy and Contacam will store on your pc but I don't know that a pc will run 24/7/52. The weak spots are the fans.

And if you get a good NVR I guess it'd always come with software and if it didn't I don't know if iSpy and Contacam - or anything else - can be installed on them. Because I've only got that old one of mine and no other experience.

Best would be a 'proper' NVR, strong, rugged, expandable in storage and disk swappable, enough ports, wifi capable, and either complete with it's own good software - "good software", there's many features to networked camera software - adding and removing, recognising different brands, protocols, easy searching and I don't know what - or capable of having good cheap (free) stuff like iSpy and Contacam installed.

Just saying. If it's of interest. Is/was of interest to me. never gave it a thought. kinda expected to keep going down the pc route. nope. They're quite a thing, a world of their own.
 

rwsstudios

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Thanks Abrogard,
My PC has been on nonstop for the past ten years. It was a state of the art PC back then, and it still stacks up surprisingly well. Liquid cooled, never overheated. I've gone through hundreds of computers, never had a fan fail...but I am a bit OCD about keeping the heat sinks free of dust and debris.

I will have to install Ispy or Contacam today and see if I cant get some sort of push notification working. If not, no biggie. Thanks again man!
 

rwsstudios

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In defense of Wyze cams, they are perfectly suited to the job they are designed for. They are not professional-level Dahua or Hikvision gear, but in terms of bang for the buck they are a good choice for someone who is on a budget or who is too technophobic to tackle a better system. They are a better choice (IMO) than a Ring camera because they can record continuously.

Inexpensive cameras have their place. My philosophy has always been "any camera is better than no camera at all". You now realize that you want better performance than a low-cost camera can provide, and that is a good thing. But many of your neighbors will never make that leap. A Wyze cam may be the perfect solution for them.

So here's a suggestion: if you have a couple of neighbors with homes that could use a little extra surveillance, offer your Wyze cams to them, with the suggestion that they share the video feed to your own Wyze account. That gives you a bit more useful information in case of some incident, and will also make your neighbors a bit safer as well.
No my friend, Wyze cameras are poop. Not good for anyone. They are nothing but glorified webcams created by marketers who want to profit via proprietary software and subscription fees. Poop. I don't care how much perfume you spray on the things, they are still gonna stink when you step on them. No one should use them, not even your neighbors you hate. Unreliable pieces of poop they are. Did I mention that I am not fond of Wyze cameras?
 
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