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Thread: Which External IP Camera?

  1. #1
    Automated Home Ninja Andrew Millne's Avatar
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    Default Which External IP Camera?

    I'm currently looking at cameras to use alongside my Idratek installation.

    Features that are important to me include:

    • Suitable for outdoor use.
    • Power over ethernet.
    • Low light, don't mind the use of supplemental IR
    • Affordable


    I have been drooling over some of the Axis cameras particularly the 221 but unfortunately they are well over budget @ 700-800.

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    These are quite good. But are very expensive.
    http://www.mobotix.com/eng_GB/
    Personally I tend to recommend using normal wired cameras and a DVR with a network connection or a video server. This means that depending on the model of DVR or server you can view 1 to 4 cameras via the internet. Some DVRs can have up to 16 cameras. Having more than 1 IP camera can mean having to remember more than one IP address to access. Also using normal good quality cameras and a DVR can work out cheaper and may allow you to have 2 or more cameras and a DVR for the same price as 1 decent outdoor IP camera.
    You can also get DVRs with WiFi connection. So no need to connect to your router using a cable.
    Last edited by toscal; 27th October 2008 at 02:44 PM.
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    Automated Home Jr Member KirasHome's Avatar
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    Hi Andrew,

    Welcome to the wonderful of external day/night IP cameras. Unfortunately it's a very (rediculiously) expensive world :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Millne View Post
    • Suitable for outdoor use.
    • Power over ethernet.
    • Low light, don't mind the use of supplemental IR
    • Affordable
    I favour the IP cameras rather than standard CCTV carmeras for two reasons. Firstly their independent so if things go down on the network I can still access the cameras, and secondly the reasonable ones are non-interlaced so you get a slightly better picture of moving objects.

    I started with some AXIS 207s for internal use and was very pleased with them. Then I started looking for external ones with much the same shopping list as you. None of the external IP carmeras I've been able to find are less than 500, with one exception (http://www.ipcctvcameras.co.uk/CAM_R...rasDetails.htm) but it's not a true day/night camera (ie no IR filter for daytime use). I have no idea why the external IP cameras are so hideously expensive compared to normal CCTV cameras.

    I also looked at getting an IP video server to convert normal CCTV cameras to IP so I could use standard cameras, but if you go for one that will de-interlace and give you a decent frame rate your up at the same price as just buying an IP camera anyway. In the end I saved up my pennies and went for an AXIS 225 FD (I still sob quietly about the cost). However it's very good and even without an IR illuminator it gives good night vision (albeit at a slow frame rate). The idea being to add an IR illuminator later.

    Apart from that I've been looking at pointing some of the 207s out of windows, which does work quite well but no night vision. However depending where they are positioned that's less of a problem eg the front door has a PIR operated light so the lack of night vision is less of an issue.

    Sorry I can't be more help, if you do find a cheaper source do let me know as I'd quite like another for the front of the house but that's gonna take more penny saving.

    Ho hum, Jamie.

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    What sort of prices where you looking at for an IP server.
    If the network goes down how do you access your IP cameras on the network. Or are they on a separate network.
    The main reason why I normally recommend a DVR and wired cameras is that should the network go down the DVR will still be recording on to its internal hard drive.
    One thing I do try to steer clear of is wireless cameras. I think wireless IP cameras are better as they usually come with at least WEP encryption. But and outdoor one is big bucks.
    Whats your experience of the motion capture on the IP cameras. In my experience it can be a bit hit and miss to get it to work correctly.
    Last edited by toscal; 27th October 2008 at 08:49 PM.
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  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    would using a digital camera provide another option, I wonder ?? They are quite capable these days, in a wide range of conditions ... might need some ingenuity in controlling when pictures are taken & how they are downloaded & processed ... waterproof types / cases are available, for outside use ... ???

  6. #6
    Automated Home Jr Member KirasHome's Avatar
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    Hi Toscal,

    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    What sort of prices where you looking at for an IP server.
    If the network goes down how do you access your IP cameras on the network. Or are they on a separate network.
    The main reason why I normally recommend a DVR and wired cameras is that should the network go down the DVR will still be recording on to its internal hard drive.
    One thing I do try to steer clear of is wireless cameras. I think wireless IP cameras are better as they usually come with at least WEP encryption. But and outdoor one is big bucks.
    Whats your experience of the motion capture on the IP cameras. In my experience it can be a bit hit and miss to get it to work correctly.
    I looked at various video servers - the IP9100B Network Video Server costs about 100, but the frame rate drops quite badly if multiple cameras are attached, and it doesn't de-interlace the image so you effectively lose vertical resolution. The Axis 240Q 4-Port Low Speed Network Video Server (350) only does about 5 frames a second for 4 feeds. The Axis 241Q 4-Port Network Video Server does the full 30 frames a second on all four channels and de-interlaces the image, but costs about 600 :-( So when I totted up the cost of the video server, and the cost of the cameras, there wasn't a lot in it to just buying an outdoor IP camera and I prefered the independence of of the IP cameras. However it's a personal thing - I don't think one is better than the other, it's just what suits you for what your trying to achieve.

    Your quite correct, there is a single point of failure (SPOF) in the system - that's my network. If the entire network goes down, I can't talk to the cameras, but it would require multiple switch failures to lose everything. However it's difficult to design a home CCTV system without a SPOF. It's for that reason I upgrade my router to a Draytek 2820n earlier in the year so I can fail from BT ADSL to Vodaphone 3G if the telephone line goes down (which it does periodically), but then you argue the Draytek's a SPOF .... etc.

    To record the images I run a software Digital CCTV system on an HP server with RAID1 disks. The advantage in my case of the IP cameras is that they can talk to multiple applications at once - iCatcher, Idratek and I do directly access them. Also if the iCatcher server goes down the cameras can function autonomously.

    I agree completely about wireless cameras - they fall into the same category as wireless alarms in my book. They are too easy to jam. You neighbour can do it accidentally with a dodgy microwave oven. It's one of the many reasons I love Idratek, yes it's a pain having to run wires everywhere but you only have to do it once and it's very difficult to jam a robust protocol running over Cat5 cable! If your using cameras for security, why build the system in a way people can easily jam it?

    At the moment I'm using the motion detection system built-in to iCatcher which seems to work quite well, but it's got the advantage of a dual core processor to do the calculations. Haven't really played around with the motion detection built-in to the Axis cameras as yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    Also using normal good quality cameras and a DVR can work out cheaper and may allow you to have 2 or more cameras and a DVR for the same price as 1 decent outdoor IP camera.
    Sadly, I have to agree with this completely :-(

    Jamie
    Last edited by KirasHome; 28th October 2008 at 12:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    I have been tempted by these:

    http://www.y-cam.com/products.php

    However it doesn't meet the powered over ethernet criteria. Also I would have preferred an ethernet only version.

    Price and performance seem pretty good though.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member KirasHome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajaxuk View Post
    I have been tempted by these:

    http://www.y-cam.com/products.php

    However it doesn't meet the powered over ethernet criteria. Also I would have preferred an ethernet only version.

    Price and performance seem pretty good though.
    Very interesting - I think originally there were issues with these as they used a proprietary format so you could only view them through IE with Active-X, however by the looks of it they've fixed that in the 2nd Generation ones - "The Y-cam Black is now in its 2nd generation and is a development of the original Y-cam Black. Additional features being Mac compatibility, MPEG 4 and MJPEG streaming, multi browser viewing and 3GPP protocol to enable mobile phone viewing.". The motion JPEG is the critical one for me - potentially means I could run it with iCatcher and (hopefully) Coretex.

    The downside is the Knight and Black version are specifically designed for night work so they suffer from colour distortion during daylight - "The camera is designed for night vision. As a result there is no inclusion of a infrared cut-out filter meaning that the image processor will take in light from the higher and lower end frequencies. What this means in real terms is that colour reproduction will not be as natural as a true daylight camera." (http://www.networkwebcams.co.uk/blog...st-y-cam-black)

    There's not much in the way of details on the enclosure, it doesn't say what the IP rating is. On the plus side the operating temperature is given as -5C to +45C so you could actually use this one outside. It always annoys me when they say a camera is for outside use and then the minimum temperature is 0C - bit tricky on a frosty night.

    I suspect (but can't confirm) that the IR LEDs run at 850nm which means there will be a slight red glow from them (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/shopper/labs/...cam-black.html) so the camera wouldn't be completely convert You need 950nm LEDs for them to be completely invisible, but they're more expensive. However as one reviewer said the slight red glow can be an advantage as it let's people know that they're being watched.

    I'd guess you could get round the Power over Ethernet issue with a modified cat5 cable / RJ45 plug so you pass the supply down the unused cores in the cat5 and then pull them out before they go into the RJ45.

    The demo site does look quite good - though I suspect it's pointing out of a window as you can see a slight reflection in the middle of the image (I get the same thing with the Axis 207 that's pointing out of one of my windows). So the actually imagery might be even better. Certainly looks very usable.

    Trusted Reviews had a play with the Gen1 cameras and seemed to like them http://www.trustedreviews.com/networ...-IP-Cameras/p1

    Going to be added to my Christmas list I think :-)

    Jamie

  9. #9
    Automated Home Ninja Andrew Millne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KirasHome View Post
    I'd guess you could get round the Power over Ethernet issue with a modified cat5 cable / RJ45 plug so you pass the supply down the unused cores in the cat5 and then pull them out before they go into the RJ45.
    D-Link provide adapters for this very purpose.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Jr Member KirasHome's Avatar
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    Just found these (whilst searching for the best price on a Drobo - isn't the internet a wonderful thing)

    http://www.transparentcommunications...IPCameras.html

    Home Page: http://global.level1.com/products1.php?Id=17

    The FCS-3000 is much cheaper than the equivalent Axis, but the frame rate is about 1/2 that of the Axis.

    The low cost PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) look quite interesting, the pan and tilt ranges are quite large (270 deg/110deg), but again the frames rates on the higher resolutions are much lower. You can put them in an external dome.

    But I still like the look of the y-cam :-)

    Jamie

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