Camera Recommendations


I will be installing a camera to monitor the kids play area remotely from the house. The camera will be installed about 8' high and 15' or so from the playset. A flood light will also be installed just below the camera for night illumination (the playset, not necessarily for the camera). The camera will be modulated to broadcast the video on the CATV network to all TVs. And I have RG6Q run to the camera location, with some 22g for power.

I can buy through a local wholesale distributor, and these are the brands they carry: Lorex, LG, Mace, Speco, Bosch, Clover, and NetMedia.

But I'm so confused as to what camera to buy.
  • What should I be looking for, spec wise?
  • What is a Varifocal lens?
  • How low a LUX should I need?
  • Is a camera that can pan/tilt worth the extra money?
specs: the more lines of resolution, the better the picture. 1/3 inch CCD is what I have & I have heard not to go lower (to 1/4) or to CMOS.

varifocal: my understanding it is a manual zoom. Once you get the right/desired field-of-view, it stays there

LUX: if your floodlight is bright enough and you don't care what the picture looks like without the floodlight on, then 1 or 2 lux is OK. If you want a picture without the flood light, then you want near 0 lux or some IR leds on the camera.

pan/tilt: nice if you are going to be manually watching the camera and controlling it, not much good if you are recording it or using motion detector features as it might not be looking at the right place at the right time
WayneW said:
specs: the more lines of resolution, the better the picture.

After looking at a few cams, I think that there is more of a difference in the quality of the CCD than there is in the resolution.

I'd rather have a 300 lines of resolution with high contrast and good color saturation and good low-light sensitivity than 400 dim, washed-out lines.
All other things being equal, what I said about lines of resolution are true. But in the real world, rarely are all other things equal. Your opinion of the overall picture is what really matters, but it is hard to get an opinion off of a spec sheet. Very few spec sheets (at least on the lower end cameras that I have been looking at) give you detailed specs. Sometimes they don't even say what brand of chip it uses. I hear everybody likes Sony, but there are mixed opinions about Sharp & Panasonic.

So far, I like the G4HRS480DN I got for $99 from Direct Sales. It has 1/3" Sony and 480 lines.
WayneW said:
varifocal: my understanding it is a manual zoom. Once you get the right/desired field-of-view, it stays there
This is correct. But to insure that the horse is dead:

As you zoom in and out with a Zoom lens, it will hold the same focus distance.
As you zoom in and out with a Verifocal lens, the focus distance will shift.
Wayne, thanks for the input on where to get a good camera. Have you used any other cameras? I too am looking for a HIGH quality camera that produces a quality image.

How do you feel about the quality of the image of the ones you have tried or maybe your friends may have.

Has anyone tried using a camera with pan and tilt? What is needed to make them work? What software has everyone tried? I have read about Active WebCam and EZwatch Pro,
Does anyone have any hands on use with them and compare them?

Thanks for any input and help.
I was very happy with the quality of this camera when I was testing it with a 13" TV. I am partly happy with this camera now hooked up to Active WebCam. I think/hope that is due to my lack of experience with AWC and/or the settings I have.

Attached is a snap from AWC, but don't judge the camera by this. What is the best way to get a capture of a camera so that we are truly comparing the camera, not the software? And do the capture cards (within a reasonable price range) have different quality? When I was looking for my 8 input card, I was more concerned about number of chips, frame rate, etc.


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