IP Cameras


Active Member
As people may have noticed in other threads have a new house and redoing various security/automation portions.
Next on my list (not that I'm finished with the predecessor) are cameras.  on the last house I had Hikvision 3mp turrets, and they worked nicely. I did go through the whole us vs international issue and trying to figure out which I was buying and which I could not update.  
It looks like Hikvision still seems to excel in the low-end, high-feature market.  Was thinking of buying some of their 4K cameras from an authorized site (B&H appears to be one).  They are pricey ($200 or so).
But I haven't paid any real attention for the last 4 years or so other than a few days of google lately.
Are there better alternatives?
Note I only want wired, reliable, with IR and will hook to an NVR.  I don't need cloud features or any of the other bells and whistles, just basic IP.
Any thoughts? 
Amazon and other big cloud stores offer 1080p webcams for really cheap. They don't have PTZ or anything fancy but after seeing some non-technical people install four of them for under $100 total,  I am ready to throw my so-called HD PTZ unit out  and get a dozen of those. WiFi and really nice NVR apps with lots of bells and whistles to email upon motion etc..
With PTZ where will it be pointing when an intruder creeps in anyway? Will it be in focus fast enough to even get a decent photo before the spray paint hits the lens? Dahua PTZ and not impressed but don;t have weeks of time to figure it out anymore. App sucks and takes 1-2 minutes to get the cam back on screen before it starts focusing again.
I've started installing 8MP Hikvision POE cameras,  so far no  complaints (DS-2CD2085FWD-I).   Got them from Amazon $164.   Using them with BlueIris.    They are running about 10-12Mbps, but my biggest concern is CPU.   Just spent many days figuring out GPU passthru for my ESXi box but CPU dropped in half with the onboard Intel GPU.
Do the new Hikvisions still require ActiveX to view / configure in a browser?

I looked into the Ubiquiti Unifi cameras, as I like the unifi network gear. They don't really have many bells and whistles, but they do work without ActiveX

I've been messing around with the Blink cameras some. They are completely wireless, running off a AA lithium battery for a claimed two years. I've only had them about 6 months, and so far the battery is holding up.

Its mobile app based only, no PC solution (unles you run it in an android VM.) The mounting mechanism sucks, so plan on a DIY solution there. Thier current solution for sharing with others is to give out the username and password to the account, so not ideal.

The picture is surprisingly good. Night vision seems good to me. It can record sound (but does not record on a sound event). It takes short video clips when it senses motion or on manual command, no 24/7 recording. So, you can NOT see what happened before the motion was detected. The video clips are then uploaded to their cloud server over ethernet. There is NO monthly fee for the cloud service.

Each camera links to a hub. The range from camera to hub has been very good. The Hub then links to your WiFi.

In short, the blinks are convenient for limited circumstances but not a substution for a proper security camera set-up.
I have several of the SV3C POE cameras that work fine with zoneminder and cheap enough at $46 and one has been up a couple years with no issues. But thinking of a cheap (er) camera for indoor use to keep an eye on the pets. Are there some decent cheaper ones that folks would recommend? Don't need night vision or any of the other bells and whistles since zoneminder does most of that.
Dahua cameras are good as well. They are another Chinese manufacture (like Hikvision) so you certainly should be taking precautions like putting the devices on their own VLAN and preventing them from having internet connections. But honestly in this day and age, you should be doing that with all of your CCTV and IOT devices - not just some of them (based on their brand).

The Dahua "5442" series cameras are really the king of IR cameras in this price range (under $200). Their 4mp resolution along with the 1/1.8" sensor size allows some very good low/no light performance. https://www.dahuasecurity.com/products/All-products/Network-Cameras/WizMind-S-Series/4MP

Dahua also has some newer "full time" color cameras with a 1/1.2" sensor size which again provides some very impressive low light performance. Those cameras don't have any IR capabilities however, so you still need some sort of light source for them to work. The 5442 series with IR is better in no light situations.

There are several considerations to look at when considering a camera.
#1 - sensor size. The bigger the better. (Remember they are fractions however, so a 1/1.2" sensor is much larger than a 1/2.8" sensor). If the manufacturer tries to "hides" the sensor size they are using (I'm looking at your Ubiquity), it is because it is tiny and worthless.
#2 - resolution. Most people want the highest resolution possible (ie 8k), but the higher the resolution the smaller the individual pixels are if the sensor size stays the same, but resolution increases. A smaller sensor size means the sensor can capture less light and it makes low/no light performance worse. Therefore more pixels is not always better.
#3 - "DORI" distances - this is the distance from the camera that you can "detect", "observe", "recognize" or "identify" a subject. It is based on resolution and field of view. You need to pay close attention to these numbers and your overall CCTV design and pick cameras that match your goals. Far too often people expect to be able to put a camera in each corner of their house and have 360 degree coverage of their entire property only to be disappointed that the clarity of the footage of someone breaking into their car 25' away is so poor that they can't identify a subject. They want to blame the camera when it's actually the design of their overall system. You can't beat physics. The wider view a camera shows, the closer the individual must be to the camera in order to get "identifiable" coverage. Many times this distance is well under 20' (which isn't far from the camera at all).
#4 - don't buy into the marketing crap manufactures will tell you. ANY camera can be made to look good in low/no light conditions when there is nothing moving in the frame. I can't tell you how many videos I see of nighttime conditions that look like it's daylight outside - but it's always a static image - a driveway with a car in it, or a backyard image. They never show any movement however like someone walking around. This is because when you introduce movement, the faults of bad cameras will be immediately evident. Ghosting (parts of the person disappearing in some frames) is common when the gain is turned up too much. Blurring of the subject is common when the shutter speed is too long for the amount of movement expected. A good performing camera is one that you can set these parameters low enough that you get good clear images without ghosting or blurring regardless of the lighting conditions. That is hard to do and most cameras will fail because the sensors are too small and the resolution is too high.
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