Q-See Cameras


I'm not really sure if this fits into Security, but it involves using a surveilance camera so I hope it isn't too far out of place.

My wife and I were considering a video baby monitor to keep tabs on our light-sleeping little son (just to make things difficult, our old house is all hardwood with plenty of squeeks, so it's hard to quietly peek in on him). Not needing the equivalent of another (even small) tv clutering up some spot in the house, I was thinking of simply hooking a cctv camera into the existing set in our bedroom.

At any rate, I was looking for a low-cost solution with low/no-light capability. Picture quality isn't paramount - we just need to make sure the little one is sleeping safe and sound. Being amongst the millions who have been made aware of the X10 cameras, I am not impressed that they represent much value, even at some of the low prices I've seen listed. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with Q-See cameras. I've seen what seem to be fairly reasonable prices on them at Buy.com and TigerDirect. At the entry level, they don't seem to be leaps and bounds beyond X10's offerings, but they do offer additional features (ir leds) and seem to have to specs to fulfill the task for which I would use them. At the upper end, some are CCD models.

Q-See site:
Skibum, thanks for the suggestion, but even with AO's excellent pricing, most of the models available, that fit the ticket, really don't fit my current budget. I'd just as well buy one of the video baby monitoring outfits that include the monitor. I was looking at the Q-See cameras as they include everything you need except for the monitor. They come with a power supply and include a 60-foot run of cable (enough to run from the baby's room to ours).

I was wondering if anyone has had specifc experience with the Q-See products. Also, while we're at it, I was wondering if anyone had toyed with any of the Radio Shack cameras. In article I had read a while back (I believe MSN's Slate), the Radio Shack cameras were rated much better than X10 cameras (not hard to imagine), but not nearly as good as an "expensive spy shop" camera (also not hard to imagine). Then again, this article wasn't exactly written by an expert.
last time I checked the cams at RadioShack, they were repackaged X10 cams, so I would stay away from them. What kind of budget are we looking at?
Well, I would much rather see you get a camera such as THIS one (which is one I have and am very happy with).


If your budget will not allow that I did purchase THIS system from Harbor Freight over a year ago at my old home and was happy with it (for the money I paid). It is $30 plus shipping and even has a microphone and the cables/power supply. Electron and I even played around with it and did a nightime comparison to one of the X-10 nightvision cameras (it was a lot better).

But again my disclaimer: It is not NEAR the quality of the camera from Automated Outlet I mentioned above.


My second disclaimer is that I have found that video quality opinions vary from person to person, so if I said something is OK someone else may strongly disagree!!
Yes, repackaged/rebadged/renamed X10 components seems to be a standard operating procedure for Radio Shack, and with the reputation that X10 has built with their pop-under campaign, I can see justification, though this has been the case since before that whole fiasco. Indeed the X10 components that my parents had installed in their house years ago, when I was growing up, was purchased at Radio Shack. Not all X10 stuff is bad, but their cameras have never caught me as anything more than a rather pricey gimmick, though Automated Outlet does offer significantly lower pricing than the "factory-direct" pricing offered at X10.com.

Electron, I was hoping to spend (significantly) under $100 dollars for something fairly simple. I had spotted this Q-See all-weather black & white camera at Buy.com for $45 a few weeks back, but it looks like the price has since bumped up to the MSRP of $60. It looks like they also carry this CCD version of the same thing for about $80.

Thanks BSR. Both of those cameras interest me. I didn't spot the Sony on my initial perusal through Automated Outlet's offerings. Unfortunately, with all of the current holiday spending, I doubt I can push that one past the budgeting department (Mrs. Carson) any time soon. However, I will definitely keep it in mind for the future.

With regard to the unit offered by Harbor freight, I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions:
  • That appears to be either Cat 3 or Cat 5 cable/connectors that the camera uses. Which, if either, is it?
  • The description touts it as a "night vision" camera. How accurate is this description. Does it incorporate IR illuminator leds? I wouldn't guess so from the 0.3W power consumption spec. The nursery is almost absolutely pitch black at night.
Hello Carson,

Couple of ideas for you.

You're saying that that room is almost pitch black. Need a camera with LEDs, here's a decent resolution (380 lines) B/W camera with LEDs rated to 50 feet for $65.


If you think you can get away with just a low light camera, you could try these:

A $55 B/W bullet camera, 400 lines resolution, .5 LUX - http://automatedoutlet.com/product.php?pro...&cat=120&page=1

A camera I really like - a BW UFO camera. Only .1 LUX (yes, 1/10 of a LUX), 400 line camera for $61.

If those cameras are still more than you want to spend right now, give me a call in the office on Monday and I'll look to see if I have any cameras in the back that we don't carry anymore that I could maybe make a deal for you on.

Those cameras though, are roughly twice the price of the X10 cameras but much more than twice the camera.....
I was going to say, I just saw nice camera's around $60 on AO's site just 2 nights ago. I would stick with those (or the Harbor Freight one if you need really really cheap).
With regard to the unit offered by Harbor freight, I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions:
That appears to be either Cat 3 or Cat 5 cable/connectors that the camera uses. Which, if either, is it?
The description touts it as a "night vision" camera. How accurate is this description. Does it incorporate IR illuminator leds? I wouldn't guess so from the 0.3W power consumption spec. The nursery is almost absolutely pitch black at night.
The camera comes with cabling that enables you to use RCA type (common) adapters.

It has IR LEDS but usable range was I believe only a few feet. I had it in a pitch dark bathroom and aimed it at a mirror. I could not see the hand in front of my face, but I was able to see my image, although the quality was poor.

The cameras from automated outlet would be much better if you can afford it! I just suggested that camera if you only had around $30 to spend.

Since this is for monitoring your baby: I did manage to find my Harbor Freight Camera in my garage. I modified it to work with either "F" or "RCA" cabling for the video though (and mounted it to a wall plate). I fired it up and it works. If you PM me your address I will mail it out to you!

When you get some extra funding, purchase one of the cameras above from Automated Outlet. In the mean time this will get you going.


BSR, thanks for the offer. I'll probably wait until after the holiday hustle has calmed down. By then, I hope to have some funds budgeted to buy a 'decent' camera, along with some time (and patience) to snake some cables through the attic (With my low-pitched roof, this is something I want to avoid doing twice in the event that the newer camera utilizes a different cable or connection). I really do appreciate the offer though.

Martin, once I get some funds, if I don't find anything suitable listed, I will contact you to see if you have anything in your discontinued stock.

Thanks to all for the suggestions and offers. You guys represent the best of the HA business, hobby, and community.

I don't know if wired cams is an option or not, but I'll chime in just in case you're considering it. Harbor Freight has some nice cams with night vision for a very good price. I have this one at home, and the quality is VERY good for the price. It will work great for your use, assuming wired is easy to do. It has audio and video, black and white picture. I was VERY impressed with this thing. Not bad for 30 bucks.

THey also have color cams too such as this one which is similar to the other, but color. It is 10 bucks more, but at 40 bucks well worth it!

For the other options, just go to Harbor Freights Website and search for keyword camera. You'll find some other options there as well under 60 bucks. I do believe they're all wired though.

I use mine with my computer, and software to detect movement. Feeding the video into my capture card. Works great! You can use any VCR or TV as well, since it uses RCA jacks. It comes complete with the camera, 80ft of cord and the power supply needed to run it. Hope this helps, if you've got questions let me know. I've used it for awhile now. I just taped it to my satelite dish out front, to find out who was stealing my paper. Turns out it was the wind LOL To the back of the camera is Lake Erie, high winds etc. Here is a shot I took from a stream at home. The greenish colors are changes the software picked up, either due to movement, light etc. Since the cam was held up with electrical tape, and in high winds it did see a little more movement that day than is normal.
Hey Tim, BSR,

Could you post some captures for us. I'm very interested in one (for the price).
If it wouldn't be to much trouble, please post one for daytime and one at night.

No problem! I think I have some shots saved on the site, but I can't remember the URL. I'm at work now, and can't log into the CPANEL from here, but when I get home I'll check. The software creates a "movie" with the images, but it also saves them. If not, I'll adjust the cam and take a couple shots when I get home in the daylight, then take some shots at night too.