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Need help with camera selection

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jb_bak
Regular Member


Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Need help with camera selection Reply with quote

I want to install a camera to watch a street corner and a drug house across the street from a rental property I own. The tenant living there does have wireless internet with a linksys router. I want a pan and tilt outdoor camera that I can hide easily. The images must be quality enough that I can recognize the face and no blurry motion. The street corner that the drug dealing happens on is about 50 feet away. The alleged drug house is about 25 foot away. I'm thinking a PoE camera instead of wireless, but i'm unsure what I need to buy to hook it up to her router, I don't think you can just plug it directly into the router right?

Also, my budget is less than 800 dollars. Any tips on hiding the camera would be nice. There is a tree that has lots of limbs touching the front roof. I am thinking either hide in that tree but I am afraid when the spring rolls around the leaves will block a lot. I was thinking of buying one of those platic roof vents and cutting out a section for the camera, the smaller the camera the better of course. The camera must be mounted up high to get a good view of the street corner.

Thanks
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JohnnyC
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can plug an IP camera directly into the router or go wireless.

You will need to configure the camera from the PC and may need to make a few tweaks at the router. Nothing major or mysterious. Most people seem to run into trouble whe trying to stream over the internet via the router and their ISP. Usually it is a simple configuration procedure at the router.

If you want to pan/tilt/zoom, hiding the camera in the tree may not be a good idea for reasons you stated.

Check out the Panasonic bb-hcm735A. It is an outdoor PTZ camera. It's not wireless, but is PoE. You can pop in an SD card to allow recording to the card. I run a 16 gb SDHC but should work with a 32 SDHC. The camera streams using MJPEG and H.264, but unfortunately you can not record to the SD card in H.264. Panasonic does give you a one camera recording software package for the PC, but I never used it.

To check out the bb-hcm-735A camera LIVE for my RENTAL property copy/paste the link below. Play with it all you want. Check it out at night to ses the image in semi-darkness. Cost of the camera is about $750.00 and is one little compact package.

http://68.193.3.154:5735/CgiStart?page=Single&Language=0

When done viewing PLEASE CLOSE THE BROWSER WINDOW. An open connection will suck down my bandwidth.

If you notice the camera moving, it is chasing anthing of motion and it is fairly windy over here.

John
New Jersey

p.s. - I too am a landlord with rental properties and use cameras to keep things in check.
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jb_bak
Regular Member


Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome thanks John! You sold me! the image is perfect.

Do you just simply run an ethernet cable from the back of the camera and just plug it into a WRT54G router? Seems too easy.

That is cool that you are a landlord too. I just lost a good tenant from this property, because of the increased drug dealers/prostitutes. I want to record clips and send them in to the police chief and mayor so they can stop ignoring the problem.
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JohnnyC
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before you buy, you may get responses from other folks out here with cheaper alternatives such as the el-cheapo Chinese cameras that cost much less.

I posted a link to one of my cameras which is not Chinese made and cost a bit more. I will say the Panasonic bb-hcm735A camera is rock solid and I never experienced a problem. I have many panasonics of different models. All are great performers in their class. The picture you seen will NOT compare to the $1,500 cameras, but that is expected. Anyway, do Google searches and read up on the bb-hcm735A to ensure this fits your needs. It is a mega-pixel camera and is not currently set at the highest resolution, but fit my needs for the area.

The bb-hcm735A camera is PoE and will require a midspan power injector ($40.00) which goes inline with the cat5e cable or a 12 VDC power supply (Radio Shack) that plugs directly into the camera. I prefer one cable only so I use PoE. The other end of the cable plugs into the router. If you are not recording to a PC, the camera can be setup to record images based on triggered events to the SD card. A 16 gb card will hold THOUSANDS of pictures and will fit your needs. You can buy the SD card almost anywheres computer supplies are sold. Using the SD recording you can look at the recorded images anytime from anywheres including a web enabled PDA.

I am very active on a landlord forum for the past 10 years. MANY times landlords have the same problem you are addressing which creates a lot of discussion. Unfortunately many landlords will not spend the money for a security system of anykind and they usually hit time after time.

Times are tough out there and good tenants are hard to find as you already know. Retaining good tenants must be a priority. Sound like your area may be section 8 or heading that way. I hate to see that happen. My property is in a busy mixed use zoned area and is still considered to be very good, but we do have our problems from time to time. Last summer someone that was planning to rob a bank next door surveyed my property before hand and during the planning stages he triggered all my cameras on my property. The dummy actually hid from the road traffic and was 10 feet from my camera. He did not know it. I was able to count the zits on his face. The guy eventually walked away before the cops arrived. The recordings were played back to the cops. Two weeks latter a jewlery store 1/4 mile got robbed of $320,000 in jewels and cash. Every week I read in the local paper about breakins around town. In addition I rent garages so cameras are VERY imporant for security purposes. My garage renters have valuable classic cars stored in the garages. My garage tenants have access to "their" garage cameras over the internet to check in anytime they want from their home or office. Good added plus in the market.

If you are in my area (North Jersey) it will be my personal pleasure to help you setup a system to nail the druggies on camera. Nothing burns me up more than a good neighborhood going bad.

John
New Jersey
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40th Floor
Enthusiast


Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 221
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those that don't want to download the OLE/ActiveX driver,



I like the quality (night shot), but facial recognition is not a good bet, even if this were 1280x960 (which still is only twice the rez as this). I'd like to see a zoomed-in lens right at the doorway. Clock is off, too. nntp daily fixes that right up.
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40th Floor - Software @ http://40th.com/
CAMNET : Keep the bad guys out!
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice image but it's hard to tell because there's no motion. What I find is that most IP cameras can have a great still picture in a poorly lit area because they do this by increasing the exposure time. For available light shooting, I prefer a good b&w camera. You get a sharper image in lower light with less noise.

The camera I would recomend for night vision is the Mobotix M24-SEC-N22 that has a 1 mega pixel night sensor, is waterproof and mountable outdoors in any weather and has. You can have it write to an internal sd card as the Panny above or to a NAS. All the software for as many cameras as you want is free. Seen it around for under $800.
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JohnnyC
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

40th floor, you are correct - facial recognition is not a good bet unless someone walks to the camera which most likely they will. A non-mega pixel camera would be worse yet. The purpose of this camera is to keep watch from down low over and over a large area as well as follow movement in yard when triggered. When movement stops, it will return to it's home position in several seconds and stops recording (controlled by the server monitoring software).

Just as an FYI - Anyone that walks into the area from the front yard or the rear garage area (behind this camera) would have already been recorded close up on other cameras that are carefully placed. In the front yard I got the AXIS Q1755 positioned high up (3rd floor level) with GateKeeper enabled which will zoom in on the main entry point to the yard when triggered. Once zoomed in, there is no problem with recognition. On the side/corner of the house and mounted down low at the first story level, I got a speed dome on guardtour. Yes, someone can slip by if the dome camera is focused elsewhere's but most likely they will trigger at least one or more other cameras. If they are recorded on the speed dome, I will be able to count the hair on their head. Basically, my setup at my property will record a fly taking a crap no matter where it is. If the fly's crap has peanuts or corn in it, I may see it too.

I just ordered an AXIS P1346 which is due in this week. The P1346 will replace an old Panasonic and will overlook all my garages and parking area from up high in a fixed postion. It has several features which the Q1755 does not have and will allow it to fit perfectly for the job it will serve.

In the near future I plan to get a high end Mobotix which will be mounted down low (1 story level) on my garage and will watch the main parking area. From the research I did, the Mobotix will fit my needs.

Buellwinkle is 100% correct in his response. The image will be good at night in color, but fps will be low since exposure time is increased and you get increased noise, but that is how these cameras work in this class. This is not an AXIS or Mobotix. To me it is acceptable for my needs since I don't need high fps for this area under watch, just a basic general view to track anyone in the area.

John
New Jersey
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jb_bak
Regular Member


Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, I am in NC so unfortunately can't use your personal expertise.

The camera you linked doesn't seem to do as well at night. I would like to get a clear image of the druggies at night especially. Does The mobotix have pan and tilt on it?
And thanks for clarifying what I need to power the camera over PoE.
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40th Floor
Enthusiast


Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 221
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jb_bak wrote:
The camera you linked doesn't seem to do as well at night. I would like to get a clear image of the druggies at night especially...


I think most Panasonics have night view, which boost clarity at the expense of frame rate.



This is zoomed a bit (about 6x, out of 21x max. optical), and as you know, a zoomed lens lets much less light pass. Still, if you can make do with the lower frame rate (do pushers ever stand still?), it does work well.
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CAMNET : Keep the bad guys out!
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fatjohnny
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

40th Floor, thanks again for the sample pictures and info. I think it is very helpful not only to jb_bak, but to others that just browse for information.

jb_bak - The bb-hcm735a camera is currently set at 640x480. It has much better resolution if I set it up in the camera's configuration panel. I think what you really want is close shots as in "zoom". This camera has DIGITAL zoom that works fairly well in HIGH resolution. In general, digital zoom sucks in non-mega pixel/low resolution cameras from my experience. The image gets very pixelated (sp?). I think you really want OPTICAL zoom which will push you over the $800 for a decent camera when including Pan and Tilt. Maybe some of the cheap Chinese cameras will have PT(optical) Z but you may fall victim to low quality crap.

If you can stretch your budget to $1,100, you can get a Panasonic bb-hcm581A and a Pelco dome (or something simular). It has 42x (21x Optical, 2x digital) zoom. It offers pan and tilt too. It is much larger and much different than the bb-hcm735a, but the zoom functions very well. Although it isn't a mega pixel camera, I can read a license plate from far away when I zoom into it. It you got druggies standing 25-50 feet from the camera, once you zoom in you may be able to the needle tracks on their arms.

John
New Jersey
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mobotix does not have real PTZ, it's digital PTZ. To take advantage of real PTZ you have to watch the video in real time (which I don't have time to do), put the camera in patrol mode (which messes with video motion detection) or have software capable of motion tracking.

Be careful of vendor claims of "moonlight mode" or "night mode" because by slowing down the frame rate and extending exposure time, anything moving will look like a big blur. You can put a sign in front of the camera, please stand still so we can take your picture Smile You can also put in motion detect flood lights that will not only deter thieves, but also light up the area for video taping. Also, you can get IR illuminators that give off an insane amount of invisible or near invisible light and have 100' ranges.
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fatjohnny
Enthusiast


Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jb_bak, what buellwinkle states is true. but remember no one particular camera fits all applications. This is why I have many different cameras for my needs. The cameras mentioned by me and others here gives you a taste of what's available in your price range. There is a vast selection of cameras on the market in diffrent price ranges. At your $800 budget, you are just under the bottom spectrum of the higher end cameras.

What I do when looking for a new camera is to google LIVE demos for IP network cameras online. If I have a particular brand/model in mind, it helps narrow down my search. If I am satisfied with the demo and the camera fits my requirements, the camera goes on my list.

Sometimes I spend days looking at demo cameras online. Make sure to check out day and night video feeds. Check out motion and clarity for both day and night. Spending a few hours can save you headaches and disappointment.

John
New Jersey
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sadik007
Junky


Joined: 02 Dec 2009
Posts: 188

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
check your local state code relating to recording street.. You might not be able to record audio..
Most of us point our cameras toward our property not a way..
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jb_bak
Regular Member


Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the panasonic 580s now that I have tried a few demos out. The problem is going to be the size and dome that is needed. This area is a VERY rough neighborhood, and there is no question it will be shot at or stolen when the deadbeats learn they are on camera. My goal here is to get a few months worth of good video to send in to the authorities, then get the camera. It needs to be hidden. There is a window at the front of the house, I thought maybe I could mount the 580 inside, but the window is blocked a bit by the shape of the house, and also from the design of the window has a few decorative bars in it.

Go go google, and streeetview 108 maple st, raleigh, nc. You will see a house with a window facing the road. This is my house and the window in question. I want to see the corner of Maple and Boyer, which is the nearest intersection. (where lots of drugs prositutes hang out all day) and I want to see the blue shotgun house at 111 maple. To do this like I want, I am pretty sure I am gonna be better off with one of those smaller 4inch by 4 inch panasonic pan and tilts.
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fatjohnny
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jb_bak,

Ok, so you like the 580's (I assume you mean the 581A's) Panasonics. Here is a live 581A from my duplex. Check it out during the day and night. It is NOT a mega pixel camera.

http://68.193.3.154:5581/CgiStart?page=Single&Language=0

To see what this setup looks like in it's individual parts (camera, dome, power supply) click on this link.

http://pics.mrlandlord.com/John(NJ)/bench%20test%20cam.jpg

There ain't no way in he11 youcan hide it. Check out the following picture as it will clearly show it's presence.

http://pics.mrlandlord.com/John(NJ)/wire%20up%20outside.jpg
http://pics.mrlandlord.com/John(NJ)/install%20done.jpg

It will make a perfect target for gun happy thugs.

John
New Jersey

John
New Jersey
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