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Mega Pixel IP Camera Setup install advice needed

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Joined: 05 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:14 pm    Post subject: Mega Pixel IP Camera Setup install advice needed Reply with quote

I am currently in the painful process of researching a new camera system for my business. I have learned a TON of information about what is out there and I think narrowed down what it is that I would like.

Goals of the system are as follows:

-15/16 2 MP Cameras
-High resolution images (aiming for 1600x1200)
-Minimum of 60 days recording
-Some remote iPhone viewing Capabilities
-The more analytic features the better

With all that I have come up with a solution that seems to fit our needs and possibly our budget as well.

I am currently leaning toward the Vivotek 2 MP cameras (FD 8161 and FD 8361 specifically)


These cameras seem to have a good set of features at a decent price. They are H.264 capable and meet the proper lens specs for my installation.

For storage I have come up with a minimum of 6 Tera-bytes but would probably be more comfortable with a 10 TB setup. I am not sure what percent motion I will end up with but 6 TB will not leave me short. This is all considering that the compression is h.264

Now that I have finally figured out the cameras that I think I want I am having trouble putting it all together. I am stuck on pretty much the Software and hardware combo to make this set up work.

I have narrowed the software down to pretty much 3 choices

Seems to be decent and has a good feature set of analytics, Has native iPhone viewing app for free

Seems to be a little more professional in presentation but lacks in analytic offering and iPhone support ($899 app that is available is out of the question)

Has h.264 support and decent analytics but currently does not support the cameras I want to use. ( I emailed them and they say they will be supporting the ones I want but the release for update is TBD)

Finally I am lost on the storage side of things a little. I need at least 6 TB and have calculated a max FPS for the system of 240. I am thinking that I am going to need some type of RAID set up but not totally sure.

I have basically just learned all this stuff on my own and feel like I am getting pretty close but every time I get a piece of the puzzle put together I knock another piece out.

I have met with and reached out to a few local installers which has also been frustrating. I want a good, semi future proof, custom system that I can maintain and upgrade as I see fit and most of the time I am getting off the shelf analog DVR systems pushed on me. Rolling Eyes

Some guys are close to the type of system that I am looking for but to be honest have not impressed me with their knowledge of the equipment available. LoL one guy asked me how many cameras I wanted and what my email address was and that was it Laughing.

I am close to just ordering the stuff and installing it all myself but to be honest I don't have much more time to spend on this project and was looking to have an installer to lean on in the event of a problem with the system. Also I don't have the networking background to feel confident enough setting up the whole system. Which is probably the case with most of the installers that I have talked to that are pushing basic analog systems on me.

So, if anyone has any advise on the system I am trying to get together it would be greatly appreciated. Mainly I need a good source of info regarding the computer hardware and software required to meet my needs with the cameras that I have come up with. Is there anything out there that will meet my needs and is semi plug and play? Or do I need to have a custom server and storage solution put together for me in order to meet my system demands.

Thanks for listening lol.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Find surveillance camera installers that understand IP cameras is almost impossible, really, they are so attached to CCTV that many will try to convince you that IP cameras suck. So if you find someone that does this, has references, can show you a reference account's system, you would have hit pay dirt.

From what I see out there, you can find people that have done it before as consultants like what I do but I limit myself to communities, not commercial, and then get electrical drawings made up and have any electrician run the cat 5 wiring and mount the cameras.

Also, why Vivotek, is it price, have you seen them and the image quality? Personally, for indoors, I like darkened glass dome cameras where you can't see where the lens is pointing to and they stand out less compared to having a lens staring at you.

Last edited by buellwinkle on Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sorts of analytics are you looking for? I think you should demo one of those cameras before you go and buy a whole lot of them...I don't think you will be as impressed as the spec sheet says.
I can record your video remotely. PM for details.
Favorite iPhone viewing apps:
Live Cams - http://tinyurl.com/yaby9ha
IPVision - http://tinyurl.com/y8allak
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nlanzano, I think you so far did an excellent job in your analyses.Some folks come here with no clue on their requirements other than they want to see a picture for under $100. When I first read you wanted 15 or 16 2 MP cameras, my eyes rolled, but when reading further I clearly seen you did your homework so far. You got a nice project ahead of you. I will be reading the responses from the "Pros". Best of luck!

New Jersey
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your responses.

I see that they do not want to break the CCTV model thats for sure. I have basically engineered the entire system on my own even after I asked for a specific system lol. I have done all the mounting calculations with the cameras specs in mind regarding FOV and px/ft calculations at distances. Still they want to sell me analog cameras lol.

The reason that I went with the MP IP cameras is simple to me. I need flexibility and image quality. In my application I am looking for enough detail to be able to go back and see what is being loaded and unloaded on a truck for example and the higher level of detail is a must. Some of the cameras do not require such a high level of detail but to be honest there are only about 5 of them and the quality cant hurt so why not stay all the same if I can. I also know that in 5 years there will be cheaper more featured cameras and want to be able to just add them to a good system rather than reinvest in a whole new back end.

I would prefer the tinted domes but this isn't a retail situation and I don't need to keep em guessing so it's not too much of a concern.

I was leaning towards the Vivotek cameras because of the price yes but was considering getting one to try out first as I don't wan't to be stuck with a bunch of cameras that I am not happy with. The features that come with the cameras seem enticing enough to give them a shot. Also the seem to be a little bit of overkill in some ways so hopefully that would make up for any lack of picture quality. For example it seems like i could get away with a 1.3 MP camera in some spots so hopefully if I go 2MP I will be fine. I am going to try out a camera in an image detail critical location and see what I get before getting all the cameras. If for some reason it doesn't work out I can still use it in another spot if I cant send it back.

Also I am probably going to go with the free software licenses that come with the cameras for now until they are supported by the other companies. Save on the software expense and can always upgrade to more sophisticated full featured stuff later on.

I spoke to someone at Dell and was quoted a server with 6TB storage and a bunch of other bells and whistles that should do the trick and then some for around $3700

I have a couple guys that are now starting to work with me on a consultant / installer level. Which at this point is the only way they will get my business since I have researched this thing to death and feel like I could just do it myself. I would like to have a company to lean on though in the event of repairs and for the install itself as I have other things to take care of.

Amazing the difference in prices when you look at the big picture. To go from $28k for analog equipment with little optimization and features to new digital equipment that is customizable and upgradeable at around $20k installed lol.

It's not my business but if I were a system installer I would be pushing the new equipment at competitive prices and selling on the new features.

I am concerned about the quality of the cameras but hope that they will meet my requirements at least. I have had them compared to the Hyundai of cameras. Which is all well and good but even a Hyundai will get you to work and at the end of the day thats whats important. Fact of the matter is that in a few years there will probably be a 5 mp Axis or any other well made camera with twice the features at half the price of the Vivotek cameras now. Until then I don't want to spend twice as much and get half the camera for a slight improvement in image quality.

Also a good feature on the vivotek cameras for me was the h.264 compression to save on storage space as that is expen$ive as all hell. Again with the speed of progression with technology I'm sure the storage costs will come down but I need a system now.

So thats where I'm at. I'm waiting to review some installation proposals and looking for any feedback or suggestions that you guys have.

On the bright side if my current job falls through I can just become a surveillance system designer lol.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider this, you can get 3MP Mobotix cameras for under a grand each, best image quality I've seen on an IP camera, has built in DVR software so no PC needed at all (save the $3,700 and use the bucks for better cameras, I just got a Dell with a 23" LCD for $600). Then use an inexpensive 1 or 2 TB NAS for $169-269 or a small RAID for under $600. I thought I needed a lot of disk space, but I can tell you with 2 cameras at a community pool with people going in an out all day, I can easily store a year's worth of events. The beauty of this is you can have 1 NAS per camera or all 5 on one NAS. Most NAS devices let you plug in a cheap USB drive in the back for backup if that's a concern.

I know a Hyundai will get you to work just as good as any car but a camera is not a car. Any camera captures light on it's sensor or film . What makes a top camera is several things. First it has to flawlessly meter light because if you can't control metering, you might as well have nothing, you will end up with faces that are unrecognizable. Next is lens, cheap cameras have cheap lenses, and it having high resolution is a waste if the lens is not up to the task and megapixels just means that it will amplify flaws more. Lastly, sensor, I don't like to use anything outdoors without a 1/2" sensor because the larger the sensor, the lower the noise for a given resolution and better dynamic range. There is no way a 1/4" or 1/3" sensor in some of these mega pixel IP cameras can compete with 1/2" sensors on top cameras. So I can tell you, I started off cheap and regretted it because push comes to shove, you can't identify a face or object, what's the point?

I had an Axis SI that's bidding on a project today tell me how great the the new 3 MP Axis cameras where. I showed him our Mobotix setup and he couldn't believe it. He also couldn't believe I run the setup with no PC (other than purely viewing), no NVR, no software.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good research... way to go..

consider mobotix for 5 cams that need good quality.. And keep in mind that position of cam is most important.. With good position you can even get cheaper cams, and point only to area that you really need, if you Zoom out to much you get much foot traffic and unneeded junk..
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Cameras that need good quality are going to be focused in on a bunch of small areas. For example I am planning on covering about a 10'w x 20'L Area with one camera at the back of the area that needs to be viewed about 10' up.

The px/ft range that I have is between 110 px/ft at the high end and around 49 px/ft at the far end.

I'm hoping, and correct me if I'm wrong, that being so close to the area that needs viewing should make up for any image quality concerns that I might have with the lesser image sensor.

I am defiantly going to get a test cam and see how things look prior to my full order.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:54 pm    Post subject: i think i came to the right place Reply with quote

Nlanzano, Have you had a chance to test out the Vivotek 8161 or 8361 yet? I am excited to hear how the cameras hold up.
I am in the same position you are, trying to research a similar cam setup for a church i do tech support for.
we just convinced the boss to send back a 16 cam analog system he had purchased because the resolution was horrible! of course it was after i had mocked the whole setup up, tested every camera and all10-100ft rolls of coax/power cable.... anyway, not trying to hijack your thread, just wanted to let you know i look forward to hearing how your setup works for you!

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