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Lost in a maze of cameras

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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Lost in a maze of cameras Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

I need some help selecting a camera in the $500 to $700 each range.

What I am looking for is 4 cameras to monitor the extirior of my house and property.
3 of the cameras will be mounted under the eaves of the first floor and 1 will be mounted under the eave on the second floor.
I will be running Cat 6 POE cable to each location and they come back to my central servers to store the video on a NAS. ( I am hoping to store at least the past 48+hours for each camera on the NAS.)
Being as this is a POE connection it goes to say that these are wired network cameras but if coax will work and will be better I am interested in any input but not willing to wire independant power to the locations.
The Max liniar feet that the longest camera will need to view is 50ft.

I want to be able to view these camera feeds both internally on my home computers and external on the web when I am away travelling. ( I am very astute with networking and routing)
Also as a note I have an adroid phone and being able to view on that would be a bonus.

The cameras need to be able to have some sort of night vision and an install, setup and forget setup. ( I don't want to be always tweaking them for day night or anything else)

I really don't care about audio or PTZ, just very good day night image quality and outdoor mounting.

Thanks all for any info, it is really a mine field when you are looking for a camera solution.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only camera brand I know that writes directly to and manages a NAS are Mobotix, but it's going to cost about double your budget. The NVR software is built into the camera. Check out the M12D-SEC DNIGHT camera, maybe you can do wih less cameras, but better quality.

There are some Taiwan cameras that are OK like ACTI or VIvotek, outdoor ready that sell in the that price range and may suit your needs, but you'll likely have to get a PC and software to write it out to an external HD.
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Buellwinkle,

I guess writing to a stand alone NAS may not be the only option for me. I have plenty of servers I can use to manage the cameras and direct for a filestore, but that is also something I an unclear about.
Having never used anything other then a USB cam (very rare) I'm not even sure what or how the software will do it nor the options avail within the software.
One of the biggest problems is there seems like there are too many different software/managment choices and to pour thru them seems almost impossible. I find my eyes glazing over after the first 20 min, then everything seems to blend together.

I was really hoping someone had made a dome cam that would do what I need
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Joined: 28 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the camera manufaturers make dome cameras, but usually require outdoor dome enclosures and mounts you buy seperately. Mobotix has a cool dome with 2 lenses that can be individually aimed and each one has a 3 MP sensor. I'm not a fan of domes, don't like the way they look outdoors.

What you need to record is NVR software and that takes many forms.

1) Some cameras have NVR software built in that can write to an internal SD card or a NAS and that's why I use Mobotix on projects.

2) You can get a box that resembles a DVR but is designed for network cameras and that's called an NVR. Upside is easy of use, downside is are limited to cameras it supports. Think of it as a NAS but with software to manage the video and cameras.

3) You can run NVR software on a PC and yes, there's tons of software out there and the king is Milestone but it's expensive and there's a ton of newer software out there that's cheaper. Also you have what the camera manufacturers sell you, for example, if you get Axis cameras, you can use Axis software but also expensive, about $150/camera. My only word of caution is find software that you like first, then find which cameras it supports. Upside is there's lots of choices, downside is there's lots of choices and you end up dedicating a PC to doing this, so you have power costs and a single point of failure.

So what does a typicaly network camera do if you don't have any NVR software? All let you access the camera by IP address and view a live image and configure the cameras. Most can be configured to email you an event (event is the terminology for a series of pictures or video that's triggered from something, like motion detect , sound detect, PIR detectt). Most can send an event to an FTP address, so you can setup an FTP server (many NAS devices also do FTP, so you can use a NAS to capture events) and have it FTP jpegs and sometimes mpeg's, but this is just a series of files, you then have to figure out which file is relavent and use your native viewers to see what happened. Some will do the same thing as FTP but use an NFS or CIF mount point to write too.
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Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are your servers on the same LAN? If not and located remotely, take into consideration the bandwidth required for each camera. An HD or big megapixel camera set at a high frame rate can chew up a lot if not all bandwidth when pumping it thru DSL or cable to video servers recording the video feeds located remotely. I assume you already know this, but thought I'd mention it.

I mention this since one of your requirements is "very good day night image quality ", but may be hard to find a good high quality megapixel outdoor ready camera in the $500 range.

New Jersey
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Site Admin

Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 907

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You ought to consider cameras that come with free NVR software, like ACTi or Vivotek, or consider using an inexpensive NVR software like Blue Iris, Luxriot, among others. Since you already have servers available this seems like the best area to save money.

Fatjohnny is right about it being difficult to find cameras under $500 that are outdoor rated with day/night & megapixel quality. However there are a few options that are close, and you might sacrifice megapixel quality for better day/night quality. Also, if Emmer goes with free or inexpensive software, he may have more budget for megapixel cameras.

These two ones from Vivotek look like what you're asking for:
(standard resolution)

(new - 2MP version)
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Joined: 06 Sep 2008
Posts: 205

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with the admin on this one. The Acti 1231 is decent for your price range. Bright light it has a decent picture and night time is decent as well. Low light right before it switches to night vision can be a little sketchy. I have one of these I could set up for ya if you want to check her out. I view them on my iPhone so I would assume your phone could have a similar app.
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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New Member

Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ fatjohnny
The network backbone on my servers(all local in the same domain) is Gigabit. All cables, switches, nic's..etc are higher end and I'm confident they will handle the bandwidth, however the pipe into the local network from the internet is only 25Mbps down, 2 Mbps up.
I don't expect to be viewing all the cameras at the same time remote so it should not be a problem and also they will all be behind an ISA 2006 server for security and also I don't have a random person accessing them and sucking down the bandwidth.

@ Administrator
Thanks for the info, I am looking over the Vivotek FD7141 and have 1 question about it.
I see that it has a heater and fan, are they also able to be powered thru the POE? or do I need to have additional power to feed the heater/fan?
I see they say the heater fan on the FD8361 is POE supplied.

I had a look at the Acti 1231 and checked out the sample video the company put up to view and the quality looks good enough for me but I have concerns about safety of the device. IE: If I mount it under the first floor eaves, it just looks like it is asking to be knocked out of the park with a baseball bat. (Not that I live in a rough place lol)

Basically I think so far that if the FD7141 supports the heater and fan over POE then I will probably go with it, if not, then the FD836, but I'm going to do more digging on them both.

Thanks all

I just found that the FD7141 does indeed support the heater/fan powered over POE.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in similar situation, what did you end up going with and how did you like it ?
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