IP Camera Recommendations

Jaket

Active Member
Jan 4, 2017
101
30
28
Seattle, New York
purevoltage.com
I've been pretty happy with the Ubiquiti cameras. We had a few glitches with the server software running on a windows desktop was mostly just for testing however on Linux it's been really stable.
I need to connect up one of the dome cameras again this week to see if it still works got caught from a bunch of snow and ripped off the wall and was covered with snow for a few weeks.
 

Tester_02

New Member
Feb 26, 2017
10
2
3
49
Just want to mention another option.
I am running netcam studio on a windows vm. It can connect to many camera sources(64 max I believe).
I have it running connected to 7 cameras (mostly foscam as they were cheap).
Server side it's running on windows and connects to all the cameras. Then you can connect via a browser (open port to server), or using their app (android/ios).
It different levels or users to control which camera's they see, as well as has motion detection and recording.

I did look at blue iris when I decided a year ago, and at that time it seemed that netcam was better. When I started I could get 4 free camera's before buying, buy now I see they charge after 2.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CDLTech

Tom S

New Member
Jan 31, 2017
13
5
3
35
Are they standard PoE or UBNT-special? If the latter, is there a way of powering them from a standard 802.3af/at switch?
Ubiquiti sells two cameras at the moment:

G3 - Bullet-style, 24V passive PoE. Can be paired with the instant 802.3af adapter.
G3-DOME - Dome-style (obviously) native 802.3af support, or 24V passive.
 

matt_garman

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
207
38
28
Does anyone have any experience with Zoneminder on Ubuntu?
Not on Ubuntu, but on CentOS...

Largely based on this thread, I bought Hikvision cameras for my new house. In particular, I'm using the DS-2CD2132F-I model. The first one I bought from Amazon, and the next two I bought from MCM Electronics. I tried to buy one from AliExpress, but that order fell through. From my research, it looks like there are three ways to buy Hikvision cameras in the USA:
  • From an actual Hikvision authorized retailer. This is the highest priced option, but guarantees you get the warranty and can do firmware upgrades. If you go to the Hikvision website, at the top right there is a link for "Authorized Distributors". That's where I got MCM Electronics; I picked them because I had ordered from them before. I also found a coupon code for 10% off. So I got a true retail box camera from an authorized seller for about $144 (after 10% coupon, list price is $160).
  • A non-US model from a Chinese seller like AliExpress. On these, you won't get a warranty, and a firmware upgrade will likely revert your device to Chinese. Not sure if it can be turned back to English if you have a friend who can read Chinese. But the one I attempted to buy from AliExpress was listed at $70, so less than half of what I paid for the "true" model.
  • A "grey market" camera from a non-authorized USA seller. I believe this covers cameras sold on Amazon. Last I checked, all the Hikvision cameras on Amazon were sold by third parties, not by Amazon directly. So it's kind of unknown what you'll get. I ordered my first camera from Amazon, and paid about $115. It looks like a true retail box, but the seller isn't on the authorized distributors list, so not sure if the warranty will be honored (if I need it).

I see a lot of love for BlueIris, but my issues were (1) not free, and (2) Windows-only. The Windows-only thing was the bigger issue for me, as the cost of BlueIris seems pretty reasonable. But ZoneMinder (ZM) is free and runs on Linux. I almost didn't try ZM though, as basic web searching gave a lot of "ZM sucks" threads. However, I gave it a try anyway, and found it to be wonderful.

I'm running ZM 1.30.0 on CentOS 7.3. I installed via zmrepo. I am a seasoned Linux guy; however, I didn't need to tap into any of my "deep" Linux knowledge/experience to set this up. Installing via zmrepo was really just a matter of following the (very clear) instructions. Once it's up and running, you do everything through the web GUI, which is mostly self-explanatory, and reasonably well documented beyond that.

I did a series of posts on the ZM forums detailing this particular camera: Hikvision DS-2CD2132F-I. In those posts I talked a lot about hardware and performance. The short version is the Athlon X2-3600 I was originally using was fine for one camera with the settings I wanted to run, but not powerful enough for additional cameras. I've since upgraded to an i5-6500 w/8GB of RAM, and now have more than enough CPU power.

Basically, with ZM, the general idea is to do a minimal config of the actual cameras. In my case, I just set the admin password to something secure; created a minimally-permissioned user that can basically only view the live stream; changed from static IP to DHCP; setup NTP; changed the on-screen display name; reduced resolution from 1080p to 720p; reduced framerate from 30FPS to 15FPS. Note: you don't have to lower the framerate and/or resolution; I did it simply because 720p / 15FPS seems to be more than enough for my purposes. I might still bump that down to 12 or even 10 FPS.

Furthermore, these Hikvision cameras (and others as well I assume) actually support two live streams: one is the primary, high-quality stream; the other is the lower quality "substream".

What I do with ZM is have motion detection ("modect" in ZM speak) on the high-resolution/primary streams, and a full-time recording ("record") of the low-resolution/secondary stream. I feel this is the best of both worlds, without requiring a ludicrous amount of disk space.

Also, regarding POE: I originally went with a Microsemi PowerDsine 9024G, which worked fine. But I decided it's way overkill for simply running a few IP cameras. My main issue was power and noise: it used 30 watts with zero POE devices attached, and had loud/whiny fans. I replaced it with one of the passive POE injectors from Wifi-Texas (I used the WS-GPOE-12-48v60w). It uses practically zero watts with no devices attached, and is fanless.

I don't have experience with other camera brands or other camera software. But in my experience so far, I have no complaints with either Hikvision or Zoneminder.

Note that ZM is for the most part agnostic when it comes to cameras. If you can get a reliable video stream from your camera, it should work in ZM. I haven't done this, but it makes it easy to experiment if you have a smart phone with a camera. If you can find an app that lets you do a live stream of the phone's video, then you should be able to use it in ZM. This makes it easy to test and play with ZM with virtually no investment.
 

Fritz

Well-Known Member
Apr 6, 2015
2,194
520
113
66
Nice to know about the firmware and cameras from China, I have 2 of them. I'll be sure not to update them.
 

epicurean

Active Member
Sep 29, 2014
681
48
28
thanks Matt for that outstanding review. How much different would installing Zoneminder on CentOS , vis a vis Ubuntu?
 

matt_garman

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
207
38
28
thanks Matt for that outstanding review. How much different would installing Zoneminder on CentOS , vis a vis Ubuntu?
I can't say, as I've never installed ZM on Ubuntu; and in fact, I haven't even really run Ubuntu in many years. (I kinda-sorta run Ubuntu under CentOS, though not as a VM, but under systemd-nspawn. See this article and this article.)

At any rate, I can only speculate, as it really comes down to how good a job the maintainer of the Ubuntu packages did with ZM. But based on my experience with the CentOS packages, I'd assume ZM on Ubuntu should be similarly straightforward.
 

IamSpartacus

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2016
2,321
562
113
Anyone have a good recommendation on INDOOR cameras both wired and wireless (need one wireless for a room that has no ethernet capabilities)?
 

Fritz

Well-Known Member
Apr 6, 2015
2,194
520
113
66
Last edited:

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
I've been pretty happy with the Ubiquiti cameras. We had a few glitches with the server software running on a windows desktop was mostly just for testing however on Linux it's been really stable.
I need to connect up one of the dome cameras again this week to see if it still works got caught from a bunch of snow and ripped off the wall and was covered with snow for a few weeks.
How is the quality of the video? Is it good enough to see peoples faces clearly? That is one of my primary requirements for the cameras. Given the fact that my CCTV cameras are a good 5+ years old. Any of the new IP cameras are going to be an improvement. I just want some good detail in the video.
 

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
Just want to mention another option.
I am running netcam studio on a windows vm. It can connect to many camera sources(64 max I believe).
I have it running connected to 7 cameras (mostly foscam as they were cheap).
Server side it's running on windows and connects to all the cameras. Then you can connect via a browser (open port to server), or using their app (android/ios).
It different levels or users to control which camera's they see, as well as has motion detection and recording.

I did look at blue iris when I decided a year ago, and at that time it seemed that netcam was better. When I started I could get 4 free camera's before buying, buy now I see they charge after 2.
What kind of hardware are you running? I also looked at Blue Iris. The requirements look pretty demanding for a DVR Camera software.
I am going to have 3 maybe 4 cameras probably around the 3 or 4 mp range. I mostly want clear detailed video.
 

Tom S

New Member
Jan 31, 2017
13
5
3
35
How is the quality of the video? Is it good enough to see peoples faces clearly? That is one of my primary requirements for the cameras. Given the fact that my CCTV cameras are a good 5+ years old. Any of the new IP cameras are going to be an improvement. I just want some good detail in the video.
Much of this comes down to camera placement and lighting. If your camera has a wide field of view and is far from the subject, you won't see much detail. A narrow FOV of camera located near the person will produce a lot of detail.

One metric you can use is PPF, or Pixels Per Foot. You'll have to do some math with the camera resolution, field of view, and distance to subject, but generally speaking you'll want a minimum of 60-100 PPF to get decent detail in people's faces.

You also need to have a sufficiently high bitrate to preserve detail in people's faces. This is one place where having too many megapixels can become detrimental if you don't have enough bitrate to reasonably encode it all. It's a trade-off, and you may have to do some tuning to find the sweet spot for your application.

Illumination is another piece of the puzzle. Obviously more light is going to be better, but also note that higher megapixel counts result in lower light sensitivity as the sensor pixels get smaller. Another tradeoff you have to weigh. IR illumination, including supplemental IR, can be very helpful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CDLTech

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
Much of this comes down to camera placement and lighting. If your camera has a wide field of view and is far from the subject, you won't see much detail. A narrow FOV of camera located near the person will produce a lot of detail.

One metric you can use is PPF, or Pixels Per Foot. You'll have to do some math with the camera resolution, field of view, and distance to subject, but generally speaking you'll want a minimum of 60-100 PPF to get decent detail in people's faces.

You also need to have a sufficiently high bitrate to preserve detail in people's faces. This is one place where having too many megapixels can become detrimental if you don't have enough bitrate to reasonably encode it all. It's a trade-off, and you may have to do some tuning to find the sweet spot for your application.

Illumination is another piece of the puzzle. Obviously more light is going to be better, but also note that higher megapixel counts result in lower light sensitivity as the sensor pixels get smaller. Another tradeoff you have to weigh. IR illumination, including supplemental IR, can be very helpful.
Thanks. I agree with the high bitrate and the illumination. I was considering external ir. Only if the cameras own ir wasn't enough. I never thought of the the PPF.

After some searching. I think I might be going with Axis for my cameras. I remember them from back in the 90's. I was looking at some same video on their website. I was quite impressed. Granted they probably and most definitely had the cameras setup with the best settings and conditions. With that said. Once that is done. You will reap the benefits.
If there are other profession grade brands that are comparable. I will consider them as well.
 

Jaket

Active Member
Jan 4, 2017
101
30
28
Seattle, New York
purevoltage.com
It does come down to the lighting and how close the cameras are as said above. I'll see if I can dig up some images of mine I'm using their 1080P dome camera which is normally mounted at the peak of the roof on the house to watch the road. I've also got one of their 720p mini cameras which are also great. Just need to find where I placed it and get the dome camera mounted again.
I believe this is from their pro camera
However it shows the zooming and you can see faces rather clear. Looks like a lot of samples on the Ubnt site as well UVC / UVC Dome / UVC Pro Sample Videos - Ubiquiti Networks Community from this person.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CDLTech

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
It does come down to the lighting and how close the cameras are as said above. I'll see if I can dig up some images of mine I'm using their 1080P dome camera which is normally mounted at the peak of the roof on the house to watch the road. I've also got one of their 720p mini cameras which are also great. Just need to find where I placed it and get the dome camera mounted again.
I believe this is from their pro camera
However it shows the zooming and you can see faces rather clear. Looks like a lot of samples on the Ubnt site as well UVC / UVC Dome / UVC Pro Sample Videos - Ubiquiti Networks Community from this person.
Thank you. I will check them out. Yeah the video looks pretty decent.
 

IamSpartacus

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2016
2,321
562
113
It does come down to the lighting and how close the cameras are as said above. I'll see if I can dig up some images of mine I'm using their 1080P dome camera which is normally mounted at the peak of the roof on the house to watch the road. I've also got one of their 720p mini cameras which are also great. Just need to find where I placed it and get the dome camera mounted again.
I believe this is from their pro camera
However it shows the zooming and you can see faces rather clear. Looks like a lot of samples on the Ubnt site as well UVC / UVC Dome / UVC Pro Sample Videos - Ubiquiti Networks Community from this person.
Do these have night vision?
 

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
When viewing this camera on Amazon I noticed this item as well. I'm wondering how much of a difference this makes.

Amazon.com: UVC-G3-LED: Electronics
That is an IR extender. It fits around the camera lenses body to increase the night vision. This one is specific to Ubiquiti model UVC-G3. Some IR extenders are generic and can work with any camera. Some don't attach to the camera. Some are mounted near the camera to provide better IR illumination.
 

CDLTech

New Member
Sep 11, 2016
28
0
1
My Man Cave
Oh my mistake. I miss read your message. Thought you were asking what it was. I don't know how well. I would think the more IR LEDS the better. My current analog CCTV cameras do pretty well at night. So I would think this one would do quite well.