View Full Version : Who can tell me about home security cameras?

Lord Cadillac
10-18-10, 11:55 AM
I'm looking to buy three security cameras for the exterior of my home. I'd like to have a recording of what's going on while I'm away from home. Any suggestions?

10-18-10, 02:01 PM
I did some searches and this one (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=IPCAM&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=7339308666526654002&ei=Dou8TKHdL4OglAeOp4WICQ&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC0Q8wIwAg#) looked pretty good

10-18-10, 02:43 PM
Great topic.The ability to check the house perimeter from the safety of inside (while loading the gun) or on the web while away would be nice to have.
Wireless would be a great feature for ease of installation. They would need to be weatherproof as well.

Lord Cadillac
10-18-10, 10:36 PM
That is awesome. Thank you. I'll probably be buying a few of these...

I did some searches and this one (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=IPCAM&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=7339308666526654002&ei=Dou8TKHdL4OglAeOp4WICQ&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC0Q8wIwAg#) looked pretty good

10-18-10, 10:51 PM
there's others similar to that from the same company and others too... i just found that suggestion on a geek/nerd/hacker forum i frequent occasionally then googled the product name

10-19-10, 01:21 AM
I have 8 cams on the outside of my home. If you want to see at night you're going to either need IR illuminators or cameras with them already built in.

Lord Cadillac
10-19-10, 01:43 AM
I'm seeing that as I look around.. There are lots of good choices out there..

10-20-10, 09:39 AM
I've installed a few in my day and a very good friend of mine is in the security business.

You want a networkable DVR at least 4 channel and 3 cameras. Either very low LUX or IR day night cameras. The field of view will depend on the area you're trying to record. Just like any other camera, if you have a narrow area to view say like directly down a driveway or hallway you could use something a little tight like 50mm. If you're trying to view a large area like you're entire front lawn with a single camera you'll want something wide like 18 or 20 mm.

Keep in mind the angle of the camera severely effects the quality of the images. For example, if you have a driveway and a subject is 30 ft away from a 50mm lens it's going to be a pretty detailed picture. If you take the same subject at the same 30 ft from a 18mm lens it's going to get grainy.

Thant's why you see multiple cameras in hi security areas that all look like they're viewing the same area.

Hope that helps

Lord Cadillac
10-20-10, 01:17 PM
Thank you. What I think I'm going to do for now is put cameras INside my home. Ultimately, I'd like something that records.. I know nothing about DVRs but I guess that's what they do. I'd also like the ability to see what the camera is seeing via web browser. Knowing this, is there anything specific that comes to mind?

10-20-10, 01:36 PM
Yes, again for remote and browser viewing you need a networked DVR. Basically the DVR is a multiplexer that control all the cameras, contains a hard drive for recording and is your controller, if you will.

My source is Security Cameras Direct. Call them with any questions you may have on specific items. They're very helpful.

You may also tell them Aaron from ADL Datacomm in 12414 referred you.

As far as indoor cameras you obviously don't need weatherproof but they're usually about the same cost for a similar camera.
Additionally, I've found it best to do a 12v system with an external power supply. You'll then run what they call Siamese cable to each camera location. The cable contains 2 22 gage wires for power and an RG59 coaxial for the video hook up.

There are different ways to get there from here but that platform seems to provide great scalability and a very wide range of available cameras.

10-20-10, 03:10 PM
Wireless cameras are great, but can get interference from almost anything, so if you have an electrical box or cable outlet or anything near your house/yard, I wouldn't do it. The way they built Florida is odd, every couple homes, someone has one of a few types of plastic boxes on their lawns containing various types of equipment perfect for turning a wireless signal into pure static. If you can't go wireless though, you may as well run the power lines with the cables. Another thing to look at is night vision. Most NV cameras project infrared lighting to light up where they are pointed, but a streetlight or whatnot ahead of them will just make everything else look as black as possible by comparison, so try to avoid those. Also, infrared spotlight beacons work well, if you set them on timers to go on/off at specified times. Also, a lot of people do this, I don't really know why, but if you are investing in recording equipment...don't record to VCR. Unless you only want to record certain intervals, VCR is utterly pointless, because what about when you're not there all day? What will you do overnight, set an alarm clock to remind you to change the tape? Lastly, I don't know how many cameras you will have, but make sure the cameras can "look out" for one another. If any of them are in a position that they can be easily tampered with, make sure another camera is watching THAT camera. If they are in a harder-to-get-to position, make sure that their peripheral vision at least overlaps or touches a bit, because this will mean it is a lot harder for anyone to try to **** with them. Ask me how I know. ALSO, did you see this thread? Security equipment sale. http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/community-lounge-introductions-general-discussion/213207-harbor-freight-ad-leaked.html

10-20-10, 04:57 PM
Ask me how I know.

i'll bite... so how do you know?
i'm interested now

10-20-10, 08:26 PM
Don't do wireless. If this is intended to be a security device you're defeating the purpose if you install an easily disabled camera.

Yes, in a hi security area you'd want the cameras to be in view of one another.

A DVR with a 250GB hard drive is capable of recording 60 days of video from up to 8 cameras. You set the DVR to record on motion, not full time.

Auto day\night cameras are the way to go. Some are very low LUX and some have invisible LED IR. Either way they work well. If you have several cameras in the same dark area you may also consider regular cameras with a single IR illuminater

johnny kannapo
10-22-10, 01:12 PM
I am low tech, don't know much about them, Harbor Frieght has em on sale currently a four camera outfit. I think about $250 w/discount

10-22-10, 03:35 PM
You'll either need a couple of analog cameras and a DVR, or some IP cameras and an NVR, or NVR application for your PC. Nobody uses any sort of VCR type device anymore.

I wouldn't suggest trying to put cameras inside looking out through a window, you'll just get reflections at night from the glass.

A lot of the right choices depend on your need and your budget. Forget about trying to do anything with a "motion detection" camera outdoors, that will just generate a ton of false alarms. My home cameras have video analytics and can tell a person from a vehicle from random nuisance motion. Ex:


I get an email alert when someone is in my driveway and I'm not home, I can also see the video clip of the event in a browser, on my iphone, ipad, etc.

Stay away from cameras with built-in IR LEDs, that is usually a sure sign of a low-grade unit. IR light attracts insects and spiders, so over time you end up with bugs all over the lens. Get an external IR illuminator and mount it a few feet away from the camera.

These days you should be looking for something with at LEAST D1 (or VGA or 4CIF, all pretty much the same thing) resolution, and possibly even a 1.3Megapixel or 2.1megapixel camera if you want any hope of capturing license plates or better details.

Someone else mentioned about lenses, the other factor is pixels-per-foot. You need about 40 pixels per foot to get decent detail info. If you have a D1 camera, that is going to be ~704 pixels wide. 704/40=17.6. So if you're covering an area wider than 17ft, you're going to start losing good detail. At 20ft away, that is a 5.5mm lens. At 100ft away, that's a 28mm lens.

For home recordings, usually 7-14 days of recording time is sufficient. Depending on resolution and compression, figure about 1-5GB per camera per day for the D1 resolution stuff. That would give you a D1 image at 3-5 frames per second, which is usually sufficient.

Watch out for low light specs/ratings. Many cameras give their low-light ratings by using stupid low f-stops that you're not going to see in real life and slow shutter speeds of 1/4 second or less. This makes any moving object (like a person) get really blurred and out of focus. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a security camera. Cameras see LIGHT. You want to see at night, you're going to need floodlights, or IR illuminators. Or a $4500 FLIR thermal IR camera that sees heat. Those are fun, but they're kinda bulky. A good camera should give a low-light rating at f/1.2 or better and a shutter of 33ms or faster.

Are you installing these as a novelty, or do you have a real concern of theft/vandalism?

10-22-10, 05:32 PM
brk, is that a diy system? or a pro install?

either way pretty sweet

10-23-10, 12:40 AM
I've never found LED IR cameras to be of low quality but you definitely want a decent camera. Especially if you ever intend on prosecuting from the video.

10-23-10, 10:45 AM
brk, is that a diy system? or a pro install?

either way pretty sweet

I guess a little of both :) I run the field engineering group for the company that makes the camera... The camera in that video has been upgraded to a new 2.1 megapixel model that does the same thing, but at ~7x the resolution.

10-23-10, 12:51 PM
so it's more like a pro system that you were able to DIY since you work for them?
very cool indeed anyway
so what do these 'high end' systems usually cost?
and can you talk more about the system, besides the cameras?
(i know DVR was mentioned a few times, but that's not really very specific)

10-23-10, 10:11 PM
Super Circuits has complete systems starting around $200 per camera (4 cameras, monitor, DVR & all needed accessories) to $2,200 for the 16 camera setup and reasonbly priced upgrades. Higher-end systems may double those prices.

You can also piece together whatever you need. October's Security Sale has a complete one camera system at $379.

I got on their mailing list when I bought a powered microphone from them. Neat stuff!

johnny kannapo
10-24-10, 10:10 PM
Well are you trying to bust the wife dipping with others? or are you in a bad neighborhood, OR are you in too good a neighborhood?