Which Cameras should I Buy

Post Reply
Pete917
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm

Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Pete917 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:12 pm

Hi Everyone,
Just joined the forum.
I am going to get myself BlueIris. I have run ethernet cables to all the locations I want to install cameras. All will be outside cameras.

The question is which cameras should I invest in.

Dome cameras look appealing because of the casing looks like it might be more robust. But that is only my guess.

I know that I need POE given I have run the ethernet cables.

Should I go for PTZ, go for audio, how many MP do I need, what manufacturer offers the best cameras for the money etc.

So for all the questions but I'm completely new to this.

I'm located in the UK if that makes a difference to camera super.

Many thanks
Matts1984
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Matts1984 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:10 pm

Unfortunately this is a bit like asking "What car should I buy?". The answer is, it depends - and everyone has their own opinion.

A significant portion of the market supports POE, which if you have the cables run as you do, in my opinion is ideal. I like the single cable and the control from my POE switch. That part should not be an issue.

Type of camera... well this depends on your location(s). In my opinion (only an opinion), a bullet camera is not only less expensive, it's also less prone to breakdown - both because it has fewer (zero) moving parts. Modern bullet cameras have a pretty wide angle, 100° or more, and with a few strategically placed you may be able to cover your entire space with stable and fixed cameras. On the flip side, a PTZ gives you the ability to look elsewhere and have some sort of zoom functionality (some bullets do too). While I do not own any, from reading on here I know that you can set them up to auto-pan which would give you potentially a very large area of coverage however I believe motion detection while panning is limited because the whole image is in motion. Of the bullet/turret cameras I have, I am pleased with the build quality with a metal housing - it's not bullet proof armor but it feels substantial and I'm happy with it. If anything, it's only the cheap screws they provide for mounting that should be improved! It's for these reasons, plus that fact that you could likely get 3+ bullets for the price of a PTZ that I prefer them. Using Google Maps or a site like https://calculator.ipvm.com/ (credit to TimG for finding that) can help view your area and guesstimate your coverage based on cameras (assuming outside!)

I don't have audio on my cameras, I didn't/don't expect the microphones to be that good on them and likely just pick up noise I don't care about, but I know some have it. All of this would be different however if you wanted indoor cameras where I could totally understand. Ultimately I wouldn't make this a purchasing priority but if you had it, and ended up not wanting it, you could always disable it I suppose.

How many MPs..... well the more the better I guess! That said, the more MPs that Blue Iris has to contend with, the more processing power (and storage) you're going to need. My cameras are capable of 5MP, though I run them at 3.2MP so I get the dimensions/screen ratio I want. I'm happy with the quality I have (this is scaled down a bit due to forum attachment size limitations).
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (208.46 KiB) Viewed 573 times
You can definitely get higher which could be helpful if you're really paranoid about reading license plates or seeing blemishes on someones face... a little lower resolution on the other hand still works very well for a security camera, the goal here is (probably) not to make an iMAX movie.

Brands.... well the biggest thing I've learned is that 80-90% of the market is either Dahua or Hikvision based cameras/firmware. A majority of the cameras out there are just rebranded with minor firmware tweaks. All of mine are Dahua based and I'm happy with them, but between the two brands (links in my signature) there are firmware differences. Because of this, I'm not sure that the brand you buy matters THAT much but as long as it has the features you want and it's at a price point you like, it's probably good enough. One important note and concept many on here follow, is to NOT trust your cameras. Most of the firmware comes from the same country and is often configured, sometimes without the ability to disable, to communicate to the cloud. That doesn't mean they don't provide good images and work quite well. Your cameras do not, do not, do not need access to the internet or need to be accessible for you to view them remotely. The Blue Iris server connects to the cameras to access their video streams. You/users connect to the BI server ONLY for all viewing. With very explicit exceptions - with multiple design options - your cameras should be locked down/isolated to not be able to reach the Internet.

Hope this helps and that my opinions - they are opinions - don't ruffle too many feathers. Happy to answer more questions if you have them.
Pete917
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Pete917 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:12 pm

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Seems I have a bit of research to do.

One point you mention that concerns me also is preventing cameras talking to the internet. I'd be very interested to know how you achieve this lockdown. Is that using the IP address or do you have a separate LAN to manage that?

Thanks again for your feedback. Really appreciate it.
Strela101
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:50 pm

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Strela101 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:21 pm

I'd be interested in that as well, how can I make sure they're not going to be accessible from the Internet or vice versa?
User avatar
TimG
Posts: 618
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:45 am
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK.

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by TimG » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:47 pm

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Seems I have a bit of research to do.

One point you mention that concerns me also is preventing cameras talking to the internet. I'd be very interested to know how you achieve this lockdown. Is that using the IP address or do you have a separate LAN to manage that?
Hi Pete917,

Lots to think about:

1. Dome cameras can suffer from reflections from the glass, but if they are in reach, can prevent people moving the camera. A plastic dome would be useless, as it would degrade with UV.
2. Cameras need to be low enough to see under the hoodie that they are wearing. High up cams only see the top of the hood.
3. My Dahua "Starvis" turret cam is the best I have so far. It can see in colour in the dark with IR off, when my eyes only see darkness. The bad guys love darkness - don't buy a camera set up from anywhere showing fantastic pictures in daylight ! Night specs matter.
4. IR attracts spiders. They love the warm glow.
5. Ptz will be looking in the wrong direction when you need it. Use well spaced fixed cameras. You can add a ptz to play with.
6. Internet isolation can be done via a good router, but I have made a separate LAN just for cams to keep them off my media LAN. I then have a second NIC in the BI5 pc.
7. Audio - the Dahua has it. Living on a fairly busy road, it really adds another dimension to the recordings. BI5 allows me to share the same audio with older cameras that don't have audio.
8. Have a look at that ipvm site, and try a few cameras with different settings for your house. It will show you if you will be able to recognise a face or number plate etc at certain distances.

So, to recap, night specs are vital unless your area is lit 24/7. If you take my Dahua as the minimum night spec, then you will build an excellent system.
Blue Iris v5.3.1.5 | Win10 x64 version 2004 | Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, Foscam R2, Ertech 4MP, 2 analogue cameras on Euresys Picolo Pro 2 | Intel i5-3330 CPU, 8GB Ram, Multiple SSD and HD | TVMosaic.
Pete917
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Pete917 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:31 pm

I was looking at Dahua. It seems there are a lot if models. Could you advice which model that gives the good night time viewing that you referred to. Thanks.
User avatar
TimG
Posts: 618
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:45 am
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK.

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by TimG » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:12 pm

Hi Pete917,

It's listed in my signature under my post. They are a couple of years old now, so you may be able to find them at lower cost, but they may also be obsolete :!:

The specs are: Minimum Illumination

0.006Lux/F1.6 ( Color,1/3s,30IRE)

0.05Lux/F1.6 ( Color,1/30s,30IRE)

0Lux/F1.6 (IR on)

So any Dahua camera with similar or better night specs will be fine.

This particular camera has a motorised varifocal mechanism, but I wouldn't bother with that next time as you only use it once. You set it and leave it.
Blue Iris v5.3.1.5 | Win10 x64 version 2004 | Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, Foscam R2, Ertech 4MP, 2 analogue cameras on Euresys Picolo Pro 2 | Intel i5-3330 CPU, 8GB Ram, Multiple SSD and HD | TVMosaic.
Matts1984
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Matts1984 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:39 pm

Strela101 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:21 pm
I'd be interested in that as well, how can I make sure they're not going to be accessible from the Internet or vice versa?
There are varying levels of paranoia you can go by here. The simplest solution? Just don't give your cameras a default gateway. The most advanced? Use a full-fledged stateful inspection firewall that places the cameras on an isolated network.

If you have the ability to segment them off, that is ideal. The reality of it is that the only communication they need at all is with the BI server. Some have put them on a completely airgapped network that has no pathway to the Internet and simply give their BI server a second NIC on that network. That certainly works. In some situations you may still want your cameras to just do NTP so that they can put timestamps on the video... this potentially also requires them to be able to do DNS lookups, so that could all be a consideration with segmentation though.

The option you pick is really dependent mostly on your comfort level to deploy the solution. I personally have a firewall with isolated network. That network is allowed no outside communication and my BI server does have a second NIC on the camera network. My cameras do use NTP and DNS. I was able to configure the cameras to use my firewall for DNS lookups but they have hardcoded options for NTP. I simply translate the NTP requests going outbound to the Internet to redirect them to the firewall and it replies instead. Both brands of cameras I have by default attempt to connect to a cloud service for video sharing (I guess in case you don't have BI and just want to use what the manufacturer provides). One of the brands allowed me to disable this. The other... starts with an "A"... has the option to disable it, but it doesn't disable it. Their support forums have quite a few posts, some by me, about this issue and they refuse to fix it. Support provides a response that the cameras need to communicate to the cloud initially to tell it that they don't want to use it (cause that makes sense???) and then it should stop, or it should time out after a few hours. Both are inaccurate and my firewall will just continue blocking the annoying traffic. That said, the image quality is fine. I wouldn't buy them again though.
quickstop
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:30 pm

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by quickstop » Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:01 pm

Take a look at Reolink Cameras. I am using them and I found their customer support to be excellent.
https://reolink.com/
Strela101
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:50 pm

Re: Which Cameras should I Buy

Post by Strela101 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:47 am

Matts1984 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:39 pm
There are varying levels of paranoia you can go by here. The simplest solution? Just don't give your cameras a default gateway. The most advanced? Use a full-fledged stateful inspection firewall that places the cameras on an isolated network.

If you have the ability to segment them off, that is ideal. The reality of it is that the only communication they need at all is with the BI server. Some have put them on a completely airgapped network that has no pathway to the Internet and simply give their BI server a second NIC on that network. That certainly works. In some situations you may still want your cameras to just do NTP so that they can put timestamps on the video... this potentially also requires them to be able to do DNS lookups, so that could all be a consideration with segmentation though.

The option you pick is really dependent mostly on your comfort level to deploy the solution. I personally have a firewall with isolated network. That network is allowed no outside communication and my BI server does have a second NIC on the camera network. My cameras do use NTP and DNS. I was able to configure the cameras to use my firewall for DNS lookups but they have hardcoded options for NTP. I simply translate the NTP requests going outbound to the Internet to redirect them to the firewall and it replies instead. Both brands of cameras I have by default attempt to connect to a cloud service for video sharing (I guess in case you don't have BI and just want to use what the manufacturer provides). One of the brands allowed me to disable this. The other... starts with an "A"... has the option to disable it, but it doesn't disable it. Their support forums have quite a few posts, some by me, about this issue and they refuse to fix it. Support provides a response that the cameras need to communicate to the cloud initially to tell it that they don't want to use it (cause that makes sense???) and then it should stop, or it should time out after a few hours. Both are inaccurate and my firewall will just continue blocking the annoying traffic. That said, the image quality is fine. I wouldn't buy them again though.
Thanks a lot for that explanation, I guess I'll go for the simplest option; it'll provide some actual protection, while not requiring me to go full Fort Knox for 3 cameras at a holiday house.
Post Reply