Asking for recommendations for a video camera/recorder system for home
security. Costco sells several "Q-See" brand packages, but I'm a little
skeptical about the quality, based on the price. I'd rather buy 2 or 3
high quality cameras than 16 mediocre ones. (OTOH I'm not much
interested in pissing away money unnecessarily.)
More or less open to any suggestions about specific brands to buy or
avoid, or suggestions on other aspects of the overall system that I
should be paying attention to.
Burglar alarm is monitored, and sheriffs DO respond quickly, but I'd
still like to get clear images of anyone who decides to do a smash and
grab when no one is home. Have no idea how many pixels that would
require, or other camera specs. I've seen too many TV shows of liquor
store robberies where the security footage falls way short of providing
clear images of the perps.
I ended up with a Clover (Wisecomm) brand. It works ok but isn't
all that clear. I can recognize me walking across a yard. It has a
recording card, and a 7" monitor. Two cameras.
I learned a couple things. "Wireless" isn't. The cameras and the
dvr/monitor need 120 vac. Wireless means the cameras don't need to be
directly wired to the receiver. I thought briefly about using some sort
of solar setup with an inverter. Summer is a busy time for me so I
didn't pursue that thought. It was easier to wire up some 120 vac.
The other is the cameras aren't meant to be out in the open. I think
the term is "weather resistant". That means they're meant to be under
an overhang or otherwise protected from direct rainfall.
My intention was to buy the Svat brand. They were on backorder so I
passed on those. Another one I looked at seriously was called Defender.
Look at the ones on Amazon. There is a lot of commentary about the
ones sold there.
It looks like a couple companies build several versions/brands. The
pictures and descriptions seem very similar.
Thanks, I have spent some time on Amazon and as usual am frustrated by
their piss-poor attempt at creating a useful "sort and select"
algorithm. McMaster Carr gets an A in e-commerce, Digikey gets a B, and
everyone else on the planet gets an F.
I appreciate the brand-specific suggestions.
you should post your request in
from that group's recommendation for superCircuits, I bought 4 cameras
of a potential 8 camera system.
Incredible quality of video. The cameras were external day/night
vision which meant they had a ring of red LED's around the lense that
provided illumination at low light levels. unless you looked directly
at the camera you couldn't even see these red LEDs when they were on.
They are powered by 12Vdc, so you can run low voltage cabling, not
if you can find my name recommending the system you'll get a better
description. Any questions, I always reached a human.
Approx what I said was SuperCircuits was recommended in the
alt.security.alarms group; I ordered a complete 4 camera inside/
outside day/night vision system for DIY installation [and professional
quality]; the items all came promptly packed very well high quality
cameras from Korea; they made a small mistake on the quote and honored
the lower price, and added two 50 foot cables at no additional charge;
what they shipped [and this can happen to anyone] had slight errors ie
they were supposed to send 4 connectors one type and 4 connectors
another type, but instead sent 8 connectors all the same. Contacting
them was easy, always reached a knowledgeable human, They corrected
instantly with NO CHARGE, specifically sent me 8 of the other type
connectors - in case I wanted to expand my system to the full 8
Later, again instantly reaching a person, they helped me set up the
software of the system.
The quality of the products, the support I received, and the speed
with which they operated have me as a return customer.
No alarm system will prevent someone from stealing your stuff if they
really want it.
The purpose of an alarm is to suggest to the thief that it would be
lower risk to rob your neighbor instead. Fake cameras do that as well
as real ones.
As you noted, you're not gonna get clear pictures from any unattended
camera system you can afford.
The experiment is easy. Take your 640x480 webcam and stick it in the
Check out the relationships between viewing angle, resolution and focus.
Try it in different lighting conditions. Bottom line is, unless someone
sticks their face in the camera, you're not likely to get any incriminating
If your camera has motion tracking, auto focus and optical auto zoom, you
may have a chance.
If you want to prevent smash and grab, spend your money preventing the
smash. Bars on the windows are much more effective than cameras on the
Go down to the local surveillance camera store and get some demos.
ALL of my window burglar bars open with locks that cannot be manipulated
from outside. I caution any overnight guests that, in case of fire, go for a
window, not a door. The burglar-barred doors are key-locked from both the
outside and the inside.
If the squints DO get in, they'll have to haul their haul out through a
window, which would discourage them from stealing my $1,200 dishwasher (that
I got for forty bucks).
I have no real experience with security cameras but you might consider
attaching whatever you select to a UPS. Those who de-feather chickens as a
hobby often cut the power to a building in hopes of disabling security
I played with the concept using a cheapo IP camera from Panasonic.
Had pan/tilt. Don't remember whether it could zoom.
I determined that I might be able to recognize a person I knew
under optimal conditions. To pick an unknown person out of a lineup
would take much better resolution and dynamic range.
I have a friend in another state who has a Pelco on a tower 40
feet in the air. Has wide dynamic range, mechanical iris.
Pan/tilt/zoom/autofocus. Takes amazing pictures over a wide
range of circumstances, but I don't think I'd be able to
recognize a face. You can set it to scan and log video.
But it's all proprietary and only works with their interface
card and software. Can control/view it over the web.
Think he paid $500 for it a decade ago.
There was a break-in on his block. The cops came and looked
at his video, but don't think it helped them much.
There are a gazillion online webcams. Some of them say what
cameras they use.
This is one place to start:
There may be unstated circumstances, but for most of us,
an unmonitored affordable security camera is a waste of effort.
If you're willing to monitor it 24/7 and actively discourage
Call up your insurance company. Tell 'em you're gonna install
a consumer grade security camera with a VCR. Ask how much that
will reduce your premiums. That will give you an idea of their
assessment of the effectiveness of the endeavor.
Motion sensor lights and fake cameras are as much of a deterrent
as real unmonitored security cameras.
I'm all for catching the perp. But your door is still kicked in
and the big-screen is long gone.
There's something to be said for keeping a low profile.
What if you do identify the perp. And you're sitting in court
with the rest of his "gang". How might the outcome affect
Preventing the break-in is far better than catching the offender.
I saved this list. Don't remember where I got it.
Aldos Visual Capture - http://www.aldostools.org/visualcapture.html
Artisan Mx (monitor) -
BooruWebCam - http://www.booru.net /
Broadcaster Studio Pro (hpnf) -
Cam2pc Freeware - http://www.nabocorp.com/cam2pc/freeware.php
Cam-a-lot (stream to web) -
Cam Chaser Pro (hpnf) -
Camembert (monitor/refresh multiple worldwide webcams) -
Cam in Style (combine 2 feeds) -
Cam Protect (connect via ftp) -
Capture Studio Pro -
Crime Catcher - www.new-software.co.uk
Cyberlink YouCam3 (effects) -
Dorgem - http://dorgem.sourceforge.net /
Eyeline Video Surveillance - http://www.tucows.com/preview/505724
Freelook (= mouselook) -
GrabMotion - http://www.grabmotion.com /
HDWebcam3 (protection) -
Home Security Camera -
Homewatch DSL Cam (security monitor) - http://www.zincware.com /
HssVss (motion Detector) - http://www.hssvss.com /
Jcapture (snapshot - Java req) - http://freshmeat.net/projects/jcapture /
ManyCam (multiple app use) - http://www.manycam.com /
Metrox Home Security - (hpnf)
Move Action (movement sensor) - http://members.multimania.co.uk/wuul /
My Screen Cam - http://www.uk-software.com/MyScreenCam /
Red Hand (surveillance) -
Remote Control Eye (Logitech Orbit & Creative Live Motion) -
Perios (timelapse) - http://perios.ic.cz /
Procaster (desktop/games/webcam -> web) -
Pryme - http://www.hilo.dk/pryme /
RGS-Avacam (free edition) - http://users.belgacom.net/rgs /
RK Webcam (motion sensor) -
Screen Tool - http://topcat.hypermart.net/screentool.html
Secure Cam - http://brooksyounce.tripod.com/Soft-SecureCam.htm
Senriska (surveillance) - http://sourceforge.net/projects/senriska /
SkillCapture (inc motion capture/rfid) - http://www.video4coach.com /
SplitCam - http://www.splitcamera.com /
V-camshow (worldwide) - http://virdi-software.com/vcamshow/desc.shtml
Video Cam Server - http://www.raybase.com/vcs/index.html
Video Site Monitor - www.fgeng.com
(free edition does not capture images to disk or interact with the
Webcam 2000 - http://www.webcam2000.info /
WebcamAMP (addon effects) - no longer free
Webcam Broadcaster (hpnf) -
Webcam Diagnostics - http://noeld.com/programs.asp?cat=video
Webcam First (uploader) - http://www.webcamfirst.com /
Webcam Max (effects,upload) - no longer free
WebcamNow - http://www.webcamnow.com /
Webcam Picture Taker (hpnf) -
Webcam Spy - http://download.cnet.com/WebCam-Spy/3000-2348_4-10238595.html
Webcam Thumbnails Desktop -
Webcam Viewer - http://www.webcamviewer.de /
Webcam Watcher - http://www.webcamwatcher.com/wcw_code.html
Webcam XP - http://www.webcamxp.com/home.aspx
World of Webcams(put webcam online) - http://ww.com /
Yawcam - http://www.yawcam.com /
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