6 outdoor cameras... make my life easy (Los Angeles)

RROONNBB

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  • I'm in the end-game for a new home build and it's time to figure out things like security cameras. The good news is I've got ethernet running to 6 exterior locations but beyond that I'm starting from scratch on the learning curve (well, other than a lot of hours browsing this forum).
  • In addition to the camera setup I also need to spec out my WiFi network. Although I don't expect to be using many cameras over WiFi (just the Nest we have for baby-cam) I mention it because I'll also be buying things like routers and other devices that might play into my camera setup. (Specifically, I'm considering Ubiquiti USG and a couple of Ubiquiti AC Pros - so the natural question that comes up is whether standardizing on Ubiquity G3/etc cameras has benefits in terms of interoperability).
  • Generally I'm looking for something that's not going to require a ton of sysadmin to setup or maintain. I'm reasonably technical but don't really want to spend the time diving into massive configuation issues, etc.
  • Because of this, I'm also trying to balance what the tradeoffs are between, say, a Synology NAS vs. a dedicated PC.
  • (Currently we're a totally Mac house - I used to work for Apple, and MacOS and Linux are far more familiar to me than Windows - but it sure seems like Blue Iris is the recommended system if you really want maximum configurability.)
  • Cost is (always) an issue but spending a few hundred dollars more for a drastic improvement in capability is definitely within budget.
  • And then there's the whole can o' worms of making things work nicely with some sort of home automation system...
  • So I guess my specific questions boil down to:
  • Is there an advantage to going with Ubiquity cameras ( the not-yet-released G3Pro looks nice) both in terms of playing nicely with Ubiquiti networking gear and in terms of general capabilties vs something like Dahua?
  • I always hear that Blue Iris gives a lot more capabilities than something like Synology Surveillance Station but have never seen anybody list some concrete examples. Anybody care to do so?
  • If I did decide to just use a Mac (running Security Spy, presumably) vs a PC w/ Blue Iris, am I going to regret it? (Yes, I know that's a loaded question :))
 

ThomasPI

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We are an all Mac house, have been for years. However, also building a new house and planning our network. I’ll buy a dedicated machine strictly for BI and about 10 cameras and zero WiFi.
 

mat200

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  • I'm in the end-game for a new home build and it's time to figure out things like security cameras. The good news is I've got ethernet running to 6 exterior locations but beyond that I'm starting from scratch on the learning curve (well, other than a lot of hours browsing this forum).
  • In addition to the camera setup I also need to spec out my WiFi network. Although I don't expect to be using many cameras over WiFi (just the Nest we have for baby-cam) I mention it because I'll also be buying things like routers and other devices that might play into my camera setup. (Specifically, I'm considering Ubiquiti USG and a couple of Ubiquiti AC Pros - so the natural question that comes up is whether standardizing on Ubiquity G3/etc cameras has benefits in terms of interoperability).
  • Generally I'm looking for something that's not going to require a ton of sysadmin to setup or maintain. I'm reasonably technical but don't really want to spend the time diving into massive configuation issues, etc.
  • Because of this, I'm also trying to balance what the tradeoffs are between, say, a Synology NAS vs. a dedicated PC.
  • (Currently we're a totally Mac house - I used to work for Apple, and MacOS and Linux are far more familiar to me than Windows - but it sure seems like Blue Iris is the recommended system if you really want maximum configurability.)
  • Cost is (always) an issue but spending a few hundred dollars more for a drastic improvement in capability is definitely within budget.
  • And then there's the whole can o' worms of making things work nicely with some sort of home automation system...
  • So I guess my specific questions boil down to:
  • Is there an advantage to going with Ubiquity cameras ( the not-yet-released G3Pro looks nice) both in terms of playing nicely with Ubiquiti networking gear and in terms of general capabilties vs something like Dahua?
  • I always hear that Blue Iris gives a lot more capabilities than something like Synology Surveillance Station but have never seen anybody list some concrete examples. Anybody care to do so?
  • If I did decide to just use a Mac (running Security Spy, presumably) vs a PC w/ Blue Iris, am I going to regret it? (Yes, I know that's a loaded question :))
Welcome RroonnBB

Clearly cost is not that critical of an issue if you're already talking Ubiquity products ;)

BTW - there is currently a deal at Newegg on Ubiquity products...
Newegg 11/17+ Ubiquiti switch deals including 16 port PoE+ $269

Many people here really like the BI option, so you probably want to include that at the top of your options to review.

It's easy to get swamped with information here, so I wanted to share some notes with you

Please check out @giomania 's notes:
Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z)

I have also made notes which are a summary of a lot of the reading I've been doing here,:
Looking for some advice and direction!

Have fun joining us here.
 

RROONNBB

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Welcome RroonnBB

Clearly cost is not that critical of an issue if you're already talking Ubiquity products ;)

BTW - there is currently a deal at Newegg on Ubiquity products...
Newegg 11/17+ Ubiquiti switch deals including 16 port PoE+ $269

Please check out @giomania 's notes:
Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z)

I have also made notes which are a summary of a lot of the reading I've been doing here,:
Looking for some advice and direction!

Have fun joining us here.
Yes, I know there's a cost to Ubiquity vs. Chinese imports from AliExpress/etc.... If it saves me a ton of configuration time not having to deal with firmware, security and so on then yes, it may be worth it to me. Obviously hard to quantify.

Thanks for the heads-up on Ubiquity sale and those notes are super useful!
 

fenderman

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Yes, I know there's a cost to Ubiquity vs. Chinese imports from AliExpress/etc.... If it saves me a ton of configuration time not having to deal with firmware, security and so on then yes, it may be worth it to me. Obviously hard to quantify.

Thanks for the heads-up on Ubiquity sale and those notes are super useful!
It's not just the cost, the image quality of the ubiquiti is inferior...you don't have to deal with security on either cam, vpn is a must...
 

TonyR

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Are the ubnt cams any good? I keep seeing people ask about them but none recommending them. Just curiouse.
Have installed dozens of Uniquiti outdoor radios (Nanostation 2M's, Locos, both 2.4 and 5 GHz) and IMHO, it's top notch gear. Have installed half dozen UniFi indoor AP's as well, again, great stuff. I have one 4 year old UniFi Airvision that has been rock steady but the image is not so good. Cannot attest to the newer Ubiquiti cams, though.
 

aristobrat

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Unless your house has awesome outside lighting at night, you’re almost guaranteed to run into the issue where image quality at night gets noisy/grainy unless you get a camera that uses Sony’s STARVIS image sensor in it. At 2/3 MP, the physical size on the image sensor for each pixel is larger and captures more light, which makes dusk/night image quality a ton better.

Dahua cameras with this setup are called Starlight and come in all shapes (turrets are preferred outside as they don’t have domes on them that can reflect the IR). Hikvision cameras like this are called Ultra Low Light.

Ubnt doesn’t have any cameras like that. There is a thread on here about them, with a Ubnt employee that participated for awhile. IIRC, he said their value-add is easy warranty service and no fuss firmware upgrades. Their image quality appears to be run-of-the-mill, definitely not on par with the Dahua and Hikvision with the Sony STARVIS sensors, at least not after dusk. And they don’t support ONVIF, which makes them that more of a PITA to use with other recorders, like Blue Iris. I think they make more sense as indoor cameras for businesses that are paying another company to install something for them.

I run a USG-3, their 8-port PoE switch, and an AC Pro (with a CloudKey managing it all). Love the UBNT hardware, features, and management. It was a tough call not to go with their camera system, but after almost a year running Dahua Starlights with Blue Iris, I have no regrets and would do the same build if starting today.

The “go to” camera here for the last year has been the Dahua Starlight turret. There is an Ali vendor (Andy, @EMPIRETECANDY) that sells Dahua that has been very active on the forums for both pre-sale questions and post-sale support, so it’s not like ordering from a random Ali store in China where you hope you’re not getting scammed (or will still be there if you have problems later). He will also do sales via PayPal (vs his Ali store) if you contact him through email. At this point, with the big install base of these Dahua Starlights, the forum itself has become a great source of knowledge and support. While there is no direct-to-Dahua support for these cameras, Andy has opened support cases for us and Dahua has made firmware updates based on them.

I’m a Mac guy but run a headless Windows box for Blue Iris. I run the iOS client on both my iPhone and iPad, and it even pushes motion alerts to my watch (including an image snapshot). I didn’t care for the look/feel of the native WebUI, but an admin here wrote a much better looking one that can be dropped in. I think the BI author is going to be including that version as the native in a future update. BI also gets small updates at least once a month, which has been cool.

I did not want a PC running 24x7, so I started with a Dahua NVR before Blue Iris. It was OK, but at the time there was a (since fixed) firmware bug that caused some dropped frames when motion recordings stopped. I switched to BI very begrudgingly and have come to love it. The BI mobile app is soooooo much faster to connect, and the way it organizes the clips of motion make it so much easier to remotely see what’s going on. Alerts are more customizable (so I’m not getting 20 back to back when my roommate is outside playing fetch with his dogs, and it’s super easy for me to mute them entirely for an hour when I’m mowing the lawn). BI can easily make http calls when alerts happen, which easily ties it into my separate home automation system.

Oh, before the Dahua NVR I ran Surveillance Station on an old Synology NAS. It worked, it was just slow with only two cameras (could have been my old hardware), and the remote app was clunky. Not many folks here were using it, and the Synology forums weren’t very active with it, so I didn’t feel that great about purchasing additional licenses for it.
 

RROONNBB

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extremely useful information
Excellent info, thanks. You've got the perfect mix of experience for most of the stuff I'm considering!

For what it's worth, the still-in-beta Ubiquiti G3-Pro is allegedly (via https://dl.ubnt.com/datasheets/unifi/UniFI_Video_DS.pdf) using the Sony IMX290 sensor which I believe is STARVIS. Not sure exactly how it compares with the sensor in the Dahua Turret you mention (Somewhere I found that sensor listed as IMX291 but couldn't find much more about it).

Still... your points are very compelling. I may have to pick your brain about your windows setup a little more if I go that route... I know I've seen threads on buying a reasonably-priced windows machine but there's still the issue of setting up VPN and whatnot... Has anybody seen a step-by-step to getting a windows PC into the proper state to run BI securely (and, as you're doing, headless)?

-r
 

looney2ns

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Excellent info, thanks. You've got the perfect mix of experience for most of the stuff I'm considering!

For what it's worth, the still-in-beta Ubiquiti G3-Pro is allegedly (via https://dl.ubnt.com/datasheets/unifi/UniFI_Video_DS.pdf) using the Sony IMX290 sensor which I believe is STARVIS. Not sure exactly how it compares with the sensor in the Dahua Turret you mention (Somewhere I found that sensor listed as IMX291 but couldn't find much more about it).

Still... your points are very compelling. I may have to pick your brain about your windows setup a little more if I go that route... I know I've seen threads on buying a reasonably-priced windows machine but there's still the issue of setting up VPN and whatnot... Has anybody seen a step-by-step to getting a windows PC into the proper state to run BI securely (and, as you're doing, headless)?

-r
Numerous threads here about those subjects. Go to the proper subject sub forums.
 
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