Austin area user and integrator of cameras

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by LCBrevard, Nov 6, 2018.

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  1. LCBrevard

    LCBrevard n3wb

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    I have a lot of IP cameras. Currently, there are 26 located at two houses with a wireless network connection between the houses.

    2 Panasonic
    8 Foscam
    3 Amcrest
    5 Ubiquiti
    8 SV3C

    I started putting camera images on the web with web cameras attached to PCs back in the 90's - using Webcam32 to post a rolling series of still images and a Perl CGI website to select and display them. This actually helped me get a job with Motorola in 1997 when it impressed the hiring manager.

    I started on IP cameras with a pair of rather expensive Panasonic cameras in 2008 at the behest of a client who needed to monitor his disabled and aging father.

    I still have those cameras, which were returned to me after the father died.

    After that, I went crazy putting in inexpensive Foscam cameras at my house in San Jose. Eventually, I had ten of them including indoor PTZ models and outdoor bullets.

    I found Javascript code from a guy (the uber overlord) in the Dallas area to allow posting streams from the Foscam cameras into frames on a web page.

    After moving back to Texas in 2014, I purchased several Amcrest cameras as the successor to Foscam but they never worked as well and I could never integrate them into frames even though I found never code from the successor to "the uber overlord" (who had apparently died) that was PHP based.

    In Texas, I ended up with two properties about 1/3 of a mile apart. At the prompting of a friend, we set up a network link between the two properties using Ubiquiti Nanostation NSM5 radios.

    The NSM5 using Power over Ethernet (PoE) and has a pass-through PoE port on the radio that goes up on the tower. The intention is to use a PoE camera from Ubiquiti.

    I purchased PoE "bullet" cameras from Amcrest only to discover that their PoE was not compatible with the Ubiquiti PoE. This led to purchasing a set of 3 Ubiquiti "version 1" cameras. Those worked with the PoE but had so many other flaws that Ubiquiti eventually offered a trade-in program giving almost the full purchase price of the generation 1 cameras towards new generation 3 cameras. I took advantage of that to get two "bullet" cameras and one "dome" model.

    I attached a Ubiquiti bullet to each NSM5 radio - one at my main house and the other at the other smaller house. Both look out the driveway.

    Meanwhile, I also purchased a couple of PoE injectors that worked with the Amcrest bullet cameras and installed one of those cameras at each house.

    The NSM5 link worked but was very limited in capacity due to a tree in the line of sight. In October 2018, we moved the antenna mast to the other end of the smaller house and got a much better signal.

    As I was using a camera attached to the NSM5, it also moved to the other end of the house and I purchased another Ubiquiti camera to go where the original one was. Unlike the original Ubiquiti equipment this camera could also work on standard 802.3af PoE - now coming from an inexpensive switch with 4 PoE ports and two uplink ports.

    I also discovered extremely inexpensive (less than $40) bullet cameras with 1920x1080 from a company called SV3C and bought three of them (for less than the price of one Ubiquiti camera). These were a complete pain to set up but I got them working with both a web interface (Internet Explorer with ActiveX plugin only) and a very minimal "Monitor" application.

    I was happy enough with that to buy additional SV3C cameras. Eventually, I ended up with four bullets and two domes.

    After getting the first SV3C cameras to work, I realized I had a mess with cameras from four vendors (effectively five since the SV3C domes were completely different from the bullets).

    That's when I discovered that Blueiris seemed to be the gold standard for integrating cameras from different vendors.

    It was well worth the $65 for the PC version plus another $6 for the iOS client (working on both my iPhone 8 plus and my iPod mini 3).

    Now I have all the cameras, dating back to those ancient Panasonics setup with groups to allow me to view each house or all of a given camera vendor.

    I can view them in the Blueiris application, via a web browser (both in the LAN and remotely), or using my iPhone or iPad. I can see both live camera views and look at motion triggered recordings.

    The next step is to look into alarm integration and camera operation from an "Intelligent Floorplan" system that I have developed with a couple of friends.
     
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  2. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

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    Welcome and you are very correct...Blue Iris IS the gold standard to many on this forum.
    We also have our share of Ubiquiti Nanostation and UBNT in general aficionados, yours truly being among those.
     
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  3. LCBrevard

    LCBrevard n3wb

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    I've been very impressed with the Nanostation NSM5 and, to a lesser extent, the NS locoM2 - especially once we moved the antenna mast at the "remote" house to a better location.

    In case you're wondering, the "remote" house is a 1740 sf "double-wide" 3-2 on a .83 acre lot that I bought in June 2014 while I still lived in San Jose, CA. You can't really call it a "mobile home" as it is mounted to a real foundation and "converted to real-estate" for insurance and tax purposes.

    This gave us a stepping stone to get out of our California house, sell it, and look for something more appropriate. We only lived in it for a few months before buying the 3330 sf 4-3.5-3 house less than half a mile away which is now our home. I don't want to put up with tenants - especially what I will get in a neighborhood of mobile homes - so, we just use the "double-wide" as a guest house, climate controlled storage, and a spare office. My money manager recommended that I just keep it as an investment rather than sell it and give him the proceeds to manage.

    Since there is usually no one there, it is very good to have the 10 cameras (i8 outside and two inside) to keep an eye on the place.

    Anyway... the Ubiquiti cameras, once I replaced the somewhat pitiful generation 1 version cameras, work quite well. Given the PoE port on the NSM5s, it's pretty compelling to connect cameras there.

    After we moved the mast (from one end of the house to the other) I put the camera that used to point at the driveway up at the top of the mast looking back to the other house. This made antenna alignment much easier and gives me a nice view out to the west from above the trees.

    HOWEVER... the cost of the Ubiquiti cameras is hard to justify given inexpensive alternatives like the $40 SV3C. I initially bought 3 of the SV3C bullets plus a BV 4 Poe + 2 Uplink port switch for less than the cost of the one additional Ubiquiti camera!

    Another way to look at it is the Blueiris software plus a couple more SV3C cameras cost less than one Ubiquiti camera.

    As a final note, while the Ubiquiti NVR software (running on Windows 10) works well, every time I go to upgrade it, I go through hell to get it to work again. I usually end up uninstalling it and reinstalling the newest version. I think the "upgrade" path has worked at most one time over the years. I do still run it as it provides the RTSP streams used by Blueiris.
     
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  4. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    I encourage you to look at Dahua's 2MP Starlight cameras such as IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, IPC-HDW2231R-ZS, and IPC-HDW4231EM-ASE. They aren't super-cheap like your SV3C bullets, but offer features and image quality that surpass UBNT cameras, at a lower price than UBNT cameras.

    You can also try Dahua's new 8MP Lite series. Most of the models have new 1/1.8" sensors which perform significantly better at night than earlier 8MP models. I have a couple of these and really like them. Here's a link to them on the Dahua website. Note you will probably need to open this link twice, as Dahua's website is really quirky with its region selection code and the first click won't bring you to the right place.
     
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  5. Michael Graves

    Michael Graves n3wb

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    I am confused about Dahua. I see different things that appear to be Dahua product, offered under the name EmpireTech. These (https://amzn.to/2EcgDUO) even use the same model designations and marketing language, ex StarLight. These are the very models you recommend.

    Then I see what appear to be genuine Dahua product, but NOT the models you recommend. What gives?
     
  6. mat200

    mat200 IPCT Contributor

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    Hi Michael,

    There's a lot of potential confusion when you start to search for those terms - as many vendors which are not to be trusted will game the system on Ali, Ebay, Amazon and make false claims, misrepresentations, and even out right fraud to part you from your cash. In many cases they will claim a product is a "Dahua starlight" and it is not - just a hacked Chinese market camera which has poorer quality components and firmware which you may not be able to update - and if you do update it or restore it - it may revert to Chinese language.

    When buying from Ali, Ebay, Amazon - Go with vendors which are recommended by forum members.

    Note: EmpireTech is one of the recommended vendors - when Dahua sells OEM cameras to vendors, they get the "unbranded" models and typically have to give them their "private label" or their own brand. ( this is similar to the Hikvision OEM products - which get rebranded also.. )
     
  7. Michael Graves

    Michael Graves n3wb

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    I have a handful of Grandstream cameras and their NVR. They are exiting the market. Their NVR is already discontinued. Their gear was never sufficiently ONVIF compliant.

    Since I also have some Ubiquiti network gear I had been considering their cameras and NVR. But I'm open to Dahua if I can do better for the same or less $.
     
  8. mat200

    mat200 IPCT Contributor

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    Hi Michael,

    The Ubiguiti cameras iirc are rather pricey.

    Definitely look at your Dahua OEM international models as an option as we have a good source here.
     
  9. Michael Graves

    Michael Graves n3wb

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  10. LCBrevard

    LCBrevard n3wb

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    I have both G3 bullet and dome cameras. Somehow I missed the appearance of the Flex.
    Looks like a very interesting alternative.
    BUT... the SV3C cheapo cameras at $40 for a bullet sure work well with Blueiris.
    The big thing they are missing is audio.
     
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  11. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Sv3c is utter garbage.
     
  12. mat200

    mat200 IPCT Contributor

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    Hi Michael,

    You'll need to decide what is more important to you, the Unifi control environment or quality of the camera.

    Here's the models from Empire Tech you may want to compare to the G3, all of these are starlight models and should be superior in image quality than the G3.

    https://www.amazon.com/d/Bullet-Cam...1EM-ASE-Starlight-Eyeball-Network/B07B9TNCQD/

    https://www.amazon.com/EmpireTech-IPC-HDW2231R-ZS-Starlight-Eyeball-Network/dp/B07DRC93S8/

    https://www.amazon.com/EmpireTech-IPC-HFW4239T-ASE-Full-Color-Starlight-Network/dp/B07L3DHFYX/
     
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  13. LCBrevard

    LCBrevard n3wb

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    They were a pain to initially set up and their own software support is certainly garbage.

    But, once I tried them with Blueiris I added several to my guest house exterior.
    The ones I got are amazingly well built and produce a very nice picture.
     
  14. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Once again they are garbage, the picture is subpar you have just never experienced a quality camera. You also don't know what a well-built camera is either. But who am I to argue with an expert integrator who has experience with notable quality brands like foscam
     
  15. jainsight

    jainsight n3wb

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    Would you mind sharing your setup in the camera? We've installed a 4MP POE camera and can't seem to keep the FPS stable in BI. Sometimes it works and gets close to the set FPS then gradually starts to dip and hiccup... This seems unusable and we're considering complaining to both the company and to amazon...

    Fakespot | Sv3c Ip Poe Camera Security Outdoor 4 Megapixels Super Hd 2560x1440 Fake Review Analysis
     
  16. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Unfortunately you have learned the hard way Some credit cards offer 90 day returns. Amazon might help you out as well if you show them the fake reviews.
     
  17. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee IPCT Contributor

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    I wrote a bad review on one of there cameras. They were will to give me 50% refund and let me keep the camera if I changed my review. No deal......
     
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  18. jainsight

    jainsight n3wb

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    After drilling down a bit (noticed that the RTSP feed was okay in VLC) thought there may be an issue on the BI machine... Turns out that for whatever reason some generic RTSP cams at h264/5 don't play nicely with intel quick sync; after turning off hardware accelerated decoding in blue iris the feed is far more usable... Hope this helps someone else... Just because a company may use shady reviews to get attention - and as crappy as the practice may be - doesn't mean the product is crap too. :confused: The framerate is maxed out a 10 FPS at 1440 with the IR Lights on, for now - it'll do...
     
  19. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    Listen their products ARE crap. Crap firmware crap sensors = poorly performing camera. Its nice that you want to convince yourself that its not that bad, but its complete and utter GARBAGE. Particularly the low light image quality. The fact that you set aside FAKE amazon reviews that are PAID for by the company is telling that you cannot admit that you made a mistake. Only a fool buys SV3C twice.