Black or white outdoor cameras?

Discussion in 'Camera Installation Questions' started by SecuritySeeker, Mar 8, 2019.

Share This Page

  1. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi,

    I'll be ordering some outdoor camera's for our home that's currently being built and I find myself wondering whether I should be getting white or black camera's. They will probably be Dahua 2MP starlights turrets or eyeballs.

    To get an idea of how this would look on our new home I made some pictures of an someone else's existing home nearby which was built using the exact same materials, bricks etc. This particular home has a white security 'bald spot' cam (again, this is not my home and I will not be placing the cams like this).

    I used PhotoShop to attempt to find out what a black cam would look like, so here's both versions:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And some close-ups:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There are various considerations involved such as do I want my cams to be inconspicuous or not, although in my case I'll probably be required to put up a (small) sign that advertises that there are security cams anyway.

    What would you do and why?
     
  2. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,111
    Likes Received:
    2,828
    Location:
    Alabama
    • I commend your choice of using the Dahua 2MP Starlight turrets.
    • I'd go with white...that additional chance of visibility by contrasting with the brick could be a deterrent in itself.
    • I'm estimating that the cam as shown is at 9 ft. height (7 ft. door + 12 rows of bricks); if so, that's too high....7 ft. would be better if at all possible.
     
  3. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thank you for chiming in, appreciated.

    As for camera height, I already dubbed the cam on this house a 'bald spot' cam in my OP as it's too high and too close to cover the door area. On our house the front door cam will be placed just above the lower floor windows, in addition to (hopefully) a doorbell cam and the doorbell and lamp will be on the other side of the door:

    [​IMG]

    I'm hoping this will make it more useful.
     
    TonyR likes this.
  4. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,111
    Likes Received:
    2,828
    Location:
    Alabama
    So the doorbell "cam" will be at 5.2 ft. but the actual doorbell button will be below that, at about doorknob height?
     
  5. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    No, both will be at 5.2 ft. The standard height for the doorbell is indeed at about doorknob height as per the pictures in my OP but in my case the doorbell has been moved up to 5.2 ft and the standard wiring has been replaced with CAT6 with 15cm slack in the wiring so that I can the standard doorbell with a doorbell cam at my convenience after building is completed. I also prefer the doorbell a bit higher than doorknob height to keep pesky small children from pressing it :)

    I'm hoping that a doorbell cam at 5.2ft will provide a good view on faces in most circumstances, even if someone is wearing a baseball cap.
     
  6. pozzello

    pozzello Getting comfortable

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,441
    Likes Received:
    384
    the lamp by the door is too low and would blow out the view from the cam above the windows.
    hopefully, your lamp will be higher and not in the FoV of the cam(s)...
     
  7. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I'm afraid our lamp wil be at the same height. If it's a problem for the camera perhaps I can apply a little sticker to the left pane of the glass frame to obscure the lightbulb from the camera's view.

    Or perhaps the sticker instead of being opague could even be a kind of Fresnel lens type sticker to bend the light slightly downards? Does such a thing exist?

    If not perhaps a heavily frosted filter sticker (not covering the entire left glass pane, just the bit through which the camera sees the lightbulb) might do the job.
     
  8. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks. Now if only I could find the doorbell cam of my dreams (well, not literally), you know, the one that everyone wants: PoE, no cloud, 2MP, small and stylish with high WAF, Onvif, SIP audio support etc... at a price that won't break the bank.
    That is the question really: do I want them to be highly visible or not? From a deterrence point of view the answer is of course yes. On the other hand I'm planning to also have an alarm system with an outdoor sirene/flashlight on the front facade. Would that perhaps provide sufficient deterrence by itself ?

    Regarding the color of the cams, my only doubt has to do with esthetics and WAF and NAF (Neighbors Acceptance Factor). I kinda like how the black ones are not very noticeable but on the other hand even though the white ones are probably much more visible they might also come across a bit friendlier, if that makes any sense.

    So, what do you think, do white cams look friendlier than black ones?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  9. Iemand91

    Iemand91 Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I think the only (somewhat affordable) options are the Doorbird S101 (~ €350) and the Doorsafe DS6600. (~€105)
    They tick all the boxes apart from the 2MP, since they shoot video in 720p.

    EDIT: wait, I think the Doorsafe doesn't support SIP.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  10. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the suggestions, not sure if I've really looked at the the Doorsafe before.

    I've seen the Doorbird in real life, it seems a bit bulky if not flush mounted (which will probably not be an option for me). It's also a bit more than what I'd like to spend on a doorbell. But it does seem to come closest to what I'm looking for.

    The Doorsafe uses a separate PoE extractor, not sure where I'd put that.

    I might be willing to give up SIP, chances are that it's not going to work as well as I'd like. I'll also need an indoor chime.

    As others have mentioned it might be better to use a separate mini wedge dome or something for the time being but those still seem a bit large and not very aesthetically pleasing.
     
  11. TonyR

    TonyR IPCT Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,111
    Likes Received:
    2,828
    Location:
    Alabama
    If you haven't done so, I'd check with local ordinances regarding exterior sirens.

    Speaking of neighbors, again I'd insure local ordinances are OK with where the cams point, record, etc. as a privacy issue. It may be a simple matter of showing someone that it looks only at your front door, walkway, etc. Most people like their presence, a few do not....that's the one you may live next door to.

    Careful now....let's not make this a racial issue.. JUST KIDDING! Also trying to inject a little humor, as lately here the U.S. some factions are "off the rails" when it comes to collectively "having a chip on their shoulder" along with being too thin-skinned. IOW, too many folks are looking for an excuse to criticize every action or statement as having some sort of hidden meaning or dubious agenda.

    I still like the white. Now if I had a dark brown soffit, fascia and gutters, I'd custom-paint them to match, especially if mounted under the soffit/overhang/eave.
     
    looney2ns likes this.
  12. Parley

    Parley Getting comfortable

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    356
    Location:
    Cypress, California
    In your case I think black would not show up as much or be as conspicuous.
     
  13. pozzello

    pozzello Getting comfortable

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,441
    Likes Received:
    384
    Or just paint 'em brick-colored...
     
  14. Iemand91

    Iemand91 Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Netherlands
    This video might be of interest to you:


    I find the internet doorbell market (I refuse to call them 'smart' doorbells because they aren't) interesting, but so far each and every one of them has drawbacks. They either:
    - Depend on wifi
    - Depend on cloud
    - Depend on battery
    - Depend on (paid) subscription (The idea of having/needing a paid subscribtion on your doorbell baffles me:facepalm:)
    - Closed videostream; so no recording possible with your own NVR or watchable through an other app
    (TinyCam for example).

    And most of them have all those drawsbacks combined. Doorbird and Doorsafe are the only ones I've found so far (that don't cost you a kidney) that don't have any of those drawbacks.
    But as you said; Doorsafe is a bit...flaky and Doorbird is expensive.
    That will give you much better image quality then any doorbell in the market and many users on this forum recommend doing this, but there's one thing I would like to know; what do you do for communication?
    The whole selling point of a 'smart' doorbell is instant communication with the person at your door whether you're at home or away.
    That isn't really possible with a standard IP-camera, that also does not have a doorbell button.

    @TonyR according to Dutch law; home owners can have camera's pointing to the street, if there's a good reason for doing so. Like if you have you car parked in front of your house and you want to keep an eye on it.

    As for the color; I would choose black; it looks much neater that way; you don't have a white pimple on your wall.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  15. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    So that's:
    • 1 vote for white
    • 2 votes for black
    • 1 vote for brick-colored
    Still not sure what I'm going to do. More votes please :)

    I wonder if I'm going to need a mounting bracket 'base' to mount it on and if that comes in black as well or if I can screw something like the 5231 straight to the wall.

    That was indeed informative. I think I could live with the Doorsafe if the night-time quality was a bit better. There is the wall lamp that's right next to and above it so if someone gets close enough the quality might be acceptable. Perhaps I should just try it for $100.

    That seems to be the skinny of it. As an electrical engineer it amazes me a bit. If you already have all the core technology it shouldn't be that hard to build one that ticks all those boxes. I think the problem is that the manufacturers feel that the market for a doorbell that isn't entirely fool-proof is too small so instead they come up with solutions that require no wiring, no knowledge and (hopefully) just work out of the box with their cloud servers and apps which is probably what the majority of consumers will want: 100% ease of use with no regard to security concerns.

    I could in fact build one myself but of course that would cost more time and money than a mass produced item and it would be difficult to make it sleek and stylish. Take a Raspi with a camera module and you're almost there for the hardware part but then you still need to write the Onvif server bit and so on. Of course the standard Raspi camera modules are not meant for security applications either, being 5MP or 8MP non-starlight affairs and not wide-angle which is what I would want for a doorbell cam.

    My application would in fact mainly be to have the doorbell cam act as a security cam with 24/7 recording. The SIP or whatever might be handy if I'm at work on the top floor of our home so I can tell people I'm coming (or perhaps just open the door eg. for my kids if I decide to install a non-cloud smart lock) so it does interest me but it's not the only selling point.

    Some cameras have 'alarm' I/O so you could connect a regular doorbell knob to that.

    Yep. It might be up for debate if a doorbell camera is acceptable if it's recording 24/7 though and you don't have your car parked in front of your house. But nobody can tell of course if it's recording 24/7. Recording audio 24/7 would definitely be illegal though and it might not even be legal to record audio if you're talking to someone through the device.
     
  16. SecuritySeeker

    SecuritySeeker Young grasshopper

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Both good points, thanks for the reminder. Exterior sirens are okay in our jurisdiction but of course if you end up waking up all the neighbours repeatedly with no actual incident going on you'll get into trouble and could be fined for causing a disturbance. If someone wants you to remove it because of frequent false alarms they'll have to take you to court.

    Like Iemand91 said you can record the public road if you have a good reason. I'm convinced that recording just the area in front of your door is not going to be a problem legally. Our home will actually be on a corner:

    [​IMG]


    so the cam above the front windows will not have a view on someone else's door. In fact the yellow path around our house will be our property so I can also do pretty much what I want there, even if others are allowed to go there to reach their back yards.

    Funny thing is, I'm not too fond about being recorded by someone else's cams myself. But since I'll be installing cams myself I can't and won't be making a fuss if someone else does it, especially if they're only recording the public road. Now if they start pointing cams at my backyard...

    If you custom-paint them the deterrence factor of them being obvious is also gone of course :)
     
  17. lifeatredline

    lifeatredline Getting the hang of it

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2016
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Kansas
    I think about cameras in locations that could be in sunshine. Around here it can get to 110 at times in summer. A white camera would run cooler if sun hits it. Maybe that's a non issue with quality cams. As to black cameras looking intimidating, just tell them its a modern sporting camera.