Deconstruction of a dangerous misleading youtube review "Finding the BEST 4K Security Camera NVR Package (Reolink vs Amcrest vs Swann)"

wittaj

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But...But...But look at that nice picture of the criminal that will stop dead in their tracks long enough to get a clean picture... because that is what all perps do is just stop for a moment to let a camera get a good shot LOL:p
 

mat200

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Example of Blue Iris and Reolink iFrame issues...

 

The Automation Guy

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I'll throw in my 2 cents once again..... :)

The problem with reviews like this is that they make it sound like cheap cameras like this are worth the money. We all know that they are not. What is the point of capturing someone on your video footage if the image is ghosting, grainy, and either totally washed out by IR light, or so dark that you can't make out any details. You might as well install a motion detector because that is all these cameras are useful for - detecting motion.

Yet the reviews of cameras like this make it sound like they are going to be very effective at capturing usable footage. Clearly they are not as most of the time you can barely identify the Youtube personality in the nighttime footage - and sometimes you can't even do that! But people are stupid and these reviews are effective at selling cameras to the unknowing masses.

In the end, people spend money on crap and they don't even know it is crap until they have an event that they need to get the police involved with. The police come and view their footage and say "Thank you very much, but we can't use this footage at all because it is crap". Only then do they start to understand that they have crap cameras. Luckily this happens to a relative few number of people and so the false narrative is continued for the masses.
 

wittaj

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In the end, people spend money on crap and they don't even know it is crap until they have an event that they need to get the police involved with. The police come and view their footage and say "Thank you very much, but we can't use this footage at all because it is crap". Only then do they start to understand that they have crap cameras. Luckily this happens to a relative few number of people and so the false narrative is continued for the masses.
You give people way too much credit LOL. Look at the ring forums and other sites than this where people willing accept that the cameras do not perform well at night "well my camera is great during the day, but no camera can capture a good image at night, but at least I know if they tried my car or not" and other such nonsense.

I do not chat to my neighbors that I have cameras. Some have noticed, but most do not. When we had a break in here a couple years ago or so and the neighbors with cameras were talking how their great arlo, ring doorbell, Lorex, Foscam, and reolinks captured something happened but the police couldn't find any useful video from them (one had their car broken into and his camera is less than 10 feet from his car) and they were chatting how this is just an accepted fact from camera systems. I just stood there smirking to myself.

One of them joked that my cameras probably didn't catch anything since I don't have a car on the driveway and they skipped me. I let them see what my cameras captured and they were blown away. The money shot that got all their stolen stuff back was my varifocal 50 feet away zoomed in to a spot on the sidewalk at the street where the perp walked past and my LPR got their plate. They were shocked my 2MP cameras were blowing away their 4K cameras...and one with sense started buying cameras from Andy since they would work with his Lorex DVR. He was all ticked that his $1,300 Lorex 4k box kit was being beat by a 2MP camera LOL, but he recognized now what we all preach and went with 2MP cams to replace his 4K cams...
 

mat200

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wittaj did a great post in a Thread on Reolink, I've duplicating it here as a good reference


Here is you camera status:

View attachment 83768

Even though you have set it for 15FPS, look at what the camera is doing - dropped some down to below 1FPS but none are 15FPS. Now look at your key - that is the iframes. Blue Iris works best when the FPS and the iframes match. Now this is a ratio, so it should be a 1 if it matches the FPS. Your iframes not matching (that you cannot fix or change with a reolink) is why they miss motion in Blue Iris and why you are having problems. Read up on iframes and how they cause motion to be missed. This is partly why you are having issues with these cameras and there are many threads showing the issues people have with this manufacturer and Blue Iris.

The Blue Iris developer has indicated that for best reliability, sub stream frame rate should be equal to the main stream frame rate and yours do not do that and there is nothing you can do about that with these cameras... And the iframe rates should equal the FPS (something these cameras do not allow you to set), but at worse case be no more than double. Yours are at a keyrate of 0.24 means that the iframe rates are over 4 times the FPS and that is why motion is a disaster with these cameras and Blue Iris...A value of 0.5 or less is considered insufficient to trust for motion triggers reliably...


Ref:
 

Parley

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You give people way too much credit LOL. Look at the ring forums and other sites than this where people willing accept that the cameras do not perform well at night "well my camera is great during the day, but no camera can capture a good image at night, but at least I know if they tried my car or not" and other such nonsense.

I do not chat to my neighbors that I have cameras. Some have noticed, but most do not. When we had a break in here a couple years ago or so and the neighbors with cameras were talking how their great arlo, ring doorbell, Lorex, Foscam, and reolinks captured something happened but the police couldn't find any useful video from them (one had their car broken into and his camera is less than 10 feet from his car) and they were chatting how this is just an accepted fact from camera systems. I just stood there smirking to myself.

One of them joked that my cameras probably didn't catch anything since I don't have a car on the driveway and they skipped me. I let them see what my cameras captured and they were blown away. The money shot that got all their stolen stuff back was my varifocal 50 feet away zoomed in to a spot on the sidewalk at the street where the perp walked past and my LPR got their plate. They were shocked my 2MP cameras were blowing away their 4K cameras...and one with sense started buying cameras from Andy since they would work with his Lorex DVR. He was all ticked that his $1,300 Lorex 4k box kit was being beat by a 2MP camera LOL, but he recognized now what we all preach and went with 2MP cams to replace his 4K cams...
I had have the police come over and look at my video and they are amazed at the quality compared to what they normally see. All my cameras are either Dahua or Hikvsion.

Edit, I had not read this thread before. It has been highly entertaining.
 

mat200

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Some more good examples shared with us on the Reolink low light image capture
 

mat200

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I'm sharing the image capture examples that @asmail923 shared with us in a thread mentioned above. ( big thanks to asmail .. some edits for privacy ... )

1) First Image here is with no movement. Everything looks crisp and clear. This often fools many into thinking the Reolink is an amazing camera for the price paid. Truth is, Reolink is cheating in this game. Similar to VW and Diesel Gate....

Reolink automatically adjusts the shutter speed to a slower one in low light to get a crispy still image as reported by members:

Reolink01.png


Notice the quality of the image when the subject is moving, even when directly in view of the camera and close enough that we should have a clearer image capture.

1614725563421.png

Reolink02.png
1614725584292.png
1614725618491.png


Now, once the subject paused for a photo, you can see how the image cleaned up...

1614726065898.png
 
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mat200

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Thanks to our new member @fxs81 who recently picked up a Reolink and has shared some videos with us

Remember we want to keep the Reolink discussion based on facts, and having good examples is critical for this.

Here's a sample screen capture from youtube, the ghosting issues are clearly shown and there is clearly no way for a possible ID with images like this in low light conditions.
( video is in the thread below so you can review the capture in more details .. )

1617392500547.png

Ref:
 

austwhite

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The ghosting issues are very real once you move to IR illuminated images or even just using black and white.
I have analysed some of the images and believe the ghosting comes down primarily to a very low iFrame rate as you can see parts of the image update, but others do not. Poor sensor quality does not help either. Unfortunately Reolink will not give the option to adjust iFrame. Colour vision with good lighting isn't so much of an issue. I have used RLC -520 and RLC-820 cameras and the night vision is virtually identical with same issues. Unless you have a ton of light 24/7 avoid Reolink. There are better cameras in a similar price range.
Adjusting the shutter and gain has virtually no impact on the image and I don't think manual control really gives any manual control.
 

shannondalebreaux

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I have a few cameras that are cheaper than Reo's that allow me to set gain and i-frame rates and provide a much better image than my neighbors Reo's...now the sensor is tiny so it does suffer from lack of details and some other things (like I cannot use ONVIF trigger for it with BI because it triggers and then doesn't stop), but I don't get the ghost like that picture above on Post #22. It is also an overview camera, so I am not as concerned about the video quality but wanted to be able to at least make out was that a 2-door or 4-door vehicle and what color was the clothing of the person walking by at 2am.

Like everything, we each have a subjective view on what is good video. If someone says their Reo's provide great video at night, let's see their video post with motion at night and prove to us that they perform at night. Otherwise, the texting debate continues with people defending their reo's and people knocking the reos (or whatever consumer grade camera someone is saying provides a great image). We have dozens, if not hundreds, of video clips of cameras in action, but not many of the Reo's or other consumer cameras.

When we had a thief come thru here at 3am and get into a lot of cars, the police couldn't use one video or photo from anyone's system back here but mine - the arlo and nest and swann and reos and rings and who knows what else people have back here sure looks nice on a still image and gives a great wide angle view, but you cannot identify anyone at night, so at night with motion they all found their system is worthless.

Prior to this event, my neighbor was bragging to me how he only needed 4 arlos to see his entire property. His car was sitting in the driveway practically touching the garage door and his video quality was useless to ID the perp not even 10 feet away - complete blur and ghosting. All that lets him know is someone got in his car. Meanwhile, the perp didn't come to my house but walked past on the sidewalk at 80 feet from my house and my varifocal zoomed in to a point at the sidewalk was the money shot for the police.
This varifocal you speak of. You said zoomed in you already had it zoomed in or was it auto tracking and zooming in as the perp passed? Just curious.
 

wittaj

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Here is a great post in another thread posted by @austwhite:

I know this is an older thread, and who knows if anyone will read to the end to see this anyway, but I want to put my experience with REOLINK in here and why I agree with all the negative reviews of REOLINK.

I have used 3 REOLINK cameras. 2 RLC-520, 5MP and a RLC-822A 8MP (3x optical zoom)

Firstly. There is virtually no difference in quality between the 5MP and 8MP cameras. This indicates poor quality sensors, or fake advertising. Only difference I saw was the 8MP was 16:9 and the 5MP was 4:3.

Secondly. I have ultimate proof REOLINK are LYING to everyone of their customers. Forget the iFrame controversy that has already been aired.

Today, 19 April 2021, I went to their Website to download "latest firmware" They advertise the firmware on the website as being a V3.x.x version released on 4 April 2021.

The downloaded file on ALL camera's that have this advertised firmware version and date (not just my one) is actually version 1.0.266 from 11 December 2020. They renamed the file to try and fool us, but the date stamp on the file creation still shows 11/12/2020. Who actually knows if this is even the right date for the firmware, it just happens to be the timestamp on the file....

Sure, REOLINK Support responds quickly, but they fact that EVERY firmware version on their download site is a lie is enough to make you not trust this company.

Add to this that the night vision is unusable and no adjustable iFrame interval and you can see why people on this forum have a dislike of REOLINK.

I gave them the benefit of good reviews on other sites and have regretted it. Sure, day time with bright light works well, but who is going to do something illegal in the middle of the day when there is bright light everywhere.........

Just my opinion but maybe it will help someone who may be slightly on the fence



 
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If iframes were the only part of the issue.... Why isn’t anyone talking about F-Stop/F-number? The aperture size in a lens has two major effects on image capturing: the amount of light and depth of field.

For low lux conditions here are the important things order of importance
F-Stop
Focal Length
iFrames
IR spread/diffusion
Image Sensor
#MP
 

bigredfish

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On most of my cameras, the two most important things for motion blur in low light are Exposure (greatly dependent on available light) and DNR

Agree the Fstop is ultimately important in how much light is made available/usable
 

austwhite

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If iframes were the only part of the issue.... Why isn’t anyone talking about F-Stop/F-number? The aperture size in a lens has two major effects on image capturing: the amount of light and depth of field.

For low lux conditions here are the important things order of importance
F-Stop
Focal Length
iFrames
IR spread/diffusion
Image Sensor
#MP
I guess iFrame is something that a lot of cameras offer as a setting in firmware, where as Reolink is locked at 0.5 for main stream and 0.25 on sub stream and not adjustable (that is what support officially says).
F-Stop and Focal length tend to be settings that are not adjustable in firmware unless you have a vari-focal camera.
The IR Spread on the Reolink is actually reasonably decent. The Image Sensor and iFrames are the main issue when compared to other cameras of the same #MP, F-Stop and Focal Length.
This thread is not about what makes good general night vision. It is deconstructing one video that promoted Reolink as a good choice using flawed logic, compared to other cameras in the review that had similar focal length and #MP
 
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The Automation Guy

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There is no F-stop/aperture setting in these cameras like there is in normal picture cameras. However it is an important element of the total performance and it shows up in the "gain" setting of these cameras. The larger the aperture (smaller f-stop number), the more light the camera can pull into the system. This results in a brighter image with a comparable gain setting that a camera with a smaller aperture.

PS - I noticed the Youtuber recently posted another video - this time on AI capable NVR systems. He talks about a Reolink NVR, the Unify Protect System, and BlueIris. He still seems to think Reolink is great even though he reiterated that "there is a ghosting problem with the Reolinks at night." I don't understand how you can recommend a product that doesn't work at night, but I'm sure the reality is that it is more about making revenue on Youtube than actually talking the truth with people. He knows that there are a lot more potential viewer from people that use or are in the market for a Reolink system than there are people who are going to want to tackle setting up a BI system.
 
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