simple low light video cam for Mac wanted - help me choose !

Mork

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I live 3 floors up and like to have a webcam pointing out of the front window, down to the front door.
it's a single camera i want, that hooks up into my Mac computer. for live viewing. no other functionality is needed.
i can not fit anything downstairs in the shared front door area.

For a few years i've been using simple USB webcams (Logitech c270 and c920) which look down to the front door and work really well.
They work well in day, but when it goes dark i have to increase the contrast, brightness, gain and aperture, and that reduces the frame rate
down to 1 or 2 fps and i have to then choose between frame rate and quality. It's no use really..

I fancy those starlight cameras, but haven't found one with USB, (UVC class) and they are often a bulky, cumbersome domed design too rather than turret,
which would be inconvenient or impossible to mount.
The starlight ones all seem to be CVBS (composite) out - so i would need a video-in USB dongle for the computer. this seems simplest,
but i'm not too trusting of anything £30 and chinese...

The best options seem to be (used) IP cameras, there are some nice ones on Ebay, there is IP viewing software for Mac, but ican't get a straight answer off anyone yet, as to whether i can just plug an IP cam
into the ethernet on my Mac, often it says i need to set the cameraup to a normal home broadband router, which i don't use. i use 4G wifi from a portable My Fi hotspot.

i understand i may need a crossover cable, and all IP cams require a Windows PC to config, which is ok, if i can then plug into my Mac & view afterwards.
Low lux USB webcams for Mac don't seem to exist, so can anyone recommend a (Mac compatible) IP cam with good low lux & still keep good frame rate ?
I see some used Axis security cams on Ebay for good prices, they should work on the Mac (?) but no real mention of low light performance for front door monitorng at night.

I'm very confused, the simplest solution seems to be a CVBS Starlight and CVBS in video dongle to the Mac.
Ideas welcome.. Yes - I'm a noob.
 

Mork

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Thanks looney2ns ! That looks like a lot of camera, rather more complicated than i need, but it isan Eyeball / PTZ which is no good for me :(
also, i do not have a home network to connect it in to, so i would need direct to Mac computer connection, although reading the manual
it does support the outdated Apple Bonjour, but is ONVIF so may work. i'm more tempted to go for starlight or superstarlight.
 

Frankenscript

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So, you have a MiFi, and connect your Mac directly to it via wifi, with no router or anything? Does your Mac have an ethernet port? If so you could configure the port to share a subnet with the camera, and view it directly when plugged in.

Alternatively, get a cheap wifi router, connect it to the MiFi, plug the camera into the router, and connect either via cable or wireless to the router. Make sure the camera is configured to be on the same subnet as the computer.

Or just get a USB to Ethernet adaptor, and plug the camera directly into it. There are lots of ways to get the devices connected.

Physically, if you are able to mount something up on your level and point it at the front door downstairs, a small bullet camera may be up your alley. Get one with varifocal so you can adjust the field of view size for your application. Since night time is important to you, choose a 2 MP camera because the larger pixel size collects more light. I have 2 MP and 4 MP Starlight cameras, and the 2 MP definitely outperform the 4 MP at night.
 

Mork

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Yes, that's about it, i like to keep things reasonably simple.
i have a couple of old routers i used years back, i ended up putting DD-WRT on them, but i do have a few wifi extenders too that i don't use now,
they can be configured into access points too, i think, they have ethernet. not sure how happy they'll be doing that though. might pick up a more recent AP actually.

I do have USB > Ethernet, only my Win7 laptop has actual ethernet, the Macs, well, the portables need an adaptor, the desktop still has ethernet..
until they decide *that's* out of fashion.. but i digress..

the eyeball cameras would be awkward to mount inside, as i'm hoping to move house this year, so i attach the cam onto the actual glass with those
nice and strong suction glass pullers. ideal for this circumstance. Turret cameras would be way easier to mount, and look less weird :)

I'll add varifocal to the list then, and the info about 2MP vs the 4MP cam.. that's counter-(intuitive to me) but a golden piece of real-world information i've not heard discussed *anywhere* - so Many Thanks for taking the time to read, and help and offr some extremely useful facts and guidelines.

Very Grateful indeed..
Thanks,
-Mark-
 
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