Budget Security Cameras

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kportra

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Posts
224
Location
Montana
Hey all - Any recommendations for some security cameras.  These will actually be for our house, but there is so much knowledge here, thought I would ask.  We don't want to break the bank.  Looking for notifications and video capture capability.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,864
Location
SW Louisiana
Well there is the RING eco-system and then there is everything else, the big thing Ring has going for it is the web-remote access app, and the neighborhood alert system, where if any of your neighbors that use ring report suspicious activity in the area you get an alert.  My brother in law is a sales rep for a hardware store supply company and he received a Ring video security system (I think as a free perk), and really likes it, he gets live reports on his phone when anyone approaches the front of the house, etc.

As to the rest, I have used a few Amcrest brand outdoor wifi cameras for security around the family cattle ranch the last few years and have been happy with them for that purpose, though my installation has not been straight out of the box as it uses them connected to directional wifi antennas, mounted about 1/4 mile away from from the central server in various directions (entry gate, equipment shed, etc.) that records activity, the one at the gate is powered by a 120 watt solar panel.  The newer / higher resolution models, are overall better than the ones from 4 or 5 years ago.
 

thesameguy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Posts
589
There are a lot of pieces in play... some things you should think about:

1. How and where do you want to record? Cloud-based systems like Nest or Ring require a subscription for storage. Something like $10-$30/mo depending on specifics. That's different than if you purchase your own DVR (digital video recorder) and store the streams in your home. Prices for DVR range from a few bucks (software on your computer) to a couple hundred (a dedicated device).
2. What do you intend to capture? Are you talking about a video-recording doorbell, or cameras spread throughout your property? Are you thinking about recording outdoors, or strictly indoors? Whether a camera needs to be low-light capable and/or weatherproof will factor into cost. You may also want to consider whether PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) controls are worthwhile... a Nest Hello can see only what is standing in front of it, a Foscam Z2 can look at anything you tell it to.
3. How do you want to get the video signal back to the recording device? Traditional surveillance cameras operate over coax, and may or may not need external power. Newer stuff (last decade or so) are called "IP cameras" and work over a computer network. Many are wireless for data but you still need to power them. Some IP cameras use an internal battery, others require an AC power source. Some can be powered over an ethernet cable (what's called PoE - power over ethernet). This stuff is important, since it may influence where cameras go (access to an outlet, or within range of your wifi network) and will influence cost. Often the most self-contained solutions are the most expensive. For example, a Ring Video Doorbell which is wireless and has an internal battery is about $100, whereas a run of the mill Amcrest IP camera which will require either AC power OR an PoE is about $50.

Companies like Nest and Ring have made a big deal about how easy they make surveillance, but as a guy who used to design these systems I can tell you that there are a fair number of pitfalls and no easy solution. As an anecdote, a guy I used to work with asked me my thoughts about cameras for his home, and we had this conversation. He ended up buying a Nest Hello and was very happy with it - easy to set up, worked great, good picture quality, and $250+$30/mo. Easy. Except one day when a contractor's backhoe creamed his Range Rover, and all the Hello caught was a yellow John Deere rolling past it... not the actual impact because the view was obscured by the house. Had cameras been out at the edges like I recommended, there wouldn't have been an argument about whether someone had moved the Range Rover or not - a camera would have recorded it sitting in the same place for days.

I would think hard about what you really want to see, and for how long you need to store it before moving forwards. You may find your best money is paying someone $1500 to install a good system for you right off the bat, rather than messing around with a couple $250 plug & play devices and signing up for a $10/mo forever commitment. Or you may not! :) If you're handy and feel confident about running coax or cat5 cable around your place, and are okay with computers and comfortable setting up a DVR, then maybe your 4-camera installation is $500 and never another dime.

There are probably a lot of blogs about this stuff, though I've never looked. My $0.02 is with security and surveillance is you get what you pay for. There is no easy button, just varying degrees of utility with commensurate cost.
 

8Muddypaws

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Posts
3,555
Location
California
https://www.wyzecam.com/

$20.  Works fine.  No charge cloud recording or you can install a memory card.  Motion detection , two way audio.  We’ve had one for over a year and are happy with it.

Hooking it up to your wireless network couldn’t be easier.


 

Al Todalen

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Posts
33
+ 1 for Wyze. Perhaps not as polished as the $200 units but gets the job done for around $25. Don't expect much from the audio though.
 

kportra

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2017
Posts
224
Location
Montana
Thanks for all the input.  I think we're going with wyze.  I feel zero need for a camera at all, but hubby wants something for when we are gone for more than a weekend or so.  We know our neighbors, have never had any issues, but he is a worry wart.
 
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