Cameras Revisited

In the time since I first installed my IP Cameras, I've made a few changes. Mainly the changes are in the number of cameras and type of cameras.

I had originally installed 3 Panasonic cameras that were SD with pan/tilt and a mic. I felt that the pan/tilt was handy in order to use one camera to view more of a particular area (i.e. cover my whole yard with one camera). However, this actually had a few problems in practice. Pan and tilt cameras are super awesome when you're viewing live - either home or remotely. Being able to just point the camera wherever is super-handy for sure. However, the cameras weren't really installed to log onto and play with. Rather they were for remote viewing, as well as for logging activity when you aren't around. How can the camera be pointed at the right place if there's no one monitoring it and telling it where to point. So, for the most part they just got pointed in the best position they could be and left there.


The second issue had to do with motion and masking. Recall that the SecuritySpy software I use has the capability to mask off parts of the frame in order to prevent motion in those parts from unnecessarily recording (like people walking BY our yard, but not IN it). If the camera's position was moved, the mask then covered a totally different region. In practice it never caused much of an issue, but that was because I was aware of the issue and defeated it by keeping the cameras pointed at the same position (and again, defeating the purpose of having cameras that pan or tilt).

Dahua 2MP Camera
Dahua 2MP Camera

I went ahead and replaced my Panasonic cameras with some fixed position, outdoor rated HD Cameras from Dahua. These cameras were both well-reviewed as well as inexpensive. They don't have onboard mics - and I did like having the sound along with recorded video on the Panasonics - but are otherwise a better camera. I bought a few dome-style cameras (more like a sphere-shaped camera on a round base) and a few 'bullet'-style (read: cylinders). These cameras are not only HD, but also have a wide-angled field of view which allows them to do most of the work of a pan/tilt SD camera. Additionally, they have IR illumination for use at night without a conventional light source. Like the Panasonics, they are powered by PoE. Finally, the housings are paintable, so I could paint them the same color as the trim on my house and make them a touch more subtle-looking.


All together it's a significant improvement from my prior setup. By adding a couple of additional cameras, I also now have coverage pretty much all the way around the house. There are a couple of blind spots, but they are either along a blank wall, or would require crossing through an area covered by the cameras to get to them.


By adding a few more PoE cameras (among other devices), I ran myself out of powered ports on my small POE switch. I decided to suck it up and replaced my main 24 port switch with a 24 port PoE switch, so now I can add cameras, or remote serial ports, or whatever to my heart's content.

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