Since our initial 10 Recommended IP Cameras post, network cameras have been improving steadily, with many new models released. Therefore it is time to update the list with our picks for 2015. As before, the cameras listed here are in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy video surveillance software for the Mac.
Some abbreviations used below for camera features are as follows:
- MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this value, the more detailed the image, but note that optical quality of the lens system also makes a huge difference, so resolution isn’t everything.
- PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t need a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability.
- IR – Infra Red – some cameras include Infra Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision.
- PTZ – Pan Tilt Zoom – mechanical movement of the camera that can be controlled by SecuritySpy.
For a simple high-quality 1.2 MP outdoor bullet camera, this model is ideal. It features PoE and good night vision thanks to its bright IR LEDs, and it is outstanding value at only USD $100. Minor downsides include the lack of audio, and somewhat awkward initial setup (due to pre-set static IP addresses – but we have instructions for the setup in these cases). For a higher-resolution model, have a look at the 2.1 MP IPC-HFW4200S or the 3.1 MP IPC-HFW4300S.
[IMPORTANT – September 2016: the latest firmware update for this camera removes the ability to stream to third-party applications such as SecuritySpy, thereby tying users into Y-cam’s own software. Therefore WE ADVISE AGAINST PURCHASING this camera.] The Y-cam Bullet HD 720 (Second Generation) has an impressive feature set. Not only is this a high-quality outdoor IP camera with IR night vision, it also has a built-in microphone and WiFi connectivity, which are features that you won’t find in many outdoor bullet cameras. The 0.9MP Bullet HD 720 retails for around USD $350 while the 2.1 MP Bullet HD 1080 retails for around USD $430.
There are many compact indoor cameras on the market, but this one stands out from the competition due to its comprehensive feature set. Good low-light performance, IR (providing limited but useful night vision) and a built-in microphone are all very useful features, and at USD $150 it’s difficult to beat on value. The DS-2CD2412F-IW model adds WiFi functionality.
Another compact camera with an impressive feature set, this little Samsung sports an unusually attractive design. An impressive 2.1 MP resolution, WiFi capability, IR (providing limited but useful night vision), built-in microphone, and a $180 price tag make it more than just a pretty face. [UPDATE MARCH 2016: Samsung’s latest firmware update removes web server access to the camera, making it much more difficult to set up and use the camera with third party software such as SecuritySpy, therefore we don’t recommend our users purchase this camera. Good alternatives are the Hikvision DS-2CD2412F-IW, the Zavio F3115 or the Vivotek FD8168.]
When you buy an Axis camera you know you will be getting a quality product, and this indoor fixed dome is no exception. Housed in a compact vandal-resistant housing, this basic 2 MP camera with PoE is ideal for a shop or business installation, and at around USD $300 it’s good value too.
Vivotek is another high-quality manufacturer with a large range of cameras. This indoor fixed dome has a comprehensive feature set, including a 2.1 MP sensor, PoE, IR night vision and a built-in microphone, and retails for around USD $400.
This discreet box-type camera works well indoors, in both home and commercial environments. A high-quality lens, good low-light sensitivity, and a 2.1 MP sensor provides excellent image quality. The camera supports PoE for easy installation, as well as an audio input port for connecting an external microphone. It retails for around USD $350.
For an indoor PTZ camera, this one ticks a lot of boxes. A 2.1 MP image sensor combined with high-quality optics and 3.5x optical zoom provides excellent image quality. This camera also features PoE and audio (with external microphone) – all at a reasonable price tag of around USD $550.
Canon have recently expanded their product line significantly with some great IP cameras – hence this being the third Canon that features on this list. This is an outdoor PTZ camera featuring a 1.2 MP sensor, PoE, Audio (with external microphone), and excellent image quality thanks to high-quality optics, good low-light performance and 3x optical zoom. At around USD $1000 it is significantly less expensive than competing models from other manufacturers.
Most low-cost compact indoor pan/tilt cameras are of corresponding low quality, however this Zavio is a cut above the rest. It has a somewhat higher price tag than the competition (USD $350) but it’s worth paying the extra. You get a 1 MP sensor, WiFi, a built-in microphone, IR night-vision, and pan/tilt with an impressively wide range of movement. Perfect for home use.