Hikvision is a big name in the IP camera industry, offering a wide range of cameras that cover the whole spectrum from small home-use cameras to professional high-resolution industrial models.
The DS-2CD2432F-IW is an inexpensive ($130) compact camera suitable for indoor use, with an impressive feature set. The 3 MP sensor offers higher resolution than many competing products from other manufacturers (Hikvision themselves also produce a DS-2CD2412F-IW model with a lower 1.2 MP resolution, but the price difference is not large, so we we would recommend going for this 3 MP model). It has both WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and can be powered either by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) or by a 12v power adapter, making it easy to install in any network environment. The sensitivity of 0.07 Lux, combined with built-in infrared (IR) illumination, allows it to function well in low-light situations, and it has a built-in microphone and speaker for two-way audio.
Siselectron Technology is a new player in the IP video security market, with a limited but impressive range of IP cameras designed for demanding applications.
The SCI1132 is a box-type camera that is suitable for indoor usage, with some impressive features that you won’t easily find elsewhere. To start with, it has a built-in 3x zoom lens (3-9mm), which provides a very useful zoom range, from wide-angled to moderately telephoto. It has an impressive 4 MP resolution (twice the number of pixels as 1080p), and it can stream at its full resolution at up to 30fps. In addition, it has auto-focus (rather than the fixed-focus lenses found on lower-quality cameras) as well as an audio input (to be used with an external powered microphone), and power-over-ethernet.
Most Mac users have an old iPhone or two lying unused in a drawer. One great way to repurpose these devices is to turn them into security cameras – all you need is an app that does a good job of capturing and streaming video from the iPhone’s camera. In this blog post we review a few such apps, which work with our Mac NVR software SecuritySpy. To turn an iPhone into an effective CCTV surveillance camera it should be permanently connected to a power supply, and have access to a good WiFi signal for reliable transmission.
This is a well-designed app that has some nice features, such as control over the camera’s flash LED, a range of resolution options, and the ability to switch between front-facing and rear-facing cameras. It’s very easy to configure and provides good video quality – from 640×480 at 10fps to 1920×1080 at 5fps.
Merit LILIN is an established manufacturer of quality IP surveillance products, and has an extensive array of network cameras available for sale, from inexpensive consumer-level cameras to top-quality professional models.
The LILIN LD2222 and IPD2220 are both dome-type indoor 2 MP cameras with very similar feature sets. They are small and discreet, and can supply 1080p HD video as well as audio via a built-in microphone. Both support Power-over-Ethernet, making them easy to install when using a PoE-enabled switch. The main difference between the two models is the low-light performance: the LD2222 is rated down to 0.6 lux while the IPD2220 is specified to produce useful images at down to 0.2 lux, due to what LILIN calls “Sense UP+” low-light technology. This potentially makes the IPD2220 particularly useful for installation in locations with poor lighting.
Here we are testing the LD2222E4, which has a 4mm lens (there is also a LD2222E2 model available with a 2.8mm lens), and the IPD2220ES2, which has a 2.8mm lens (there is also a IPD2220ES4.3 model available with a 4mm lens). The shorter the focal length the wider the angle of view, however lenses with very short focal lengths (such as 2.8mm) tend to exhibit significant barrel distortion, resulting in a mild fish-eye effect.
Vivotek is a long-standing manufacturer of quality IP surveillance products, and have an extensive lineup of network cameras to suit all requirements. We have supported their cameras in our Mac CCTV software SecuritySpy for over a decade, and we frequently recommend them to our customers.
The IB8168 is a small simple bullet-style camera for indoor use. Like its dome-style counterpart, the FD8168, it is described by Vivotek as “ultra-mini”, which is certainly appropriate for a camera that measures a mere 11cm (4.5″) long and 3cm (1.25″) in diameter. It features a 2 MP sensor that can supply 1080p video at 15fps, and is powered by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), with no option to directly connect a power adaptor. One notable feature of this camera is the size of its image sensor, which, at 1/2.7″, is larger than the 1/3″ or 1/4″ sizes typically seen in IP cameras. Larger sensors almost always equal higher-quality images, due to lower noise and higher dynamic range.
The casing and mount are all made from plastic, which gives the camera a bit of a cheap feel. In addition, the rear cap (which can be removed to reveal a status light, SD card slot and reset button) is a little too easy to unfasten, so in an install I would be inclined to use glue or tape to ensure it doesn’t fall off accidentally. However the camera and mount are well-designed, allowing secure mounting and flexible positioning.
Dahua Technology has been a major player in the IP camera market for the last few years, and their current lineup of cameras boasts many impressive models at very reasonable prices. Their outdoor bullet cameras in particular are very popular, and we frequently recommend them to our customers.
The IPC-HDW4300C is a compact outdoor dome camera. While there are a bewildering number of dome cameras on the market, this one stands out from the competition due to it’s comprehensive feature set, which includes 3 MP resolution, PoE (power-over-ethernet), infrared night-vision and built-in microphone. It’s rare to see an outdoor camera with a built-in microphone, so this feature alone makes the IPC-HDW4300C unusual. In addition, this camera has impressive low-light sensitivity, at 0.01 lux for colour and 0.005 lux for black and white. This, combined with the camera’s built-in infrared illumination, makes the camera suitable for outdoor locations where lighting is poor.
Due to the camera’s all-metal construction, it feels very solid and no doubt will be very durable. It’s compact in size, measuring just over 10cm (4″) across the base, and 9cm (3.5″) tall from base to dome.
There is a wide variety of network cameras on the market, and Foscam is firmly at the lower end, producing inexpensive cameras for home use. Unfortunately, due to reliability issues, we officially support only a handful of their cameras in our Mac video surveillance NVR software SecuritySpy. However, Foscam cameras are very popular with customers due to their low cost, and they have certainly improved in quality recently, so we are continuously reviewing this situation and adding support for new Foscam cameras wherever possible.
Foscam has just released a new camera, the C1, which offers a nice set of features at an amazing price (and hopefully spells the end of their horribly confusing model numbers!). For just USD $80 (GBP £54 or EUR €70) you get 1 MP resolution, WiFi, built-in infra-red LEDs for night vision, and audio. Here’s our take on it:
The camera is very compact, measuring just 7cm (2.7″) wide and 12cm (4.7″) tall when fully extended. It’s powered by a USB cable from a small USB power adaptor. This is a useful feature, making it easy to replace the cable or power adaptor when required – for example, if you need a longer cable than the 2m (6.5′) one provided.
Foscam C1 IP camera with Magic Mouse for size comparison
Trio Iguaçu is a talented group of musicians, playing a delightful blend of tango and bossa nova music. We set up a recording session with them in order to produce promotional videos for the trio, as well as to demonstrate the power and flexibility of our CaptureSync multi-camera video recording software.
CaptureSync is software for the Mac that records video and audio from multiple cameras simultaneously, with all feeds synchronised together and saved to a single QuickTime Movie file. CaptureSync is perfect for recording interviews, scientific experiments, psychological research, musical performances, market research, lectures and presentations.
The setup consisted of one main camera to capture the whole group, as well as three auxiliary cameras to provide close-up views of each musician. These close-up views are useful for analysing playing technique or for editing in Final Cut Pro in order to produce an edited movie that switches between multiple camera angles.
As the quality of the group view was the most important, we used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera with a 35mm lens. This camera provides high-quality 1920×1080 resolution 30fps video via HDMI, which can be recorded by CaptureSync using Blackmagic HDMI input hardware. As we were using a Mac Pro computer, we used the PCI version of their Intensity product, which is part of a range that also includes Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 HDMI-input devices.
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. Continue reading →
In a now-famous experiment initiated by the Washington Post, world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed undercover in a busy metro station. Using a priceless Stradivarius violin, Bell performed music that he normally plays in front of large concert audiences around the world. The result? Hardly anyone paid much attention to the violinist, or tossed many coins into the open violin case by his feet. The experiment provides a fascinating insight into the importance of context in our experiences of the events around us.
The performance was recorded, but only by a single low-quality camera. What if we wanted to record the experiment properly, from multiple angles, in order to analyse every aspect of the event and people’s reactions? This is the kind of task that CaptureSync is perfect for, and the setup of this hypothetical recording is detailed below.
Firstly we will consider the layout of the space, and where the best camera angles will be: