I'm looking for recommendations as to who makes a good quality CCTV/video camera for out-door use.
I'm putting these under the eves of my house (so no direct exposure to rain) but they will experience summer heat (up to 90f), winter cold (down to -20f), as well as lens condensation and fogging (I suppose).
Will hook them up using RG-6 coax (BNC or F connector).
I notice all sorts of different types of cameras, some with IR lights, large, small, etc. Would like something that's not particularly large, yet has high resolution (and color).
Sometimes what you end up buying depends on where you shop - and although I suppose I could buy from US mail-order, I would do so only if a Canadian retailer didn't have the camera I really wanted. So I'm also looking for a good place to buy from in Canada.
Thanks - and please post responses here (e-mail won't work).
That's a waste of wire for CCTV. RG-59 will handle the signal quite nicely. CCTV signals are not broadband.
I use bulletcams with Sony HAD image sensors that give good results in very low lighting (.5 lux for color, .05 lux for B&W, IIRC).
In particular, I use KTC model KPC S230CWX bulletcams in black anodized aluminum cases. They are weatherproof and don't suffer from condensation because the air inside the camera is very dry and the body of the camera is always fairly warm. I've had a couple running for at least two years now, and the only problem was when I had them positioned so rain hit them directly and hard. Now when I install them I hit them with a big gob of silcone where the wire enters the camera body. I get them for a little over $100US each from a wholesaler I know. Not sure if any Canadian stores stock them.
I also use the KTC infrared cameras, both color and B&W but they are much larger and more intrusive and the infrared light seems to attract spiders and other critters.
The color cameras are sensitive enough to provide an image by streetlight or moonlight. Cheaper CCD bulletcams will just go black at night and only show an occasional pair of headlights. Look for at least .5 lux (smaller is better) in whatever color cam you get. IR cams are sized by distance to target. You can use a small, 6 LED camera for distances up to 25' or so. Beyond that you'll need more LEDs or a separate illuminator.
That's not necessarily true. Bulletcams, because of their dense electronics, put out a *lot* of heat in their hermetically sealed enclosure. The essentially *are* in a heated case (most consist of a machined aluminum tube with a protective glass plate at one end and a gasketed, screw-down cap at the other). This one:
is rated from -22F and 140F. While I've never gone much below 0F with mine, they've shown no sign of trouble, even at that temperature. There are no moving parts to bind up: The focus is usually fixed and the electronic shutters do away with the need for delicate iris diaphragms whose lubricants can stiffen in extreme cold. While I don't really believe it, this bullet camera:
alleges specs of -100 to +500 C RH 95% Max (which runs between the unlikely melting points of chlorine gas (-100.98 °C) and zinc (419.58 °C) so take it with a grain of NaCl melting point (804 °C)). I think the bottom line is to look at the specs and buy from a reputable dealer who'll back them should the spec turn out to be overly optimistic.
Here's another one from a reliable manufacturer (I have some 10 year old B&W ProVideo bullet cams that are still working just fine) that will fill the OP's original specs:
ProVideo CVC-637EX Color Bullet Camera Operating Temperature -20 degrees to 122 degrees F
If the OP has a *really* cold freezer he can pre-test them before mounting them under the eaves. I would recommend that highly no matter what option he chooses. It's a lot easier to debug such problems from the freezer than from the eaves in a -20F blizzard. Wait until the wife's away, though. Freezer experiments (aka "cold soaking") are notoriously unpopular with the ladies, I've found, but they're awfully important to perform before deployment to hard-to-reach locations.
Unless the OP's house is regularly at -20F or he wants to use PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) cameras that must be able to move even in extreme cold, then heated enclosures (and yet another glass surface to cause reflections and light loss) might be overkill. They'll certainly be a lot more obtrusive than bulletcams alone.
Though I couldn't find the housing at the URL you cited, I did find it here:
The difference between a bare bulletcam and a heated housing is roughly the equivalent of hanging a lipstick case from the eaves versus hanging a small mailbox or birdhouse. Things that big hanging from the roof usually have a low spousal approval factor. :-) Also, I am not sure what £70 is worth in Canadian bucks today, but I suspect for the price of a heated case alone you could buy a very nice bulletcam.
I've had one bulletcam with the same problem, but it was after pretty serious immersion in running roof water. The problem was a flattened O-ring that sealed the back part of the camera. There's a substantial difference between "weatherproof" and "waterproof" and if in doubt about how wet things are going to get, it's probably best to go for the "waterproof" models as they usually have big, fat O-rings and very deep threaded covers so that they rings don't compress to the point that they leak.
Was yours beyond the warranty period? If not, I would have sent it back. I've found that once you have trouble with a camera's seal, it's going to be trouble again. I thought I had fixed mine with a new O-ring, but it fogged up again on the inside of the cover case. If it happens again, I am going to wait for a very low humidity day, run the camera for a while to heat it up and drive off any residual moisture and then seal it with silicone at the edge of the screw-on cap and where the wires enter the camera body. Not pretty but who can see it 20' feet up in the air? I might even try a little "No Fog" just to be sure!
After mine fogged up the second time I assigned it to indoor use where condensation isn't likely to be a problem.
No doubt. All kitchen utensils are pretty much off limits to me after the accidental death of a favored Ginsu-like knife cutting something it *should* have cut. Well, I paid for it today! SWMBO fell in love with a very pricey piece of real estate. I saw mostly problems like a below ground oil tank to feed the oil burner, (OIL BURNER??? I haven't seen an oil burner since
1966!!) an old deck with cupped boards and nails popping, a garage converted into an office (we need a TWO car garage not a wannabee office!), nasty old noname wood windows that I bet rattle like hell in a storm, lots of layers of poorly applied paint, etc, etc.
But there's something she sees that I don't. It's going to be a fun weekend deciding whether to make an offer. We really need a bigger place for the impending "live ins" from both aging parents and this has got basically a full duplex setup. Housing prices in areas like California, DC, NYC and a number of other places have become sort of obscene. In those areas what gets to 2BR and 2BA on a smallish lot buys an estate in most other markets.
What's odd is there's absolutely NO HA technology. No cable, no satellite and one phone line. Plain old snap rocker switches, no intercom, no security system, no nothing. As close to Amish country living as you can get. I guess that's good because I won't have to waste time ripping out "undocumented" wiring but the choice of the next great automation system was greatly accelerated today. I was kinda hoping ZigBee would be here by the time I moved.
Did you ever get the bad feeling you were about to hemorrhage money? I got a bad feeling about this drop . . .
Here are a few more points as to what I'm looking for:
- top mounting screw or base (ie ceiling mountable)
- Dome-style not required (or desired)
- PZT not needed (which is a whole other ball game)
- additional mounting complexity, compatability, and visibility of an outdoor housing chasis is not desired (would go to a bullet-cam style camera instead of a camera that needed an out-door housing).
- The Powertech camera (below) and KG-230EX are interesting but I wonder about the quality of the optics.
In general I prefer the "form factor" of the box-style camera (as in most of the cameras listed below) but I'm unsure if their housing is suitable for outdoor use (ie mounted, say, 6" under an eve with a 2 foot overhang). I don't think that the occasional -20f night (which we had quite a few of this past winter) is necessarily something these camera's can't handle. I think more of an issue is condensation or fogging on (or in?) the lens assembly
I've done a quick search and have put together a (more or less) random list of cameras that is representative of what I'm looking for. Any direct experience with these items is what I'm looking for, or anything similar (again for protected out-door use).
Panasonic WV-CP244 ($209)
is the sort of camera I had in mind (probably the upper end of the price range I had in mind too).
PANASONIC: WV-CP484 SERIES ($376.00)
PANASONIC: WV-CP254H ($299)
SONY: SSC-E473 ULTRA HIGH RES DAY/NIGHT COLOR CAMERA ($257)
SONY: SSC-DC374 HIGH RES COLOR CAMERA ($158)
POWER TECH : PIR-4856 HIGH RES COLOR CAMERA W/INFRARED ($195)
Panasonic WV-CP470 Fixed Day/Night Camera ($487)
camera is probably a little more than I want to spend, but it's got some interesting features.
Sony SSC-DC374 High Resolution Color Camera ($205)
here's an affordable camera - but like others in this style I see a cable running from the camera body to the lens. Is this some sort of motorized zoom or focus? And if so, I assume there will be low temerature concerns with the operation of the motorized function?
Nice, but I think I would go with the SPECO TECH CVC-870EX H.E.A.T. Color Bullet Camera.
Yea, but how do I simulate a rainy November or April day in Ontario?
Yes, I don't exactly want my house to look like most of the UK does with cameras everywhere.
and the problem I had with it is that the heat from it fogs the lens, not the camera lens but the case lens cover. It is not suppose to do that. The outside temp was only about 58 degrees. I solved it by removing the cover and permanently fixed it by using some of that no fog spray you get at the auto parts store.
By the way, the CVC-637EX use to be a low light Day Night camera, but they have now changed it to just a normal high res color camera, even though it says Day Night still on the box, juist so you know, we ordered 20 of them and even Speco told us they changed it, but then why they didnt change the box and specs online ..? It is still a decent camera, but only for day time or areas where there is alot of light. i wouldnt take my chances on any of the EX models also. The CVC-7706DNV is a true day night camera though with a mech filter, it is their best model, check it out.
Also check out the WizKid Dome and Bullet camera models, they are literally unbreakable and not that expensive.
A varifocal lens allows you change the focal length between set ranges IE
3.5-8mm or 5-50mm etc, it doesn't hold the focus when adjusting the focal length. A zoom lens when correctly set up will hold its focus throughout its entire range.
I don't know about the camera in question but a varifocal lens will have two adjustment rings, one to adjust the field of view or focal length and the other to adjust the focus, both will need to be adjusted at the same time, normally in opposite directions, in order to maintain focus at the desired focal length. If its a manual varifocal lens then there will be a third ring to adjust the iris, a bullet or board camera manual varifocal lens probably won't have an iris adjustment ring.
The varifocal bullet & board cameras that I have seen with varifocal lens have had these two rings.
I see that some of these cameras (specifically some of the bullet or torpedo type) claim to be "varifocal".
A specific example is the CVC-7706DNV:
Note the link "how to adjust the verifocal lens" :
It's really a focus adjustment.
I believe a true varifocal lens is a lens that changes it's focus when the focal length is changed. Which means the lens must be some sort of zoom lens. So does the CVC-7706DNV (or any other "varifocal" camera) have some sort of external ring or control that allows you to change it's focal length (ie zoom in or out) ???
We use the AXIS LAN cameras for indoor and outdoor use. We are in Albuquerque, NM, where our winters do not get too severe; however, our summers get guite warm. If you go to:
your will get a demo system we have on-line. The password is "acasdemo". Once you gain access go to on-line system click and hold down the left hand mouse button and move to "cameras". Wait awhile until mozilla pops up and select "Real Time Display". Cam one is an AXIS camera mounted under an eave, and you can judge for yourself if the quality is what you are looking for. This camera has been operational for five years with no apparent degradation. If you click on the image you will get a larger display of the camera output.
I should point out that all you would need to connect the camera would be a standard cat-5 twisted cable (LAN). Co-ax cables are not required. You will also need to get voltage to the camera. We use regular 18AWG wires for voltage. Note that you can also build your own DVR into the computer system which connects to the camera. Just go the the archives to get pictures of the past activities.
Illuminators come in fairly inconspicuous packages. Remember that an IR camera is a pretty big item, too, compared to a standard bulletcam. If you've got a porchlight, you may not need IR at all, at least in the better cameras with HAD or ExView imaging chips.
The IR (in the KTC's only comes on when it's dark and the output is automatically adjusted for ambient light levels). This is normally a good thing, but for me it's bad because my eaves IR cam currently has spider webs running across the field of view. Their proximity to the lens reflects back a lot of light and thus dims the IR LEDs to adjust for the closer "subject." That leaves the real subject (my car in the driveway) very dark.
Why do you want to control the IR function? It's not a whole lot of juice being consumed and it does shut the IR off automatically in the daytime. IR is more useful for monitoring things like sheds, cars parked in the driveway and places where you might not normally have lights on.
Yes! For anything with a Sony HAD or ExView chipset it's almost enough light to see color.
sells them. Try one and you'll be unhappy with anything else. A porchlight is certainly enough to make out faces, even when dimmed to the equivalent of a 25W bulb. I'm going to see if a match works later tonight if I remember to test it. I'm pretty sure it will!
Deciding where to mount the camera becomes an issue. I bought a wide-angle camera that looks and installs just like a peephole viewer. Had to enlarge the existing peephole a bit (very nasty job drilling holes with no center!) The I (sort of) concealed the wires along a channel I routed in the door under the molding of the lower panel. I got away with this right after the neighbor was nearly beaten to death by her husband. SWMBO suddenly saw the need for security, and lots of it.
What I'd really like is a nice-looking polycarbonate housing that didn't suck out a whole f-stop and allowed bullet cams to be placed in a fan array. There's always something happening slightly out of the doorcams' field of view. If you mount them too low - someone will steal them. If you mount them too high, you just see the tops of people's heads.
CCTV is as addicting as X-10. Once you have a front door cam, you see the need for a side door cam, a garage cam, a backyard cam, a shed cam, a driveway cam, a porch cam and in my case, a roof cam pointed at the major thoroughfare that runs behind my house. It's really been helpful as a traffic cam, believe it or not! I even took a B&W ExView bulletcam to mount on the end of a pole with a single white LED for looking under and behind things like stoves and under credenzas. I saw a naturalist using a similar rig to look into tarantula holes on cable the other night along with a chimney specialist using something similar to find cracks and holes in old chimneys.
When you consider what video cameras looked like even 20 years ago, these things are truly amazing.
Supercircuits has a $12 CMOS board camera I think I am going to adapt to face the outside electric meter. At that price, I'm not going to worry too much about it being stolen. Probably do the same for the outside gas meter if it the "electric meter cam" works.
Some time ago I dissected two different, inexpensive bullet cameras with IR LEDs and found that the six LED's were run in series with the Vcc supply.
So if you have an additional conductor to the camera, and cut the power trace on the PC board and attach the conductor, the LED could be controlled remotely with a relay in series with the remote power supply. (If you don't have a spare conductor, you might add ('inject") DC to the video line using a blocking capacitor at each end.)
I bought two GVISS/Samsung 16-camera multiplexors with RS-232 and RS-485 control, and independently configurable motion detection + contact closure on each input on eBay with Buy It Now for $109 shipped.
There are still six more available.
One of these could be used to switch on the LED supply when motion was detected but it's unclear (to me) why this is needed.