PoE outdoor camera recommendations under $500? Axis vs. Hikvision?
  • I'm finally done with a home remodel/construction project and am hoping for suggestions re: sub-$500 PoE outdoor dome cameras that are SecuritySpy-compatible.

    I've wired for 8 exterior PoE cameras, 6 of which are on exterior walls and 2 of which are in soffits over doors (so ceiling-mounted): https://goo.gl/photos/E5TjbYhjPSJS2teY8 https://goo.gl/photos/JENjoQj1embnrpGdA The Cat6 runs end in a wiring closet with a gigabit switch and a WiFi-Texas PoE injector. I've run 120V for a separate IR illuminator (Bosch UFLED95-8BD AEGIS) to light up the driveway but haven't installed it yet.

    We have dark grey siding that's almost black so I'd like to get black cameras or ones with trim that can be painted (to maximize wife-compatibility). Ben's 2017 recommended list includes the Axis M3027-PVE outdoor camera, which looks highly wife-compatible and has what Axis calls a "black skin cover," but is closer to $600.

    Which sub-$500 PoE dome cameras do folks recommend? I know Ben has posted before that Axis cameras work really well with SecuritySpy, and Hikvision also seems popular. I'm aware of recommendations here in the forums to buy from B&H (where I bought the Bosch IR illuminator), Nelly's Security, or another authorized retailer to avoid having to deal with greymarket firmware. Thanks!
  • The Axis M3027-PVE panoramic cameras will be ideal for your over-door locations. These are only slightly over your budget so you could make some minor savings on the other wall-mounted cameras to compensate.

    For the wall-mounted cameras, the Axis panoramic isn't ideal as half the image will be sky (and if you use it in 180&‌deg; panoramic mode you are wasting half the camera's resolution). So you have two main choices here: a regular dome camera or a bullet camera.

    If you go for a dome, be aware that when you wall-mount them, you will be able to move the sensor up/down freely but not left/right, so the camera's direction of view will typically have to be orthogonal to the wall in the horizontal plane. However with a dome it's easy to hide the wires behind it.

    If you go for a bullet, then you have much more flexibility about the mounting angle: for example you can turn it to point along the line of the wall. However it's more difficult to hide the wires. You would need to make a hole/cavity in the wall to tuck in the wires/connectors behind the mounting plate.

    Finally, it's not easy to find manufacturers that made black cameras. Amcrest is one, and you can check out the IP2M-848E dome or the IP3M-954E bullet (these are great value, however they are at the lower end so you may want to spend a bit more money to get a bit more quality).

    Hikvision also make some of their models available in black - if you do a search on B&H for "Hikvision black" you'll find a number of options.

    Finally, the Axis M2026-LE looks like an excellent choice - high-res, black, neat, within budget, and a base where you can hide the cable. Just make sure that it offers the freedom of movement you would want (it may have the same left/right movement restriction when wall-mounted, it's not clear from the spec sheet).

    Hope this helps!
  • Ben: Thanks for the detailed recommendations! Very much obliged. As you suggested, it is a little silly to mount a panoramic camera like the Axis vertically...

    I just noticed your note on your camera list ("all Hikvision cameras currently in production are compatible with SecuritySpy"), which made my decision a little easier. :) http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/helpcameralist.html

    Based on your recommendations I ordered one each of the two cameras from B&H for testing with SecuritySpy--the Axis M3027-PVE 5MP for soffit/ceiling mount ($624), and the "Hikvision 4MP Vandal-Resistant Outdoor Network Dome Camera with 2.8-12mm Varifocal Lens & Night Vision DS-2CD2742FWD-IZSB" in black for the walls ($325).

    I'll post here about how it goes... Again, thanks very much.
  • Great - yes please report back and let us know your impressions of both cameras!

    A bit of info about the Axis M3027-PVE in advance of your testing: it has several different views that can be accessed by client software (360° fisheye, panoramic, quad view). You can choose between these in SecuritySpy via the "Input or stream number" control under Preferences -> Cameras -> Device. You may decide that you want more than one of the views at once, in which case you can create multiple instances of the camera in SecuritySpy, each with different stream numbers.
  • Ben: Thanks! I didn't know it was possible to create multiple camera instances.

    Some good news on both the Axis M3027-PVE 5MP and Hikvision 2CD2742FWD-IZSB. They arrived today from B&H and have been working flawlessly with SecuritySpy. As you suggested the Axis is a very wide angle lens (if it were on a 35mm camera it seems like it would be in the range of a 9mm to 14mm fisheye), so it's not really well-suited for wall applications.

    In my hour-or-so of daylight testing the Hikvision is great. It comes in a black housing that will be more wife-compatible than the alternatives. And 4MP delivers a pretty good image.

    One question: the Hikvision camera's web-based interface includes "enable motion detection," "enable dynamic analysis for motion" under basic events. And under smart events the options include "intrusion detection" and "line crossing detection." Some of those options include the ability to specify region masks, thresholds, and sensitivity.

    Should I enable these options via the camera interface? Or should I turn them off and trust SecuritySpy to figure out when an alert is required instead?
  • Great to hear things are working well and you're happy with the cameras!

    As you have noticed, the Hikvision camera has its own motion-detection and capture options. SecuritySpy does its own motion detection and doesn't rely on any of the camera's features in this regard. So you can use them if you want the camera do its own detection, in parallel to SecuritySpy, however if you just want recording/detection in SecuritySpy then you don't need to enable these options in the camera.

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