Question Suggested cheapish 4K cameras for surveillance?

seanspotatobiz

Standard Member
We live in a bad area and my mum's car has been vandalised a few times. I want to put some cameras on the outside of the house but they need to be very subtle or the cameras themselves are likely to be targeted (I hope to fix the cameras to a disused satellite dish which will obscure them). My plan is to connect two or maybe three USB cameras to my otherwise useless 10-year old laptop running either Windows 7 (with Internet disabled) or Linux, probably with an external HDD. Cameras with decent resolution and decent frame rates are expensive but I guess 15 FPS is adequate. I think the resolution should be ~4K because mum sometimes needs to park on the opposite side of the road and at that distance 1080p might not give enough identifying detail. I found this module without an extra lens and this module with an extra lens on AliExpress. I was thinking I could waterproof them with some insulating varnish (I already own some) although I'm a bit unsure about the lens; I don't want to accidentally get varnish in or on the lens/sensor. Does anyone recommend alternative cameras? I don't want to use really cheap ones because the images will probably be nearly useless. The cameras I linked to have permanent IR filters, I suppose, so you can't switch them to a night mode with external IR flood lights (I'd prefer IR flood lights because they're more subtle and regular floodlights might attract complaints anyway). There's a company called Wyze that makes cameras with a night mode but they're only 1080p which I don't think is enough.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Those are not CCTV cameras, but designed for close up facial recognition and document work. Resolution is not the only thing to look for. If you need to pick up from a reasonable distance, then you want a longer lens. These are all quite small sensors, so this limits the amount of light that can be received and processed. The image therefore needs to be boosted, so more noise gets into the frame.

I would suggest that a pan and tilt camera with a zoom lens would be better, as it can be set to zoom in on specific areas and not rely on resolution and digital zooming. Something like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Luowice-Se...f-Detection/dp/B07FV8H5XN?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_15 would be more suitable. Mounted high enough, this will be difficult to vandalise but will be a visible deterrent.
 

seanspotatobiz

Standard Member
Thanks but I'm afraid that a visible deterrent may get the house targeted. We frequently see questionable exchanges between questionable people and I don't want anyone to realise they may have been recorded by hardware inside our home.

The camera I linked does say surveillance as well as face recognition and claims to have adjustable focus from 5 cm to 100 m. At £30 each, I could get two of the cheaper ones for less than the nice optical zoom one you posted and they'd capture eight times the pixels. I can't actually find the size of the sensor in the Luowice PTZ but I did find you can get it half the price from their store on AliExpress if you don't mind the long wait for international shipping. Still, I think I'd rather cover a larger area with two non-zooming cameras than a smaller one with zoom so I can cover the whole of the front of the house as well as the car.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I really think you are running down the wrong road here. Look at things like the compression and actual recording format - not to mention the lens focal length. You will end up with a really wide view, but even at 8MP, the zoomed in image will be pretty poor and the low light performance appalling. Try pointing your phone camera outside at night and that will give you an idea of how the camera will perform.
 

seanspotatobiz

Standard Member
OK. I think MPEG is a typical recording format and should be acceptable?

What sensor size would you look for? Largest I've found so far is 1/2.5" but I'm still looking.
 

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