Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: Hikvision DS-2CD2035-I

Those QD900s are getting hard to come by. Often $60 or more now IF you can get them. Plus I've learned of a security flaw in them recently and they do not offer firmware fixes. On a suggestion in an IT forum I looked at the Hikvision cams. The Hikvision DS-2CD2035-I  is a damn nice 2K 70 deg view cam I got for $80 but you do not get WiFi in this model and it is not upgradable. There is sticker on the box warning you not to try in fact which is bit of a red flag for people that are aware of IoT security issues that have been making regular news of late. Fortunately look for the US or upgradable version in the descriptions on Amazon.com for one you can get firmware update to. They seem to be running about $20 more for the same features though. If not worried about your network security, it still compared well with a Escam Qd900 that is running only about $20 less. For that $20 you get a lot more detail and probably are still more secure but you do loose wi-fi. You also get config and monitoring features you do not normally find in low cost cameras like SNMP v3.

I also like the mount better on the Hikvision. Another nice thing about the Hikvision cams is most of them are available with 2.8, 4 or 6 mm lenses so you can probably get one that matches the viewing angle you need without needing to swap out the lens.

All the pics here were grabbed from the video recorded on Blue Iris using this config

In a posted pic you will not see a lot of diff in a day time shot between the 2K Hikvision w/ 4 mm lens
and the 1080p QD900

If you zoom in though you see a huge difference between the Hikvision
and the QD900

Night vision is not bad. Note the plane in the upper right corner.

though the you are not going to get much detail at 50 feet without extra illumination on a moonless night.
Here is a quick IR sensitivity compare contrast left to right the Hikvision, the $40 (referb) Foscam FI9804 and  the $40 SV3C I had next to each other for evaluation. Note the Foscam is picking up some IR bounce back from the fence in front and below it even though the fence is not in the picture.

Inside it looks like this

It is hard to make out but this lens is glued in place making it impossible to swap out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Started a Spec Compare sheet

I'll keep adding stuff as I test cameras and find new info but it already has pretty complete on the cams listing the "IP Cams I've tried" section. I've added the link (Camera spec compare) in the links section in the header.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Found a nice tool for figuring out what camera you need with what lens

CCTV Design Lens Calculator is a free tool to show you what lens / resolution combo you need in order to:

  • Monitor and Control - 5%; A figure occupies at least 5% of the screen height and the scene portrayed is not unduly cluttered. From this level of detail an observer should be able to monitor the number, direction and speed of movement of people across a wide area, providing their presence is known to him; i.e. they do not have to be searched for.
  • Detect - 10%; The figure now occupies at least 10% of the available screen height. After an alert an observer would be able to search the display screens and ascertain with a high degree of certainty whether or not a person is present.
  • Observe - 25%; A figure should occupy between 25% and 30% of the screen height. At this scale, some characteristic details of the individual, such as distinctive clothing, can be seen, whilst the view remains sufficiently wide to allow some activity surrounding an incident to be monitored.
  • Recognize - 50%; When the figure occupies at least 50% of screen height viewers can say with a high degree of certainty whether or not an individual shown is the same as someone they have seen before.
  • Identify - 100% With the figure now occupying at least 100% of the screen height, picture quality and detail should be sufficient to enable the identity of an individual to be established beyond reasonable doubt.

Note those percentages are based on the old analog cams of about 400 vertical lines. With this tool you feed it the camera specs (including lens) and it will tell you how close it needs to be to the place you are watching for the level of recognition you need.

For instance if I want to read license plates at my main gate. 
With a 720p Escam QD300 with a stock lens, the camera would need to be 34.6 feet from the gate.
Oddly with a Escam QD900 with its larger 1080p sensor but the same 3.6 mm stock lens, the camera would need to be 32.4 feet from the gate. This is because the larger sensor causes the view to be wider even though the lens is the same.
If I swap out the lens though to a 16 mm, that max camera distance jumps to 144 feet. which works.
Put that 16 mm lens in one of the Hikvision 2K cameras and I should be able to read plates at 185 feet. Which be across the street or back in the trees so that is over kill.

To me the most useful part of this tool is seeing what you get for usable video for instance here is a compare of lenses for one of my cameras

You can also import your floor plan and yard objects into it to find blind spots in your layout and try various placements of cameras for the best coverage before installing any.
See their screenshots here

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: SV3C 960P Wifi Outdoor Camera

SV3C 960P HD Wifi Wireless Outdoor Home Surveillance IP Security Camera,Bullet Camera,20M Night Vision,Support Remote View by Phone,Pad,Windows PC, Support Max 64G TF Card for Record

With 2 Foscams stolen and a third dying as I tried to put into service I started looking around for another cheap cam for locations outside the fence. What I found was the SV3C 960P Wifi Outdoor Camera, for just $40. Though as I'm writing this I see it is $43 today.

Between the 1280 x 960 resolution and the price you are not going to expect much. I'd say the daytime view is about as good as the 720p Escams and Foscams. Though one oddity was the picture seems distorted almost like they took something a bit taller than 1280x720 and stretched it to be 1280x960. For instance here is my video target.

You can see it seems just a bit taller than it is wide. Enough I noticed it though again probably not enough to matter but it is just odd.

Since I still have a dog food box of parts still sitting on my coffee table here is the compare shot between the HikVision DS-2CD2035-I (left) and the QD900 (right) in evening light

to compare to the SV3C

You might notice the distorted aspect ratio again along with the lack of detail.

Next I stuck it next to a HikVision DS-2CD2035-I with 4mm Lens that comes in at $80 ($81 at the moment).

Here are evening shots of the (collapsed) pool area and deer feeder.
The Hikvision looks like this

and the SV3C like this

Looks zoomed in a bit but not bad till you zoom in. Zoomed in on the feeder the Hikvision looks like

While the SV3C looks like

Things get worse at night. Note both cams are on here so the illumination from both are in use. The Hikvision

vs the SV3C

So the IR distance / sensitivity is not great.

On the plus side it does work with Blue Iris though it is not obvious how to get it working. You want a config similar to this

Some gotchas:

If you do get one of these you might be thrown by the interface coming up in Chinese. Look for this screen to change it.

Unfortunately it does not seem to save this and you need to select English here or the login screen each time.

The password field does not seem to support symbols so if you type a password like Ab3d! it stores it as Ab3d.

Can not turn off UPnP and it says succeeded though UPnP is disabled at my site and I have the cam blocked form accessing the internet.

Lastly it comes with the IP set to a static which might cause problems getting it setup.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Started this as note on Facebook which is almost impossible to find anything on now with all the comments and such so I'll be moving stuff here.