Updated info as of 7/30/17. I also cross posted this on my website over at https://theweekendblogger.com/2017/07/the-ultimate-ip-security-camera-guide-2017/ where I will keep the list up to date as well, since editing here is not as easy to do.
Please let me know what other categories or information would be useful!
Most Popular Camera Manufactures:
ACTi (http://www.acti.com) - Midrange camera - good price - free software.
Avtech (http://www.avtech.com.tw) - Has good 'push' support for events to mobile devices.
Avigilon (http://www.avigilon.com) - Similar to Axis cost - must buy through dealer - good software/support.
Axis (http://www.axis.com) - Popular choice, now owned by Canon. These are typically higher end cameras and can get expensive. They are easy to find online for sale and offer a range of free and paid software options depending on your needs and system scale.
Dahua (http://www.dahuasecurity.com?) - Re-branded as Q-See - low price - difficult to find updates/support.
Geovision (http://www.geovision.com.tw?) - Midrange - have some LPR cameras.
Grandstream (http://www.grandstream.com) - Low cost - have some unique features.
Hanwha (formerly Samsung Security) (https://www.hanwhasecurity.com/)
Hikvision (http://www.hikvision.com?) - Becoming more popular - re-branded as Lorex/Swann systems from Costco.
Vicon Security (Formerly IQinVision) (http://www.vicon-security.com/)
JVC (http://pro.jvc.com/prof/attributes/cate ... tId=PRO5.2)
Mobotix (http://www.mobotix.com) – Cameras are made in Germany and are reliable but expensive.
Nest Cameras (https://nest.com/cameras/) – Indoor and outdoor models. Typically aimed at consumers and small businesses.
Panasonic (http://www.panasonic.com/business/psna/ ... index.aspx)
Vivotek (http://www.vivotek.com) - Midrange pricing.
+Other Generic Brands
PoE Switch (Unmanaged, or Managed which allows remote powering on/off of specific ports) (TRENDnet, Netgear, D-Link, Cisco, Axis, etc.)
PoE Injector (add PoE to any ethernet run without having to purchase an entire switch; can be purchased in various power levels to suit specific camera needs.)
Ethernet Cable (Regular/Burial Grade)
Lenses (C/CS/S/D Mounts)
IR Illuminators (Discussed Above)
Enclosures (Pelco, Videolarm, Axis, Generic Brand, etc.)
PIR Sensor (Optex, Bosch, etc)
UPS Battery Backup System
Microphones (if the camera has an audio input jack.)
Video Recording Software:
ACTi VMS (Free) - Only supports ACTi Cameras.
Avigilon (Per channel: Core ~$100, Standard ~$200, Enterprise ~$350) - Purchase through authorized dealers. Pricing per channel decreases as you purchase more channels.
Axis Camera Companion (Free) - Only supports certain (newer) Axis Cameras. 16 cameras max.
Axis Camera Station (~$90/license)
Axxon Next (Free for 4 channels) (http://www.axxonsoft.com/products/axxon_next/)
BlueIris (http://blueirissoftware.com/) - ($29.95 supports a single camera, $59.95 supports up to 64 cameras) Supports a large variety of network cameras.
exacqVision ($50 - $150/license + $25 yearly for optional updates)
Luxriot ($99 - $1000+)
Milestone (owned by Canon) XProtect (Free - $1000+)
Mobotix Control Center (Free) - Supports other cameras for viewing. May be able to record with MXServer.
NestAware ($10/month for first camera and $5/month per additional camera for 10 days of video recordings; $30/month for first camera and $15/month per additional camera for 30 days of video recordings.)
OnSSI (Base license for Ocularis Pro ~$400, one year of support ~$70, ~$121/channel, ~$20/support per camera channel)
Vitamin D (Free/$49/$199) (http://www.vitamindinc.com/index.php) - PC + Mac Compatible
Zoneminder (Free) - Open source Linux software.
...Etc, Most Manufactures Provide Their Own Software.
Network Video Recorders (NVR's)/NAS Stations:
Synology (1 License Included - ~$50 /per additional license)
QNAP (1 License Included, ~$55 /per additional license)
iPhone Viewing Apps:
Netcam Viewer (Free/$5.99 for unlimited cameras) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id369884874?mt=
Live Cams Pro ($2.99) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/live-cams-pro-ip-camera-viewer/id428145132?mt=
Official Mobotix (Free) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobotix/id527836206?mt=
IP Cam Viewer Pro ($4.99) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ip-cam-viewer-pro/id402656416?mt=8%E2%80%8E)
Dahua iDMSS Lite (Free) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idmss-lite/id517936193?mt=8%E2%80%8E)
Dahua iDMSS Plus ($4.99) (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idmss-plus/id509992470?mt=
+Specific Manufacturer's Apps (Q-See, Hikvision, etc) (Search Manually) - Typically better integrated then 3rd party apps.
Android Viewing Apps:
IP Cam Viewer Pro ($3.99) (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rcreations.WebCamViewerPaid&hl=en)
Dahua gDMSS Lite (Free) (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mm.android.direct.gdmssphoneLite&hl=en)
Dahua gDMSS Plus ($5.00) (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mm.android.direct.gdmssphone&feature=more_from_developer#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwMiwiY29tLm1tLmFuZHJvaWQuZGlyZWN0LmdkbXNzcGhvbmUiXQ..)
+Specific Manufacturer's Apps (Q-See, Hikvision, etc) (Search Manually) - Typically better integrated then 3rd party apps.
Review Sites/Sample Videos:
Network Camera Critic (http://www.networkcameracritic.com/)
Mateusz CCTVnerd (http://www.youtube.com/user/mateuszfen)
Megapixel Cameras - Images and Demos (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=11322)
Axis YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/AxisCommunications)
Avigilon YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/Avigilon)
NetworkCameraReviews Forum (http://www.networkcamerareviews.com/forums/index.php)
Cam It! Forum (http://www.cam-it.org/index.php)
Companies That Rebrand/Resell:
Swann (Rebrands Hikvision Equipment)
Lorex (Rebrands Hikvision Equipment)
Q-See (Rebrands Dahua Equipment)
Toshiba (Appears To Rebrand Vivotek)
Cisco (Sometimes Rebrands Pelco)
Other Helpful Links:
Identification And Recognition Guide (http://www.axis.com/academy/identification/index.htm) - Make sure you have the correct resolution for your application.
Security Today - IP Cameras (http://security-today.com/directory/list/ip-video.aspx)
CCTV Frame Rates Comparison (
) - Recordings don't necessarily have to be 30fps for desired results.IPVM News (https://ipvm.com/)
ISC West (http://www.iscwest.com/Show-Info/)
Live Demo Cameras:
Mixture (sort by brand) (http://www.insecam.org/en/)
Axis Cameras (http://radiusvision.com/live-cameras-demo-clips-mobotix-axis/) or (https://www.axis.com/dk/en/solutions-by-industry/demo-gallery)
Mobotix Cameras (http://www.mobotix.ro/live-ro-p-3.html) or (http://comsurv.com/demonstration-2/ )
License Plate Readers
• OpenALPR: http://www.openalpr.com/index.html (Free and paid versions)
• PlateSmart: https://www.platesmart.com/ (Unknown cost)
• iSpyConnect: https://www.ispyconnect.com/userguide-alpr.aspx (Free)
AVI (Audio Video Interleave): is a multimedia file that contains video and audio data.
CBR: "Constant bit rate [encoding] means that the rate at which a codec's output data should be consumed is constant." (i.e. the amount of data flowing from camera to user/nvr is always constant - even during movement or lack thereof. [see also VBR])
DVR (Digital Video Recorder): "a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device."
Edge Recording: is "the concept of taking audio/video from a camera, and storing it at the edge of the Ethernet network instead of transporting it across the network to a centralized recording facility such as a Network Video Recorder." (Most cameras have this ability now.)
H.264/H.265: are video compression standards, H.265 being the successor to the still used H.264 codec. Updates to the codec allow for the same level of video quality at lower data usage.
IR/IR Illuminator: LED's (often a separate device) which provide illumination for cameras in near to total darkness. The light produced cannot be seen by the human eye. The camera must be sensitive to IR for this to be useful (some cameras have 'fixed' IR cut filters). 'White light' illuminators are also available. These produce light visible to the human eye and to a camera with or without an IR cut filter.
LPR/ANPR/AVI/CPR/LAPI: "A mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates."
NAS (Network Attached Storage): essentially, a box filled with hard drives used for storage of data. Some cameras have the ability to record directly to these networked boxes without the need for an always on or dedicated computer.
NVR (Network Video Recorder) “A software program that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other mass storage device."
ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) “is a global and open industry forum with the goal to facilitate the development and use of a global open standard for the interface of physical IP-based security products."
PIR (Passive Infrared): "is an electronic sensor that measures infrared (IR) light radiating from objects in its field of view. They are most often used in PIR-based motion detectors."
PoE (Power over Ethernet): "A system to safely pass electrical power, along with data, on Ethernet cabling."
UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply): is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source, typically mains power, fails."
VBR (Variable Bit Rate): files vary the amount of output data per time segment." (i.e. Less data during still scenes, more data during high movement periods.)
Video Analytics: is software for a VMS or camera that enables video analysis. Examples include, but are not limited to, license plate recognition, facial analysis, people counting, cross-line detection, and loitering detection.
VMS (Video Management Software or Video Management Server): is a piece of software whose purpose is to collect video from cameras an record it to a hard drive for later viewing. The software also provides a way to play back the recorded video either by physically sitting at the machine with the VMS software installed on it or by accessing the server remotely through a mobile application.
VPN (Virtual private network): is the extension of a private network accessible across a public network. These are often used by businesses to allow employees to access internal files remotely. VPNs can be used as a way to remotely access a home or business network to allow for viewing of IP cameras without exposing all cameras to the internet.
WDR (Wide Dynamic Range): describes an attribute of an imaging system which can capture greater scene details from shadows to highlights than normal."
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: "Which brand or manufacturer should I buy?"
A: Each brand has its strengths and weakness, whether it be price, size, low light capabilities, resolution, frame rate, support, software, compatibility, etc. There really isn't one magical brand or camera. Each security scenario is different and requires a unique solution.
Q: "Where can I buy an IP HD PTZ Outdoor Camera for $200?"
A: Probably not going to happen. PTZ cameras are expensive because of all the motors, belts, gears, and such. Perhaps instead consider using several fixed multi-megapixel HD cameras instead for coverage. We’d recommend checking ebay for a used PTZ camera from one of the major manufacturers from the lists above; they often are listed at below the $200 price point.
Q: "How do I embed/add video from a camera to a website?"
A: See: http://www.networkcameracritic.com/?p=1290 or http://bit.ly/10rC8WV
Q: "How do I view my cameras on my TV/Monitor?
A: Consider using an Android powered HDMI dongle. These mini computers are powerful and compact enough to be attached to a TV or monitor for camera viewing using an Android app. Also see: http://www.networkcameracritic.com/?p=1049
Q: "Should I buy a Foscam?"
A: These cameras are not typically discussed here because of their poor reliability and feature set. They are often cloned and copied making firmware updates and support hard to come by. So in short, probably not. However if you are just starting with IP cameras, many members have since upgraded from these over time to bigger and better.
Q: "How do I view my camera(s) from the internet?"
A: You need to setup your router for port forwarding. Here is a guide to assist you. See: http://www.networkcameracritic.com/?p=124
Q: "What shutter speed should I use during low light/night?"
A: "Typically 1/30 of a second is as low as you would want to have it set. Any longer and moving objects will be blurry making the footage less then useful.
Q: "Should I use a wireless camera for my application?"
A: WiFi signals, especially at long distances, are unreliable. They also become targets for hacking, resulting in access to your live camera feed or access to your internal home network; alternatively, the wireless signals can also be disrupted, and not allow the camera to transfer recorded video to the cloud or an external storage space. It is best to use a hardwired connection via cable for installations. PoE installation can supply signal and power over one cable for easy installation. If a cable is not an option consider using a dedicated WiFi access point, like the type made by Ubiquiti Networks.
Q: “Should I purchase a camera with built in IR illumination, or buy a separate off-camera IR illuminator?”
A: If your application/installation allows, it is best to use an off-camera IR illuminator to avoid attracting insects and spiders from obscuring the cameras view. Fog or heavy rain can also obscure the camera when using built in IR illuminators.
Q: “What wavelength of IR illuminator should I be using?”
A: If you are unable to use floodlights or other lighting that is visible to the eye in your installation, there are two wavelengths that are appropriate to use: 850nm or 940nm. IR illuminators at 850nm appear to the human eyes as dimly glowing red lights, and have a longer illumination range than 940nm. 940nm are completely imperceivably to the human eye, but have a reduced illumination range compared to 850nm (about half the distance at the same wattage as an 850nm illuminator).
Q: I want to record license plates, what do I need to do this?
A: The answer depends: do you need recognition and readout of license plates in real time, or do you just want the ability to manually review plates from recorded footage. Either case you will need at a minimum, a camera that is position at the correct height and viewing angle to see license plates, and some type of illuminator for night-time viewing. If you want to automatically recognize plate numbers, you will need to invest in additional software designed for this.