What cheapish cameras to use for outside surveillance?

Thread Starter

seanspotatobusiness

Joined Sep 17, 2016
206
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 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. Maybe I could also install a motion activated infra-red floodlight but that depends on figuring a way to disguise it. Maybe it will just look like a broken floodlight and not attract unwanted attention.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,764
I use a Wyze cam and have gotten several for friends and family. Everyone is happy with them. They are not yet rated for outdoor duty but mine has been outside on a covered porch a couple years now and is fine. I think as long as you keep it dry and out of direct sun, it's fine. These connect to your home wifi network and are accessed via a smartphone app. You can get alerts on your phone when motion is detected. There are ways to get laptop access as well.
 

Thread Starter

seanspotatobusiness

Joined Sep 17, 2016
206
The resolution is quite a bit lower than the ones I was looking at but it's pretty reasonably priced. The automatically-panning/tilting one that follows movement is also pretty awesome at only $30 but I guess one that moves automatically might be noticed and targeted so I'd be better off with a couple of fixed-position cameras.

The situation with my mum's car is that it sometimes has to be parked on the opposite side of the road, so I'm afraid at that distance 1080p might not capture enough identifying detail. They are pretty cool cameras though, for the price.

Edit: I just noticed that the cameras I linked to have an IR filter which I don't suppose can be turned on and off like the Wyza infra-red filter (I guess it's motorised) so the infrared floodlight idea wouldn't work with those cameras. :(
 
Last edited:

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,764
The situation with my mum's car is that it sometimes has to be parked on the opposite side of the road, so I'm afraid at that distance 1080p might not capture enough identifying detail.
Yeah, that could be a problem. You might be able to recognize a car or even a person you already know, but probably not a stranger. The cameras have a very wide angle lens and so anything more than a few yards away is pretty small on screen.
 
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