Best Camera Options

I have combed the threads I can find on this topic (sorry but the search function on this forum is pretty lacking unless I am missing something…) but I can’t find any really solid recommendations.

I want to put three camera’s outside one for the front porch/ car port area, one to cover the pool in our back yard, and one to cover the other side of the house. I love dropcams quality of image and their night mode but they are pretty expensive and I would need to buy 3 enclosures. Foscam is the other option that keeps coming up but there are so many different varients on Amazon I am unsure as to which one to get.

Any recommendations?

I’m really interested in trying Arlo. It’s not integrated with ST. But it is weather proof.

Well… I found this Topic below just by typing “Best…”. The writers of this Discourse forum software are pretty proud of their Search function; but they refuse to write documentation as far as I am aware, so I have no idea if expressions like “and/or/not” work. It just looks for popular keywords or something?

I have yet to choose outdoor cameras, but I’m happy with my basic indoor Foscam and think they are an affordable option.

A pan-tilt indoor Foscam can be put inside a globe enclosure, but you risk the infrared IR LEDs reflecting on the glass and thus useless glared picture. You can avoid this by installing external IR LED floodlights and not using the built-in LEDs which are not very bright anyhow.

A fixed position “bullet camera” is a more economical choice and more reliable (no moving parts), but you have to pick a position and whether to buy wide angle or narrow. Narrow is better for detail, but you get less coverage and may need more cameras.

Outdoor PTZ cameras – well… you’ll get “what you pay for”. I think the higher price of these is only justified if you really need to scan large areas and use a DVR to continuously record, etc… This doesn’t make sense for most residential uses where you don’t have active monitoring and/or a high crime level.


I recommend inexpensive weatherproof bullet (fixed position) cameras (Foscam are likely fine, but make sure to have a return policy so you can test first – Amazon is super easy for returns and Foscam own site has detailed policies). If a choice of lens angle (wide, medium, narrow), it is sometimes easiest to just test all three and see what works best. High resolution may not be needed if all you are really doing is checking for unexpected motion (and can recognize authorized people with low resolution). High resolution uses more bandwidth on your cell phone, etc. High resolution, however, makes up for the inability to Zoom. And high resolution is pretty much necessary for photos for police research… yet still no guarantees, as trespassers may be disguised (hoodies, etc.).

By choosing cheaper cameras, you can afford to buy more and cover more areas around your home. The cameras themselves could be a target for thieves – a good reason to keep the cost down as well.

Integration with current SmartThings is not a high-priority at the moment because ST does not support streaming video (but I think the motion detect option of these cameras can reliably be used as an ST alarm); still, if you port-forward the camera, there is plenty of Apps that can be used to monitor, snapshot, record, motion alarm, pan-tilt-zoom, etc… I use “IP Camera Viewer” for Android", and I have my motion detects send still pictures via email using the built-in capabilities of my Foscams.

Hope these ideas help, but looking forward to seeing the suggestions here…

I would hold off on buying any cameras to integrate with ST.

However, if you are looking for good IP cameras and you think dropcam’s are expensive, then you are in for a shock when you see the price of really good IP cameras.

As Terry @tgauchat said, it depends on what you want, but ultimately, integration with ST is spotty at best, unsupported and can break at any time.

Fundamentally, it is limited to image capture only, no full video. Until full video is supported, I wouldn’t drop the cash on any cameras to integrate with ST.

However, almost any IP camera out there has web view and a mobile app and will work with most network video recorders (NVRs).

Choosing the right camera is about area of coverage, resolution / quality needed, night vision options and indoor / outdoor.

My cameras are a few years old, panasonics that are POE, all outside and have held up pretty good over the years of harsh MN winters.


I am currently using Hikvision POE camera’s outside. Love them. Durable, 3MP, great infrared, etc.

I haven’t bought any more new camera’s though, until SmartThings announces what options they will be giving us in the near future. I am extremely disappointed in them though, as they should be at least giving us models or guidelines so we know what to purchase!.


Hikvision’s are nice, similar to the mobotix.

I really want to replace my panasonics with dome 360 panoramics with IR.

Think I’ll wait till next ces and go shopping :smile:

Haz anyone tried yet the Xiaomi Xiaoyi ants camera? (weird name i know) im looking for integration with smartthings, its like a dropcam but with local storage and a REALLY low price ( i found it at 28$) (and you can buy a 1tb router for more storage)

Thanks everyone for your detailed replies… I think I will test out a couple of foscams and see how they go. I have amazon prime so easy to return.

I will do some image and vid caps too as I think it would be useful for people to be able to see the image quality when making a decision.


i also have hikvision for indoor baby monitors and outdoors for security. cant beat the price and function.

I have purchased two of the Ants Xiaoyi Smart Cameras to try out. I was able to set them up, but want them to be connected to my smartthings. Have you gone down this path or had anyone respond to you?

Someone on the SmartTiles video camera compativility thread got it connected, but i dont know how

I have it connected through Blue Iris to SmartTiles.

Did you have to downgrade the firmware to get it connected to Blue Iris?

Yes I did. There is no other way that I can find or know.

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Any update about Xiaoyi camera ?
I also want to buy this cam, it’ll be perfect if this cam can integrate with ST

Noting really integrates with V1 SmartThings. Give it some time. You have posted multiple things regarding camera’s, and if you would do some research, you would learn what “integration” means at this moment. (I.e. No live streaming video in the SmartThings app)…

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I haven’t been successful in integrating this camera, but I am hopeful that there are possibilities with the v2 of the hub.

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Does anyone have an updates on the cameras? I’m looking to get a few indoor and outdoor to add to my security system.


I successfully integrated one of the supported DLink cameras to my hub v2 system, but unfortunately, since I am the home automation admin nerd to 3 houses, I have a towel over the camera because anyone in all 3 homes can see into my living room :\ If I wasnt the family HA nerd and only had one house to look after, I could see the potential of ST cameras, although an approaching monthly fee and being only limited to 4 cameras is kind of a bummer.

Not being able to control peoples user rights yet, the only time I “untowel” the camera is when we go on mini vacations. Blah.

I’ll be abandoning any type of smart things camera solution and going with an independent security camera system due to the issues I have in my situation. Maybe in a few years as the camera support and user rights stuff matures, I’ll come back and reevaluate my tech choices.

Hikvision cameras work so well that I don’t really care what overpriced unreliable cameras Smartthings chooses to integrate with. I will still use and recommend using Hikvisions and if Smartthings ever gets around to supporting REAL security cameras someone poke me and wake me up.