Help me pick a front porch camera please


(Keith) #1

I’m looking for a better camera to use on our front porch and I’m having a hard time finding one to fit our basic needs. Here are our needs:

Required features

  1. Must be able to record while in live view mode.
  2. Must be able to select the motion monitored area(s) within the camera’s view.
  3. No monthly fees for video storage (something like Arlo’s 7 days for free would meet this requirement).
  4. Can display video feed in SmartTiles.

Nice to have features

  1. Wifi control and recording.
  2. Battery operated.
  3. Weatherproof (It will be protected from the elements for the most part under the porch, an indoor Blink is serving well in this location right now).

Based on those needs, what camera would you suggest?

Background Info
I am currently using a Blink camera on our front porch and while it does a good job of picking up motion and notifying us (it picked up two unexpected visitors at our door just yesterday), it does not allow the wife to live view who is there if they trigger the motion detector. It also has too wide of a motion detection area… much larger than the camera’s viewing area. This makes it pick up the tires of cars out on the street even when said car is not even in the frame. I can turn the sensitivity down to combat this, but then it does not pick up people walking up to the door early enough.


(David Hamilton) #2

Why not try a Ring or Skybell?


(Keith) #3

From their websites, Ring does not meet requirement number 3 and Skybell does meet number 2.


(Paul) #4

What’s your budget? I pair a Foscam camera with a (relatively) cheap Synology NAS. Has all your features except battery-operated, and storage is totally free


(Keith) #5

I’ve not set a budget, but the less expensive the better of course. Which Foscam are you using?


(Paul) #6

I use a FI9803EP, which is a wired, power over Ethernet camera on my front porch. They also make a wifi version in the same line. I love that my NAS will keep recording even if the Internet goes out, and since my camera is PoE, I have my NAS and my PoE switch on a big battery backup in case the power goes out too. I can get about 5 hours of battery recording time in my testing.

My NAS is configured to send a MMS message to our phones with a snapshot when it detects motion, and there is a community device type to integrate Synology-connected cameras into ST (for motion triggers, etc.

Keep in mind that setting up a NAS is relatively easy, but not nearly as plug-and-play as a system like Arlo or Nest Cam.


(Keith) #7

Thanks, I’ll look into that set. Just to be sure, that camera can record and live view at the same time correct?


(Paul) #8

Yes. While the NAS is recording the stream, I can view the stream directly from the camera (with SmartTiles, or any web browser), or I can connect to the (free) Synology Surveillance Station software with their Android or iOS app and view it live there. Either works great.


(Dale C) #9

I do similar as @NorCalLights but use Amcrest cameras and NVR. I have both Foscam and Amcrest but the after installation service for Amcrest I found to be superior to Foscam about a year ago when Foscam changed their distribution model. The live phone support (with actual English speaking techs) and them being able to connect into my system remotely to make configuration changes immediately sold me. You can do a search here in the forums on Amcrest to see some the custom software to connect to SmartThings. The ability to very accurately set up a masked area to detect motion in the video view you would appreciate based on your current problems. You can go wireless, direct or POE. This is what I ended up getting for my Wireless system.


(Ross) #10

Not sure this meets all your criteria, but take a look at the Ubiquiti UVC-G3 Unifi Video Camera.


(Robin) #11

I use Blue Iris software running on an old laptop. It connects to any IP camera.

It records locally to the laptop and streams to Smartthings / SmartTiles / Blue Iris app over its own secure web server.

It has fully customisable motion areas, size of object, speed and distance of travel.

There are also ST Blue Iris apps that can trigger recording or change BI modes.


#12

So I’ve been researching cameras that can work with SmartThings, but could use a sanity check from the community. My requirements are:

  1. PoE capable
  2. Capable of “reasonably” detecting motion (about 10-20 feet) and triggering ST events (like turning on porch lights)
  3. IR/Night capable
  4. Outdoor use
  5. Prefer to record to a central server that can allow http access for camera/content viewing

I’ve seen comments around Blue Iris and Arlo Pro cameras. Can I get recommendations and experiences based on the above criteria?