Just looking for some camera advice

(David G) #1

Dropcam Pro OR Piper?

(Cory S) #2

I know @gray has used both. I myself have several DropCam Pros and I like them. Picture quality is very good for a streaming camera, and they are very easy to setup and use. I do find the alerts for motion near worthless though, any type of light change, or shadow through a window will set it off. The cloud based DVR has a lot of advantages. A thief can’t steal the recording, if he’s seen by the camera he’s SOL. It is kind of a drag to have to pay for a DVR plan though, especially being it costs as much as a netflix subscription. You can use free live streaming if you like, but it kind of defeats the purpose of it.

Their support is also among the best I’ve ever seen. No questions asked replacements will be sent out for the most minor bug, with paid shipping each way.

(Gray) #3

The Dropcam Pro app is definitely smoother. The Piper app is very beta, and doesn’t exist for Android yet (supposedly coming mid-February). You can also check the dropcam from the web.

Piper doesn’t have night vision, which is a huge deficiency for my intended use as a baby monitor. It does seem to do a decent job of panning and zooming, though I can’t compare it directly to the Dropcam pro since I don’t have that one any more.

The Dropcam app is really nice, and the DVR is also very nice if you’re willing to pay for it. Piper has limited DVR functionality which is supposedly free, but has some quirks. I haven’t played around with it too much, but it seems to be the case that if there’s a motion alert, it saves 30 seconds of video. It’s really unclear to me if it then stops recording for a while, or keeps going if there’s still motion, or whatever.

I was kind of disappointed with how little control I had over the DropCam alerts. I could either choose to see all motion alerts, all sound alerts, or both. But I couldn’t, say, only get a warning when there was motion for a solid 30 seconds. Piper seems to be similarly rigid, and may even provide less control over this–I don’t actually know if it will work off of sound-based alerts, but I don’t think it does. There is some limited functionality for adjusting the Piper’s motion sensitivity based on the presence of pets, but it’s not documented.

(Florian Z) #4

FWIW, I have a Dropcam (non-pro), and I love it. Image quality, night vision and wide field of view are great. With the Pro, they further improved all three aspects. It’s been working very reliably for me. The iOS app and web interface are easy to use, too.

(Cory S) #5

Yeah, I have two HDs and two Pros. The field of view on the Pro is socking the first time you see it.

(Joe Geiger) #6

Live streaming and the ability to capture a still would be fine for my application. I have a driveway sensor setup to notify me when someone comes up the driveway. Once it notifies me I can switch to ST or the camera app and view the live stream to see who it is… The ability to capture stills would be desirable but the DVR functionality is not.

Can the Dropcam capture a still image and send it to me via SMS without having to pay the subscription?

I noticed there is a cable coming out the back… Is that just for power?

(Cory S) #7

@joegeiger No, but you can do that by integrating DropCam into SmartThings. I haven’t used it before because it seemed like a redundant unnecessary step, but if you don’t have a DVR plan it could be very useful. Of course I’m going off the assumption ST doesn’t require there to be a DVR plan to work as a buffer for it to have time to do its work.

yes, the cable is just for power. it’s micro USB.

(David G) #8

Thanks to all your comments, I bought a Dropcam Pro. Haven’t set it up yet, but I’m curious how one would go about integrating it into ST’s

(David G) #9

Anyone know how to integrate Dropcam into ST’s?

(Arik) #10

Is it even possible to Integrate Piper with Smart things ???

(Marc) #11

With the new improvements with the dropcam integration into ST, you can avoid paying the DVR cloud fee since you have snapshots saved now. Granted it’s not as good as video, but good enough for me since I already have a DVR recording outside activity as well. All that being said, I am sending my Dropcam back to Amazon today because it keeps disconnecting from my wireless network. I might need to upgrade to the Pro as it supports 5ghz and I’ve had some issues with my 2.4ghz network with other devices.