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gpburdell
Georgia Tech Fan
ATL
Member since Jun 2015
806 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

There's this guy, the crosstalk solutions guy, "the hook up" has done a couple tests, and the lawrence solutions guy focuses mostly on the hardware and software, not so much the image quality and real-world testing.


I watch videos from those guys too.

Let me know what you think about the CK2+ as a NVR. I might wind up going that route as well. My problem with it (other than no RAID) is that it only accepts 2.5" drives which limits your upgrade choices. Surveillance/NAS drives only come in 3.5" and large capacity 2.5" drives have a higher premium and usually only sold by 3rd parties on Amazon or Newegg for some reason.


PHNBK
Member since Nov 2020
27 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
yes


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

Are you using the same coding for both cameras during these tests? (h264,265, +)
H264 on both.
quote:

Also, the key frame rates on the reolinks I have (RLC-520) are really low, like .25 for the substream and .5 for the main stream, so motion detection could be slow and imprecise. Did you compare motion sensing of the reolink vs unifi cameras?
I didn't use any on-cam motion detection. I just consumed RTSP streams via zoneminder and triggered it to record both cameras at the same times.


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

Let me know what you think about the CK2+ as a NVR. I might wind up going that route as well. My problem with it (other than no RAID) is that it only accepts 2.5" drives which limits your upgrade choices. Surveillance/NAS drives only come in 3.5" and large capacity 2.5" drives have a higher premium and usually only sold by 3rd parties on Amazon or Newegg for some reason.

Yes, choices for hard drives are limited. I also don't get the 5TB max on the CK+, but whatever. It is concerning that there is just one spinning disk saving my recordings, but for basic non-mission-critical home surveillance, I think it's fine. Just go in expecting it to fail at some point. It doesn't seem much more expensive to get the rack mount UNVR for $300 and get cheaper and more durable storage than the CK+, but then you need a place to put it and will probably need a cabinet or rack and it's loud and power hungry. The CK+ is quiet, tiny, and powered via PoE. You can hide it literally anywhere around the house so that it's not an easy target for a burglar.



My CK+ came in this afternoon, so I've had a little while to play with it. I'm still getting a feel for the modect settings, so for now I've got the sensitivity turned way up and it's generating a lot of small events (outside, bugs, etc). One thing I've noticed, which I guess should be expected, is it takes it a while to generate an event with all the timeline thumbnails and such. The footage is obviously recorded right away, but it takes probably 5 or 6 minutes before it appears on the timeline as a scrubbable timelapse preview. No big deal, as you're typically going to be reviewing events from hours or days ago on the timeline.

I only have 1 camera hooked up right now for testing, so I'm not really stressing it out performance-wise. It does have a cpu gauge, which I have not seen exceed 2%. Scrubbing through the timeline is about as slick as I expected. The "magnitude" and length of each event is obvious, thumbnails are produced at various points within the event (long events might have multiple thumbnails which you can jump to), pinch to zoom works well on the timeline, and it just kind of works so far. The web and mobile UI are very similar, and I don't know if I could imagine a more intuitive way to locate a particular event or get a quick summary of the day's happenings. You can download selected events, or you can set start and end times and it will generate a clip that way. On the mobile app you have the option to download clips at full framerate, or a timelapse version which looks to be adjustable from 10 minutes of video per second to 60 minutes per second. Pretty cool, and they generate and download in seconds.

I'm not blown away by it, but the things it does it seems to do very well. Once I get it installed on site and see how it performs with more cams, I'll report back for those interested.


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
OH! I almost forgot to mention one critically important feature. The cams themselves can only be in either Protect mode OR RTSP mode, not both at once. However, when in Protect mode and monitored by a Protect controller, you can enable RTSP on a per-cam basis within Protect. It gives you a unique RTSP URL for each camera, or even a unique URL for each of the 3 different quality streams from each camera, which you can of course consume with any 3rd party recorder or software which supports RTSP.

So while there isn't an official backup solution from Ubiquiti yet for Protect, and these systems don't officially interoperate with other systems, you can use it as a user-friendly frontend and behind it use another system to back up your footage and also run any other sort of processing or automation you want to do. There is ZERO time lag and seemingly zero impact on the CK+ cpu usage. I have ZoneMinder consuming the 1080p rtsp stream coming from the CK+, and live view in ZM next to the live view in Protect the timestamps are basically in sync. The stream ZM sees might even be a half tick ahead of Protect.


So this feature eases most of my fear/hesitation about using UniFi Protect. I get local video storage with a mostly seamless "cloud" experience, apps that are top-notch as far as ease of use, AND I can still run RTSP passthrough to a secondary NVR for backup storage or even do a second pass of motion/object/person detection with a different system.


gpburdell
Georgia Tech Fan
ATL
Member since Jun 2015
806 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
I saw these pics today posted on the Ubiquiti subreddit for the G3 Instant camera. Looks good for $30 if you can find one.

https://imgur.com/a/Sqn0cBx



Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Damn it, now I want a UDM Pro


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

G3 Instant camera. Looks good for $30 if you can find one.
Man, are you about to make me do a head to head of the G3 Instant vs a Wyze cam?


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lsu02150
LSU Fan
BR
Member since May 2009
171 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Running Protect at 5 locations - 3 on Cloud keys and 2 on UNVRs.

The Protect on the cloud keys have gotten much better within the last 6 months from software updates. But absolute max cameras I'd run on one is 10, after that they're slow to the point of feeling buggy sometimes. Also I had a hard drive fail in 1 in less than a year. They are great as controller, but feel like a consumer product when running Protect.

The UNVRs on the other hand have been great so far. Running 4x10TB in 1 and 4x12TB in the other. Have 20 cameras running on 1 and performance has been great. Adding ~10 more cameras soon. The software was more like beta until about 2-3 months ago, but it has been very stable the last 2 months. Compared to the cloud key at $199, the UNVR runs more like it should cost $499+ without drives.

Also if you have one of the old Unifi Video NVRs, you can get $150 discount on the UNVR - Unifi Protect Promo

As far as cameras, I won't buy any more G3 bullets. Happy with the ones we already have, but now I'd go G3 Flex as budget option and G4 Bullet for the value/quality sweet spot.


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

The Protect on the cloud keys have gotten much better within the last 6 months from software updates. But absolute max cameras I'd run on one is 10, after that they're slow to the point of feeling buggy sometimes.
Are these active/commercial locations or residential? I'm wondering if motion activity has much impact on how many cameras it can comfortably monitor.
quote:

Also I had a hard drive fail in 1 in less than a year. They are great as controller, but feel like a consumer product when running Protect.
Yeah that's what I figured with the single 2.5" drive.
quote:

The UNVRs on the other hand have been great so far.
Is it pretty loud? Like too loud for residential?
quote:

As far as cameras, I won't buy any more G3 bullets. Happy with the ones we already have, but now I'd go G3 Flex as budget option and G4 Bullet for the value/quality sweet spot.
That's what I was thinking. I've been testing this G3 bullet because I had it left over from a while back, but buying new I would probably go with the flex or g4. Hope they put out the G4 Flex soon!


lsu02150
LSU Fan
BR
Member since May 2009
171 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
1 residential, 2 commercial. I experience less frustration on the system with less cameras/activity - but still not zero.

The UNVR is pretty quiet actually. I have heard plenty of laptops that are louder.


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
I imagine you're using spinning HDD in the CK+, eh? I imagine an SSD would be less frustrating, but not sure if it's worth the extra cost.


CarRamrod
USA Fan
Spurbury, VT
Member since Dec 2006
53147 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
can anyone in here buy ubiquity equipment for wholesale? i want a UDM-Pro

ETA: upon quick research, looks like there really isnt wholesale ubiquity. Cheapest i can find is 368.
This post was edited on 1/8 at 1:39 pm


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Oh, and did you get a notification when the drive failed, or even when it started detecting errors? Or are you just left to discover no data when you need it?


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Yeah they don't do wholesale, their whole model is "disruptive pricing" to begin with. They do give discounts on multi-packs of some items like cameras, but I don't guess you want a 5 pack of UDM-Pros


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
quote:

5 pack of UDM-Pros



Ramrod and I are 2/5 the way there...


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lsu02150
LSU Fan
BR
Member since May 2009
171 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Yeah HDD. I am pretty sure the network and protect controllers both just went offline and that was it.


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
I know they added person detection for G4 cams a couple months ago, but it looks like they have recently added vehicle and possibly animal detection. Maybe that's just in the beta releases at the moment, though.

Anyway, I really like where Protect is headed, and it looks like it will be enough to make me overlook the relatively locked down ecosystem. Also I like that the G4 cameras have the horsepower for object recognition at minimum, and maybe more. That makes the cost of the cameras easier to swallow because it allows the NVR(s) to be cheaper and less powerful.


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Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Alright, so I've got some time in with Protect at a relatively busy location. It's got 8 cameras recording always (and events generated on motion) running on a Cloud Key Plus with 5TB Seagate spinning drive.

I'll start by saying the spinning HDD is absolutely the bottleneck by FAR, but for home use I'm more than certain it will work absolutely fine. For reference, these 8 cameras are seeing ~6,000 motion events per day, roughly 10-15 seconds each, concentrated over 12 hours and almost no motion for the other 12 hours. If my math is correct, the CK+ is generating 2 minutes worth of motion event metadata (thumbnails, timelapse, alerts, etc) for every 1 minute of real time, on average. This can sometimes spike to a 5 or 6 multiple for maybe an hour at busy times. During these times, the UI can be sluggish, but it seems to be strictly due to the hard drive limitations. Even so, the timelapse feature is usually surprisingly responsive. That said, I will likely upgrade this location to the UNVR, which I am certain will eliminate the hard drive bottleneck. The little 2.5" HDD can't compete with the full size 3.5" models. An SSD in the CK+ would probably also drastically improve performance, and after researching newer ones I don't think write endurance should be a problem for a few years, so that would be a good option too.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with Protect, and I haven't experienced any of the problems other users report. It has just worked, though it has only been about 2 weeks.



I managed to snag a G3 Instant when they were briefly in stock last week, and it should arrive today! I think once these become generally available, they're going to sell like crazy at $30. Still not quite competitive with Wyze, especially considering you need to buy a recorder, but I think it's a good value considering there are no sub fees for 24/7 recording and your footage isn't sent to the cloud. Especially as a supplement to an existing Protect setup, they're kind of a no-brainer in a lot of situations.
This post was edited on 1/19 at 10:55 am


Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
21657 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Back with another head-to-head, this time the UniFi G3 Flex (1080p/2MP, $79) vs. the Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW (5MP, $50). Subject is a picnic table with a DeWalt impact driver on top, ~30' from the cameras. Very minimal lighting, night mode on both cameras.


Amcrest
Image: https://i.imgur.com/pWnBSMU.jpg


UniFi
Image: https://i.imgur.com/YCKMwpd.jpg



First note that even though the Amcrest has 150% more total pixels, due to the aspect ratio it only has 35% more pixels horizontally. Combined with the slightly different FOV, the result is that the front edge of the bench measures 250 pixels across on the Amcrest and 200 pixels on the UniFi. Also, the UniFi is sending 6mbps vs 8mbps on the Amcrest. Even so, to my eye the UniFi image still looks better. Both cameras are shooting at 15fps. I realize the rotation of the camera may be playing a role given so few pixels here, but I did not want to do any processing aside from cropping so as not to distort the images. I will try to do some daytime testing tomorrow.



As to the cost of a minimal complete 4 camera system, here are a couple configurations for comparison:

UniFi Protect
G3 Flex 4 @ $79 = $316
CK+ (w/1TB) $199
8 port PoE switch $80
Total = $595

Amcrest
IP5M-T1179EW 4 @ $50 = $200
NV4108E-1TB NVR (w/1TB) $220
Total = $420


I went with the 1TB drive in the Amcrest NVR because that's what the CK+ comes with, and I went with the 8 channel Amcrest and a 3rd party 8 port PoE switch to pair with the UniFi to allow for expansion.

Obviously there are countless ways to configure a system, lots of different package deals etc., but I did this mostly for my own info as a starter kit price. So while you'll get more pixels with the Amcrest, I'm not so sure you'll get better videos. And given the UI/UX of Protect, I'd say the extra cost is worth it.

You can get a package with 4K Amcrest cameras for less than the 1080p UniFi setup above, so maybe that will be enough to push the cheaper cameras ahead. But given how little improvement I've seen going from 2MP to 5MP Amcrest, I don't really have high hopes for 8MP. If the optics and processing aren't there, the pixels are mostly wasted it seems (at night, at least).



All that said, I still like both Amcrest and Reolink. They seem to offer a lot of value at their price points, and if you want to hook up a few dozen cameras to Blue Iris or something, you could save a ton of money and gain a lot of flexibility. But if you want something that's super easy to use, captures pretty good video, and has some pretty unique features (the CK+ is an NVR barely larger than an external hard drive and powered via PoE), then think about spending a few more dollars and trying UniFi Protect. Worst case scenario, they hold value very well like all Ubiquiti products, and it'll be easy to sell.
This post was edited on 1/22 at 10:00 pm


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