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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")
Same everything except day instead of night, though it is a dreary overcast day.


Amcrest
Image: https://i.imgur.com/FC3i1gO.jpg


UniFi
Image: https://i.imgur.com/agueKm1.jpg




The Amcrest looks posterized or something and not at all natural. And I can't be sure, but again I think the cheaper cameras over-expose and/or do other things to make up for shortcomings in optics, sensor quality, and processing ability.

So while I'd say there's still a bit of a not-Chinese "tax" priced into the UniFi gear, I don't think they're as drastically overpriced as it might seem at first. Especially not the budget G3 Flex model at $79. I'm hoping they put out a G4 Flex model soon at $99 or something like that, those would probably sell like crazy.



And another really cool thing about the Flex, skins!

Image: https://img.community.ui.com/aba659dd-3b81-4b26-adef-c5879fa9fd8e/questions/71643238-240f-445c-b287-55bb944f4a1b/75fb5626-6107-44f2-9394-47ef38b09a27



Also btw the Flex is very small, smaller than you would think from photos.
This post was edited on 1/23 at 11:44 am


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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")
So now I've played with some G4 cameras and Smart Detections, and maybe it's just my lack of experience with a lot of "smart" type features with other systems, but I'm pretty impressed with Protect. I left the smart detect zone as the full frame, and it picked up cars passing on a road 360' away all night. I didn't think it would work at that range, much less at night. The thumbs it generates which highlight the people/vehicles it found have been spot on. It also nabs golf carts, which I thought was hilarious.

I still have my concerns about Ubiquiti's direction as a company and whether they will support the Protect line for the long term given their handling of past product lines, but they appear to be very committed to video surveillance in general and Protect has a lot of things going for it.


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
You should email them and figure out how much commission they owe you for the UDM Pro, 2 doorbells, and handful of cameras I’m about to buy thanks to you.


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

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


All I have described here is my personal experience with two different Protect installs. I have done hours of reading about it, and it is easy to find people having all sorts of issues with it. I have no idea what percentage of installs end up having problems, but if I know anything about the internet it's that people like to complain.

I've dealt with a CK+ and a UNVR, not yet a UDMP. I see complaints that the UDMP is still basically a beta product, but also many people seem happy as can be with theirs.

What I'm saying is please don't blame me if shite goes sideways.


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

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

What I'm saying is please don't blame me if shite goes sideways.






Of course not. I know better than that. I’m half ready to put Unifi Talk in my house as a beta product (the Talk controller doesn’t say “coming soon” anymore, so I think they are close to “officially” releasing it!)


I almost want to do two doorbells and a single well placed g4 PTZ to be lazy and run less cable.



But I don’t think it would look good on my house.
This post was edited on 2/4 at 11:03 pm


Whatafrekinchessiebr
somewhere down river
Member since Nov 2013
1190 posts

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

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



If I just currently have a basic WiFi network at my house (AmpliFi instant) but wanted to go this route for a camera system (say 3ea G3’s and 1ea doorbell cam to start) would I only need to buy the CK+ and the PoE switch to work on my existing network?

The data sheet for the CK+ shows a Unifi Gateway Security pro (DHCP Server) in the chain. Is this required?




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

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

would I only need to buy the CK+ and the PoE switch to work on my existing network?
Yes, the Protect software runs on the CK+ (or UNVR, or UDM-Pro), and the cameras are powered by a PoE switch. As long as the CK+ and switch/cameras are on the same network, Protect will find them and it will work.
quote:

The data sheet for the CK+ shows a Unifi Gateway Security pro (DHCP Server) in the chain. Is this required?
Definitely NOT required, that's just marketing material. No other part of your network has to be Ubiquiti other than the cameras and CK+. The PoE switch can be any brand as the cameras support 802.3af (I usually use this TP-Link 8 port because it's pretty cheap).


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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:

I’m almost even considering a single well placed g4 PTZ to be lazy and run less cable.



But I don’t think it would look good on my house.


I missed this comment the first time.


For anyone who doesn't know, the G4 PTZ is the style of camera that you might see in parking lots and other high traffic public places. It's huge and weighs 15 pounds and costs $1800.

I think it would look *great* on my house, but unfortunately I don't think it would be all that useful until they add patrol mode and object tracking. Then I might consider it.


s14suspense
USA Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2007
14327 posts

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

Korkstand


Any familiarity with baby monitors? Am I crazy for wanting to try to use some of these POE powered unifi cameras as a baby monitor?


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

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Baby monitors are pretty good at what they do, but yeah some people have used these as baby monitors. Mostly they use the G3 Instant because it is only $30 and has two way audio, plus it's plug-in wifi and not PoE.

The downside is that as of now you *must* get a CK+ (or UNVR) to make it work at all, so you're looking at ~$250 for a baby monitor. So it's mostly people who already have a Protect system are just adding the Instant for $30.



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

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
I changed the title so maybe others can contribute their thoughts/reviews of various cameras/NVRs/etc. I realize there are multiple websites dedicated to exactly this, but people still come here a couple times a week to ask questions and talk about things, so let's see what happens.

I'll start by saying that I've been getting really deep into this since starting this thread, and I've learned a lot. Mostly I've learned that I believe there are more different models of surveillance cameras available than there are reviews and comparisons between them.

So I might try to change that a little bit. I want to build a camera test rig as scientifically as I possibly can. I want to document in as much detail as possible the methodology used for my cameras tests, down to the ambient light/temp, precise distance to subject, speed of subject, downloadable samples of subject(s), etc. The results need to be reproducible.

I'm not sure the best format to present this information as it might end up being a huge set of data, but I think it needs to be its own site/app rather than a youtube series or something like that. The idea is a user could choose a budget or other filter criteria and then compare side-by-side video stills from a range of cameras, along with features etc. Maybe I could also compare more advanced features like person/vehicle detection and things like that to maybe give an idea of what to expect with a given product. Because after many hours of research, I still would have no idea what kind of performance and results to expect from any camera based on the information I've been able to find. Would also like to integrate a plan/mapper feature eventually.

Sound useful? Or better yet, does anyone know of such a tool/project that already exists?


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

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

Sound useful? Or better yet, does anyone know of such a tool/project that already exists?





Signs like it could be its own dedicated website. The best resource currently existing is ipcamtalk, but direct reviews with methodological comparisons are not really their forte.

As a jumping off point, one of the best ideas I’ve seen is here. I like the idea of direct comparison in harsh conditions where everything gets pushed to the point of failure. There is obviously room for improvement here- they don’t talk about motion detection. They don’t talk about nvr features. They don’t sample audio (1 or 2 way) or discuss lag on viewing.

Still, I think this would be a good “model” to start from where you’ll want to measure certain things (face detection, license detection, fine detail, field of view, etc) and attribute points for a real “objective” comparison.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
444 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
We used a Wyze cam as a baby monitor. Our room was close we could hear so we just used it to check in when the kids would start stirring.

quote:

So I might try to change that a little bit. I want to build a camera test rig as scientifically as I possibly can. I want to document in as much detail as possible the methodology used for my cameras tests, down to the ambient light/temp, precise distance to subject, speed of subject, downloadable samples of subject(s), etc. The results need to be reproducible

Check out Rob on the hookup for how he does his camera comparisons. Digiblur also shows his rig in his comparison videos.
This post was edited on 2/8 at 6:01 pm


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

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Oh I plan to build a life-size human cutout that rotates around a base at variable speeds, among other test subjects like plates, etc.

I just need to take care to document every aspect of the setup as a parameter so that others can repeat and contribute.

There are some pretty neat tools available like the CCTV lens calculator and this mapper/simulator, but those just calculate pixel density and DORI distances based on specs. But like the ipcamtalk cliffs notes tell you right off top, "megapixel mania" is a common mistake, and the sensor/optics/firmware play a very significant role in image quality, especially when there is motion (the stuff we're actually interested in).

I'm imagining a tool where you can select 3 or 4 cameras and be presented with a grid with an array of cropped images which show the detail of a face/plate/whatever under several different controlled conditions (day&0/2/4/6/8mph, low-light&0/2/4/6/8mph, dark&0/2/4/6/8mph) and distances, with built-in IR vs IR flood, etc. Just so you can quickly glance and scroll to get an idea of which camera might be the best value for your application.


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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:

Check out Rob on the hookup for how he does his camera comparisons. Digiblur also shows his rig in his comparison videos.
Love both those guys and have watched a bunch of their videos. I might take some tips from them as far as rig setup. And I might put a few vids on youtube, but that format is pretty limiting if we want to compare a bunch of cameras.


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wizard1183
Lafayette
Member since Jan 2021
348 posts

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
I'll say this: I have an alarm system on my home and they do offer security cams. Didnt think I needed em til my truck was broken into (me thinking neighborhood was safe to keep it unlocked).

Well I researched camera. If youre not getting 4k? Dont waste your time with security cameras for home use. Daylight? ok. Nighttime? If its not 4k? Might as well just say, its a raccoon digging in the garbage. I spent about $3k on (3) cameras and an 8 channel box. I couldve saved about $200 with a 4channel but wth? Needless to say? I cought them not only on cam, but within a minute of them coming back acpl yrs later to my truck. My truck specifically when other vehicles were there...

CCTV camera Pros. Id have liked the panzoom but theyre just too much. Howe3ver with 4k infrared ngihtvision? You wont make out licenseplates at say 70ft, but youll make out who comes near your vehicles or home easily. And my cameras are dome and attached to the underside of my boxing. At night? You wont see my cameras until its too late and its got you on cam...

spend them money. Dont buy cheap junk like walmart/sams/costco or whatever your alarm comp has unless they offer 4k zoom


Lonnie Utah
Citadel Fan
Utah!
Member since Jul 2012
11976 posts

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

Well I researched camera. If youre not getting 4k? Dont waste your time with security cameras for home use. Daylight? ok. Nighttime? If its not 4k? Might as well just say, its a raccoon digging in the garbage.


Sounds like you need some IR illuminators. They turn nighttime into day time.

Also, if you spent $3K on three 4k cams and an 8 channel box, you got ripped off. Bigtime. And I'm including installation in my price calculations. Four 4k cams and an 8 channel box should be between $500-$800. Low voltage drops should be $100-$200. $250 TOPS.

I put in eight 5MP cams this summer. I did the install my self. I spent less than $650 and that includes Cat5e network cable and an external Infrared illuminator to fill in a dark spot in the back yard.
This post was edited on 2/9 at 10:01 am


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

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

Four 4k cams and an 8 channel box should be between $500-$800



Since this started off as a Unifi Protect thread, I feel like I should point out that the g4 Pro offering by them is $450 if you can find it. There’s definitely a quality increase from the lower-end cameras to the higher end. The law of diminishing returns and exponential price increases for the returns are both in play, I read his post to imply that the cheaper stuff wasn’t delivering. Maybe placement and lighting could overcome some of the cheaper camera deficits for his intended purpose, but to suggest there is a cost ceiling to quality gains seems to go against a lot of what I have read and seen on YouTube. A high def camera with 3x optical zoom definitely has a place in select setups.


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

re: General security camera discussion (was "Unifi Protect security cameras")
Really hard (for me) to justify $450 for that G4 Pro anywhere, especially not for home use. With Ubiquiti I think the sweet spot is definitely $200 for the G4 Bullet. They're only 4mp and not 4k, but from what I've read if you want quality 4k at night you have to go high dollar.

But yeah, there is some expensive gear that is worth it. Check the price of Axis stuff, and they sell a ton of equipment. They have a bunch of 1080p and even 720p cameras that cost upwards of $250. If you want 4k with Axis you're spending close to $1k.

Just depends on your budget and what you want out of your system.


Hopeful Doc
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2010
12581 posts

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

Really hard (for me) to justify $450 for that G4 Pro anywhere,



Me too. But if I had a 2 story house with high awning near my garage and wanted to mount the camera up high for practical/aesthetic purposes and had experienced break ins, I could see the zoom and higher resolution being potential sellers and relatively justified.


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