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Brad
05-23-2007, 10:08 PM
There may be folks here who like the web cameras on the MWO site and that a few of us have at home. Lets use this thread to discuss what it takes to set up and install a home web camera. I will use my setup as an example to be able to give specifics. 6288 may have other suggestions as we go through this too as he is far more technical than I am.

The process will come out over a series of posts.

Brad
05-23-2007, 10:25 PM
First post - The first thing to discuss is the Internet connection. The speed that is needed is dependent on where the viewers will be and how many are expected. If the viewers will only be INSIDE the house, then an Internet connection is not even needed.

If the viewers will be limited (by not giving out the URL or by having a password required), then a broadband connection (DSL or cable) is fine.

If you open the camera to the public and advertise where it is (like here on the MWO forum) you will get lots of viewers. If the camera will be at a cabin you only visit on weekends, then it does not matter too much. But, if it is your house and you need good speed for other things, the camera(s) could use up a lot of bandwidth (speed) in your Internet connection. So, faster Internet connection is better and the key part is the upload speed.

If I go one notch lower than the largest image possible (1280x768) and have all the other settings for the best quality possible, I am using 320Kbps of upload when inside the house. Coming in from the Internet it will naturally be a bit slower, but it does take a lot.

A few changes in the image quality (but still pretty good) and the upload requirements can change to less than 100Kbps. And that is still with a larger image than "6288" is showing as a default. The requirements would go down by reducing the image size to what "6288" has - which is still very good. So, you do have a lot of control right at the camera.

If this discussion raises questions - or I have not been clear, let me know in this thread.

KD Talbot
05-24-2007, 06:30 AM
What type of camera did you go with and where did you find the best price?
What should we reasonably expect to pay for a set up like this?
KDT

Brad
05-24-2007, 07:05 AM
What type of camera did you go with and where did you find the best price?
What should we reasonably expect to pay for a set up like this?
KDT
Kevin,

You are jumping ahead to the last chapter. But, that is fine. The new camera is a Toshiba IK-WB15A network camera. When we get to the last chapter the concept of a network camera will make some sense to folks. For something like this I typically go to www.amazon.com and see what prices they have and from whom. Major suppliers like Buy.com are there. plus, some lesser known brands. If it is something new for me i will stay with a bigger supplier like Buy.com or Circuit City. For something I know will do what I want and i am comfortable, I will go with a lesser known supplier and get a bit better price. I paid about $580 for this camera this spring.

Other costs will depend on if you have to upgrade your Internet connection - do you have a network in the house - do you need to make network changes. In my case I needed 200 feet of network cable. each time I tried to make it or my son (we do this all the time and they always work but they have never worked going down to the lake for some reason :( ). For this outdoor cable I paid less than $50 and I will be putting it in conduit to protect it. What is nice with this camera is I do not need to string power 200 feet down to the lake as I did with the prior camera. I also bought a Buffalo Technologies Power over Ethernet transmitter ($65) to send the house to the camera down through the network wire. These added costs depend on your individual setup. The camera came with everything needed to have power and a short network cable. How to mount it will vary. I had an "L" bracket on the tree for the prior camera and re-used that. You will need to figure out how to mount it for your situation and buy what is needed for a bracket or a mast or ...

Brad
05-24-2007, 07:24 AM
Getting back to the Internet connection. The different providers like Time Warner, Comcast or Bell South have different offerings. From what I have seen they all have a residential package and a business one. Some provide higher speeds at a higher cost. If you are to open up cameras to others to view, you might want to consider paying for an increase in upload speed.

Another difference between residential and business is "port 80". When you use a browser to go to a web page, your browser knows the default port the web server is listening for request is port 80. So, you can type in www.amazon.com and get to their site. www.amazon.com:80 will also get you there. You normally do not worry about it. The business packages from internet service providers allow port 80 to be served from within the network. Residential packages do not normally allow port 80.

What this means for us web camera folks is that if you put in a web camera at home on a residential internet connection you can not get to it at http://myhome.whatever.com from outside the house - since the service provider will block port 80. If you have the higher cost business package it will probably work.

The easy way around this is the camera can be changed to work on a different port. Mine are running on ports 8001, 8002, 8003 and 8004. "6288" selected a different set of ports for his cameras. So, a residential package works fine. You will have to deal with it a bit differently at the camera.

6288
05-24-2007, 08:17 AM
Just a follow up on the port 80 thing, we run into a lot of confusion at work regarding this. Http (hypertext protocol) is a standard which uses port 80 as a default. So if you do nothing to change this on a web server, this is the port that it will "listen" on. Besides the facts that Brad touched upon in his post, port 80 is also a dangerous port to open to the public. This is where the hackers will try and do damage and robots will try and attack. On my weather website I use port 80, since it is hosted on my providers space, and I just ftp my content. I let them worry about the hackers. But when you open up a port directly from your location (as in a camera), you have to provide the security. So changing the port number can be the first line of defense.

If you ever want to run an "experiment" at home, start a simple web server on your PC (you must have the appropriate software). Start this up with just a simple page that says "hi". Open up the port with your firewall software with logging enabled, and look at the log in a few hours. There are automated systems out there just waiting to jump on a new port 80 socket they see on the internet.

Nice thread Brad, I'll contribute more as time allows.

Steve

Brad
05-24-2007, 08:30 AM
Steve,

Thanks for jumping in here with added comments. It is amazing what the hackers are doing on the Internet. A couple of years ago we opened up a new hosting area with no servers installed yet. Within a matter of minutes the attacks had started trying to get their way in to see what was there.

You are right - don't run things on port 80 unless you are prepared to protect yourself.

Patrad Fischroy
05-24-2007, 09:41 AM
Yes, thanks for this thread. I realize that it is not strictly on the subject of Mt Wash, but it does offer more information on some of the systems that are used there and might allow us to emulate them in some small way. I know that I have already picked up a few bits of information that will help me with some longstanding problems on my network.

Brad
05-24-2007, 08:59 PM
Chapter Two - When the Internet connection comes into the house it is through either a DSL modem or a cable modem. It used to be that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) used to say that you could hook up one computer through to the internet. If you wanted to do multiple computers, you needed to pay them for multiple addresses. Not really the case today. Pay for one address and manage to support multiples inside your house.

To do this you need a "router" which will split the signals out to multiple computers. You can do this with a wireless router or a wired one. Many new homes have network cable strung throughout the house to every room. So, a wired router might meet your needs. If you have laptops, then a wireless router is the answer. Some ISPs will provide a wireless router as a part of their package.

These routers have one input for a network cable and typically 4 or 8 output plugs for network cables. Think about where to place a wireless router in the house. It should be central so that computers in any room can connect. Wireless signals travel well on a flat plane. They do not go up well.

Next is the selection of how to connect a web camera. They come in 3 major flavors. Many connect to a VCR to record - either with wires of wireless. These do not fit the type of capability we have been talking about. They provide a very closed solution. The thing to look for is a "Network" or "IP based" camera. This is a device that attaches to your home network just like your computer does. It has a network address. To set them up and deal with configuration options you use a browser. This works from inside the house - or, as we will see, it can also be done from outside the house through the Internet.

A wired connection to the camera gives a faster refresh rate - and probably a more stable connection. If you can go wired, it is probably a better solution. Our old lakeside camera was wireless back to the house. The newer version from the same company is wired only. With a new feature called Power Over Ethernet (PoE) the power to the camera is carried through the network cable. So, if you can get the network cable to the camera - and get a PoE model - then it is quite simple to install. Just have to string one cable to it.

If you go with a wireless camera, then it must be compatible with the wireless router in the house. There are 4 flavors of these. 802.11x where "x" is "a", "b" "g" or "n". "a" seems to have limited use today and the signals go not carry very far. The norm used to be "b" and the new normal one used is "g". "n" is the new one and there are some issues with them. My preference is to stay with "g" for the near future.

If you go to most electronics stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) you will see Linksys wireless routers. They are certainly a major brand. D-Link is another brand that shows up a lot. I will be able to talk to Linksys and Buffalo Technologies products. We used to have Linksys as the single vendor across all the houses in our family. They are nice because they are simple to set up. My experience is that the Linksys products last about a year to a year and a half. They they seem to have a problem. I am sure there are folks around who have not had a problem in years - not my personal experience.

So, when we needed to replace the wireless router in the house in Maine, we did it with a Buffalo unit to try them out. The set up is a bit more complex. We will see how well it works.

Steve M
05-25-2007, 08:42 AM
Brad, great thread with a lot of valuable information. The "details" are the key for me since I know the basics and most of my dealings have been with gaming.
My setup consists of a DSL based internet service in which I do pay a little more for a faster upload speed. I also have purchased for a nominal fee a static IP address. DSL, particularly personal DSL, normally uses a Dynamic IP which means that your IP expires on a regular basis and is continuously replaced by a new one. I'm not sure how that would affect a web cam but I know for gaming it works fine.
I have a Static IP because I host a server called Teamspeak that allows for talking to one another while in a game. My router, which is a good choice for those who have both PC's and laptops is a Linksys BEFW11S4 ver. 4 I have had it for maybe a year and so far it has worked great. I can plug my PC's into the back plugs and have 100Mbps over my network and at the same time use my laptop wirelessly because it supports 802.11b which is the old style. Look for one that suppports 802.11g because instead of 11Mbps it will handle 54Mbps over your network.
Also I find a lot of people get wireless routers for their home and even business, set it up just enough to get on line and then never go back to set up the security. This is important because anyone in range of your router can connect simply as looking for an available, unsecured connection and signing in. Your router should be encrypted and password protected.
If You need help with this and have a linksys router I will be happy to help.

Brad
05-25-2007, 09:20 AM
Steve,

Good feedback on the security issue if you are using the wireless router. If you live in the city or have close neighbors then having the security turned on is very important. It does slow things down a little bit. If you are at a cabin in the woods and have lots of house guests, then giving them the security key is a real pain.

What we have done is turned on the MAC filtering on the wireless router - and have a set of guest PC cards for house guests already registered on the network. When a guest arrives we give them a guest card and they are all set. For folks who come on a regular basis we register their internal wireless address. This does not have the higher level of security - but in many cases it is fine - and it does not have the speed impact of the encryption overhead. With this we do not have encryption turned on. If you get close enough outside to get the signal I can see you in the web cameras.

Plus, we have a guest desktop upstairs on the loft they can use. And at another desk area there is a network cable and spare LCD display for house guests. then they are wire connected to the router and the Internet. So security keys are required there.

Brad
05-25-2007, 09:32 AM
Brad, great thread with a lot of valuable information. The "details" are the key for me since I know the basics and most of my dealings have been with gaming.
My setup consists of a DSL based internet service in which I do pay a little more for a faster upload speed. I also have purchased for a nominal fee a static IP address. DSL, particularly personal DSL, normally uses a Dynamic IP which means that your IP expires on a regular basis and is continuously replaced by a new one. I'm not sure how that would affect a web cam but I know for gaming it works fine.
There is no need to pay for a static IP address from your ISP. Most routers, especially wireless Linksys, Buffalo, D-Link have a feature built in called "Dynamic DNS" - DDNS for short. Go to www.dyndns.com - create an ID - then create a DDNS account for your house. Mine is longlake.homeip.net. Then in the Linksys router tell it to keep the www.dyndns.com site up to date on what the house's IP address is. The router will keep the web site up to date and the Internet DNS servers will then get updated too. This is how you can always go to http://longlake.homeip.net:8004 and get to my driveway web camera. If the IP address of the house changes, within 5 minutes the internet DNS servers have been updated.

Most web cameras have the same capability built in also. Do not do this at the router AND the camera. The hosting site will shut you down for doing updates too often. Another option is to download the free client software from www.dyndns.com and use that to do the updating. I have this running on my wife's laptop. When she connects at a new location I get an e-mail with her new IP address. When I know she is supposed to get to a different place I look for the e-mails. If they do not come in, I can call her and help her through getting connected.

All this functionality is free. We have each house in our family all listed off one DynDNS.com ID. That just makes it easy.

Steve M
05-25-2007, 03:38 PM
If the IP address of the house changes, within 5 minutes the internet DNS servers have been updated. Does this temporarily affect your connection because my Teamspeak server is kind of like a web based telephone and if I were to lose connection it would cause everyone to be lost off the server.

6288
05-25-2007, 03:44 PM
Brad, you beat me to the punch regarding DDNS. I use it at the camp and at home. Hey, if it's free, it's for me. One thing you may want to do is run a command called "nslookup" in a dos window. This will resolve the name to an IP (it also will work to resolve an IP to a DNS name). I usually write mine down in case the DNS service goes down. You will probably find that if you keep your network up, the IP rarely changes anyway. Panasonic cameras come with a ddns service as part of your purchase. I don't use it (but have tried it, it works fine).

Brad
05-25-2007, 04:49 PM
Brad, you beat me to the punch regarding DDNS. I use it at the camp and at home. Hey, if it's free, it's for me. One thing you may want to do is run a command called "nslookup" in a dos window. This will resolve the name to an IP (it also will work to resolve an IP to a DNS name). I usually write mine down in case the DNS service goes down. You will probably find that if you keep your network up, the IP rarely changes anyway.
An easier way of finding out what your house's IP address is is to go to www.whatismyip.com they will return a web page with the information. Then write dwn that answer.

I actually have a entry in my cell phone for the IP address of the house so it is always handy.

Brad
05-25-2007, 04:52 PM
Does this temporarily affect your connection because my Teamspeak server is kind of like a web based telephone and if I were to lose connection it would cause everyone to be lost off the server.
If the ISP changes the IP address, your service will be off line till users can reconnect. If your ISP says the current address will never change, then in your case it may be worth it. having seen the major range changes over the past 2 years for our house, i can not imagine they could say that.

It would be easy to test in your case by setting up the DDNS stuff, and then switch to it for one user.

Brad
05-25-2007, 07:44 PM
When the camera is connected on your network (wired or wireless) you will want to set it up with a static IP address. Using Linksys address conventions, the router is the first point inside the house and it hands out the IP addresses to all the devices (computers and cameras) inside the house. But, you need to know what the camera's address is to make all this work, so do not select "DHCP" for the camera. Define a specific address.

The Linksys router will be 192.168.1.1. It will be able to hand out addresses in a range. Normally they start at 100 and can handle 50 addresses. So, things getting addresses from DHCP will be in the range of 192.168.1.100 through 192.168.1.149. Do not give the camera an address in this range. Our cameras in the house are 192.168.1.41 through 192.168.1.44 (for the 4 cameras).

At each camera you define a port. I set our 4 cameras to be port 8001 through 8004. So, you can see a pattern here in the way I set things up. Camera 41 has port 8001. Camera 42 is port 8002.

At the router (or wireless router) there is a function used a lot for gaming but it applies to what we are doing with the cameras too. When someone sends a request to http://longlake.homeip.net:8001 it will go to my house (because of DDNS knowing the address of the house based on the name "longlake.homeip.net"). It gets to the wireless router and the router sees the port 8001 qualifier. It needs to map the port to a specific address in the house (192.168.1.41 in this example). Linksys calls this "port forwarding". Buffalo calls it "port mapping". It is a table where you say this specific port should be sent to this specific IP address. Once this is set up you are ready to roll.

With a Linksys router you can get at the camera from inside the house at http://192.168.1.41:8001 or http://longlake.homeip.net:8001. From outside the house the 192.168.1.41 version will not work.

With the Buffalo router when inside the house you MUST use the 192.168.1.41 version. The longlake.homeip.net version can only be used outside the house. A slight difference between the products but not a big deal.

With all this you are really set. "6288", what have I missed?

M_Six
05-25-2007, 08:12 PM
Hi Folks,

New guy here. I've been enjoying the MWO webcams for years and finally got around to joining the club. Great thread here on setting up webcams.

I've found the Panasonic BL-C10A ethernet camera has great bang for the buck as far as options, clarity, low light viewing, and ease of use. It's a tad more expensive than the Linksys wireless webcam (which I also have), but the extra cost is worth it. I have mine wired to a Linksys wireless bridge, so it's easy to move around when the need arises. We bought this camera to keep an eye on our cat food bowls when we're away and we have a cat sitter coming in. The question arose, what if something happens to the sitter the day after we leave? How would we know? So I set up a camera pointed at the food bowls and now we can monitor them. If we see the bowls empty for long, we can call the sitter or have a friend stop by. When we're not away, I usually have the camera pointed out a back window at the bird feeding area. It gets pretty busy after the morning feeding time.

You are welcome to take a peak and pan the camera around. As with most webcams, this requires an ActiveX download, although folks using Linux have told me there's another option available if you can't use ActiveX.

Kittyfoodbowl.com (http://kittyfoodbowl.com:7256/CgiStart?page=Single&Language=0)

U: camguest
P: visitor

Brad
05-25-2007, 08:32 PM
M_Six,

You are doing a cool thing - using a wire based camera - wireless. You wire connect the camera to a wireless bridge. This is probably a lower cost way of doing a wireless camera setup. Nice of you to bring this forward as an option.

I see your camera is indoors looking outside. As the sun gets bright outside is the camera overpowered? Or can it handle it well?

I have 2 of the old indoor Linksys wireless cameras. They get overpowered by the sun if it gets real bright outside. Running indoors as they were intended they work just fine. So, I went to an auto supply store and bought a sheet of car window tinting. Cut a round patch - peeled the cover off - then stuck the patch over the camera lens. A tinted lens! It actually has worked well.

M_Six
05-25-2007, 09:35 PM
Hey Brad,

Good idea on the Linksys camera. That's why I don't point mine outside. I may try your trick, though. The Panasonic camera automatically adjusts for increased light. You can also manually adjust it through the web interface. I've found that the auto-adjust works fine for most lighting situations.

For those looking for higher quality images, there's a company called Mobotix (http://www.mobotix.com/eng_US/products) which makes some really nice day/night cameras. Of course these are pretty pricey for home use, but for business or research use, they're not bad. Two of my favorite sites using Mobotix are here (http://www.worldwide-nue.de/worldwide/seiten/livecam.htm) and here (http://www.nurburgring.org.uk/webcams.html). Both are in Germany, so there's not much to see right now. But the N├╝rnberg cameras pick up stunning sunrises behind the castle around 10:30PM EDT.

Can I ask which type of camera you use at MWO?

6288
05-26-2007, 08:53 AM
I've found the Panasonic BL-C10A ethernet camera has great bang for the buck as far as options, clarity, low light viewing, and ease of use.

I agree, at least from what I have seen, nothing comes close to this camera for the price ($199). For another hunderd bucks they have the BL-C30, which is wireless. You can stick one of these cameras under an eve outdoors, even though they are "indoor" cameras I have found as long as they stay relatively dry, they operate well beyond operating specs. Mine has worked fine well below zero.

hobbes
05-26-2007, 01:08 PM
Can I ask which type of camera you use at MWO? The one atop Wildcat is (was?) a Canon VC-C4. See here (http://www.zakongroup.com/technology/highest_wireless_network/) for the setup & hardware used.

Brad
05-26-2007, 02:53 PM
I have 2 of the old Linksys 802.11b wireless cameras. They are indoor cameras and have worked for years without a hitch. I paid about $165 for them way back when.

The newer versions (one has audio included) can be viewed at http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C1&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1118334686883&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper

If I were to look for a camera today, and it were for indoors I could seriously look at the Linksys or the Panasonic low end cameras. Outdoors the Panasonic has a nice interface and seems to be easy to control. And it has a great zoom capability. For higher resolution the Toshiba is very nice. Reading the owners manual on the Toshiba and Panasonic show they have very similar capabilities.

I am going to find an owners manual for the Mobotix and see what it is like. Some of the spec's are nice.

Brad
05-26-2007, 05:29 PM
I just checked out some of the new Canon network cameras. They have one with a 340 degree pan. this would be flat mounted or mounted to a ceiling. That ability could be very nice in some situations. The cameras were not great on low light and the marketing materials were weak on other features I would expect.

Brad
05-26-2007, 06:05 PM
What are some of the features to look for? Some of this depends on where you will be mounting the camera. We were aiming for the side of a tree. So, a ceiling mounted camera would have meant having to build a box and cover. The Toshiba can be ceiling or wall mounted.

If it is to be outside do you want exposed moving parts? Or should they be inside a weatherproof dome? We went for the inside a weatherproof dome for our outside cameras.

In another post I stated you need a network or IP based camera to do the things we have been discussing.

Do you need Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ)? What are the ranges for the pan and tilt? How many levels of zoom are available - or needed. A position like "6288" has does not need a lot of zoom as it is in th yard. But, checking out the ducks on the float requires a good zoom - which the Panasonic has. We could use a lot of zoom being out on the lake. The northern end of the lake is 2 miles away. friends live 1 mile away on the other side of the lake. The summer camps do their sailing 3/4 mil away.

Can you restrict user access to the camera? Do you do this through one "guest" ID as with the Toshiba? Or can you set up a list of IDs with their own passwords - like the Linksys? Is there a way to bypass the guest login process? The Panasonic seems to have the ability. The Toshiba does not.

Can an e-mail be sent when motion is "seen" by the camera? Can the camera support required login to a SMTP mail server to send the e-mail?

Can the camera FTP images to a site? What is the shortest and the longest time intervals? The Toshiba can go as fast as every 1/30th of a second. The longest interval is 180 seconds. If you are doing fast FTPing you will want the camera to log onto the FTP site and just send (as opposed to log on - send - log off). This is a lot more efficient. The Toshiba can be set for "re-connect" or "continuous". Plus, it can send images to two FTP servers. If one is not available it can shift to the back up server.

Can the image to be FTPed be a different resolution than the images users are viewing? This is a nice feature of the new Toshiba. I normally have the viewing running at 960x480 - but the images being FTPed to my Fotki site are 1280x960. Then I can use the higher resolution images to save or produce my little sunrise videos.

Can the camera have a schedule for FTPing that varies by day of the week? The Toshiba can do "all day", schedule 1 or schedule 2 for any day of the week. However, if it is not "all day" then the start and stop times must be on the hour.

If the FTP function is turned on, can the camera also send e-mails when there is motion. I have had several cameras where this is one or the other is available - not both at the same time.

How many presets are available? The wider the pan capability the more presets you may need. The Toshiba supports 64 presets.

Can you give some of the controls to guest users? Like pan/tilt/zoom, change the image resolution, adjust the color balance, turn on the mic to listen to whatever the camera sees, etc. The Toshiba has a list of these functions and you can enable or deny each to guest users.

Can you get a single image? Is this produced by CGI or is it a JPG file that can easily be saved. If it is a normal JPG file then the web camera should be able to be viewed on a cell phone - and the image be saved on the phone. I have been able to see the image on 6288's camera, but can not save it. Seeing and saving the Toshiba images on a cell phone work well. Once I save it I can then e-mail the image to my Fotki web site and it is added to one of my albums. I can not see a way of doing this with the Panasonic.

To get the single image on a URL do you have to be "admin" or can anyone get it? On the older Toshiba anyone could get it. With this newer one you have to know the admin ID and password.

Does the camera have audio? Is it built in - or do you need to buy an external mic, for example.

If the power goes off, can you designate which preset to go back to when the camera is turned back on? The Toshiba can go to the first preset "home" or the center of the pan/tilt range, or start a scan or autopatrol through the presets.

What is the refresh rate of the images. The better cameras seem to get to 30 frames per second. This can be achieved when inside the house. Normally it will be slower coming in from the Internet. The Toshiba also allows you to give a maximum refresh rate (which I have set to be 7.5fps). And there is a setting for maximum bandwidth used by the camera (across all viewers).

Does the camera support higher resolutions? Many seem to stop at 640x480. The Toshiba also supports 1280x960. Plus, it have 5 levels of compression allowed to reduce the bandwidth impact. I am going one level higher than "no compression" as I see no difference in the images.

How well does the camera handle low light. Some will allow switching to black & white when it gets dark. I have not turned that on my cameras, but the image is brighter. The Toshiba allows you to slow the shutter to get in more light at night and still be in color. This gives okay night viewing and far better sunrises. (I have been known to watch the Maine sunrise over the lake from my lakeside camera while driving to work in NC - sssshhhhhh). The camera's ability to handle low light is measured in LUX. The Toshiba goes down to 0.18 LUX.

Does the camera support Power over Ethernet (PoE)? This is very handy meaning you do not have to string power to the camera as well as network (ethernet) cable. Does the camera support wireless (802.11b or 802.11g)? This also means there is no power supply transformer outside.

If you have multiple cameras from the same manufacturer can you display them in one window? I can put my driveway camera and the lakeside camera images up at once in one browser window - that can be resized.

My "Toshiba" answers are for the current IK-WB15A camera we have at the lake. Maybe others can highlight key differences the Panasonics or other cameras have.

For you - think about which of these features are important based on what you need. then see which would be nice to have. Then do your research and ask questions here on which cameras can meet your requirements.

hobbes
05-26-2007, 06:41 PM
I just checked out some of the new Canon network cameras. They have one with a 340 degree pan. this would be flat mounted or mounted to a ceiling. That ability could be very nice in some situations. The cameras were not great on low light and the marketing materials were weak on other features I would expect. You can download the full manuals online, which should provide all the info you want. For me, the key features of the Canon VC-C50i are the optics and 26X *optical* zoom. It is a pricey camera though, but if you need/want the zoom ...

Brad
05-26-2007, 07:56 PM
You can download the full manuals online, which should provide all the info you want. For me, the key features of the Canon VC-C50i are the optics and 26X *optical* zoom. It is a pricey camera though, but if you need/want the zoom ...
The Mobotix is interesting in that some models have 2 lens. One is for daytime and other other for night. But, they seem to have a LUX of 1 which today is quite high. Their enclosures are nice for northern New England weather if you are to use them in the winter outdoors.

The Canon's zoom is wonderful! The price on Amazon.com is not all that bad - $955. Outside my price range, but I expected them to cost more.

M_Six
05-27-2007, 08:55 PM
Webcams let you know where your birdseed budget is really going. :D
http://www.bimmermail.com/furrybird.jpg

http://www.bimmermail.com/morningdeer3.jpg

Brad
05-27-2007, 09:31 PM
Oh dear - Oh deer.

Brad
10-31-2007, 07:34 PM
I picked up a BL-C131A to replace one of my indoor Linksys cameras. At this point it is set up wired in NC and am playing with it. This was easy to set up and get configured. I just set the motion detection to send a few images before and after the motion was seen. They get sent to my e-mail address and come in as individual e-mails with one image attached to each.

Steve, do you have trouble with sections of the screen disappearing? The part with the audio volume control appears and then changes to a pink line like "page not found".

When I get the camera to Maine over vets Day weekend I will set it up for real in wireless mode and see how that works.

6288
11-01-2007, 09:47 AM
Steve, do you have trouble with sections of the screen disappearing? The part with the audio volume control appears and then changes to a pink line like "page not found".

.

I haven't seen anything like that, but I don't have sound capability either. I would check on the panasonic website to make sure you have the latest firmware. It's fairly easy to download/install. Go to the "support" tab on the camera page and there should be a link.

Brad
11-01-2007, 02:12 PM
I haven't seen anything like that, but I don't have sound capability either. I would check on the panasonic website to make sure you have the latest firmware. It's fairly easy to download/install. Go to the "support" tab on the camera page and there should be a link.
Actually, I do not recall seeing this issue till I did update the firmware. I am on the latest level. My son is not on the latest level and has not seen the issue.

Steve M
01-08-2008, 12:30 PM
Brad,
I'm considering buying this camera soon and was wondering what you think of it and the price. $350.00 is about the max I can spend at this point so from what I could find a Toshiba seems out of my price range.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881180024

Brad
01-08-2008, 04:08 PM
Brad,
I'm considering buying this camera soon and was wondering what you think of it and the price. $350.00 is about the max I can spend at this point so from what I could find a Toshiba seems out of my price range.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881180024
First question is what will you be using it for? indoors - outdoors - need ability to move the image around - low light - etc.

hobbes
01-08-2008, 05:11 PM
Brad,
I'm considering buying this camera soon and was wondering what you think of it and the price. $350.00 is about the max I can spend at this point so from what I could find a Toshiba seems out of my price range.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881180024

It's only got digital zoom, 640x480 res, etc. Probably not worth $350. You may be better off getting a BL-C30 which can be had for less. But as Brad states, it really depends on your requirements...

Steve M
01-08-2008, 06:05 PM
I'm planning on using it outdoors to capture the sunsets mostly. We have a place with a nice open view of the western sky and the sunsets are incredible at times, especially in the winter.

Brad
01-08-2008, 06:12 PM
Unless there is some unique feature (like the flush ceiling mount), this is not worth the price. The zoom is okay - not great. Like most Panasonic cameras it does not have high resolution. But, at its highest quality image the frames per second drops whereas the BL-C131A can run at 30fps at the best quality.

Yes, this camera can do Power over Ethernet (just string a network wire and power goes over that). But, do you really want to be stringing wires in a ceiling? The BL-C131A can do wired or wireless.

The lens is f3.5 - okay but not great. The BL-C131A is a f2.8 lens. This means it will work better in low light. This is not close to the Toshiba cameras. The focus range is 0.5 - 8,0 meters - hmmm.

It can support an external mic - the BL-C131A has a mic inside it (and it works very well).

It does tilt but I can not see that it can pan. It seems to have a wide angle lens instead. The BL-C131A can pan, tilt and zoom.

The price on Amazon for the BL-C131A is $269. A better camera at a lower price. I would go with the BL-C131A if you are looking for an indoor camera - unless you really want the ceiling mount.

I have the BL-C131A as does my son and we are both happy with it.

Brad
01-08-2008, 06:17 PM
I'm planning on using it outdoors to capture the sunsets mostly. We have a place with a nice open view of the western sky and the sunsets are incredible at times, especially in the winter.
Ceiling mount - limited pan (if any) indoor camera being used outdoors. I don't think it fits at all.

Ceiling mount says it is under the eaves. Then you can not tilt up at all.

The BL-C131A might still be better if you can protect it from rain, etc.

Steve M
01-09-2008, 10:31 PM
Ceiling mount - limited pan (if any) indoor camera being used outdoors. I don't think it fits at all.

Ceiling mount says it is under the eaves. Then you can not tilt up at all.

The BL-C131A might still be better if you can protect it from rain, etc.
I thought that camera I was looking at was an outdoor camera. On second look it's not. Will an indoor camera be ok outside? If not I need to find a decent camera as cheap as possible for outside.

Brad
01-10-2008, 05:17 AM
I thought that camera I was looking at was an outdoor camera. On second look it's not. Will an indoor camera be ok outside? If not I need to find a decent camera as cheap as possible for outside.
We need "6288" to pop in here with a suggestion. From the indoor cameras I have worked with I have found their low light capabilities to be lacking - plus, you have to really protect them from rain (both the camera and the power adapter).

A Power over Ethernet (PoE) camera is nice for outdoors because there is power adapter/transformer needing to be outside. Panasonic has 2 product lines for web cameras. Check them both out.

6288
01-14-2008, 09:28 PM
If you want to see how an inexpensive camera works outside, go to my weather website and click on the sky cam. That is the cheapest panasonic made, the BL-10. It is totally exposed on the mast to my anomometer, just a piece of duct tape over the top to protect it, yet it's an indoor camera. It has worked fine to -20F when in Maine. You can also click on the WX underground logo, then click on the picture on that page and you will see archived photos from that camera.

If you can live with that quality, look around, and don't pay more than $150 for one.

Steve M
01-14-2008, 10:55 PM
Thanks all for your help. I will continue my quest for a camera. Although I don't promise not to ask more questions.:)

Brad
01-15-2008, 07:05 AM
If you want to see how an inexpensive camera works outside, go to my weather website and click on the sky cam. That is the cheapest panasonic made, the BL-10. It is totally exposed on the mast to my anomometer, just a piece of duct tape over the top to protect it, yet it's an indoor camera. It has worked fine to -20F when in Maine. You can also click on the WX underground logo, then click on the picture on that page and you will see archived photos from that camera.

If you can live with that quality, look around, and don't pay more than $150 for one.
I went there and it is all white. You did get some snow!

And you have plenty in Maine too. You locked down the MaineCam I see.

6288
01-15-2008, 07:47 AM
Brad,

It was clogged w/snow for a time yesterday, but it seems to be OK now. The camera at the camp is just providing stills now because I had a problem with at least one person on a snowmobile site. I'll probably open it up again, but you have a username/password for that right? If not I'll get you one.

Steve M
01-15-2008, 10:44 AM
Brad,

It was clogged w/snow for a time yesterday, but it seems to be OK now. The camera at the camp is just providing stills now because I had a problem with at least one person on a snowmobile site. I'll probably open it up again, but you have a username/password for that right? If not I'll get you one.
If you wouldn't mind I would like one as well since it is one of my favorites to check along with Brad's.

Brad
01-15-2008, 12:56 PM
Brad,

It was clogged w/snow for a time yesterday, but it seems to be OK now. The camera at the camp is just providing stills now because I had a problem with at least one person on a snowmobile site. I'll probably open it up again, but you have a username/password for that right? If not I'll get you one.
I do not recall having one. If I get an ID for something like this as a one time deal, I promptly forget it.

Charlie
01-15-2008, 05:43 PM
i to am a web cam junkie and like looking at your camp
ask brad i just look and don't touch any think I'm not to touch

thanks

6288
01-15-2008, 10:10 PM
I put some controls back on the camera so you shouldn't need a login.

Steve M
01-15-2008, 10:48 PM
I put some controls back on the camera so you shouldn't need a login.
thanks a bunch, dude.:)

Charlie
01-16-2008, 07:27 PM
I put some controls back on the camera so you shouldn't need a login.


thank you very much

6288
01-21-2008, 08:12 AM
Update!

Well, you guys probably thought I was toying with you, since the camera went away after I said I opened it up. Truth is, I found a bad section of cat 5 this weekend. Hopefully this was the problem with my camera going away intermittently. It's back, let's hope it stays!

Steve

Brad
01-21-2008, 09:01 AM
It looks like it is running well now. Paul did a nice job of plowing.

Kearsarge
01-29-2008, 11:19 PM
Hey guys,

Just joined the forum in search of webcam recommendations. This thread was very informative, nice job.

I'm a technology junkie, computers, rc aircraft, weather, HAM radio, TIVO, iPhone, iPod, etc...no wonder I'm broke.

I've had a davis pro 2 for quite some time and have been working at getting it online, www.bocknet.com/wx.htm (http://www.bocknet.com/wx.htm) Still working out the bugs, left-hand banner not up to date, but right side should be accurate. Due to my diverse interests, my website is very lacking, so please hold back the laughter.

Now I'm getting hooked on getting a better webcam setup. As crude as it is, at least it works, www.bocknet.com click on the webcam link on the left. I can't even remember when I bought this USB creative labs probably $50 cam.

Steve, yours is great!!! I just paned around your whole yard. That is so cool.

Brad, your sunrise video on youtube, incredible.

I want to share the sunrises that come over, oh yeah that would be Kearsarge Mountain.

Considering my high tech hobbies carry a high price tag, funds have to be allocated wisely. The BL-10 you mentioned seems like a good start. Any suggestions where to find it?

Thanks again guys great thread.
John

6288
01-31-2008, 02:29 PM
John,

Looks like the BL-10 has been replaced by the BL-111. I just saw one on the shelf at Best Buy for $200. The newer version camera includes a microphone (one way audio) which can be nice.

Steve

Brad
01-31-2008, 08:35 PM
I have the BL-C131A inside the cabin. This has a mic built in and it does quite well. I would assume the 111 has the same mic setup.

I normally go to www.amazon.com and see what they have for prices from them directly or from their partners.

Kearsarge
01-31-2008, 08:46 PM
Thanks Steve, Brad.

Brad, what cam are you using that you captured the sunrise you posted on youtube? Is that remote controlable, POE, etc...?

John

M_Six
01-31-2008, 10:42 PM
John,
Amazon still has some 3d party sellers with the BL-C10, but I'd go for the best you can afford. I have a BL-C10 sitting on and connected through a Linksys wireless bridge, but it's a bit of a pain dealing with all the cables. If you can afford a straightforward wireless cam, go for it. Brad's cams are awesome. I'd love to be able to spring for one or two of those.

My camera (http://www.birdiecam.net)
U: birdiecam
P: visitor

Brad
02-01-2008, 02:43 AM
Thanks Steve, Brad.

Brad, what cam are you using that you captured the sunrise you posted on youtube? Is that remote controlable, POE, etc...?

John
John,

The lake camera is a Toshiba IK-WB15A. This is high resolution - low light - pan/tilt/zoom - Power over Ethernet - no wireless capability. The low light is amazing. We have captured shooting stars a little while ago on it. I watch Orion moving through the sky and watch sunrise every morning - from NC.

The images from each of the outside cameras get sent to http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet/cabin/web_camera/ every 2 minutes for the new ones and every 5 minutes for the old one (the driveway - which is wireless and not PoE). You can get a static image from each one like http://longlake.homeip.net:8004/__live.jpg?&&& for the driveway one.

The actual lake camera is at http://longlake.homeip.net:8003 and is locked down for the winter to protect it from being moved. It is exposed to the north winds coming down the lake.

6288
02-01-2008, 10:11 PM
Brad,

I drove by your place today on the sled. Although I didn't know which place it was. But we had lunch in Harrison and picked up a trail in Naples, so I must have driven by it.

Kearsarge
02-03-2008, 08:02 AM
Is anyone familar with with this technology?

http://www.voipsupply.com/product_info.php?products_id=1097

Does this mean a standard wired camera that has an ac power requirement could be powered with this using PoE?

John

M_Six
02-03-2008, 11:32 AM
I've never used one, but the spec sheet and user guide are here. (http://www.microsemi.com/PowerDsine/Products/Midspan/PD_3001_specifications.asp)

These are also available for considerably less on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-0762045-9026845?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=PD-3001%2FAC) and other tech sites.

And I believe to use a non-PoE compliant camera with this you'd need a splitter box (http://www.amazon.com/1PORT-Single-Port-Input-802-3AF/dp/B0009JR5IW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=miscellaneous&qid=1202056352&sr=8-3) on the camera end.

Brad
02-03-2008, 08:11 PM
Is anyone familar with with this technology?

http://www.voipsupply.com/product_info.php?products_id=1097

Does this mean a standard wired camera that has an ac power requirement could be powered with this using PoE?

John
If the power needs of the web camera fit within the range for this PoE injector/receiver paid, then the answer is yes. this would work for any network device, router, switch, etc. that fts within the power range.

I have a PoE compliant web camera and use the Buffalo Technology injector as a single unit since the camera can handle the other end.

JulieO
09-22-2008, 09:51 AM
Hello
I have been here reading and enjoying everyones information and pictures for some time. I have recently come to a point in my life where taking on the care of a parent has begun. I was wondering if the same technology that you all are using outside could be used for me and my family members to watch over our mother. She has agreed that this would make her feel more comfortable in her own home. I was looking for something that could be viewed by about 6 or 7 different people all not living in the home with the camera. Has anyone ever tried this and what type of products would you use? I know this isn't a topic that is normally on this thread we are just looking for an alternative that can make everyone in our family happy and comfortable.

Brad
09-22-2008, 07:48 PM
Julie,

I have a couple of Panasonic "PetCams" inside my house and they work well. One is wired to the home network and the other is wireless. That is the only difference between the 2 cameras. When we have no one in the house I use them to check on what is going on inside.

The major one inside is in the dining room area - looks across the kitchen - across the great room - into the sunroom - almost to the front foyer. One can view the image (video) with a browser and control the camera for Pan/Tilt/Zoom. All this can be done off a cell phone also. On the phone it is individual still images - which can be refreshed. The Pan/Tilt/Zoom works on the cell also.

The cameras also have a built in mic which works pretty well. When the grandkids are at the house their mother logs on to see what the kids are doing. They talk on the phone and the kids show her what they are talking about.

The models I have are

wireless BL-C131A
wired BL-C111A

Bill O
09-22-2008, 08:42 PM
Needless to say they should be password protected. Otherwise anybody in the world could spy on Grandma.

Steve M
09-22-2008, 08:58 PM
Needless to say they should be password protected. Otherwise anybody in the world could spy on Grandma.

A new twist on "Little Red Ridinghood"?:D

M_Six
09-22-2008, 11:38 PM
Julie,

I have a couple of Panasonic "PetCams" inside my house and they work well. One is wired to the home network and the other is wireless. That is the only difference between the 2 cameras. When we have no one in the house I use them to check on what is going on inside.

The major one inside is in the dining room area - looks across the kitchen - across the great room - into the sunroom - almost to the front foyer. One can view the image (video) with a browser and control the camera for Pan/Tilt/Zoom. All this can be done off a cell phone also. On the phone it is individual still images - which can be refreshed. The Pan/Tilt/Zoom works on the cell also.

The cameras also have a built in mic which works pretty well. When the grandkids are at the house their mother logs on to see what the kids are doing. They talk on the phone and the kids show her what they are talking about.

The models I have are

wireless BL-C131A
wired BL-C111A

I have one wired and one wireless now, too. No mikes on mine, though. They point outside when we're home.

Brad
09-23-2008, 06:55 AM
I have one wired and one wireless now, too. No mikes on mine, though. They point outside when we're home.
We use the built in mic only for the BL-C131A model. You can elect to make it available to users or not.

I used to have an indoor camera on a window ledge and turned it to be looking outside when we were there. That grew old after a while and we mounted a good outdoor camera over the deck. Normally the inside camera has all access turned off. You can set the features allowed for each user which is nice. Once set up for each person I just change the password to be something only I know and everyone is blocked out. Flip it back to give a specific person access.

You can control all access (even yours) by turning off port forwarding at the wireless router for that camera's port. So, they are easy to manage and lock down.