Outdoor wireless camera recommendations


Definitely go with a system that keeps things local. I didn't do much research beyond the Unifi stuff because I already owned some Unifi network gear (and ended up replacing my non-Ubiquiti AP with a nanoHD). So it made sense for me to buy the cloud key gen2 + a few cameras. I'm very happy with it - it's almost unbelievably fast when connecting to the cloud key remotely. As in watching your stream or a recording within 5 seconds of opening the app. Arlo takes 10-30 seconds to do the same.

Cameras seem legit, and are can be pretty cheap ($75+). Either way, I would have gone local and I'm kind of surprised to see anyone here suggesting cloud-based solutions.


Got it--thanks


Some cloud based systems DO make sense for the home consumer market. A lot of us have been in the IT industry for decades now (I myself have been in IT for almost 35 years), and as such, home consumer gear is a joke.

But, for someone that just wants to plug a camera in, connect to it from their phone or tablet, and just have basic video, I can see the use case for that. Would I recommend it over a local NVR? Nope! But I do see the need for those products. :slight_smile:


I've grown to be a little more cognizant of security, even just at a high level. Cloud storage for cameras in or around my home is just about the last place I want to use a cloud-connected device, and seems like one of the most obvious security risks. I'm not saying they don't have their place (I'm still using my Arlo Plus in the basement, for now) -- but it's at least worth some consideration.


I made my Arlo Qs aquarium cameras just a few days ago (it was actually this thread that spurred me to do that).

Go ahead hackers, watch fish all day if you want. :wink:


Yeah, I'd never consider installing a cloud based system for inside cameras--the potential for abuse is just too high. Take Ring for example.


That actually sounds somewhat pleasant!


Can I subscribe to your aquarium feed? :tropical_fish::fish::fish::blowfish:


I agree that a fully local PoE solution is the way to go, whenever possible. But for a use case like what the OP stated (checking on the gardener remotely with a battery-powered camera), a cloud-based solution like Blink is cheaper and can be setup with far less effort.


I'd give a thumbs up for Blink! had them for over 2 years, work great. As stated previously they are coming out with the XT2 which has 2 way audio. I've bought the exterior covers and have two of the original XT's outside with no issues. Very good pictures. Yes the battery function tells you OK or not but uses EverReady lithium (not special batteries like some of Arlo models) and STILL after two years have not needed to change the batteries. You can also tailor the field to cover either a widen or narrow field. It works with IFTTT and can use Hubitat applet to turn your blink system off and on depending on Mode in Hubitat. May take approximately 20 seconds to activate , but works great. I use the Hubitat applet to turn the Blink system on and use Blinks own Applet to disarm Blink system when you get in a certain radius of your home and also find it works very well. Don't short change Blink and presently the Blink XT2's are on sale at Amazon


After carefully considering my options and the recommendations in this post (thanks everyone!) I've decided to go with an Amcrest NVR and 4MP dome cameras. All of the parts are on order and I'll be on vacation starting next week and will start the installation.

The one piece that's missing is an ONVIF compatible video doorbell. The OEM version of Hikvision DS-KB6003-WIP looked promising. It's ONVIF compliant, has a small footprint (only 1.8" wide) and is reasonably attractive. But looking at the specs it's IP54 rating doesn't seem workable for my front door location with no overhang. The driving and nearly horizontal rains that are frequent in Virginia makes the IP54 rating a deal breaker.

It seems silly to purchase a cloud dependent video doorbell and pay for cloud storage when I have an ONVIF compliant NVR. But I'll be damned if I can find other ONVIF doorbells. Anyone have any recommendations?

General wish list:
Powered by doorbell transformer (16-24VAC) not batteries
Small footprint (width <= 2" wide)
No cloud dependency
Unobtrusive, doesn't look ridiculous (subjective)
Doesn't cost a fortune ($200 or less)


I don't know if one exists matching all of your criteria. Since I have my POE camera's for the "main" part of my surveillance my "video" part of the doorbell isn't even really necessary. However I have a Zmodo Greet pro doorbell, that mainly serves the purpose of notifying me (my phone) if the doorbell is pushed and to have 2 way voice/video with who is at the front door.

Being that the POE cameras provides the surveillance, the doorbell video portion only serves the function that in the event something happens should I need it (so far haven't and rarely ever even check doorbell footage) it provides a close up view of at my door, and that is stored on their cloud for free for a limited time.


For me, the doorbell would give me a pretty good wide angle view of my front yard which would be helpful to confirm that yard maintenance guys are doing proper upkeep. I'm surprised that none of the surveillance camera companies have jumped in the video doorbell market. I would think there would be a decent market for a non-cloud dependent doorbell from the likes of Amcrest.

Edit: Looks like Amcrest is working on a video doorbell


I think I may have found one that matches most of what you list, but to me it looks a bit clunky. dbell features - wifi doorbell camera | dbell


So close...

You're right about it looking clunky--It looks like they went out of their way to make it look like 1980's high tech. Too bad because it hits all the requirements except "doesn't look ridiculous". Oddly, Home Depot seems to be to only one that carries it. At $140 the price is right but it just might be too fugly to consider.


I finally got the NVR and cameras installed. Of course it's been smoking hot here for the past week and I've spent hours on a ladder, in the crawlspace and in the attic sweating my ass off. I ended up installing only two Amcrest dome cameras since their 118 degree FOV gives me very good coverage of the areas I was looking to monitor.

I also found a great video door bell. From what I've been able to find for info it appears to be an OEM version of a Hikvision NDB313-W. It hits all of the original wish list items:

Powered by doorbell transformer (16-24VAC) not batteries
Small footprint (width <= 2" wide)
No cloud dependency
Unobtrusive, doesn't look ridiculous (subjective)
Doesn't cost a fortune ($200 or less) - actual cost was $140 shipped

It costs $140 shipped and uses a micro SD card (16GB card included) for local storage. As a bonus, while undocumented, it appears to be ONVIF compliant and I was able to add it to my Amcrest NVR as an ONVIF camera. I've only had it installed for a couple of days and installation was simple. It uses the EzViz app, which while a bit clunky is decent. The only issue I ran into is that my existing doorbell transformer has too low a VA rating to operate my mechanical chime (solenoid armature tries to pull in but only moves a 1/4" so it never strikes the chime). I have a 24V 40VA transformer on order and will need to craw around in the crawlspace looking for the old one :frowning:

So far though, highly recommended.


Ouch....sore subject for me.

I have the 4k Ezviz POE camera setup with NVR, I love the cameras and setup......but for some damn reason they are NOT ONVIF compliant.....yet your Amcrest IS compliant using the same app.......ya I'm not happy...

Congrats on your success though


I'm going to echo a couple of other comments here about the Unifi stuff. It's awesome.

I have a Synology NAS, which comes with the Surveillance Station software on it. Unfortunately when I bought it, the description on Amazon didn't say anything about having to pay for licenses if you want to use more than 2 cameras. $50 per camera. That's a ripoff when you look at Blue Iris and some of the other software out there.

Since I already have some Ubiquiti network gear, I upgraded my Cloud Key to the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus. It's got a hard drive in it (upgradable), and a build in NVR. It can support up to 20 cameras. The rub is that you have to use Unifi cameras. I bought the G3 Flex cameras, 4 of them. This thing is awesome. The phone app works really well, and the motion detection is great. The timeline view even has little thumbnails of the motion that you can click on and it will go to that spot. Also, if you scroll through the timeline, the video speeds up so you can review quickly. Much better than the Synology stuff. I record everything, 24/7. But the motion detection is great for finding out what I need to look at. The cams record sound also. No licensing fees, no cloud service fees, nothing. You buy it, you own it, and you have full control over your video content because it's local to you (but it's accessible through their free cloud connection if you're not at home).

There are a bunch of Unifi camera options. One of them has 2-way audio, but it's indoor only and I've been unable to verify if the 2-way audio works with the Unifi Protect app, or if it only works with their older NVR app.


To clarify; the only thing using the EzViz app is the video doorbell. The app is required for push notifications when someone presses the doorbell button and is also used to manage the doorbell's settings and locally stored video for PIR motion detection events.

I also have the doorbell setup as an ONVIF camera on my Amcrest NVR. The NVR is recording video from the doorbell 24/7 and also doing motion detection. The doorbell's motion detection capabilities are supposed to do "human detection" to reduce false positives. While this seems to work well during the day, at night it apparently thinks that moths look like humans. The sensitivity settings are limited to preset distances and the only way I've found to reduce night time false positives it to set the motion detection setting to the smallest distance.

Also, if anyone is considering buying this doorbell; the EzViz app reported it offline this morning. I measured the voltage going to the doorbell this morning and found it at 11 volts. I suspect the existing transformer just doesn't have enough power to reliably run the doorbell. My 24V 40VA transformer arrives today. I'll post again if the doorbell locks up with the new transformer installed.


I looked at the Synology NAS as an option but was immediately turned off by the insane licensing costs. I didn't even consider Ubiquiti as they aren't ONVIF compliant but I agree that this does look like a nice system.

For the money, Amcrest hardware it pretty good. The NVR software is a bit clunky and I have a hard time understanding why the NVRs don't support a USB keyboard and force you to enter text using an on-screen keyboard and mouse. The Amcrest mobile app flat out sucks.