Cameras after break in attempt?

Hello everyone,

Today I need your concentrated hardware expertise. A friend of mine tried to break in and now he wants to monitor his apartment with cameras. The cameras should be a bit smart and be able to be switched off for some time.

Can you recommend anything here?


I assume you mean he had a break in attempt.
Does he own the apartment? In many countries the apartment owner has restrictions on what the tenant renting an apartment can place on walks and ceilings.

Off Topic

Funny friends you have!

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There are currently no restrictions to place new things

I assumed English is not their native language.
Unfortunately there are so many lazy/uneducated “native” English speakers these days it is difficult to discern the difference sometimes.
Add to that the way English terms are getting redefined and the confusion gets worse.

Your are right. English is not my native language.

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This is not an easy or straightforward question to answer, there are loads of options. Mainly you need to know the budget and use case for the cameras.

Ring have a number options available now, that may work but they can’t interface with much. So not very smart. Or you could buy a number of IP cameras and running them with something like ZoneMinder.

You also have to bear in mind thinks like, light levels, small creatures interfering with both motion and chewing cables. Then you have those spiders and their webs to be aware of.

Options recommended could vary by country too due to availability.

I’ll agree, we don’t have enough details about requirements to make good recommendations. All I can suggest is that I just purchased four Wyze cams with outdoor housings. They are still in the box pending my figuring out how to power the darned things.

Their cloud service offers all of the things you mentioned and can be integrated with IFTTT to do more. Or you can replace the firmware to enable RTSP (this isn’t some reverse engineered firmware, it’s provided by Wyze itself) and use it with one of the many CCVT systems like Shinobi, ZoneMinder, BlueIris, etc. I think the IPCamera binding will also work with RTSP.

I personally use Shinobi with a RaspiCam and am pretty happy with it.

We have a couple of wired outdoor cameras that support PoE (Power over Ethernet) so they get their power that way. They are not Wi-Fi though.

I have no wires at all. I need to figure out where to get power from and run the wires myself. I chose these cameras because they are $25 a piece and it will be easier for me to run a power wire from a near by outlet than it will be to run PoE or other cables from a central location in the house to the north, south, east and west sides of this two story house.

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In our case we ran 2 network cables and have the cameras on opposite sides of a tree, mounted to bird houses.

Thanks to all for your insigths. I could give my friend some views on cameras and now it is up to him to decide.


Far and away, one of the best quality options is to go with BlueIris NVR software and some good POE cams. This setup will yield great quality recordings, a ton of flexibility and tunability, offline reliability, mobile accessibility, and even some integration with OH through their API.

However, this can be costly as it requires a decently powered windows machine to run the software and the decent quality low-light cameras run about $100-150 apiece. It also requires a fair amount of time and basic know-how to setup to each environment. These tradeoffs can be steep for some people, so they’re important to consider.

To me, Blue Iris is a no-brainer in order to have better quality and not have to rely on cloud-based services such as ring or nest.

There is a great resource of information on network cameras on the message boards.

Some basic things to know about security cameras (or things I wish I knew before I started):

  • Avoid wifi if at all possible. It’s unreliable, especially for high bandwidth situations. POE is preferred.
  • To the point of wiring: POE can seem daunting, but no matter what, you will always need to at least supply power to each camera, even wifi models. POE is low voltage, provides much better reliability/performance, and much easier to run than new power outlets, so while it might be intimidating at first, it’s a great choice to consider.
  • For the cheapest/easiest route, the wyze cams @rikoshak mentioned are some of the best choices. The wyze pan cam also works with BlueIris through their beta firmware which supports RTSP.
  • Make sure to secure the cams with firmware updates and strong passwords
  • Off the shelf products (ring/nest) are easy to setup and offer fair quality, but the user experience can be frustrating, depending on the environment. Pain points include poor recordings, (MANY) false positives, or even worse, missed events.
  • Don’t mount cameras too high. 7-8ft (2m) off the ground are usually ideal to capture faces. Otherwise you’re only going to see the tops of people’s heads.
  • Don’t bother with pan/tilt functions. Fixed lenses in strategic locations are more useful.
  • Start with just one or two cameras to learn and understand the limitations for each environment.
  • One surprising consideration: If at all possible, try to avoid the use of IR light powered cameras. This is a very popular method for low light situations, but over time, IR will attract tons of bugs, which in turn, will cause spider infestations. One or two cameras indoors should be fine, but in outdoor environments with 5 or 6 cameras, this can become a major nuisance over time. Instead, invest in good quality low light sensors.
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