Author Topic: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations  (Read 911 times)

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Offline dids04

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Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« on: August 08, 2019, 07:29:36 AM »
Hello Everyone.

I'm looking at adding a webcam to my weather station and looking for recommendations.  (Had a cheap china one that was difficult to setup and lasted only 2 months.)

Ability to post on WU, Ecowitt & Weathercloud and the like, send stills or video (would like to chose between both) via ftp etc.

Also, a bonus if this can be sourced in Australia.



Thanks in advance.


Steve

 

Offline Lighty269

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2019, 07:13:17 PM »
I have been looking too, so far the Reolink RLC-511 was a waste of money, $94.00. So if anyone has some suggestions, I also am looking for a reliable camera for FTP upload.

Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2019, 07:46:04 PM »
Check both Dahua and Hikvision.  Both make low light capable cameras, StarVis or Star Light for Dahua and Dark Fighter for Hikvision.  Don't go chasing megapixels, 2MP is the "sweet spot" for low light performance.  In either case, be sure to buy "International" versions.  Most of the stuff on FleaBay and Amazon is hacked firmware, Chinese to English by a third party, and the firmware can't be upgraded easily.  Read that as you risk "bricking" a hacked firmware model when updating firmware.  Stick to turret, or eyeball, style cameras.  Bullet cameras are spider magnets if you use the built-in infrared for night vision.  A Dahua or Hikvision can be bought for under $150, USD, and both perform quite well.  A little more and you can get a varifocal, but keep in mind it's a varifocal and not a zoom.  In other words you set the focal length at installation and leave it alone.  Either are capable of FTP or streaming without much of a problem.  For a weather only camera I'd suggest a 6mm lens rather than the usual 2.8-3.4mm if you decide on a fixed lens.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 07:48:21 PM by awsum140 »
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Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 09:17:12 PM »
I'm a big fan of Hikvision. I prefer bullet type but some people prefer their dome type. Each has pros and cons. The biggest being that bullet has glass lens and dome is plastic and can turn color over time. But dome is not as susceptible to spider webs. I don't mind going around my cameras with a swiffer and cleaning the webs every few weeks.

BUT... don't just buy Hikvision from anywhere. You should only buy from authorized reseller or your warranty will not work from Hikvision USA. You might have a warranty but it will be a card that the seller puts in to contact them for support and warranty.....like who are they and are they going to be around in a year??? So don't buy Hikvision on Amazon nor on eBay. This may seem like a difficult thing to then not get screwed on but it isn't If you go to Hikvision's website you can see a list of authorized distributors. My favorite from the list of authorized distributors is B&H Photo www.bnh.com. They have good prices and they are wonderful to deal with.

Here is where this matters. When you contact Hikvision USA they are not going to help you unless you provide serial number. If the number doesn't check out then they tell you what you have is grey market and not supported. No technical support, no warranty. Don't even try to flash firmware from Hikvision USA website onto a grey market device...big risk, it has not turned out well for many.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 09:42:32 PM by galfert »
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Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 06:48:34 AM »
I should have clarified, further.  A turret/eyeball camera is not a dome camera.  The lens is not covered by a plastic dome and is, indeed, glass.  A dome camera is covered with a plastic dome which works fine for indoor use or in areas outdoors where it is not exposed to sunlight.  The plastic of a dome tends to cloud over, with time, from the UV and IR of the sun.  The plastic dome can also reflect IR light from its' own IR light sources which ruins the night time vision.  Since a turret/eyeball has no dome that is not a problem with turrets.
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Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 07:11:55 AM »
Awsum140,
Ah okay. I always thought the choices were primarily only bullet, dome, and PTZ. I now see that there are fixed "turret" that are not PTZ. I just thought that because they looked like that, that they were all PTZ. They do look interesting. They do look more like a camera though. One interesting thing about bullet type is that people think that they are spot lights often and not cameras. So it depends on what you are going for if used for security. Some people believe in warning with prominent cameras other want to be more inconspicuous.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 07:15:22 AM by galfert »
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Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 07:31:58 AM »
I got lucky and found an excellent supplier for Dahua although I'm very tempted to try a Hikvision.  Capabilities are very similar between the two but having a quality supplier of Dahua, with very competitive pricing, makes it a little tuff to jump to Hikvision.  I've switched to turrets more for their resistance to spider problems, my system is primarily for surveillance and I live in a rural area so bugs are problematic.  I do have some bullets, in fact my weather camera is a bullet, but I don't use the onboard IR in them.  Instead I use external IR sources and keep the bugs away from the lenses.

PTZ stuff, assuming a decent low light capability, is kind of pricey for a weather camera.  I have seen a video of a train camera, I think it was a 75 or 120mm zoom with auto tracking, that could capture a train at a mile away.  A camera like that is well into the thousands, way to rich for my pocket book.  Even a 25mm PTZ is pushing the upper hundreds, price wise.
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Online ValentineWeather

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 08:17:27 AM »
Don't forget to look at camera ambient temperature rating if you live in cold country.  Many are rated at just -4F (-20C) which would be a real problem for mountains, northern plains, upper midwest and inland areas of NE.
Randy

Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 08:33:05 AM »
My favorite Dahua reseller right now is Amcrest. I have experience with both Dahua (several reseller brands) and Hikvision. In my experience I see better technical support from Hikvision and their firmware is released more frequently to patch bugs. There is much less or almost no Chinglish with Hikvision compared to Dahua resellers. Both are almost copies of each other...that is amazing. I have experience with many systems as I manage them for my clients. I wouldn't say my preference to Hikvision is enough to say I wouldn't recommend Dahua (Amcrest)...especially because of a the price difference.

Most interesting to me is what is going to take the place of both Dahua and Hikvision given the government ban for government agencies that takes effect in less than a week? The ban is because they use Huawei chips. Which is the reason you don't see Huawei cell phones in the US anymore and cellular companies have been banned from using Huawei cellular infrastructure equipment.

For personal use I really am not concerned. But I do wonder how these companies will be affected by the ban and loss of revenue and if a new company becomes the new favorite because of new government use. I just haven't seen anything with the features and capabilities of Dahua and Hikvision yet.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 08:37:22 AM by galfert »
WS-2000 & WS-2902A | Ecowitt GW1000 | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Online ValentineWeather

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 09:50:47 AM »
I was always a Hikvision fan with POE bullet cameras where (2) somehow have survived the harsh elements going on 3+ years now. Recently purchased 3 wireless Amcrest units after a move where I didn't want to punch holes into the house. 
They seem to work okay. 1 is a 4mp bullet I use for weather cam and 2-3mp ptz units for security (indoor garage and backdoor).
 
I'm not having any bandwidth issues with 3 wireless cameras plus stream everything (no cable TV or Sat) including youtube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime.  Frame rates are smooth enough.
I was afraid cameras would run into a bandwidth issue but using the wifi 5 GHz and router Netgear R7000 everything is fine so far. I'm going to add 1 more Amcrest wireless for website snow stake cam this winter.   
Randy

Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2019, 10:14:55 AM »
One other comment regarding cameras.  Make sure the sensor size is 1/2.7 or larger IE 1/2.8 or even bigger.  A 1/3 sensor will not perform well at night.  All of the cameras I have purchased, both Dahua and some junk stuff from before I knew better, have performed for at least three years with no real problems.  That's a total of ten cameras at the moment.  I thought the Reolink 4MP I bought early on was great, then I bought a 2MP Dahua StarVis and threw the Reolink in the trash.

The other thing that drive me nuts, generally, about video cameras is that the general public believes everything they see in a movie, like "Enemy of the State" for example.  When using digital zoom there is no way to increase the pixel count to achieve what they show being done.  There is some cutting edge stuff available that can "interpolate" more pixels to improve digital zoom resolution, but it is expensive and in terms of being valuable for surveillance purposes it just isn't.  Any "enhancement" of a video, or photo renders them useless as evidence.  I know that doesn't mean much for a weather cam, but the expense just isn't worth it.
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Offline Lighty269

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2019, 09:02:47 AM »
I see a lot of good replies, do you all have some links to these preferred cameras or model numbers I can search. Not needed for surveillance, I have that covered, just need for weather.
Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 09:04:25 AM by Lighty269 »

Offline awsum140

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Offline ocala

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 11:52:10 AM »
Great thread guys.
Those of us in the "Webcams for Dummies " category really appreciate it.
Any suggestions for a decent camera with an optical zoom that won't break the bank.

Offline awsum140

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Offline ocala

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2019, 12:22:16 PM »
Didn't you guys say to NOT buy from Amazon and Ebay?

Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2019, 12:27:47 PM »
Yes I did mention that most of the stuff on FleaBay and Amzon is hacked.  I guess I should have added the caveat that it's not all.  In this case I have linked to a known, reliable, supplier of International versions of Dahua cameras.  I have bought multiple cameras from them and all have been exactly as advertised and I have upgraded firmware on them with no problems at all.
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Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2019, 01:42:56 PM »
One other comment regarding cameras.  Make sure the sensor size is 1/2.7 or larger IE 1/2.8 or even bigger.  A 1/3 sensor will not perform well at night. 

Maybe that was a typo....but 1/2.8 is not larger than 1/2.7. Maybe you meant to say "make sure the sensor size is 1/2.7 or larger IE 1/1.8 or even bigger." [IE 2/3"]. Totally agree that a 1/3 sensor is inadequate but only if not sufficient IR.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 01:45:16 PM by galfert »
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Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2019, 01:46:53 PM »
Thinking ahead of my fingers and not proof reading.
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Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2019, 02:32:43 PM »
WS-2000 & WS-2902A | Ecowitt GW1000 | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2019, 04:25:14 PM »
Nice camera, galfert.  How's in do in low/no light situations?
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Offline galfert

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2019, 06:22:06 PM »
Nice camera, galfert.  How's in do in low/no light situations?

It does incredibly well in no light situations because of built in good IR. The impressive thing though is that it stays in color all the way down to 0.008 lux...and below that switches to B/W with IR. It as a respectable 1/2.8 sensor. It is 3MP 2048 x 1536 so not to crazy bandwidth use...but you can set it to just 1920 x 1080 if you prefer. It has 3 separate streams so you can pick to record on highest and view remotely on lower sub stream. Best of all it has a good price.

The only thing I wish just about any IP camera would do better is to switch from low light situation to sudden bright light quicker or rather instantaneously. I've not found a camera at a decent price that does this though. This is important for security where a car driving down the road might temporarily blind the camera. For weather situation I would like a camera to capture that lighting flash better instead of just white out the screen. I'm probably asking for too much as that would probably require military level technology.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 06:25:05 PM by galfert »
WS-2000 & WS-2902A | Ecowitt GW1000 | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Windy: pws-f075acbe
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Offline awsum140

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2019, 06:58:35 PM »
The 4231 I use for a weather cam will hold color all night if I "force" it.  It's a fine picture for a still, but because of the gain required motion tends to get blurry.  I use a utility that switches all of my Dahua cameras at once to night or day mode as appropriate.  I do see lightning as flashes of light, IE much brighter picture, but it doesn't blind them.  Having most of them looking, more or less, downward may be a factor as well.

Getting really fast response for automatic dynamic range is expensive.  Keeping it locked in to IR is probably the best solution.  I haven't seen any camera, other than high end stuff, do a lot better than the "prosumer" stuff we use.

Switching from 3mp to 2mp won't help night vision.  The size of each element on the lens is the key and what, how much light, comes through the lens.  From what I can gather about reducing resolution, it is an electronic compression of the original size image.  I could be wrong on that, but that's what I have gathered from watching a lot of video comparisons ad nauseum.

I recently saw a guy complaining that his video camera was "junk" because he could get a much better picture with his DSLR.  All he needs is a video camera with a $100, or more, lens and a 1" or bigger sensor, oh yeah and IPC65 or better waterproofing and a really large drive array to store all that imagery.
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Offline cospringswx

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Re: Weather Station Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2019, 07:21:10 PM »
I have a streaming Hikie bullet here.

http://www.cospringsweather.com/Hikvision1.php




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