What camera do you use? / Camera Recommendations

  • I’m in the market for a new CCTV camera, ideally one that’s decent quality, has a decent user interface, and does not need to rely on cloud services even if they’re free. PTZ is not necessary.

    I have the TrendNet TV-IP672WI whic has done me well, with a reasonable interface, SD card recording and 2 way audio functionality, although I would need to plug in an external speaker to talk back to the camera.

    It’s getting a bit old now, with every few weeks, while it still records, it’ll just give up steaming the output and I cannot access the internal or external IP address until it is rebooted.

    There are plenty of camera choices on Amazon but Amazon has a bad problem with fake reviews and poor devices reaching the top of the search, so it got me thinking…

    What devices have you had success with? What do you use now or have had good experiences with, that isn’t too expensive and doesn’t rely on paid cloud storage? What should everyone reading this stay away from too?

  • @Lewis6643

    I’m sure this thread may spark a debate on everyones favorite brands 🙂 .

    I personally like the Amcrest brand of cameras. They mostly seem to be Dahua OEM rebranded cameras for the US market. First in terms of using the camera with Alexa, these Dahua based cameras seem to provide the lowest latency and a high degree of reliability. I would consider them to be an excellent value. They are not the cheapest cameras … probably more of a mid-tier pricing in the consumer market but offer reasonably good quality and performance at their price level. I’m sure there are better cameras out there at a more premium price. The Amcrest app for mobile devices (iPhone used here) is decent and better than many I have seen which can access all your Amcrest cameras on the local network. They have a cloud service for a fee, but I have never used that. I use a VPN to connect to my local network if I am away and that works fine for me with the Amcrest app.

    You can find a list of Amcrest cameras here that have been tested with Monocle:

    If you buy from Amazon, please use our referral link to help provide a small kickback (referral commission) this project:

    This is my current favorite fixed position PoE camera:

    And this is my favorite indoor PTZ camera:

    I typically try to run a dedicated ethernet cable to each camera to power them via PoE and provide network; however, I do use a few Amcrest cameras via WiFi and they perform fine as well. For WiFi cameras, I do reduce the resolution, frame rate, bitrate down a bit to conserve bandwidth.

    Of course this post is just one persons opinion based on experience with a limited number of cameras. I have tested models from Foscam, Reolink, Wansview, Hikvision, Lorex, Sricam, SV3C and the Amcrest seem to provide the most compatibility with Alexa devices out of the box.

    As far as cameras to stay away from. Well, honestly the really cheap ones (under $75) tend to offer limited configuration settings and often are incompatible with Alexa. I would suggest going with a brand of camera that offers a decent variety of models (Dahua, Amcrest, Reolink, Unifi/Ubiquity, etc.) so that you have options for additional cameras within the same brand. I think the Hikvision based cameras are good, but I have seen a lot of latency with these cameras when viewing from Alexa devices so I tend not to buy these. Stay away from cloud-only cameras like Nest cam (Dropcam), Amazon cloud cam, etc as these are proprietary and typically don’t offer any local connectivity thus forcing you to use their cloud (sometimes paid) services.

    Thanks, Robert

  • I know you did not ask this but if you consider a NVR solution in the future to consolidate the recording and management of multiple cameras, then there are other options and things to consider …

    I have used the dedicated Lorex and Amcrest NVRs and they are perfectly fine but somewhat simple and limited in features. I’m currently using the Surveillance Station app on my Synology NAS and so far I’m pretty pleased with the results. I plan on testing out Blue Iris in the future for a comparison, but that will require a Windows computer to dedicate to this purpose so I have not setup this up yet.

  • Thanks for the recommendations. I tried an Amcrest camera and hated the experience. First it wasn’t compatable with modern browsers as it uses an older ActiveX technology. A firmware upgrade fixed this but then removed loads of functionality. The app is a bit of a mess, the cloud options aren’t cheap, but most annoying is that the software wouldn’t let me save video to the SD card AND upload to FTP, it’s either one or the other. I’ll give some of the other brands you mentioned a go!

  • @Lewis6643

    Sorry to hear your experience with Amcrest was less than desirable. You are right about the older firmware / ActiveX issues but I did not realize the newer firmware reduced the feature set. Perhaps since I use the Synology Surveillance Station for all my recording and mobile access needs, my experience with these cameras has been better just because I am only using a limited feature set.

    Good luck and let us know if you find a better brand that suites all your needs. I’ve heard good things about the Unifi cameras which offer a completely different and perhaps more streamlined user experience but these cameras are a bit more pricey.

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