New Toy: Surveillance Camera!
I’ve loved the idea of surveillance cameras for a while… You see I flirt with a touch of paranoia and anxiety for most of my life, and things that help ease that are comforting. We finally are in the fortunate situation of both owning a house, and having money to spare on cameras, so last year sometime I started thinking about it in earnest, and nearly two full months ago I ummed and ahhed over the Unifi stuff.
Why Unifi? I’m not entirely enamored with their product line, and I’m definitely acutely aware that they’re quite expensive for what you get. You can get similar quality cameras from vendors like Reolink, which I’m not completely averse to. But the main reason to go with Unifi was that since we got the UDM, we’ve already had the recorder which slashes the cost of entry significantly.
The last factor: you can get very nice cameras, doorbells, etc from the likes of Ring, Nest, etc… but I absolutely did not want something that uploaded to the cloud (unless I tell it to). Cops can fuck off and come back with a warrant, I don’t want a vendor turning shit over for no reason - I’d happily help out a neighbour if they asked though.
Anyway, after spending 7 weeks thinking about it, I finally pulled the trigger on the first camera, because it was on sale. Luckily, we were able to get someone to hook it up and we’re pretty happy with it so far.
We ended up going with a G4 Bullet - we were looking at the bottom-end G3 cameras, but decided not to for two specific reasons: first, the G3 cameras don’t have the “smart detection” stuff on them, so they rely solely on the UDM detecting motion and I wasn’t sure how good this would be. Second, they’re only warrantied for inverted installation inside, while I wanted to install them under the eaves of the house. I could wall-mount them, but that’d involve drilling holes in the brick, and between the warranty of a hundred-dollar camera or the structural integrity of my house, I will compromise the first one over the second any day of the week.
The G5 Bullets are slightly cheaper, but in some cases seem like a regression over the G4 one, and with the sale price there wasn’t that much in it anyway. One thing this does also let us do is put the extra IR ring on it if we decide it’s not good enough at night time, but I’m not sure that’d be necessary… the G5 doesn’t have that option anyway, from what I can tell.
Update: 2023-07-21: Operating it a couple of days, along with walking outside in the frigid night air to test it out. Thoughts? The motion sense is really sensitive. Even with it cranked down, it interprets both a sweep of headlights across our driveway as cars round the corner, and reflections of people walking past in the wet as movement. I tried lowering the sensitivity to 20%, that was no help, but what did help was moving the line further back. I can keep smart detections at the boundary, no worries there, but hopefully this solves the 5-million recordings of cars passing our house at night problem.
Other than that, it’s basically doing what it says on the tin. I’d like to get a couple more and the doorbell, but as they’re rather expensive I think I’ll do one every so often.