How is the quality?
These heavily-advertised consumer security cameras sounded too good to be true.
Granted, they are marvels of low-cost technology and the accessories, controllers and other attachments seemed like a nice idea.
But when we actually tried them out, we were disappointed.
The cameras themselves didn’t give a very good picture. They were somewhat fuzzy in daytime or good lights. The outdoor ones were often dazzled by patches of sunlight.
A Dim View
In low light indoor use, the picture from the little cameras turned grainy. Outdoors after sunset, they just went black. Even the “Night Owl” versions with “low light” black & white only, were just plain black unless a strong nearby yard light was turned on.
“Lux” is a measure of light; the higher the number, the more light. In very dim light, even the least expensive Sony camcorder from Wal-Mart gives usable color pictures at 1.0 lux (their green “nightshot” mode works with less).
But the $79 camera fades out below 3.0 lux. Even their “night” version needed 0.5 lux. Compare that to our cameras, some of which can record in as little as 0.003 lux in color, and 0.0001 in black & white! (That’s 5000 times better!)
The “wireless” feature of the cheap cameras was nice, but we had interference from our cordless phone. The distance range was limited and, on models that could be aimed by remote control, the attached antenna moved around and lost signal.
By comparison, our professional-grade cameras did their job well. They were always sharp, clear, and had much more capability in variable or low lighting.