Advice On Vehicle Based Camera Systems

I have a client that is a repo man and he would like to add cameras to his trucks to cover the entire perimeter around the vehicles. His hope is to have recorded evidence to support his workers when they are confronted by people losing their cars to the bank. Obviously this is a dangerous job and he hopes it will help his employees in cases of he said she said. Or, in a worst case scenario, give him cause for termination of an employee if they don't act accordingly.

Another reason is to document that a given vehicles condition can be documented in case of a damage claim. They may be able to prove that damage was preexisting with video.

Technically, he would like to record to a removable medium, such as an SD card or flash drive. He would only pull the data upon incidents, so long retention isn't needed. Probably just a 24-48 hour retention period would work for him.

He doesn't need GPS or streaming, just recording video alone.

He would also like low light ability, either by super low light capabilities or IR integration. Most of their work is done at night.

I am looking for a reliable, mid level system that I can offer him. Not interested in Alibaba/eBay level gear, nor an expensive, cost prohibitive exotic system either.

Expensive is relative, what about a Mobotix S15 with two 180 sensors.

I have never sold Mobotix before. In general, can I sell at the prices (net) listed on their site and expect to make something? I see them on Amazon and I know that Ingram is a dist (used to buy there a long time ago, but I don't have an account anymore), so I assume there isn't a direct channel?

Otherwise, I like the idea. Just wonder if I can keep the price in the ballpark.

Hey Jon,

We've installed couple of GeoVision cameras on couple of cars, the good thing about their system is that you get to choose how you want to record "Central Server with 4G, SD Card or mobile NVR" , price wise i would think it's good, quality wise it's really good.

Check their website , we deal with them all the time.

You get better pricing from the distributors. Try ( We buy here, great support. They also do monitoring)

Check out the Axis F44 unit which you can connect up to 4 cameras and use 2 SD cards for storage.

Thanks for the input guys. What I really need is more info on low light abilities for a given sensor unit. And I am aware that manufacturer specs can be misleading at best.

Looking at the Mobotix S15, it seems like I am forced into B/W mode all the time if I want acceptable night time ability. That seems like a bad trade off. I don't mind B/W for low light scenes, but in daylight, I should be able to get color, no?

As for the Axis unit, it seems very nice. The ability to support four sensors is nice. Of course the zipstream is nice too. My only worry here is the low light rating is only 0.3lx (ƒ/2.0, 113° HAOV) for color mode. Axis doesn't seem to offer a low light or integrated IR model. If someone has working knowledge of the AXIS F1005-E Sensor Unit and can verify that its low light abilities would be more capable than their specs imply, please let me know.

I am also, of course, looking into the Hikvision DS-2CD6412FWD-C2 unit with the DS-2CD6412FWD-L30 2.8mm sensor, which is rated down to 0.04lx (ƒ/2.0, 92.5° HAOV). The trade off here is it is only 720p/1.3MP. The main advantage being that it is less expensive than the Axis and Mobotix offerings, has a 4 year warranty, and has software that I am familiar with.

Faris, if you could give me some model number to look into with Geovision, I would appreciate it. I have looked, but could only find their mobile NVR, which has got to be very expensive, since it is an i5 8GB RAM 1TB SSD etc. I just need a simpler device, like the Mobotix, Axis, or Hikvision offerings. I really only need to support up to two >90° cameras/sensors. 180° would be great, as long as low light abilities aren't greatly diminished.


If you would like a covert camera i would recommend you with UNP2500, if you would require Fisheye , 360 degree camera covert then UNFE2503, both are good, been used in ATMs mostly from our side.

Also both got that SD card slot needed to have 24/48 hour recording, HOV 180 Degree Lux 0.02.

Thanks Faris, I will look into those models. I will ask the client if separate SD cards per device is OK, or if he would require a single card per vehicle.

Not my clips but here is the F44 with the Fisheye lens Day and Night. Looks like the camera is mounted in the front bumper of the car.

I am a huge Axis fan and that surpassed even my expectations. Great videos -- surprised at the overall quality of those videos in multiple different scenarios.

Here is another with the other lens option:

Any chance you guys can find a video of a rear facing Axis fisheye? The front is easy with headlights to help. I'm worried about the rear facing, which is maybe more critical.

Just order a demo unit and test it. I haven't seen any rear facing cameras on Youtube.

Good idea. One last question, can the SD card be pulled out on the unit and playback the video using a PC, or does he need to connect via network for playback?

I haven't tried to pull the card to play in the computer but I would think with Axis you could. That being said I would do everything I could to talk the customer out of pulling SD cards to view video. Hugh time waste which costs a lot of money to manage.

I will see if I can talk him out of it, but that was his preferred way to grab the data. He's not a very computer literate guy.

My thought was to toss in a UBNT mesh radio that auto connects when the truck is within range and he could simply open the accompanying app or browse the webpage to get the data from his desktop at the office.

Much better idea than pulling SD cards IMHO.

Man is this guy hard headed. I explained everything to him and he still wants to pull the card. He swears it will be easier! He said he will buy new cards if they wear out.

That is the point I give him my competitions business card and say good luck.

Mind if I pass him your contact info ;)

Sure just don't get pissed when I sell him the WIFI option ;)

Hugh time waste which costs a lot of money to manage.

Not to mention that the connector which connects to the SD will wear out sooner or later (and perhaps sooner) and he will have to replace the whole camera if he can't find someone with the skills and parts to replace just the connector.

So I have been looking into this for the place I work at. we have a tone of fleet vehicles that Management wanted at least a dash cam in the vehicle but not one the driver could tamper with.

While low light is important in doing some of the testing I found out that while having IR or super low light capability was nice when a car pulled up or drove by it threw the camera into a focus fit or would blur out completely when a car with a full LED fog lights and ultra bright headlights would come by.

we tested four models and the only one that worth anything picture quality wise is all situations was the Panasonic WV-SB131M . the others were Samsungs/Hanwha SNB-6011, and two amazon specials that are not worth mentioning(Management googled them and saw the super low price of $60)

Samsung did great during the day and at night if there was a decent amount of light. the Panasonic one performed great during all conditions including headlight blur. But it cost about $750 for 1080p and $550 720p. it not cheap like the rest of Panasonic's stuff.

If you find something better and cheaper let me know this is one of those back burner projects I have .

Take a look at Drivers ProTec - this was started by a friend of mine who was a long-haul trucker and also got big into CCTV for his off-the-grid home, and later for some of his trucking customers. He looked all over for a suitable all-around camera system for his truck, and ended up putting some systems together himself to suit his exact needs.

Any chance he has spec sheets for the equipment? Also, kind of worried about a one off start up and my chances for warranty/support in the case I have issues. I hate to be a Debbie downer and all, but I have been burned with similar deals.

I believe he has spec sheets for everything. I know he went through a lot of different offshore crap to find stuff that would do exactly what he wanted, rather than just buying little Chinese bundles or slap together random components.

Doesn't cost anything to chat with him :)

I know this is not something you can make money on but if you take video with this and watch it back on VR, it is the ultimate solution for this guy.

I follow your posts John D and I know you're a techyy. If you have not tried it, give it a try

I was trying to check it out, but it says that the VR app isn't available in the US App Store?

I purchased the Google VR unit and use the daydream applications from G to watch through my Pixel phone. I watched videos on YouTube taken with this camera.

I disagree that he can not make money. If the client had the know how, they would do it themselves.

He can still mark the product up, and charge for labor/consulting.

We have a customer who specified Ubiquiti equipment and we told them we were charging XX percent over cost to cover our overhead, programming, shipping, carrying costs, etc. They know the cost, they were buying themselves and its all over the internet. They understood and now have us purchase the items instead of purchasing themselves. Plus installation fees

GoPro looks cool but my guess is there would be a lot of production work to make the 360 video then you have to search for the events in the video which will also take awhile.

Not to turn this thread away from Jon's needs, but this article provides answers to some questions I asked last August in my post, "Using IP Cameras And An NVR On a Semi Tractor And Trailer."

Thank you for getting the answers for me, Jon. :-) I will have to learn from you how to ask questions!

The reply mentioning Drivers Pro-Tec shows I was headed in the correct direction. Thank you for that, Matt. Rather than mount cameras looking backwards on the rear-view mirrors, I am planning on mounting them on the front end of the trailer -- that way I can see where the back end of the trailer is when I am backing without a spotter.

I still need to look at the replies with videos in detail. Thank you all for them.

Having done this on a semi in the past, vibration will be a big concern, but not in the way that you think. Back then there were not many off the shelf options for mobile solutions so we built our own. We went through several iterations to find a solution that had any longevity. Cameras would fail due to vibration, water gets in places you wouldn't imagine, etc. We ended up settings on an analog solution using a repurposed RV camera with video encoders and and remote recording solution over cellular and a wired weather proof milspec connection to the trailer for those cameras. We built several prototypes and the project died after about a year. I imagine newer cameras designed for mobile applications will be less sensetive, but still, keep that in mind and do one, then run it for several weeks before committing to the whole fleet.