I have searched for, and normally use cameras with long term warrantees. If a camera is not under warranty, you are better off to throw in the dumpster and replace it. I was psyched when IEQEye offered 5 year warrantees on their mx cameras, but now that we are being hit with across the board failures and problems on their cameras, the costs for the troubleshooting, removal. rma time, and customer outage is the big loss.
At one time, we were using Vivotek as a low option. Seemed like a good value at the time. Then we found that they were all failiing and have spent thousands of dollars in labor to replace these. We see these fail every month to this day, and savings we initially saw are long gone when you look at the time involved to replace them. The RMA process (2 year warranty) ended up not being worth the time if the cameras where within this window.
In 2008-10 I was on the Arecont bandwagon. All of a sudden, they were all failing. I had one project where I probably had 8 of 40 AV3105DN cameras fail within a year of install. I managed to talk to the East Coast Manager on the phone (he was at a Texas trade show). He blasted me with claims that Arecont has low % failure rate below industry norms. That was the last time I dealt with this company (sometimes I am forced to buy surround cameras per specs, which is painful). The RMA/repair program was painful and the turn around time was lengthy.
The AV20185 camera drives me crazy. Customers find out about this and think it is the holy grail of cameras. For one thing, Arecont 5 MP cameras are useless at night. The other thing with this design is that 1/4 of the pixels, when wall mounted, are of the surrounding wall and other areas of no interest (horizon). I lost one proposal because another vendor indicated that on the corner of the building, they needed a AV20365. I told them this was crazy. They went with it. Afterwards, I saw the final product. Upon searching, nighttime images were noisy and dark/useless. Mounted on the corner, you had probably over 1/3 of waisted pixels when you considered the camera facing the corner and surrounding wall. Be sure to get "sign-off" on the projects with this camera before the sun sets.
I/we use cameras with 3-5 year warrantees. We warranty all projects for the first year, and after, charge for replacement (with the warrantee this is where we make money). My advise to other integrators is to look strongly at the warranty on cameras. You can not possibly know, however, whether the camera is a solid and reliable product. Hope and pray that it does not fail until your company's agreed upon warranty is up. If you are providing a multi-year warranty (per bid spec), good luck on the product you choose.
The time involved in removing a camera, bringing it back, doing an rma, recieving it, and then reinstalling it adds up to way more dollars that just selling a new replacment camera and installing it.