First, I have to apologize; I am doing my best to become knowledgeable in the area of surveillance cameras as quickly as I can... but I am noob for sure. I greatly appreciate any help or guidance any of you can give while I am concurrently combing the rest of the articles on this site.
Here is a humorously edited version of what just happened at my house. I put this together to make my wife feel better:
This was recorded using the Logitech Alert system. If you’re not familiar, it's a Big Box Store DIY product; but with a reasonably robust feature set and decent cameras (by my standards). I've been using them for years--both for security and baby monitoring-- and I've been pretty happy until now. Below is the best face shot I was able to extract from the 5 or so minutes of video of this guy in my alley and back yard. There are other portions ofvideo where the angle is betterbut he's further awayand the there are just no facial details.
Somewhat surprisingly, the police here in Chicago actually seem pretty interested in catching the dude; but the detail the video provides might not be sufficient to arrest him--that's very disappointing.
So now I'm thinking of upgrading but that quickly takes me into unfamiliar territory and a reliance on installers (BTW if you are an installer in the Chicago area, please feel free to let me know).
So without knowing the full range of things available to me, here are my primary objectives:
I always want to be able to get a clear face shot of people in my Alley/Yard from 5 to 40 feet away under day or night conditions.
I already have Ethernet running to the desired location so POE cameras would be best.
We are a MAC household so software that runs on MACs would be best... but if I have to buy a dedicated PC and RDP into it from the MAC, that's ok as long as the video is acceptable over RDP.
Although my wife was actually home with our newborn when this happened, we generally are most concerned with remote viewing. Some of the things that the Logitech system does that we like:
We get emails with a picture whenever the camera detects motion in one of the motion zones
The emails have links to the web portal where I can see to whole video clip
The iphone apps allow me to view live streams or all recorded clips organized by motionincident.
A few 'want to haves' that the Logitech system doesn't do.
Continuous stream tomobile device. The Logitech give you about 10 minutes then you have to restart it. At night, I'd like to sit my phone on my nightstand and have it chirp at me if there's someone in the yard etc.
Two way audio???? One of the things that occurred to me during this last episode was that even a recorded message "You are being recorded. The police have been notified" coming out of the camera or triggered by the camera probably would have spooked him.
Of course, once again, the most important thing is picture quality to the extent that it creates usable identifiable evidence. And second, usability... my wife needs to find it as easy to use as the logitech system.
As for the budget. I have 2 cameras that I'm most concerned about; but a total of 4 for which I would ultimately want improved quality video meeting the above objectives. I'd love to keep it under $2,500 including 4 cameras and additional hardware. However, I could be convinced to spend more (which is part of the problem).