What's The Best Surveillance System For My House Project?

Project location is in Montana (get cold for 6 months)

5 Cameras = 3 box/bullet and 2 dome. Longest viewing distance is 100 feet/ 30 meters for box/bullet.

Would like IP and PoE but open to suggestions.

Thanks for any input


Well IMO can't beat HIK cameras price point MODEL: DS-2CD2332-I-2.8MM on sale at ADI 119.00 and use one of their recorders DS-7608NI-E2/8P-2TB 349.00. I just did a house with 6 cameras/w8ch. So easy to setup remote viewing and phone app. Not sure of how cold your tempature is ? I'm in Texas they handle heat well -30°C ~ 60°C (-22°F ~ 140°F) NO I dont work for ADI FYI.

Or can scrutinize FLIR I like HIK because they are 3MP and good night coverage however not at 100 feet. I explain to my customers that at a 100' your not going to see much and what are you trying to achieve ? It always seems to amaze me are people sitting up at night wathching thier cameras?

This helped me understand IR performance

As vague as you question is, no offense please, you would be fine with a box kit from Costco.

However, if you would like something more tailored to your needs, much more info is needed. A great start would be an overview map of the area to be covered. Usually we use Google Maps to get an arial overview.

When you say 100' distance, you also need to specify the WIDTH of your scene at that range. There is a huge difference in camera needs based upon that answer.

And once that is known, we also need to know your level of expectation for detail as well. That answer needs to be answered for both daytime and nighttime viewing.

How did you arrive at the idea of 3 box/bullet and 2 domes? Why not 5 domes?

Thanks everyone for you input.

Sorry about being vague. I have a high expectation for detail and need great nighttime veiwing. There is a bar 1000 yard to the west and drunk people due dumb things at night. Also, At location 3 about 50 people a day walk by that area.

I've included a pdf of google earth with 5 locations labeled.

1 Garage Door is the long distance. I approximate 75-100 feet and width of 45 - 60 degrees

2 Front Door 5 to 35 feet and width of 5 -10 degrees

3 Building corner 50 feet and width of 30 - 45 degrees

4 Kitchen Sliding glass door 25 feet and width of 130-180 degrees

5a Bedroom Sliding glass door 30 feet and width of 130-180 degrees


5b set camera in back corner to view 40-60 feet and 20 -35 degrees

I arrived to idea 3 box/bullet and 2 dome because I had a preconceived thought that box/bullet were better than dome. Sorry, I should not assume anything.

Google map

Ralph, I encourage you to input this into the IPVM camera calculator. That will immediately tell you what lens length you need and how much resolution will deliver a certain pixel denisty at your desired distance / width.

Maybe this spec, when finalized, could be used for the first Integrator Faceoff?

That's great info and very helpful. I still need to know what level of detail at night you expect though. If you need to get an identifying shot of people running from 100' away, that might be really tough.

Let me me know what you expect to see at night and I will be glad to jump back in and help more.

Checking into the IPVM camera calculator.

I only need night identifying shots on camera 3. The distance might only need to be 30 to 50 feet.

The garage camera 1 is more for me to see what cars are driving around and it might only be 60 feet to the outer edge of the circle. I would like to be able to identify someone if they are 25 feet away.

Camera 2, 4, and 5 are just to cover the doors with good detail and maybe identify someone about 10 feet away.

This exercise is really helping me analyze what I really need. Thanks

// CAM-3 //

On CAM-3, I think you will need at least 3MP to get some identifying info at the 45 degree AOV that you mentioned. At 50 ft away with 3MP and 45 degree AOV (~6.5 mm lens), you should be just under 50 PPF and a scene width of just over 40 ft. At night, that is not very good for an identifying shot. It all depends on light levels. If you have a good amount of natural light, or a camera with very good IR, you may be OK, but to be honest, I would consider a narrower FOV.

So, if on CAM-3 we take your minimum FOV of 30 degrees, you are going to reduce the scene width to just under 27 ft, with about a 10mm lens, and increase your quality to 76 PPF. Again, depending on light levels and IR, that is a better image, but hard to say with certainty unless we knew more about the light levels at night.

I also don't know what minimum amount of area you need to cover with CAM-3. I hope you could settle for just over 20 ft of scene width. I came up with that figure because most varifocal cameras max out at 12mm lens, which equates to 22 ft of width.

However, you have to be careful taking a dome camera to this full zoomed amount. The domes I have used frequently will not be able to be aimed completely horizontal. If you have a much higher mounting point than the scene you are trying to cover, you may be fine. Or if there is a slope going away from the house, you might be OK too. But, if you are mounting that camera at 8 feet and the ground is level, I doubt you will be able to see out 50 ft away.

Also, remember 3MP is 4:3 aspect ratio, which is near square in shape and 1080p is 16:9, which is widescreen. Why I mention this is you will lose even more height going from 3MP to 1080p with the exact same camera mounted at the same height.

This particular camera is the only one I see that MAY have to be something other than a dome. Again, depending on other factors, you might have to go with a bullet here.

// CAM-1 //

CAM-1 will be a little easier to spec. Your 25ft distance for identification should be easy to do with a 3MP camera. At your max FOV of 60 degrees, which equates to about 4.7 mm, you will have just over 70 PPF. At your min FOV of 45 degrees, which equates to 6.5 mm, you will have just under 100 PPF. Both of those are good enough with the proper low light camera or IR.

Where you may base your choice on FOV is at the 60 ft distance. At 60 degree AOV, you will only get about 30 PPF and 70 ft width. But, at 45 degrees AOV, you will maintain just over 40 PPF and 50 ft width. That 10 PPF at night is pretty critical IMO. It could make the difference of telling make and model, vs that's a car or a truck. Again, light levels will be key.

// CAM-2,4,5 //

I am unsure if you really want cameras with that wide of an AOV (130-180 degrees)? That puts you into panoramic territory. You will need both panoramic cameras and a recording device that supports it. This will limit you somewhat when choosing hardware. I would highly recommend that this part is thought out some more to determine if you indeed need that wide of an AOV.

Typically, we would use around an 80~90 degree AOV camera (2.8~3 mm lens) for door cameras. If you only needed 10 ft of range, even at 720p (1MP) you should still maintain near 70 PPF. Of course, you could still use 1080p (2MP) and see around 100 PPF, or 3MP and see just over 100 PPF.


So, that should be quite a bit to chew on. If you would like my personal choices for cameras, I would be glad to offer them.

I am unsure if you really want cameras with that wide of an AOV (130-180 degrees)?

Good call. Its probably 130/180 or bust, since there are very few in between.

Are There Are Any Surveillance Cameras / Lens Over 140° But Less Than 180°?

Yes I would like your personal choices for cameras. Thanks for you input too

Ralph in our experience bullet/turret designs do a better job with the IR than domes. Many domes struggle to keep the IR from reflecting back into the lens. We've had excellent nightime results with some 3MP turrets and bullets by HIkvision.


You had said in your OP that you would like IP and PoE, but I don't see where you have specified a VMS or if you have existing PoE hardware. I am going to assume you have nothing, so you don't forget anything. Obviously, if you have some of the components, simply ignore my suggestions.

// HEAD END //

VMS Software - We usually use DW Spectrum due to the low cost and it's very easy to use

VMS Server/Worsktation - We usually use a Lenovo barebone PC with an Intel i5 CPU, add an 8GB RAM, nVIDIA graphics card, SSD for the OS, and WD Caviar Purple or Seagate Surveillance hard drive(s) for video storage (whichever is a better deal ATM), and Windows 7 Pro x64.

PoE Switch - For this small of an install, I would lean towards a Ubiquiti ToughSwitch Pro 8 Port switch, but if you need more than 8 ports total for other devices, you may choose to go larger. UBNT also makes a 24 and 48 port PoE switch that we use for larger installs. They are very cost effective and have been rock solid reliable for us.

Battery Backup - We always use a UPS at the head end. We commonly use a CyberPower 1000va unit, but if you desire more runtime, this is the baseline. Feel free to opt for a larger unit if desired. We expect no more than 30 mins of uptime from 1000va.

Peripherals - You will also need displays, keyboard and mouse, etc. These are 100% personal choices, depending on your budget and needs.

Wire - Obviously you will need CAT5/6 wire and connectors.


I am going to assume aesthetics will be considered as well as performance, so I will try to balance the two. I know that some others here prefer the bullet or turret form factors for performance reasons. However, I really don't like the look of either and feel that bullets are more easily tampered with. We don't have issues with IR reflection in the domes we use, so that isn't going to keep me from using them. These are my personal reasons and may not apply for you. Take this with a grain of salt.

As to the weather in Montana, I am not from that area, so I really don't know specifics. I can only go by what we have installed here in Ohio, which isn't exactly the tropics either. If you need units that are rated below -20C, let me know because I will have to rethink my choices. I know that we have cameras installed here and it has dipped well below -20C and they haven't had any issues, but that doesn't mean it is the proper choice either.

CAM-1 - Dahua IPC-HDBW5302 3MP Dome Camera 3~9mm Motorized Zoom Lens 65' IR

CAM-2 - Dahua IPC-HDBW4300E 3MP Dome Camera 2.8mm Fixed Lens 100' IR

CAM-3 - Dahua IPC-HFW5300E-VF 3MP Bullet Camera 2.8~12mm Varifocal Lens 100' IR

CAM-4 - Dahua IPC-HDBW4300E 3MP Dome Camera 2.8mm Fixed Lens 100' IR

CAM-5 - Dahua IPC-HDBW4300E 3MP Dome Camera 2.8mm Fixed Lens 100' IR

I don't know where these cameras will be mounted. You may need a backbox or wall bracket for the domes. I will list the appropriate part numbers below.

CAM-1 - Dahua Wall Bracket (PFB300S), Pendant Cap (PFA100), Back Box (PFA120)

CAM-2,4,5 - Dahua Wall Bracket (PFB200W), Back Box (PFA131) or (PFA123)

CAM-3 - Dahua Back Box (PFA121)


That's about all I have to offer, unless you have more questions or concerns. Feel free to ask away.

Jon, it's amazing how much more (3X?) that vari-focal dome is compared to the fixed domes.

Along those lines did you consider the HDBE4300E fixed dome instead of the vari-focal for CAM1? Not criticizing, just curious...

Yes you could go with the fixed some /IF/ we could agree to the exact scene width desired. They do offer that 4300 in a 6mm version, which might work for him. If so, that would be a few hundred dollars in savings.

No offense taken.