Can anyone recommend a home surveillance camera system that records 24/7 to a DVR, and that can record day and night? I also want to position the camera from inside my home to record suspicious activity outside.

I’ve been playing around with surveillance cameras for awhile now. While recording to DVR would be a great tool it ends up storing a lot of useless time of recording that is hard to back track through. A better solution is getting a network camera that senses motion. Every time something moves in a given field in the cameras view, it can email or ftp the before during and after event images to you. There are several manufacturers of these types of cameras. Axis, Dlink, Panasonic, Sony. There are many more. They work on your computers network and you can access them from anywhere if you know how. There are also cameras that are called PTZ, for Pan, Tilt, Zoom. You can remotely move the cameras by a webpage. Panasonic, Dlink and Axis make several of these. Night vision is something I’ve been messing with this weekend. It uses Infrared (IR). Our eyes can’t see IR but CCD sensors in these cameras can. Many of these cameras have filters that block IR, it would make the images look incorrect and over exposed. The way many of these cameras utilize IR is too use IR LED’s around the lens of the camera. You can’t see any light coming from them, the camera can though if it is designed to. The image ends up looking black and white.

I spent the weekend making an IR floodlight for one of my network cameras. It glows a very soft red but the camera sees it as a white light. I had to modify this camera to see it very well, it had a filtered lens that blocked IR light. I got lucky and had a lens from another camera that was clear and fit the camera I was working on. LED’s are rated for the spectrum of color they emit light in. Remote controls use somewhere around 900nm IR wavelength. These cameras see better in a little lower wavelength of 850nm. Only drawback for 850nm is you can see it slightly. But by no means does it appear bright to the eye. If no one else chimes in on this I’ll post some links to some of the network cameras I’ve found online. Good ones can be pretty pricey. I usually go for the cheaper ones.

If you don’t mind posting them I’d also be interested in checking out those links to the cameras. I’ve been shopping around for some cameras with night vision for awhile now. Nothing fancy…no pan/tilt remote or motion sensor. I’ve seen a few on Amazon that are basic color cameras with night vision capability (usually around 12-15 IR leds) and some with sound capability.

I’ve also been interested in the best way to log the video. VCR…Hard Drive…dedicated monitoring system. Unfortunately price is always a factor and after reading several reviews it’s stated that the more you pay the better the quality of the video (in particular night time video) and housing.

Some basic models that I’ve been eyeing are…
– SVAT CV65 Outdoor Nightvision Security Camera (Color)
– Q-See QSC48030 High Resolution Weatherproof CCD Camera w/100ft of Night
Vision (Color)

This is only the tip of the iceberg. For each manufactures model you can find many different sellers and many different prices. Many of the cameras are pretty pricey. The cheaper ones are really delicate and don’t hold up very well in areas that are harsh.
The advantage of a network camera is you don’t have to have a video server or a recorder. What I did on my lower end cameras was write a program on my Linux server that polls the cameras every 2 minutes for a picture. It keeps about 1400 images from 4 cameras, rewriting over the old images every 48 hours. So it keeps 2 days worth of images in 4 areas of my house. Just my twist on it, there are probably many different ways to approach it too. Having some background in programming led me down this path.