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What cameras do we use in the garden?

Network ip cameras

Hikvision CameraWe primarily use wired IP cameras throughout the garden and the main makes of camera we use are from Reolink and Hikvision. They are IP cameras with infra red for capturing images at night. The wired IP cameras work using POE (Power over Ethernet,) this makes it easier for wired installation as the 12v power needed to run the cameras is past along two strands of the Ethernet data cable, therefore you only need to run one cable to the camera. However you will need POE enabled switches in your network. You may ask why don't you use WiFi wouldn't it be simpler? I have tried it but I found that unless you can flood your garden with a very good WiFi signal I found reviewing the footage at 8x high speed it was very flaky and the images buffered. With WiFi you still need a 12v supply cable to deliver power to the camera anyway so you might as well use POE. There are some WiFi cameras that use batteries and solar panel chargers. But again it is down to how good a WiFi signal you have in your home,

For the nest boxes and the hedgehog feeders we have used the mini dome cameras from Hikvision. Most ip cameras have a fixed focus as they are intended for property surveillance, but for close up work in nest boxes you need a closer focus. I have worked out how to modify the Hikvision mini dome cameras so that you can alter the focus for the close up focus needed in a confined space. The only problem with the Hikvision mini dome cameras was that all but one of them didn't come with built in microphones and these had to be retro fitted and involved adding a 12v supply as I couldn't get any passive microphones that were suitable.

For general watching of the hedgehogs on our patio, monitoring the hedgehog highways etc. we use the Reolink ip cameras with built in microphones. They have proved very reliable and the Reolink client software that comes with them to view and download the recordings is much better than the rather clunky IVMS-4200 software that comes with the Hikvision cameras.

For more information on our network see 'How we set up our camera Network' in the Techie stuff section.

Trail cameras

Trail cameraWe also have two trail cameras which we use to monitor what is going in our pond and on our lawn. The nice thing about these is that we can move them about the garden easily to try and capture different activities. Both of the trail cameras can take either photos and or video at 1920 x 1080 Full HD. The reason for buying the Bushnell NatureView HD is that it is even more versatile in that it comes with two additional close focus lenses which offer minimum focal distances of 46 and 60cm / f460mm and f600mm, these enable you to capture clear depth of field in your images even when the subject gets up really close. 

The down side of using trail cameras is that they run off batteries which isn't very environmentally friendly and not very cheap to run as the Browning Recon Force Edge uses 8 AA batteries and the Bushnell NatureView HD uses 12 AA batteries.

We did try using rechargeable batteries but they would only last about 2-3 days before needing a recharge. Fortunately both models have a power supply port so you can run them off an external power supply. I now have them both running off a 12v rechargeable battery that is recharged using a solar panel, see this page for information of how I put together the solar recharge system.

The other slight downside to the trail cameras is that they are not linked to our network so that we have to go in to the garden and remove the storage SD cards from the trail cameras and bring them into the house to look at them on the computer. Where as with the networked cameras you can monitor them in real time and can easily review any footage captured on the cameras.

For all their disadvantages to the network cameras I have obtained some good video from the trail cameras.

 

Below is a list of the make, model and specification of the cameras used in our garden:

Camera Make Model Specification
Birdbox camera Hikvision DS-2CD2543G0-IS 4 MP resolution, 2.3mm Lens, 2688 x 1520 Resolution @ 30 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
No. 1 Hedgepig Feeder camera Hikvision DS-2CD2563G0-IS 6 MP resolution, 2.8mm Lens, 3072 × 2048 Resolution @ 20 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
No. 2 Hedgepig Feeder camera Hikvision DS-2CD2563G0-IS 6 MP resolution, 2.8mm Lens, 3072 × 2048 Resolution @ 20 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
No. 1 Hedgehog Nest Box camera Hikvision DS-2CD2543G0-IS 4 MP resolution, 2.3mm Lens, 2688 x 1520 Resolution @ 30 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
No. 2 Hedgehog Nest Box camera Hikvision DS-2CD2563G0-IS 6 MP resolution, 2.8mm Lens, 3072 × 2048 Resolution @ 20 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
Blackbird Nest camera Hikvision DS-2CD2543G0-IS 4 MP resolution, 2.3mm Lens, 2688 x 1520 Resolution @ 30 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
Swift Box camera 1 Hikvision DS-2CD2543G0-IS 4 MP resolution, 2.3mm Lens, 2688 x 1520 Resolution @ 30 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
Swift Box camera 2 Hikvision DS-2CD2543G0-IS 4 MP resolution, 2.3mm Lens, 2688 x 1520 Resolution @ 30 fps, H.265+, H.265, H.264+, H.264
Patio Camera Reolink RLC-410-5MP 5 MP resolution, 4.0mm Lens, 2560 x 1920 Resolution @ 30fps, H.264
Gate Camera Reolink RLC-410-5MP 5 MP resolution, 4.0mm Lens, 2560 x 1920 Resolution @ 30fps, H.264
No.3 Hedgehog nestbox camera Reolink RLC-410-5MP 5 MP resolution, 4.0mm Lens, 2560 x 1920 Resolution @ 30fps, H.264
Highway Camera Reolink RLC-511W 5 MP resolution, 2.7 - 12mm Lens, 2560 x 1920 Resolution @ 30fps, H.264
Bird Feeder Camera Reolink RLC-823A 8 MP resolution, f=2.7-13.5mm F=1.6-3.3 lens, zoom module 3840X2160 Resolution @ 25 fps, H.264
Trail Camera 1 Browning Recon Force Edge 20MP Camera, 1920 x 1080 Full HD @ 60fps.
Trail Camera 2 Bushnell NatureView HD 14Mp Camera, 1920 x 1080 Full HD @ 30fps. With 2 close-focus lens attachments.