Spotlight Security Camera Combos

March 22, 2020

Today on the hookup we’re going to take a look at a bunch of different kinds of spotlight cameras, so whether you’ve got an existing spotlight where you’d also like to have a camera, an existing camera where you’d also like a spotlight, or a new location with or without existing power, stay tuned to see what you can expect from each installation type.

Security lighting and security cameras are an obvious combination, the only problem is that both of them are traditionally pretty difficult for end users to install… until recently.  Now, there are options to suit almost every existing wiring situation and skill level, but as you’ll see in this video, their performance varies significantly.

The four cameras were going to look at today are the $210 Ring floodlight camera which will replace a typical floodlight unit and must be attached to mains voltage.  The $170 Camius 4K PoE Spotlight Camera, which uses PoE or power over ethernet, which means that your compatible switch or NVR will provide 48 volts of power over Cat5 or Cat6 cable. Third, is the brand new $59 Reolink Lumus, a WiFi only camera with LED lighting powered by a 5 volt USB type connector meant to be plugged into a typical wall outlet using a 5V adapter.  And last, if you don’t have any existing wiring or connection, the approximately $110 EufyCam 2C is a completely wireless battery powered camera with LED lighting that can provide a modest amount of lighting almost anywhere.

I’ll be evaluating these cameras in 5 different areas: Ease of Installation, Quality and intensity of lighting, Video Quality, Motion Detection Capabililties, and App and integration experience.

For ease of installation the biggest factors will be your existing equipment and your comfortability with dealing with mains AC power.

The easiest installation by far is the EufyCam 2C requires zero wiring.  Just pick your installation location, screw in the two mounting screws and you’re all set.  The 2C communicates with the Eufy Home Base 2 which is helpful if you want to mount your camera somewhere where you don’t have excellent wifi coverage because you can place your home base in an intermediate location to extend your coverage.

The Reolink Lumus uses a 5 Volt USB connection, which means you’ll need a nearby power source.  The included cable is only 3meters long, so you’ll need to have an outlet close by.  You can use a USB extension cable to increase the length, but while the camera itself is waterproof, the extension cord and DC power adapter may not be, and wiring a cable into your outlet from an exposed location may allow water to get into your electrical outlet if the cord is not routed properly with a drip loop.  If you have an existing network cable in your installation location you could use a PoE to 5V adapter to power the lumus, but at that point this next camera is probably a better option.

The Camius 4K PoE spotlight camera uses 48V active PoE, so you’ll need a PoE switch, but assuming you’ve already got an ethernet drop in the location where you want to put your new spotlight camera combination the installation is as easy as just plugging in an ethernet cable.  The other upside to PoE is that there are far less regulations and restrictions about how to run it and who can install it, so if you want to wire a new location, you’re not likely to break electrical by doing so.

The most advanced install is the Ring floodlight which requires mains AC power and should either be installed by a licensed electrician or a homeowner who is comfortable dealing with mains voltage.  If you are just replacing an existing light the installation process is not particularly difficult.  Once you’ve switched off the breaker for the circuit and tested your wires to ensure they are not live you’ll just connect black to black, white to white, and ground to ground… If you’re not in the US your wire colors will be different and if you open up your switch box and find a different wiring configuration you’ll need to do your own research or call an electrician.  I didn’t find the installation process to be particularly difficult, but if you’ve never wired a light or switch it may feel different for you.

Next, lets look at light output.  For this test I set my camera to manual and kept all settings the same to show how each spotlight is able to illuminate an area, and I measured their lux output in a dark room from 3m away using a lux meter.

The EufyCam 2C really isn’t even meant to be a spotlight, but instead it is supposed to provide enough light to get a color night vision effect.  As expected from a battery powered device, EufyCam 2C provided only 8 lux of intensity which is similar to the light output of your phone’s flashlight.  From 1m away it provides task lighting, but it was less than adequate for lighting up my dark side yard.

The next lowest light output came from the Reolink Lumus which generated only 40 lux, which is still 5 times more than the EufyCam, but hardly a spot light.  In my dark side yard the Lumus provided enough light to find my way around, but not enough to be a task light.

Next was the Camius 4K PoE spotlight that output an impressive 210 lux and did a pretty decent job illuminating my side yard.  I would say the Camius provided enough light to comfortably walk through an area without being so bright that it would disturb the neighbors, for me, this is the perfect solution for my sideyard.

And last, as you could have probably guessed by looking at the size of the unit, the ring floodlight provided the most light by far, producing over 1000 lux, 5 times more than the Camius and over 100 times more than the EufyCam.   Not only was the amount of light significant, but the spread was also very good and the color temperature was nice and warm.  I don’t think I would be comfortable installing this light in my sideyard knowing that it would be shining into my neighbors windows, but it certainly provided enough light for any task and is the ideal light if you are try to light up a large area.

Next up is video quality where I tested 3 different scenarios: Daytime, infrared night vision, and spotlight quality or what is sometimes called color night vision.  For these tests I marked out positions on my driveway at 10 feet, 25 feet, and 50 feet and held up a sign that has 72 point font and 150 point font.

But before we start, lets talk about field of view.  As field of view gets wider each pixel needs to represent larger area in the physical world, so all things considered, we would always expect cameras with equal resolution to have less clarity and quality as the field of view increases.  The ring camera has advertises a massive 140 degrees horizontal field of view, and I believe it.  The EufyCam and Reolink have nearly equal field of view even though the Eufy advertises 135 and the reolink only 100 degrees, in actuality, I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle of those two claims.  The Camius has the lowest field of view despite its 2.8mm lens, which is still considered to be a relatively wide angle in the security camera world.

In the daytime video tests the lower field of view and much higher resolution made the Camius the clear winner, but some of the other cameras produced very good results as well.  In all conditions the Reolink camera produced a very HDR or high dynamic range image where the highlights were very bright and the shadows were very dark. This resulted in more apparent clarity than the Eufy which also performed well , and significantly more than the ring, which I found to be generally washed out in all conditions.  At 25 feet the Camius produced an impressively legible image of the 72 point font, and even at 50 feet the 150 point font can be read relatively easily.

At night with only IR illumination the Camius PoE camera performed extremely well again, but the reolink also did a surprisingly good job.  The reolink’s high dynamic range highlights objects really well, especially when compared with the Ring camera that washed out the image completely.  The EufyCam did well up to about 30 feet away where the lower amount of illumination prevented it from providing a clear image.

The most interesting video quality test was color night vision with the spotlights on, since we know that the Ring produced around 1000 lux compared to the Reolink’s 40, we would expect the video quality of the ring to be significantly better and brighter, but what the Reolink lacks in light intensity it makes up for with sensor sensitivity, and it actually produced an awesome image. You can really tell how dialed up the sensor is when looking at my neighbors porch lights, which appear very bright in the Reolink video, but are almost invisible to the Ring.   The Camius camera still produced the best image, followed again by the Reolink.  The ring camera did a really poor job conserving any details on my body, and the Eufy did the worst, probably because it working with the least amount of light and you can see that the ambient light from my neighbors porch lights casts a huge shadow in the EufyCam image due to the low light output.

For motion detection all these cameras have PIR motion detection which is typically more accurate than standard contrast based motion detection.  The cameras all support specific motion zones and sensitivity adjustments.  The EufyCam, Ring and Camius also have person detection, which really helps to avoid false positives and is quickly becoming a must have feature for me.  The Camius has additional motion detection options including Perimeter Intrusion, Line Crossing, Stationary Object, Facial Detection, and Cross Counting, but they can only be used to trigger internal recording to the SD card and since most people will be using this in conjunction with their own NVR their usefulness is slightly limited.  I was particularly impressed with the Ring floodlight’s motion detection which was able to detect pedestrians walking down the street while not being fooled by blowing leaves or moving shadows when person only notifications were turned on.

And the last thing we need to talk about with these cameras is the App and integration experience.  If you are using these cameras as a stand alone system, the Ring, EufyCam and Reolink offer great app experiences.  The EufyCam 2C is completely free to access your recorded footage since they are stored locally on the Eufy Home Base, the Reolink Lumus requires the installation of an SD card for free storage, and in order to enable recording on your Ring app you’ll need to pay an additional $2.99/month per device.  The Camius 4K PoE spotlight camera has an app called RXCamView, which may be the best performing generic camera app I’ve ever used, but still isn’t as good as the dedicated apps from Eufy, Reolink and Ring.  Still, RXCamView does allow for live view and easy playback sorted by motion event type, as long as you’ve installed an SD card in the camera itself.

If you’re planning on integrating these cameras with your existing smart home or security products, you’re going to have a little more difficulty.  For home assistant users, the Ring cameras can be integrated via the UI in order to add a sensor for motion detection, a camera entity that plays the last recorded clip from the ring cloud, and most importantly in this case, a light entity that allows you to switch the spotlight on and off.

Unfortunately, it is the only floodlight out of these three that can be controlled remotely.  The Ring, Eufy, and Reolink cameras have amazon echo skills to be able to view them on your echo show or fireTV devices but the skills only add a camera and have control of the spotlight.  EufyCam has recently updated their software to allow their cameras to be included in homekit, but still no spotlight control.

The Camius camera is the only one that provides an RTSP stream which is VERY unfortunate since given a little bit of knowhow RTSP allows your video stream to be available wherever you want it, including home assistant, echo devices, and your NVR of choice, mine happens to be blue iris.

So, to recap: All of these cameras are fundamentally different from each other and useful in their own way.

The EufyCam 2C has very low light output and should not be used as a spotlight, but it offers decent color night vision especially from 30 feet or less.  It should get approximately half a year of battery life, and can be installed almost anywhere with very little effort.  Eufy doesn’t charge for video storage and the home base 2 gives you local recording with less reliance on the cloud.

The Reolink Lumus is the budget option at just $59.  I found the light output to be sufficient for walking through side yard or small patio, but would not recommend it to light up your whole yard.  The video quality of the Reolink is exceptional for such a cheap camera and both the infrared night vision and color night vision were some of the best I tested.  I’d like to see this camera get RTSP and some sort of AI person detection in the future, but for now those features are absent.

The Camius camera is my standout favorite, and aside from being able to turn the spotlight on and off via some sort of CURL command, it has every feature I could ask for:  Power over Ethernet, 4k resolution, excellent night vision, a powerful LED spotlight, great color contrast and white balance, AI features like facial detection, and of course a fully ONVIF compatible RTSP stream.  I haven’t reviewed a ton of 4K cameras, but its quality seems to be top notch.  Coming up in April I’ll be doing a 4k PoE camera showdown which will include the Camius, so make sure you’re subscribed if you’re interested in how well it performs compared to non-spotlight cameras.  Right now the biggest problem with the Camius seems to be the supply chain.  I appear to have bought the last one on Amazon but I contacted the company and they said a new shipment is on the way.  I’ve got Amazon links down below but be aware that they might be out of stock currently.

The Ring floodlight was by far the best light option and I liked the wide angle lens, and impressive AI person detection.  I love that the home assistant integration allows the floodlights and or siren to be turned on remotely, but I’m not thrilled that they need to use the cloud to do so.  As was the case with the Ring Video doorbell that I recently reviewed, Ring’s development resources and market foothold are evident when using their products and they work impressively well.  I really don’t like the $2.99 per device cloud subscription, and I wish there was a local control option, but it’s impossible to deny how well everything works.

If you’re still not sure what camera is right for you, leave a comment below or come join me on my Facebook group.  Thank you to all my awesome patrons over at patreon for continuing to support my channel.  If you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links down in the description.  If you enjoyed this video, please consider subscribing, and as always, thanks for watching the hookup.

Product Links:
Ring Floodlight (Best Light):
Camius 4K PoE Spotlight (Best Camera):
Reolink Lumus (Budget Option): or
EufyCam 2C (Easiest Install):
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