360 Degree Fisheye Security Cameras See EVERYTHINGSeptember 1, 2023
Most security cameras are designed to be pointed in a specific direction, but a 360-degree fisheye camera can do the job of several cameras all by itself. The big question is whether the quality of that stretched out video is good enough to warrant using a 360-degree camera in place of your normal security cameras.
I’ve got seven fisheye cameras ranging in price from $50 all the way up to $750 and in this video, we’ll test their field of view, distortion, daytime clarity, nighttime infrared performance, and audio quality to figure out which one, if any, are the right fit for your security needs.
Starting with the least expensive option, this $54 camera from Revotech is an indoor only, Power over Ethernet security camera with a 1.7mm focal length and a 3-megapixel 1/3” image sensor. The Revotech doesn’t make any claims about its field of view, but in my testing its horizontal field of view was close to 180 degrees, but its vertical field of view was only around 90 degrees.
Most of the Revotech’s reviews said that it was not ONVIF compatible, but I was able to get ONVIF to work by changing the discovery port on my Blue Iris NVR to 6688.
After that for $89 is the Inwerang VR Cam 3D, an indoor only, Power over Ethernet, fisheye camera. The Inwerang has a 1.7mm focal length and a 2-megapixel 1/2.8” sensor which it claims can produce 360-degree full aspect viewing. In my testing the Inwerang’s horizontal field of view was close to 180 degrees, but its vertical field of view fell short of those claims at only around 110 degrees.
The Inwerang’s web interface is the same type often used by cameras that are marketed as Hikvision compatible, though it is not a Hikvision OEM camera. Regardless, I had no problem using ONVIF to add the Inwerang to my Blue Iris NVR.
Next for $130 is the Reolink FE-P, an indoor only, Power over Ethernet, fisheye camera. The Reolink has a 2mm focal length paired with a 6-megapixel 1/2.5” sensor which it claims will produce a 360 degree all around view with smart person detection and two-way audio.
In my testing the Reolink’s field of view claims were accurate, and it produced very close to 180 degrees vertical and 180 degrees horizontal field of view and unlike the previous two cameras the Reolink outputs a true 360-degree fisheye image. The Reolink comes with ONVIF discovery disabled by default, but I was able to easily turn it on using the web interface and it was able to be added to my Blue Iris NVR using ONVIF without any issues.
After that for $175 is the Loryta IPC-EW5541 which is a Dahua OEM camera sold by EmpireTech. The Loryta is an indoor only, Power over Ethernet, fisheye camera with a 1.4mm focal length and a 5-megapixel 1/2.7” sensor. The Loryta also claims to have 180 degrees vertical and horizontal field of view and in my testing, it met those claims and like the Reolink the output was a true 360-degree fisheye image.
The Loryta works perfectly with ONVIF discovery, but doesn’t come with DHCP enabled by default, so if you are plugging it into anything other than a Dahua NVR you’ll need to have a little network knowledge or be able to follow an online tutorial to get the IP assignment changed from static to DHCP.
Next for $240 is the first outdoor rated 360-degree camera we’ll be testing, the Vikylin DT955. The Vikylin is a Hikvision OEM and is functionally identical to the DS-2CD-2955-FWD, which means it is a 1.05mm focal length lens paired with a 5-megapixel 1/2.5” image sensor providing 180 degrees of vertical and horizontal field of view.
In my testing the Vikylin exceeded its 180-degree field of view claim and could see the white ceiling on either side of it despite being mounted roughly 2 inches below the ceiling.
I had no issues getting the Vikylin connected to my network, and unlike most Hikvision cameras that I’ve tested, the Vikylin came with DHCP and ONVIF enabled by default allowing me to immediately add it to my Blue Iris NVR without any modifications.
After that, jumping up significantly in price is a Genuine Hikvision branded camera, the DS-2CD-636-5G0E which is an outdoor rated 360-degree camera with a 1.27mm focal length lens paired with a large 6-megapixel 1/1.8” image sensor.
In my testing the Hikvision had a slightly lower field of view than the Vikylin, but still had very close to 180 degrees of vertical and horizontal field of view. The Hikvision was by far the most difficult to setup since it didn’t come with DHCP enabled by default and was also incompatible with every web browser I tried including Microsoft edge in internet explorer compatibility mode. You can enable DHCP using Hikvision’s SADP tool, but to change other settings you’ll either need a Hikvision branded NVR, or a purpose-built security camera tester. However, once DHCP was enabled I was able to easily add the Hikvision to my Blue Iris NVR for testing, but I wasn’t able to change any picture settings.
Last, the most expensive camera we’ll be testing today is the $760 Amcrest IP12M-F23-80-EW, an outdoor rated 360-degree camera with a 1.85mm focal length and a super high resolution 12-megapixel 1/1.7” image sensor. In my testing the Amcrest had 180 degrees of vertical and horizontal field of view and output a very clear true fisheye image.
The Amcrest was extremely simple to set up with DHCP and ONVIF enabled by default, as well as Dahua’s new more user-friendly web interface. I was able to add the Amcrest to my Blue Iris NVR using ONVIF discovery and easily change settings using that new Chrome compatible web interface.
Let’s look at daytime video quality first. Starting with the four least expensive cameras, the Revotech, Inwerang, Reolink and Loryta. The biggest difference is that you can immediately see that the Reolink and Loryta cameras output a true 360 degree fisheye image, meaning they don’t need to be aimed in any specific direction and my Blue Iris NVR can dewarp the image to produce either a dual panoramic view or a hemispheric view, while the Revotech and Inwerang cameras are already in something that resembles a hemispheric view and cannot be properly converted into the dual panoramic view without a significant loss of coverage.
The fact that the Reolink and Loryta cameras have spherical video also means that they can be modified to any orientation, while the Revotech and Inwerang will always have video orientations based on how they are mounted.
Comparing the hemispheric view from each camera they were all mostly fine but I thought that the image from the Reolink was slightly sharper than the rest, while the Loryta had slightly less distortion from the fisheye lens effect, and for pure daytime image quality I slightly preferred the Loryta over the Reolink, so it will move on to the second round against the more expensive cameras with the Loryta in the top left, then the Vikylin in the top right, the Hikvision in the bottom left, and the Amcrest in the bottom right.
In this lineup all four cameras output true 360-degree fisheye images, and all were able to easily be converted into either dual panoramic images or hemispheric views by Blue Iris. However, something that immediately stood out to me was that despite their higher resolutions and larger sensors, the more expensive cameras seemed to have significantly more motion blur than the Loryta camera and when zoomed in you can tell the Amcrest has significantly higher resolution, but that resolution doesn’t help to actually make out any more details in the captured image, and despite the pixelation and jagged edges I’d actually prefer the 5 megapixel image from the Loryta over the 12 megapixel Amcrest, especially considering the much smaller file sizes for storing and streaming video.
To evaluate infrared night vision, I performed a similar test, but with all the cameras tested individually with only their own infrared lights on, so that’s why the videos aren’t perfectly synced.
In the first group the results were extremely surprising, and the Reolink was consistently the clearest image with the least amount of smearing and motion blur. I say this is surprising because in most cases Reolink’s biggest weakness is capturing motion at night, but the Reolink fisheye camera was clearly the best from every angle in this first round. The Loryta was also decent, but had more motion blur, while the Revotech completely failed to capture me walking through the frame and I looked more like a ghost than a person.
Moving the Reolink on to the second round with the more expensive cameras, I didn’t think there was any question that it was also the best in this group with a crisp, high contrast image with very little motion blur. The Amcrest and Vikylin were also decent, but the Hikvision had some issues with IR reflections off the plastic dome that protects the lens and gives it it’s outdoor rating.
So that made the overall infrared night vision video quality rankings very similar to the daytime quality rankings with the Reolink in first this time, followed by the Loryta, then the Amcrest, the Vikylin, then the Hikvision and Inwerang, and in a very distant last place was the Revotech which barely captured any movement at all.
The Reolink makes the least effort to remove background noise but as a result reproduces the most true to life sound, while the Inwerang does a surprisingly good job removing background noise without making my voice sound too robotic and distorted. The Loryta and Amcrest also did a good job and do have the option to disable their noise reduction filters, but overall, I did prefer the sound when they were enabled.
The Amcrest and Reolink also both support 2-way talk and in my testing the quality of the Amcrest’s implementation was significantly better than the Reolink with clear loud audio from both sides and very little delay. The Reolink’s was usable, but you wouldn’t want to have a whole conversation on it.
The Vikylin doesn’t have a built-in microphone, but it does have a connection for an external mic if you wanted to add one or add some other audio feed to your video recordings.
The Hikvision and Revotech cameras both claimed to have built in microphones, but I wasn’t able to get them to work. I suspect in the case of the Hikvision it would have been as simple as selecting “microphone” instead of “line in” using the web interface that I wasn’t able to access, and in the case of the Revotech audio was clearly enabled in the settings, but not functional, at least in the Blue Iris RTSP feed.
And that leads us to the next topic, which is third party NVR compatibility. I mentioned earlier that the Amcrest, Inwerang, and Vikylin cameras could be immediately added to Blue Iris out of the box, while the Reolink, Hikvision, Revotech and Loryta cameras needed at least some settings changes to get them working properly.
Once in Blue Iris the Revotech and Inwerang didn’t output true 360 video, so the dewarping algorithms didn’t work quite right. However, at least in Blue Iris, there is no option to dewarp the live stream, so if live monitoring is your number one concern, then the non 360 fisheye format may be preferred and if that’s the case the Inwerang is the far better choice over the Revotech.
The other incompatibility that I found was that the Reolink FE-P’s video feed would accumulate approximately 10 seconds of delay per 24 hours, which was fixed by selecting “restart camera” in Blue Iris, but none of the other cameras had that issue.
Because of this accumulating delay I wouldn’t recommend the Reolink FE-P for use in Blue Iris and instead the Loryta would be my top pick for an indoor only rated camera with a good mix of daytime and nighttime video quality, sound quality, ease of use, and compatibility and I was surprised how well Blue Iris person detection and facial recognition worked on these cameras, despite the warped fisheye video feed.
For the outdoor rated cameras, the 12-megapixel Amcrest performed the best but it’s $760 price tag seems steep compared to the $240 Vikylin, even though the Vikylin appears to be much less rugged, so I’d recommend installing it under an eave if you are going to use it outside.
However, if you’re not a Blue Iris user and you want to use your 360 camera stand alone with a phone app, the Reolink is by far the best option. Not only is the Reolink app extremely user friendly compared to other manufacturer apps, but it’s got a ton of options for dewarping both live view and recorded footage including the dual panoramic view and hemispheric view that Blue Iris offers as well as a quad view that lets you individually focus on 4 separate points of interest within the 360-degree video.
As for recording and playback, Reolink’s built in person detection works very well and is a huge step up from the contrast-based motion detection you find on most cameras, and the Reolink app makes it extremely easy to find person detection clips stored on the SD card. Reolink also makes a Wi-Fi version of the 360-degree fisheye camera called the FE-W that may be even more ideal for this kind of camera since it’s important to install them as close to the center of the room as possible and being wireless gives a little more flexibility in placement.
Normally when I’m reviewing cameras I do a lot more testing with things like color night vision, fast motion blur, and identification ability at different distances. However, I don’t think those tests are very useful for these cameras because it’s important to understand that these 360-degree security cameras aren’t intended to fill the same role as a normal bullet or turret style camera.
By packing 360 degrees of field of view into the same resolution as a standard camera each pixel has to represent significantly more physical area, and even though dewarping software is pretty powerful, you shouldn’t expect a 360 degree camera to be good for identifying people you don’t already know, and because of that these cameras are most useful for providing a general overview for an entire room where you can more or less keep track of people’s comings and goings rather than identifying strangers.
Also, most of these cameras are designed for indoor use only and whenever you’re considering installing a camera inside your house, privacy should always be a concern. One of the reasons I use Blue Iris for my security cameras is that it allows me to block my cameras from the internet using my network firewall, which significantly reduces any concerns about my camera feeds being viewed without my knowledge.
Reolink cameras used with the Reolink app can also be blocked from the internet and still function on the local network, which is another great reason to consider them for this purpose, but if you lack the networking equipment and skillset to keep your camera feeds private, I would encourage you to strongly consider how an indoor camera may impact your privacy before deciding to install one.
As always there are no sponsored reviews on this channel, but I do have links down in the description for all the cameras in this video, and as always, I appreciate if you use those links since as an Amazon affiliate, I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.
I’d also like to thank all of my awesome patrons over at Patreon for their continued support of my channel and if you’re interested in supporting my channel, please check out the links below. If you enjoyed this video don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and as always, thanks for watching The Hook Up.
Best Indoor for use with ONVIF NVRs: Loryta (Dahua)
Best for Stand Alone Use: Reolink FE-P
AmazonUS (PoE Version): https://amzn.to/3QYZhjR
Reolink Direct (PoE Version): https://reolink.com/__/product/fe-p/?aff=50
Reolink Direct (Wi-Fi Version): https://reolink.com/us/product/fe-w/?aff=50
Best Outdoor ONVIF: Amcrest (Dahua)
Best Value Outdoor: Vikylin
Other cameras tested:
Revotech (not recommended): https://amzn.to/3PkX68U