Feedback on the Reolink NVR and security camera setup I bought

I bought a Reolink RLN8-410 NVR and six RLC-810A 4k cameras. I bought the cameras from Amazon (they're basically solid-state devices) and got the NVR in South Africa from Instacam. Instacam gave me a lot of good advice on the product matching and both they and Reolink gave excellent after sales support in terms of the technical questions I had. I felt more comfortable buying the NVR within South Africa because it has mechanical parts (2TB hard drive) and it will be easier to handle any warranty issues. Luckily too Instacam actually had the NVR available at a price slightly lower than the Amazon price (total cost with shipping, duty, and VAT).

I spend quite a few days watching lost and lots of video reviews about different home security camera setups and reviews. It helped me settle that I did want wired IP cameras (no battery changes or reception issues over time), I wanted 4K quality, I wanted to be able to fall back to accessing the cameras from a plain browser (hence RTSP protocol support for cameras), and I wanted the system to run independently of requiring an online cloud subscription service. I had narrowed it down to three brands and based on reasonable cost, issues noted, etc I came down to Reolink.

The setup was basically ready to go and all I needed to buy was the correct length CAT6 Ethernet (CAT5e is also fine) cable for each camera. The cable is power over Ethernet and the NVR supplies the power to the cameras directly through the network cable. I'm really happy with the setup and can also state a few observations I have noted during installation:

  • The IR spread at night was definitely better than I saw in some of the reviews. My lighting fully covers the width of the areas I'm watching.
  • The cameras are solidly built aluminium finish with a single hand tightened nut to loosen for angle adjustment.
  • I have a Linux computer so do all my access through the browser to the NVR - some functionality is only found on the NVR's monitor ie. shutdown of the device, gallery view of all cameras on one screen, and also the rescanning and IP address setup of cameras.
  • Cameras are individually viewable from a browser if directly connected to the network (with power added), but when connected to the NVR they are hidden (firewalled) from the network. So it's either or. There is a sort of workaround if you right-click on a camera in the browser and paste that URL into VLC Player app but that is not from outside the network.
  • It has very good sound input from cameras (one way).
  • Reolink's mobile app is working well on iOS as well as IP Cam Viewer Lite.
  • I had issues with motion detection being triggered by rain. So only left it activated in areas like under the car port which is sheltered and has zero bushes or trees swaying around.
  • The cameras do switch automatically between night and day mode, or can be set for either one, but there is no scheduled switch over you can set yourself, so for one of the cameras I had to remove an outside light that was too close and caused the camera to stay on day mode.
  • The preview and playback modes to watch the cameras is in a slightly lower resolution to keep the video streaming well, but saved recordings show up in clear 4K resolution (from recorded).
  • The included 2TB drive saves recordings in 4K for 6 cameras for the previous 6 days that is with 24/7 recording. You can though also hook up an additional external SATA drive, or if you set cameras to motion detection only it will record far longer.
  • Each camera has it's own browser login and can be fully managed on the camera without the NVR. By adding micro-SD cards to each camera you could even operate a system without any NVR. Don't forget to set a secure password for each camera in this scenario.
  • You could mix and match with other models of cameras (eg. add from PTZ controlled cameras) but the consensus seems to be they should be Reolink brand so check very carefully for compatibility before just buying other brands to add to the NVR.

All in all the system is working very well without any issues, and I was able to within two minutes distribute a video clip to our community Telegram channel of someone who stole our wheelie bin at 11pm at night - turned out it was actually our neighbour who put it away from safekeeping ;-)

I have put a few photos and a video clip at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za/index.php?/category/reolink to give an idea of what I see. Just read the description that accompanies each photo explaining it.

#technology #reolink #security #CCTV #cameras

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