IR Security Camera Final Thoughts
As I previously mentioned in the introduction, security cameras come in all shapes and varieties because users each have unique needs. One project might require a camera with television-quality clarity and sharpness so the smallest detail is revealed, while another project might only need to show if there’s someone watching the children. With so many features available to choose from, manufacturers pick from a myriad of options to provide consumers with the most likely blend of functionality. That’s what Rosewill has attempted to do with their IR Outdoor Bullet Camera: combine decent resolution, camera protection, night vision, and give it an affordable price.
Of course, not every feature can make the cut. There are smaller, more powerful cameras out there with pan, tilt, zoom, and wireless features. Unfortunately, most of them cost much, much, more as well. For most people wireless is the way to go, as it eliminates the nasty step of running cable through walls for installation, but also relieves you of needing a longer/shorter cable. Eventually all cameras will be wireless, save for a few ultra-high bandwidth models that require the security of a cabled connection. Those niche products notwithstanding, the Rosewill IR Security Camera offers more than enough for general-purpose outdoor or indoor wired security systems.
In my testing, the varifocal lens system offered very good picture quality at its closest and farthest adjustments. Daytime recording was in crisp full color, while night/dark recording utilized the infrared LEDs to illuminate the landscape and display a grayscale picture. The RSCM-12003 kit is plug and play with Rosewill’s RSVA-11001 or RSVA-12001 all-in-one DVR system, borrowing one of the four included cable connections included with those kits.
Video files recorded by Rosewill’s RDVR-H08 system can be backed-up to a USB-connected drive, which saves H.264 video files together with H.264 HD Player playback software. This software is much like other modern multimedia players, but also adds AVI conversion (H.264/MPEG4) and screen ‘snapshot’ functions. The image below was taken from video recorded with the Rosewill RSCM-12003, from six feet away and with full zoom. At this distance, there was 3.0′ available field of view.
Daylight/Artificial Light/Infrared Light Sample Video
Rosewill RSCM-12003 Conclusion
With the understanding that there’s a camera designed for every project, performance becomes a subjective matter. The Rosewill RSCM-12003 is designed for outdoor day or night environments, with a fixed focus and vantage point. 540 lines of resolution is a good starting point for general-purpose surveillance, but it’s rather low for demanding high-detail applications that require the highest picture quality. The RSCM-12003 is to DVD quality as higher-resolution cameras are to Blu-ray; both offer good picture quality, but it gets better at a cost.
Appearance is another subjective rating, especially for an item like outdoor security cameras. 70 LEDs circling the center lens glass helps to give the Rosewill RSCM-12003 a high-tech look when observed from the front, while the IP66 enclosure make vandals think twice about tampering with the installation.
Rosewill’s RSCM-12003 IR Outdoor Bullet Camera resides inside an IP66 hardened outdoor waterproof enclosure, and receives an equally-durable protective shade that attaches to the housing. Construction is solid, and aside from thin glass shields over the lens and LEDs, RSCM-12003 is ready for extreme conditions and abuse.
While compatible with any system that utilizes BNC camera connections, RSCM-12003 is built to compliment Rosewill’s own RSVA-11001 or RSVA-12001 all-in-one DVR kits. The camera lives up to expectations and offers as much as is physically available, but not much more. Could it have included pan, tilt, zoom, microphone, speaker, motion sensors, and wireless functionality? Sure, so long as cost isn’t an issue.
As of June 2013, the Rosewill RSCM-12003 Outdoor Security Bullet Camera (UPC: 898745060003) is available online for $74.99 (Newegg | Amazon). This isn’t a bad price at all, and while there are wireless cameras with the same functionality that fall in the same price range, those cameras require PoE appliances and networking hardware to reach the DVR. For what the camera offers the Rosewill RSCM-12003 is appropriately priced, but that’s not to say that a price like $59.99 wouldn’t make it an even better value.
+ Weatherproof IP66 protective housing
+ 70 Infrared LEDs aid in night vision
+ High-quality 1/3″ Sony CCD sensor
+ 75-degree 2.8-12mm varifocal zoom lens
+ 540 lines NTSC TV resolution
+ Plug-and-play with Rosewill DVR systems
- BNC wired connection with 12V DC power
- Lacks pan/tilt/zoom/motion features
- Does not include installation cables
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Which features do you want most from a security camera?