18 March 2008

Webcam Recommendations?

I setup the site Basecamp Silverton for a friend, and he's wanting to add a webcam to it, to show what the mountain and a bit of town look like at a fairly frequent interval. He had gotten what looked like a relatively decent web cam - the optics are fairly good for the price, but the thing's software is atrocious and it only does FTP in terms of sending images out (it does provide a live feed, but we're not after that). So, I'm seeking recommendations.

What we want is a networked webcam with the following characterisitcs:

  • A decent enough lens to point it from his house in town up at the mountains (which are right there - as in less than a mile away).

  • It should be low cost (preferably under $300, over that will be considered, but there has to be a good reason).

  • Support SFTP preferably (FTP is ok), as a way to send images at regular intervals from the camera to a server.

  • RSS Feed for the images is an acceptable alternative to FTP/SFTP.

  • Be easy to configure and manage.

  • WiFi is ideal, but not required.

  • Must be configurable from a Mac or a Mac browser (Safari or Firefox).

  • Multiple mounting options would be good - bolt on, simply sit on a desk/shelf, etc.

  • No special networking requirements.

  • Exported image size of about 500 pixels wide or more. e.g. something with reasonable size to provide reasonable detail.

  • Exported images in JPEG, PNG, or GIF.

Anyway, let me know your recommendations.

Update: It turned out that there was a network configuration issue with the camera we have. I was luckily able to figure this out within literally 1 minute of logging into the configuration web app for the camera, after Matt opened up a hole in his firewall so I could remotely access the camera. There still seems to be some problems with the FTP, but this got us closer, and I suspect we'll be staying with this camera afterall. Of course, don't hesitate to recommend what you like, may be useful later on (and we may do a second camera if this one proves as successful as the demand has indicated so far).