If you've been following our reviews of surveillance hardware and software, you already know that we're a huge fan of Sharx Security's cameras. We've been using cameras from Sharx Security for many years, and we've always found them to be great cameras. They operate flawlessly year after year. A security camera is one piece of hardware that absolutely must "just work" all the time, and Sharx Security's cameras never disappoint.
When we configured our surveillance system that we use for our reviews, one of our cameras was placed in the front of a typical suburban home. Unfortunately, the camera could only cover one side of the front yard, so we had to choose between the left side and the right side. We considered adding an additional camera to cover the other side, but doing so has some downfalls. First of all, our recording system didn't have the fastest processor, so when video was recorded from more than two cameras, it would bog that system down and cause problems. Secondly, adding an additional camera meant purchasing an upgraded license for our surveillance software. Since we already had two cameras configured, adding a third really wasn't a good option. (By the way, in our upcoming review of Blue Iris video security software, we'll show you how that excellent software package solves both of these issues.)
Fortunately for us, Sharx Security had already been in touch about a new camera with a wide-angle lens; the SCNC3904. We recently reviewed the Sharx Security SCNC3804 camera and were extremely impressed with it. The SCNC3904 brings us all of the same great features of the SCNC3804, but it adds a wide-angle lens for a greatly increased viewing angle, full 1080p HD video, and power over Ethernet (PoE). We jumped at the chance to test this camera. (For full details of the capabilities of both of these cameras, please read our review of the SCNC3804.)
The SCNC3904 package includes a weatherproof box for the power and Ethernet connectors. If you are unable to mount the camera in a location that is protected from precipitation, you can enclose the connectors inside of the metal box included with the camera and they are sealed from weather. You'll also want to use a weatherproof outdoor receptacle for the power supply.
The SCNC3904 is a full 1080p camera with the same great features found in the SCNC3804. Just like the SCNC3804, the SCNC3904 comes with a microSD card you can use to store video, but if you're recording full HD (or even 720p for that matter), it's going to take plenty of disk space and you might want to consider an external video surveillance package. The video from the SCNC3904 can be streamed as H.265, MPEG4, or MJPEG. Assuming your video surveillance software can deal with one of these streams without requiring encoding, you should be able to deal with full HD without overtaxing the computer your software is running on. Our test system running Blue Iris is actually a very old Pentium 4 system, and it's able to record a 1080p stream from the 3904 and a 720p stream from the 3804 simultaneously without using more than 70% of the CPU.
If you need a high-quality HD camera that gives you a wide-angle view, you can't go wrong with the Sharx Security SCNC3904.
During our review of this camera, we only encountered one problem. For some reason, we experienced an issue where the camera would simply power off and it would require unplugging it and plugging it back in over and over to get back on again. We contacted Sharx Security and they told us that they suspected the power supply. We ran through some tests and confirmed their suspicion. Sharx Security rushed two new power supplies to us and we've not experienced any problems since. This experience was consistent with the excellent customer service we've come to expect from Sharx Security.
One note for those of you who might have a network configuration using multiple WiFi access points using the same SSID. (This is a common configuration for people using WiFi extenders.) The WiFi driver on the SCNC3904 is not designed to monitor WiFi signal strength and switch to another access point if a stronger signal is detected. (After all, the camera isn't designed to operate in an environment where it's moving from place to place. It's designed to remain stationary.) Therefore, if the WiFi access point your camera is using goes down for any reason, it's possible that the camera will then connect to the other WiFi access point with a much weaker signal. When the second access point comes back online, the camera will not reconnect to it, even if it has a much better signal. This can result in poor video quality or an inability for the camera to stream video at the selected resolution.
The best solution for this is to not use WiFi and use a hard-wired Ethernet connection instead. (That's actually the best choice no matter what your configuration because WiFi is not a reliable way to stream high-quality video.) However, if you're in a situation where using Ethernet isn't possible, you can configure the watchdog settings in the SCNC3904 to automatically reboot the camera in certain situations. You can choose to reboot every day (or on a certain day) at a specified time. You can also choose to reboot the camera if it detects that it has gone offline. This can minimize down-time in case of a WiFi issue when you're not around to reboot the camera manually.
If you need a high-quality HD camera that gives you a wide-angle view, you can't go wrong with the Sharx Security SCNC3904. It's a solidly built, waterproof camera that will provide you with high-quality video for your surveillance needs both now and for many years to come.