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Show HN: Security Camera Lens Calculator (jvsg.com)
178 points by maxshm 56 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 49 comments

We created Security Camera Lens Calculator with 3D graphics(WebGL) and a built-in camera database.


It is a web app (Javascript+React) that runs in a browswer or on a tablet or a smartphone.

It took our team more than 1 year to complete the calculator.

Calculator functions:

- calculate pixel density (PPM/PPF)

- clearly see dead zones in 3D

- check DORI zones (detection, observation, recognition, identification) based on pixel density calculations and IEC and EN 62676 standard.

- calculate lens focal length

- load a floor map to see camera coverage on your plan

- over 9,000 video surveillance camera models embedded in the CCTV Lens Calculator.

- 12 languages supported.

Today we launched our Security Camera Lens Calculator also on ProductHunt.

We would love to get some feedback. Particularly from people using it to solve real world problems.

The link https://www.jvsg.com/online/ redirect to https://www.jvsg.com/calculators/cctv-lens-calculator/ which doesn't have all the functionality of your whole software https://www.jvsg.com/

The following is commentary for the web app cctv-lens-calculator (not the whole software).

For face recognition applications, taking the picture from a camera too high make the face harder to recognize (even more so when people look down); (And the portrait of the person doesn't show the rotation).

Some camera have both horizontal rotation and vertical rotation, and depending on whether you mount it on the wall or on the ceiling, and the camera model (and their axis-rotation order), the field of view and the up vector may not be up.

Add affiliate links to buy the chosen camera model.

Add multiple cameras and their respective field of view to check for blind spots.

Allow loading sketch-up or 3d model of the building (I couldn't find how to "load a floor map to see camera coverage on your plan" )

Bug : Clicking on the "Meter" button scale the person up indefinitely.

Thank you for your feedback and advice!

Wow, it is great to meet a person here who knows about our main desktop software IP Video System Design Tool. To import a floor plan in the lens calculator the user can click on a small house button in the bottom of the screen. Yes the button is not in the toolbar.

This video shows how to import a background image 1:40 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NE7eTx1aPpg

Posts without URLs get penalized, so I've linked the submission to your URL (the one that gets redirected to) and converted your text to a top comment.

Also, consider adding tooltips -- I don't read hieroglyphics and have no idea what all those icons do.

It is possible to add tooltips in a desktop version. But how to show them on a smartphone with touch interface?

I like it and immediately see a secondary use-case... the purchase of cameras and lenses for home broadcast studios and the upper end of vloggers and video conferencing.

Meaning... OK, so you're going with a Sony and you want a prime lens and you'll be x distance from the camera and want to be frame with head and shoulders... which prime lens is the one you should choose?

For a single camera + lens you'd probably experiment and a shop can rent you variations. But as soon as you're into the "I'm setting up a home studio and need several cameras" then you'd want to spend less time experimenting and get closer to the final configuration on the first pass, i.e. to use a tool to help get it right first time.

Aside from this being a really simple calculation for which there are lots of online calculators and articles...there is no reason to buy a prime lens for streaming.

Modern kit zoom lenses are more than sufficient for even raw 1080p...and by the time your stream has been compressed twice (the first time likely by a hardware encoder on your video card, which is not exactly stellar encoding quality in the first place), there is exactly zero point to the very minute difference in quality, particularly since in a studio you can provide enough light that the lens can be stopped down to its ideal aperture.

If the goal is "head and shoulders shot", you probably want an 85mm (35-mm-equivalent) focal length, or thereabouts. 85mm is the classic portraiture focal length for 35mm format, because it yields a very natural look. 50mm might be more conducive to smaller spaces, however.

If by "Sony" you mean one of the a7 series mirrorless cameras...unless you're planning on streaming in candle-light conditions, that's also a massive waste of money. Any micro four thirds camera made in the last ten years will output gorgeous video quality for streaming even if you don't go to great lengths lighting-wise.

It depends on your camera's low light sensitivity and how much noise you can tolerate. A cheap prime lens will let in an order of magnitude more light than a cheap kit lens. And some folks want that creamy bokeh effect behind them.

Solution: start Blender, model the space with rough blocks, place the camera set up sensor size and focal length and go.

I was so happy when Blender added real-world camera matching, such a nice feature. You can control:

* Focal length / FOV in terms of e.g. 35mm lens focal lengths

* Focal distance

* F-stop (amount of blurring, matching real cameras)

* Number of actual shutter blades, rotation of them, etc. for matching bokeh effects of real cameras


Very shiny. I've never bought a CCTV camera in my life, but I understood everything intuitively. I didn't see how to change the scene beyond adding the woman / car, but it was enough to make things clear. The only minor comment I have is a cultural one – I got a pang of annoyance seeing the flag of the USA by "English" as a language!

Thank you for your comment!

As for English language icon, we must use British flag or maybe a combination of UK/US flags. It is so easy with Italian language! :)

Its not easy to match flags and languages at all, lots of countries have multiple languages, and lots of languages have multiple countries.

>flag of the USA by "English" as a language!

Does the flag properly denote spelling ontop of language? Gray/grey/ color/colour shop/shopppe?

About the Italian version:

>Calcolare la lunghezza focale dell obiettivo della fotocamera, la densità dei pixel e vedere le zone della fotocamera in 3D

In actual Italian that would be:

Calcolo della lunghezza focale dell'obiettivo della fotocamera, della densità dei pixel e visualizzazione 3d delle zone di copertura

The current one is understandable, but sounds a bit like native americans talk in old westerns.

And - if I may - you have colours "reversed", I would instinctively expect green to be "good, OK", red "No good", yellow something midway.

Thank you jaclaz, for Italian translation correction! Idea with colors is that hotter color means higher number of pixels per meter or pixels per foot.

> Idea with colors is that hotter color means higher number of pixels per meter or pixels per foot.

Yep, I can understand that, it is only (again IMHO) less intuitive at first sight.

It is only about conventions, in thermal images, usually red is "hot" and green/blue is "cool", but then it depends on what you use it for, if you do house thermal imaging, to check if insulation is good, if you do it from the inside cool is "bad", but from the outside hot becomes bad (in most common cases when outside is colder, i.e. winter, but it reverses meaning if you are testing for an air conditioning system in summer).

Not my industry, but:

Isn't the green for "not so serious" framing, and "not recording",

with red being "recording"?

you are referring to the "tally light", which uses a very limited range of values, usually 2 (off/red) or 3 (off/red/green) in a studio setting. since this here is a continuous value (based on multiple parameters) i would also think in terms of green being desirable and red being non-desirable.

As said above, it depends, battery indicators (usually) are:


red=no good

yellow=so and so

Your color scheme is the opposite of what I would expect.

Worst resolution = Red/Orange

Acceptable resolution = Yellow

Best resolution = Green/Blue

Maybe it's intended for helping people evade CCTV, rather than helping people spec CCTV installations.

Right, why is 250 ppm bad (red), and 125 ppm good (green)?

Or is it that the camera can't focus closer than 5m distance?

Doesn't seem related to installation height, but that's another consideration.

Neat tool!

Since this discussion is attracting IP camera-savvy folks...I'm struggling to find cameras to buy/recommend. In particular, ones that:

* Aren't made by the big Chinese companies (Dahua, Hikvision, Uniview, Huawei) that are actively participating in the Uyghur genocide [1] and/or are considered a security threat by the US. (Most of those are banned for US government installations by the National Defense Authorization Act [2]; future models won't get FCC approval for private use either, according to the Secure Equipment Act of 2021 [3].)

* Support direct RTSP use rather than require a fast/reliable Internet connection and/or proprietary cloud service subscription. (This excludes eg the Nest and Ring stuff, as far as I can tell.)

* Are reasonably priced, although not necessarily as cheap as the Chinese vendors.

* Have decent night image quality. I'd be thrilled to find a model with the larger 1/1.8" sensors.

I know I should renew my IPVM subscription and see what they say. I'd love to find (other) quality review sites or forums that aren't super invested in Dahua/Hikvision (like ipcamtalk seems to be).

[1] eg https://ipvm.com/reports/dahua-uyghur-warning

[2] https://ipvm.com/reports/ndaa-guide

[3] https://www.cepro.com/security/senate-passes-secure-equipmen...

Someone tried to steal my Subaru forester XT. I was going for a late night dog walk and heard some commotion outside my garage door, and found an unraveled coat hanger on top my car.

I looked at many expensive cameras, particularly the Axis and Ubiquiti. I was looking for outdoor rated, power over ethernet (easier cabling), standards copmliant, and not requiring any cloud access or service. I ended up with a pair of RLC-410s for $80 total, less than half of the alternatives. I didn't realize at the time how big an advantage it would be to have two. Both had IR illumination and I pointed them both at my driveway from two different angles. I got twice the illumination, two useful angles, and they were twice as easy to notice. Day and night quality was quite good, I could even see a black seat belt, inside a black car, with a black interior. They support RTSP streaming, as well as emailing clips (using your mail server), and hitting a URL to notify you have motion detection.

I've not tried their vehicle/person detection yet, but it's a nice solid camera if you want to build your own monitoring system, it seems to play well with others and avoids requiring some cloud service.

Mine were blocked completely from the internet, so no concerns with backdoors, privacy, etc.

I've always liked https://www.axis.com - they are Swedish and one of the IP cam pioneers. You are going to pay a premium though. B&H Photo sells them.

You could try Illustra, though they might be a little pricey. Full disclosure I work for JCI but I think they meet your criteria for the most part. Axis cameras seem very popular too.

A basic Illustra model [1] says "request info / quote" rather than "buy now for $x" or "here's a list of distributors/retailers". I'm guessing these are for large commercial installations? I'm looking for something a residential DIYer can buy.

I think Axis is closer to what I'm looking for, though they're the high end of what I consider reasonable price. GeoVision is the most promising I've seen. I bought a GeoVision GV-EBD4701, which was inexpensive. Feature list and software quality is pretty good, but I haven't really tested its image quality extensively yet and don't expect a 4MP 1/3" sensor to be amazing in low light.

What I'd love is something like the Dahua 5442 models except not made by Dahua, at up to twice Dahua's price. But I might just be dreaming.

[1] https://illustracameras.com/cameras/essentials-2mp-gen4-mini...

I doubt you are going to find anything like the Dahua prices from a non-Chinese vendor. All of the Chinese vendors benefit from massive economies of scale.

A Taiwanese vendor to look at is https://www.vivotek.com. I've got a few of them and they've been solid, despite not having many firmware releases. They are broadly available in the US.

I think the GeoVision (Taiwanese also) is close enough in price to comparable budget Dahuas. I just wish they had an equivalent of Dahua's higher quality models.

I'll look into Vivotek, thanks!


Strange. Could it be that a huge wave of visitors from HackerNews or ProductHunt overloaded the website?

Thank you!

Super cool! I've built something similar and adhoc for an art piece[0] that used cameras. It used a thermal camera which has fixed focal length (due to the optics of heat (technically not accurate, you can do variable focal length for thermal but it's way expensive)), and so knowing exactly what I was going to see was critical before dropping a few grand on the camera. A tool like this would have been super useful!

One small bit of feedback, the installation height doesn't impact the rendered person. I was expecting the rendered person to be a 3D model that was rasterized into the target resolution, but when I put the camera nearly overhead, it doesn't show primarily the top of the model's head, it still shows a mostly frontal view.

0. https://www.arwmoffat.com/work/dawn-of-an-old-age

More screenshots on our ProductHunt page: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/security-camera-lens-calcu...

Very cool. So often I see poorly positioned CCTV cameras that are effectively useless because the installer has not considered blind spots.

I don't currently have a use for this, but it is still very impressive. Incredible amount of complexity exposed with an easy to use UI. I especially liked the mug shot on the right illustrating the level of resolution you'll get. I will definitely use this the next time I'm shopping for a security camera.

Thank you! We were trying our best to make the UI simpler.

Interesting concept. A few days ago I bought an outside camera and seems I choose well for my use case.

One thing: the left side menu is not scrollable but should be? On my MacBook Pro with Firefox 94.0.2 I see 'FOV Width' at the left bottom and I assume there is an input field below it, but I cannot see it.

I tried to use it but it didn't seem as user friendly as the one @calculator.ipvm.com which I have used before. Maybe take some ideas from their interface.

If I try to use the mouse to scroll, it zooms out, which is 100% acceptable and fine, except if I zoom out too far I see the scene upside down, which is funny.

The FOV/distance from camera at the bottom is not reachable on a 11" screen. (Mac air 11", chrome)

Heh, setting "distance from camera" to zero causes it to error.

Oops! Thank you!

Can you add Amazon/Ring/Blink camera specs? :)

Yes, we plan to add more cameras soon!

Congratulations on the launch.

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