Info on Swann “Night Hawk” Security Cameras One model of security camera that is relatively low priced is the Swann “Night Hawk.” This is an outdoor surveillance camera that is designed to transmit wirelessly – the idea is to allow you to place it in locations that you otherwise couldn’t, to either give you a better angle on the area that you’re trying to monitor or to let you make it less conspicuous. The camera itself is fairly small and is separate from the wireless receiver, which you can place somewhere nearby to capture the data from the camera. It’s lightweight (about a pound for the camera) and fairly small.
The camera is billed as working about 330 feet from the transmitter, and it includes infrared technology to allow it to work in low lighting. This particular brand has gotten mixed reviews online. The positive: it is relatively effective for its price range. You can get it online for about $150. It is very small, and it is easy to set up (it should only take you a couple of minutes). You can put up to 4 cameras on the receiver, so you can get multiple ones and run a network to cover more angles of a single location. The quality of the video when used indoors is also reportedly pretty good. However, there are some significant downsides.
Many people report interference problems – other electrical items nearby such as wires, microwaves, baby monitors, etc. can cause static and degrade the quality of the picture (which is already not that great, at least outside). You also need to run a line to the camera somehow if you’re putting it outside to get power – the AC adapter is only about 6 feet long. It can also suck up a lot of hard drive space if you’re saving the tape to your computer – about 1.5 gigabytes per hour of footage (for the computer illiterate, a computer that is several years old will probably have 20-50 gigabytes of space available, newer ones will usually have around 250 or so. However, it varies wildly. If you’re using Windows, you can check this easily by clicking on “My Computer” and hovering your mouse over the C: drive).
The verdict: There are some negatives, and if you’re considering this for any commercial application it is probably a good idea to go with something else. However, the price on this is very low – for a parent looking for a “nannycam” or for someone who is using it mainly indoors and doesn’t need the top of the line, this could be the camera for you.