External Night Vision Cameras?

Mom wants an external night vision camera for her backyard (some critter is getting into sh*t in her yard) and she is on a quest to identify her nemesis.

I have never had any interest/need for one of these, so I have ignored every conversation and review of them, and now I’m going to visit her next week and, as her official I.T. department, she’s hoping that I can help her set something up. I don’t want to disappoint her. She very rarely asks for anything, and she’s also the best mom in the history of moms, so I’m hoping I can get some wise advice.


  1. No paid subscription
  2. Not overly complex to install (I’m not skilled at hardware, but if needed we can get someone who is.)
  3. Must work with iPad/iPhone, preferably HomeKit but flexible on that, as long as it has a local recording option/no subscription.

Any help would be appreciated.

1 Like

We’ve had an Arlo for a few years. Literally took 10 mins to mount. They offer a subscription but we don’t use it, we stick with the free tier that keeps the last 7 days of footage.


What about simply installing a motion sensitive light? Do you really want to watch the green-light videos of the big-foot monster enjoying a late-night snack on the lawn versus simply scaring away the possums or raccoons (or stray cats) that show up in the dark?

And next of course you will be asking for recommendations on the best automatic, no-harm trap to capture the beast in the yard.

(Squirrels have to be taken to someplace across a river or they will be back with their cousins)


I will raise that question to her, but I suspect that it will not be the option she goes for.

Do I? No.

Does she? Perhaps.

There’s also a teenager in the house behind hers who likes to toss empty liquor bottles over their fence into her yard. She has collected these in the past and presented them to his mother, but I believe the woman expressed some skepticism that her sweet precious angel would ever do such a thing, despite the fact that their house is the only one that backs up to my mother’s house.

I think she would also enjoy seeing deer and other non-rodent animals, even if they do eat from her flowerbed.

On the other hand, a floodlight that goes on and off all night would have a greater chance of annoying her neighbors, of whom she is not overly fond anyway, and if it scares away whatever rodent is invading, that might be considered a side-benefit.

I think the devices colloquially named “Have-A-Heart Traps” may be disallowed by local law, and certainly no one I know would ever consider using breaking such an ordinance of course.

Whatever you end up picking, be sure to check it’s low-light abilities. Very few cameras perform well at night even though they are marketed as such.

The best camera I have that performs well at low light conditions is an old Toshiba - it is horribly inconsistent connecting to the network though - the universe’s rule to preserve pain I guess.

My Eufy indoor cams have great night vision.

I think their outdoor cams require a base station, but they work with HomeKit and you don’t need a separate subscription for them.


The pros/cons of night cameras versus motion lights are tough to consider. You may learn interesting things from the former, only to then have to decide what to do about the new insights.

You could get a motion light with a motion camera.

And the lights could be directed in a local enough space so as not to be too annoying (if at all).

Oh. This (disallowed by local law) would be a first that I would be surprised to learn myself.

You could still petition for a trap with the (tongue in cheek) argument that you hope to capture sweet precious angels at the same time as the possums or raccoons. We would pay to see who would come out of that trap with some hard lessons learned.

I’d not be surprised that a video presented with a hint that the next step is to take it to the local law enforcement for trespassing/littering/public invasion violations might straighten up some things.

Let us know what you decide.


I’ve been very happy with my Eufy Pro cameras, although I can’t definitely say how they are in total darkness, as one is near a light that comes on at night, and another overlooks our driveway, where a light comes on whenever the camera detects motion. I was looking through old footage and couldn’t find any taken in total darkness, as a light was always on, but the lighting isn’t bright, and I can still see everything. No subscription required, and they work with HomeKit.

1 Like

I’ve lived in areas with loads of raccoons and other nocturnal beasties. Motion-activated lights did nothing to scare them away. I imagine the raccoons appreciated the extra lighting as they went about their business learning to pry off the latest so-called “raccoon-proof” garbage can lid.

I have some Samsung Smart Cameras I bought years ago (model BNH but don’t know current version). They do well in low light as moderate distance. They use IR lights to illuminate dark scenes. I’ve used it on a deck to find the raccoon getting the the hummingbird feeders. They aren’t waterproof bu did ok on a covered deck. Recording is to SD card and it can be viewed remotely.

Yeah, that was kind of my thought too. Too bad there aren’t motion-activated Tasers.

1 Like

I’ll second the vote above for Arlo outdoor cameras. Good quality video even from the Arlo Pro 2, which is a couple years old. They’re battery powered, so you don’t need to plug them in; I recently hooked mine up to accessory solar panels (one SE facing, one northeast, both are fine), so now I don’t even have to take the cameras down to charge the . No contract and they’ll store 7 days of video for up to three of four cameras. You can also hook a local drive up to them. I think without a paid sub, you done get a few features, like being able to effectively blot out certain areas from motion detection, or record continuously. But it’s plenty for me.

If I were buying mine now, I’d look closely at Eufy too — I have the sense that they’re even lower hassle. But o forget what I heard to make me think that.

You might have heard @macsparky talking about them on the episode with Mikah Sargent, or more recently on Automators. He changed all his outdoor cams (I think Canary?) to Eufy and got the solar panels too. Last time I asked him he seemed happy with them!

1 Like

I’ve just replaced my first generation Arlo’s with Netatmo Presence devices.

The Arlos were ok but needed updating and I didn’t like the ‘encouragement’ for subscriptions as their range extended. Also, the cost of batteries was starting to ramp up somewhat as mine were not rechargeable. The other downside (which I don’t have with the Netatmo) was that their frugal use of batteries often meant they started recording too late and I sometimes missed the object I was hoping to see.

The Netatmo is always active, records video locally with the option of upload to Dropbox too so no additional subscription costs. HKSV has been promised for some time via firmware upgrade but I’m not holding my breath for that. Alerts and video replay are on IOS and iPadOS.

These are very good quality devices. They are combined light and cameras, with the option of a built-in siren too. They come with their own App and are also HoneKit enabled. The auto detection does a decent job of identifying if movement is a person, animal or vehicle … and you can set alerts according to the type of movement too.

They are WiFi enabled but do need power. That wasn’t an issue for me as I already had power to those locations for some traditional IR lighting so just replaced those.

Not the cheapest on the market but ticked a lot of the right boxes for me and often have special prices on Amazon. I got mine at 30% off list.

1 Like

Yes, I blame David for those solar panels being sold out last time I checked.


Excellent, we should definitely blame David for these things.

Though, I think I may have to blame this thread for my purchase of a Eufy video doorbell. Give me some time and I’ll figure out exactly why this thread is to blame :laughing:

Good luck on your critter camera quest! (Sadly quest is not a c, but it sounds like it is so I’ll give myself a bonus point for alliteration!)


That was it! All his fault for sure.

Wyze Outdoor Cam has a built in battery and can do local storage for you - helped me confirm that I had a skunk burrowed under some concrete. Or the Version 3 of their Wyze Cam is supposed to have pretty good color night vision capabilities- but it needs a power source - so would depend on the specifics of where you’d need to put the camera.

Rosemary, I suspect someone has been feeding that good-looking feline!

1 Like

Amazon had a “Deal of the Day” for a “Certified Refurbished” Ring Camera, and since that’s what she originally asked about and it solves the battery problem (by being a wired solution), we’re going to try that. We’ll see how it goes.