After recently adopting Blue Iris as my communications medium for my security camera system, I was looking for the best Blue Iris-compatible IP cameras.
A bit of research got me to a very overwhelming phase, where I realized that there are a plethora of options available that are compatible with Blue Iris.
But being a person who prefers quality over quantity, I sat down and carefully cut down the massive list to select four IP cameras that are worth your investment.
Blue Iris is compatible with almost all cameras that support the ONVIF protocol, with the best overall option available being the EmpireTech Dahua Starlight, followed by the Hikvision DarkFighter. Amcrest is a great budget option and the REOLINK stands out as a well-specced option.
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Dahua cameras are one of the most popular and reputed brands of IP cameras, with great user ratings and overall excellent customer care support.
Due to various branding reasons, Dahua cameras are often rebranded and sold via other brand names. EmpireTech is one of the most reputed sellers of Dahua cameras.
The EmpireTech Dahua Starlight camera, or more explicitly the IPC-T5442T-ZE model boasts a 4MP sensor for recording footage.
This might seem like very little, but a 4MP camera is enough for 1080p video captures, which is what most resort to for IP security cameras.
In fact, there is also an updated and expensive model with an 8MP sensor, the IPC-T5842T-ZE.
But that is a relatively new product with few user reviews. On the other hand, the 4MP EmpireTech camera has a lot of positive reviews.
So it is best to let the newer model simmer for a bit and then consider upgrading to that version.
Talking about the specifications, the 4MP camera sensor is a large 1/1.8" CMOS image sensor, ensuring great night footage.
The motorized lens also covers a focal length between 2.7mm and 12mm, providing a really wide angle to cover the maximum area.
There are also built-in IR LEDs to assist with night vision videos that are rated for an illumination distance of up to 40m.
The camera is also IP67 rated for great weather resistance and a wide voltage tolerance range, about ±30% of rated voltage.
The camera outputs videos of 2K(2688x1520) resolution at 30fps or Full HD (1920x1080) resolution at 60fps.
There is also an inbuilt mic for recording audio, and the camera supports micro SD cards up to 256GB for storage.
The videos are encoded in either H.264+ or H.265+ for maximum compatibility and quality.
The Dahua camera also uses AI for accurate human and motion detection, with the following detection features embedded for accurate detection:
- IVS Perimeter protection (Tripwire) support
- Fast-moving vehicles
- Fast-moving human subjects
- Abandoned objects
- Missing objects
- Loitering detection
- Gatherings of people
- Parking Detection
- Heat maps
- Face detection
- Counting people
- Face attributes
The camera also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology for easy wiring solutions, along with Dahua's proprietary ePoE technology.
As required by Blue Iris and Zoneminder (a compelling Blue Iris alternative), the camera also complies with the ONVIF standard for maximum compatibility.
Hikvision cameras offer significant competition to EmpireTech Dahua cameras.
The Hikvision DarkFighter camera is a dome camera like the EmpireTech camera, and in a way exceeds some of the features provided by EmpireTech cameras.
The Hikvision DarkFighter, explicitly the DS-2CD2385G1-I model offers an 8MP sensor, compared to Dahua's 4MP sensor for the same price.
The higher resolution allows the camera to shoot footage at 4K resolution, giving it a solid edge in terms of quality.
A slight drawback to such a high resolution is that all streams recorded in the 4K (3840 x 2160) format will be limited to a maximum frame rate of just 20 FPS.
The camera supports a variety of video encoding methods, such as H.265, H.265+, H.264+, and H.264, for faster compression and quality standards.
The Hikvision DarkFighter also boasts a 120 dB true Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology that enables clear images even under strong backlights.
There is also support for 3D Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) for less noise in darker situations.
At $156 on Amazon without considering the frequent price drops, it does offer a solid value for the specs that it offers.
Amcrest is a brand that is renowned for providing great value products, severely cost-cutting the competition.
Amcrest's 4K PoE camera is also one such product under their arsenal.
It provides support for up to 4K recording thanks to its 8 MP 1/2.8" camera sensor. But the footage is restricted to a maximum frame rate of 15 FPS.
The camera lens boasts a fantastic wide-angle Field Of View (FOV) of 129 degrees, ample enough for any security camera.
It also comes with color night vision support that is touted to detect up to ranges of 49 ft.
The camera also has the usual support for AI features such as human and vehicle detection.
Other AI features it supports are as follows:
- Event filtering.
- Tripwire and intrusion detection for perimeter protection capabilities.
- Face detection.
- Motions sensing and alerts.
- DORI distance- Detect: 280 ft, Observe: 112 ft, Recognize: 56 ft, Identify: 28 ft.
The camera is rated at IP67, making it weatherproof enough to withstand heavy precipitation in the form of rain and snow.
For a price tag of just $99.99, the Amcrest 4K IP PoE AI Camera is a fantastic PoE camera that is perfectly compatible with Blue Iris.
Reolink cameras offer the latest and greatest features in this list of Blue Iris-supported PoE IP cameras.
The Reolink 4K PoE PTZ IP camera also shoots at 4K, but has 5X optical zoom functionality, enhancing its range exponentially.
The 1x zoom(f at 2.7 mm) offers a FOV of 96 degrees, whereas the 5x zoom(f at 13.5 mm) offers a FOV of 27 degrees.
The spec sheet doesn't explicitly state the megapixels of the 1/2.8" sensor, but photos taken by it are saved at a resolution of 7680 x 4320, making it a 33 MP shot.
At night, the camera can provide 8 MP shots in great detail, with full-color night vision support.
Speaking about its night vision capabilities, it has a dual spotlight color night vision system, which aids in bringing out the best possible colors from the available lighting.
There is also the usual bevy of smart features, such as vehicle detection, motion sensing, and people detection to name a few.
The camera also supports up to a 256 GB microSD card, enabling you to continuously record footage for weeks if needed.
There are also multiple alarm methods embedded into the camera, with alert support via email, spotlight, siren, or as a push notification on your phone.
There is also a two-way talk functionality built-in, utilizing the inbuilt mic and speaker.
This enables you to talk via your phone to the people in the vicinity of the camera for warning of any suspicious activity or act as a pseudo-doorbell camera.
The camera has a 360-degree pan and 90-degree tilt capabilities, further enhancing its range.
It has a patrolling functionality built-in, with which you can set the camera to patrol certain points, with the camera being able to patrol 16 points at a time.
With the above functionality, the Reolink 4K camera is bound to be rightfully expensive compared to the other options.
At $227 it does burn a hole in your wallet.
But comparing it to similarly specced IP cameras, it does provide a value when it comes to the features and reliability of the camera.
List of Compatible Blue Iris Cameras
Blue Iris ensures that it is universally compatible with cameras that can properly utilize its software products.
Despite posting an insanely long list of compatible cameras, it is best to generalize such a list into key factors that make the IP camera compatible in the first place.
It is safe to say that Blue Iris will be supported for any IP camera with the following compatibility standards:
- JPEG images.
- MJPEG streaming.
- MPEG4 over RTSP streaming.
- ONVIF protocol.
That being said, you can check whether your specific model of IP camera is supported here.
I hope my article on the best Blue Iris-compatible IP cameras you can buy has been a worthwhile read and has aided you in making a proper purchasing decision.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many cameras can Blue Iris support?
With Blue Iris, you can view and control up to 64 cameras simultaneously from a single computer
Is Blink compatible with Blue Iris?
Blink cameras do not follow the ONFIV standard and therefore are not compatible with Blue Iris.