I’m thinking about getting some Wyze cams, but want to make sure they’ll do what I want them to do. I’ve found a lot of info but couldn’t find answers to the questions below.
My plan to to buy the Floodlight cam which I understand is effectively a Wyze cam V3 that will trigger floodlights when motion is detected. I’ll also be buying a separate Wyze cam v3 for a different application. If all goes well, I’ll be buying more of both.
I’m not sure if I’ll rely on motion detection. I’ve read the lengthy thread on these forums about continuous recording and the plight to get it to fill up larger SD cards. If one chooses continuous recording, is there a way to fast forward to review? Or is motion highlighted in some way so you can jump to those sections to review possible issues? Or does one need to wade through hours of video to look for events?
Is the recording all in one file or several?
Can you download a recording and save it on your phone? Or must you physically remove the card from the camera to save recorded clips? (I hope not. I think that would be a deal breaker for me).
If I don’t opt for continuous recording, how long does the camera record when motion is detected? And will it continue to return as long as motion is detected?
Is the motion detection very reliable? I bought some other cameras recently that will be returned. They almost NEVER detected anything at night (despite advertised to do so) and one didn’t even recognize motion during the day. Too bad. They did everything I wanted them to do except actually record events!!!
Is there digital zoom? How many times?
Sharing: Can additional people be authorized to view live view? What about Recorded events?
Floodlight cam: I understand it’s dimmable, but will it auto dim so that faces won’t get washed out from the very bright light? Or is this not an issue?
The operating temp is down to -20 C. It can get colder in the winter, as cold as -30 C. Anyone have any experience with these cameras when it’s that cold? Do they still function?
I’ve read that some makes of cameras won’t record to the SD card if wifi isn’t detected. Not sure why since that’s a location function, but is that true of the Wyze cams? My hope is that they would continue to record and when the wifi comes back I would be able to review any events that were recorded during that time.
Note that I DO NOT plan to use their paid subscription. Does that change the answers given to any of my questions?
Thank you to all that can help with your vast experience with these cameras.
Yes, though the Floodlight also has PIR sensors and you can actually have the PIR sensors control the lighting instead of the camera motion detection triggering it (ie: the floodlights only turn on when they sense something with moving heat instead of any kind of motion on the cam such as branches, leaves, in the wind, etc). You can also set it to require BOTH heat and motion to trigger, which further reduces false triggers.
1- Even without a Cam Plus subscription you can use the Events tab to find where motion was detection and tell the camera to jump to that exact location on the SD card Playback. This makes it easy to find where you want to look on the SD card. Then if you want to rewind a little to see what happened just before this or keep watching longer, it is easy to do so.
2- All recordings to the SD card are broken up into files with 1-minute segments, but when you view them in the app they are seamless. If you download them onto your computer you can just load a whole bunch into something like VLC and view them continuously too as if they are 1 file.
3- Sort of…at this time, you have 3 options to obtain a recording.
You can download the entire event from the events tab (if you signed up for Cam Plus Lite for free, this will be a 12-second video…if not, then it will only be a thumbnail image…otherwise the Cam Plus subscription has full-length events).
You can view the Event on the SD card Playback and select the RECORD icon and record the amount of video you want to save (this means you have to watch it in real-time while it is recording)
You can insert the SD card into a computer and copy the files you want to keep, or have another program like VLC Trim it to the exact length you want.
4- Playback recording is stored in 1 minute increments. So when set to Events only, if there is ANY motion at all within that 1 minute period, then the entire 1 minute segment is saved to the SD card, so sometimes up to 1 minute of things that happened before motion and up to 1 minute of things that happened after motion will be stored. If motion continues into the next minute, then the entire next minute will also be recorded and this will continue until there is a 1 minute segment that has no motion (based on the motion sensitivity levels you select in the settings…1% - 100% sensitivity).
5- For all brands of cameras a lot of this depends on lighting conditions, sensitivity levels, distance of the object (how many pixels it takes up and how many pixels change between 1 frame and the next), etc. It is hard to know whether to say if specific cams meet your individual sensitivity needs or not, but one advantage Wyze V3 cams have is that they use a special Starlight sensor/lens which captures more light in a way that it can detect things better than other cameras including in low light conditions. Many people refer to this as “Color Night Vision” and it is something Wyze V3 cams are fairly well known for.
6- Yes. I don’t know the exact digital Zoom number, but it does zoom in on the Wyze app.
7- Yes, you can share it to other accounts to view the live view and cloud events. Shared accounts currently are not able to view the SD card playback though. Wyze has said they are working on options like this, but there is no ETA, and I would not suggest buying a product for any reason other than what options it has at the time of purchase because you never know how long other things may take to be implemented. For now, assume the answer for sharing SD card playback would require that you share your account credentials…probably not a huge deal if they’re your spouse, but you wouldn’t want to do it with others.
8- Dimming is manual only. Over-exposure lighting can be a problem in some cases of bright lights depending on distance, position, etc. I can usually see faces on my backyard floodlight. We usually have the brightness down to 20% though because my wife thinks the floodlight is way too bright!
9- Sorry, I haven’t tested in the negatives, we’ll hope someone else answers that.
10- Wyze cams will continue to record to the SD card if the Internet goes out. What is currently required for Wyze cams is that it needs internet when it boots up so it can authenticate with the Wyze server. Once it authenticates, it will start recording. At this point, Internet can be disabled and it will continue recording indefinitely until it loses power. If it loses power then it needs internet just to authenticate. Wyze’s VP recently told us he is pushing to have move even more toward having devices function locally instead of cloud-based, but for now, they do function as you asked in question 10…if internet goes out they will keep recording to the SD card and you will have access to all that was recorded during that time when you restore internet or pull the SD card.
11- No, I answered everything as though you did not have Cam Plus.
I hope that helps answer your questions regardless of whatever you choose to do
Thank you for the very detailed answers! After writing all of the questions, I continued to read other comments in the forum and I’d almost written this choice off. Your answers have put these units back into my top contenders
I have a couple of followup questions.
Do you have experience with the PIR sensors and find they work well, particularly when both heat and motion are used to trigger events? I certainly want all human events captured but don’t want a bunch of false triggers.
A read a couple of stories in the wishlist section of the forum for Fast Forward/Rewind (Fast Forward/Rewind In Playback - #719 by carverofchoice) where people were having so much trouble locating footage that they gave up and that concerned me. But re-reading those cases was more about locating animal activity that may not have triggered an event vs the case that I’d care about with a human triggered event. In my cases, your description of the way it works should be fine for me, though I can see benefit of FF. Thanks for these particular details.
Is the Events tab, that you speak of, in the app?
I think I may post a focused question on that. Surely there is someone out there that has experience with cold weather.
Thanks again for your detailed help. It is very much appreciated!
Both seem to work fine for my use. I record all motion, but I let the lights turn on with either camera motion or the PIR. If you want to reduce false triggers, just have the light use the PIR and move your sensitivity up or down as desired (do some testing with your particular environment to see what is best for what you want). Here are some screenshots of the settings I use and it can help you see some of the options you’ll have:
If I have the sensitivity on far and all the way up, my cats will set it off sometimes. If I have it too low and near then it doesn’t always trigger when I’m at the back of my backyard. So it all depends on some of those settings.
Yes, it’s at the bottom of the app. You just tap there and it has a list of all the cloud events. You can even filter them by camera or type of event, and day and other things.
I wasn’t sure if you meant that you are recording 24/7 and then I got thinking about too many possibilities so perhaps I could describe what I’d like to achieve and you could tell me if/how to do it?
If a human visitor comes near the house, I want a recording of this event. Further, when it is dark I want the floodlights to turn on. I want to be notified that an event has taken place. I want to be able to quickly and easily locate the video of the event to review it after the fact, and save the recording if needed. I plan to have a 128GB (or possibly 256GB) SD card in my Cam v3.
I see a couple of possibilities: record 24/7 to my SD card. I think you said I could quickly and easily locate the video for the human visitor events from the events tab. Have I got that right? To do this, all I’d need is the free Cam Plus Lite (to indicate when the events took place). While that plan only gives me 12 seconds of video, since I have all the video on my SD card, I don’t need the Plan that gives me longer video. Nor am I concerned about the 5 minute delay since I’d have continuous recording on the SD card. If I don’t care about pet/package/vehicle detection, the only thing extra that the Cam Plus subscription gives me, is the ability to see 2x and 4x FF. Do I have all this right?
The other possibility is to only record when motion is detected. I certainly wouldn’t have as much video, but if motion detection isn’t perfect, I may miss some of the video. I don’t think any subscription would give me any extra benefits that would help me achieve my goals,
The deciding factor about motion initiated video recording vs 24/7 is how important it is to me that I have 100% of the video. And if it’s easy to locate video due to motion, then why not just record 24/7?
It makes me think I may be missing something. Why would anyone pay for a subscription when they can just record 24/7 and easily locate any motion of interest from the events shown in the app? …unless the specialized detection and/or FF is particularly important to them.
The only thing I can think of is that the free plan does have the 5 minute gap and no FF. While the free plan would alert me to the start of the motion, I don’t know how much video I need to watch. If the person leaves but returns within 5 minutes, I don’t think I would get an indication of the return with the free plan, but I would with the paid one? And without FF, I’m not apt to keep watching the video once the person has left.
As I write my thinking down, I starting to think I would need the Cam Plus Plan if I want to quickly and easily locate all possible events. And if I want to be sure I’d capture everything, recording 24/7 is the way to go.
Any comments/corrections on my thinking are most welcome
Yes I record to the SD Card 24/7, and I actually do use cam plus to record all motion events to the cloud. But I allow either the PIR sensor or Camera motion to turn on the floodlight.
One consideration you will want to make with your situation of not using the Cam Plus subscription is that this cooldown also means you will be limited to a maximum of 1 motion detection event notification from the camera within a 5 minute period and it doesn’t matter if the motion was triggered by a person, trees blowing in the wind, or car headlights. If a car drives by at night at 10pm and the headlights trigger a motion event, and then at 10:02 pm a person walks by your camera, you will not get an event notification because the camera had a motion event 2 minutes ago and will be in a cooldown period where it can’t issue another event or notification until 10:05pm. Your SD card would still record the person walking by, and your Floodlight PIR sensor would also turn on the lights, but the camera would not send you a notification due to the 5 minute cooldown limitation (an unfortunate necessity since the camera was originally designed to be cloud dependent…Wyze has indicated they want to move away from cloud dependency…but for now it is what it is). It can be helpful to set up good detection zones (black out the tree branches for example) and sensitivity levels (so little things don’t trigger a motion event)…that way you are more likely to have motion event notifications be more likely to happen only when there is a person, etc. I did a lot of this back when I didn’t use the subscriptions, so I can confirm it’s usually manageable in most environments, but it is still something you should know before going into it.
Most of my cams use 128GB cards, and I run them 24/7 without night vision all in HD and they record 10-14 days straight, depending on a few factors. If you have them automatically switch to nightvision, you will definitely get more than 10 days recording because nightvision mode reduces the FPS by like 5FPS fewer than when in daylight mode, thus using less space on the SD card.
It was always easy for me. I used to use the predecessor to Cam Plus Lite, which was basically the same thing, 12 second recordings with person detection and a 5 minute cooldown, and I used that with my cams for a while to help me find when people came to the front of my house or my driveway or even using my indoor cams. I honestly didn’t have a problem finding things I was looking for.
Another user was recently asking me how he could locate footage of someone stealing something from him, but he wasn’t sure when it occurred.
I offered the following ideas to him of how to locate that footage off his SD card without having to watch every second of video:
I have used the targeted bouncing method in the past to find things within just seconds, and I’ve used Cam Plus Videos to find things quickly. I have also used VLC when something is important. But everyone has their own preferences and limits, and some other companies will have similar limitations or higher costs that make cam plus seem cheap.
You understand the dilemma here. I have tried both ways in the past. They both have their merits as you obviously understand.
Yes, I originally felt that way too. Then they basically gave me some cam plus subscriptions for free for a year (a black Friday special where I basically got them free for buying new cams), and I decided I actually really loved it. One thing that is a huge benefit to me is not working about the cooldown. Makes it easier for me to have larger detection zones and not worry about if trees or bushes or flowers or my pets screw up my motion cooldown limits. I have 4 little kitty monsters who were always walking in front of my cameras, so then I wasn’t getting person notifications when someone actually came to my door. I resolved this to some degree by using PIR motion sensors that were above the height of the cats, and thus only ever triggered by a person…then I set up a rule to record a 12 second cloud video anytime that sensor sensed motion, and the rule ignored the 5 minute cooldown, so now I was back to having a free person detection solution again. I guess I keep Cam Plus because I do love all the extra features/detections that come with it. I have over 2 dozen cams now, and Wyze offers an “Unlimited plan” sometimes at a rate of $99/yr, so per camera I realized I was really only paying pennies per cam for a lot of benefit, so when they launched that option I immediately got it. It was a good deal for me for everything I get out of it, but it’s certainly not for everyone. You’re obviously insightful and intelligent, so I am sure you can figure out other solutions like I did for a long time.
I think you actually understand the considerations quite well. It is always enjoyable having a discussion like this where you readily comprehend the implications and options and just need some confirmation or additional insights from someone with experience. I think it would meet your needs, but it may be that you need to test it out before you’ll know. Wyze does have a really good 30 day guarantee, so if you get it, try it out and decide there is something you hadn’t considered or it isn’t sensitive enough, or isn’t right for your needs, you can just return it for a full refund, so honestly there is no financial risk for you. A month should be more than enough time for you to be able to make sure whether it meets your needs. Just save your packaging in case you do decide to you want to return it. I think that’s honestly your best step now. I think Home Depot also has a really good return policy, though I don’t know the specifics…and you can usually pick up the floodlights there. That’s where I got mine (Wyze website was sold out when I was ready for one).
Let me know if you do and what you think or if you have more questions, you are welcome to ask.
And likewise it’s wonderful to find resources like this. Tons of information from real users, but in particularly keen people like yourself that clearly embrace the technology and enjoy sharing their knowledge. It is thanks to you, the time you have taken to give me the answers to my questions, and of course that it does appear the product will do (or come close) to doing what I’d like it to do, that I am going to give these a try.
I have decided to start off with a couple of the V3 cams. I’m in Canada so product availability isn’t quite as easy here, specifically the only place I can find the floodlight is direct order from Wyze which, according to the customer service rep I chatted with last night, is shipped from the USA. Since that’s a little more complicated, I’d like to try out the basic functionality of the app and detection of the standalone V3. I can get them on Amazon.ca with easy returns. If they are doing what I need, I’d take the step of the more complicated order of the floodlight from the USA.
Thanks for mentioning this. I just checked what Home Depot in Canada has and another product I’m interested in is their doorbell. Amazon in Canada doesn’t have the Pro version but our local Home Depot has them in stock! So I can try that out and their return policy is very liberal
I currently have a Ring doorbell and the Wyze looks to be so much better. Not to mention it would be easier to have all monitoring in one ecosystem. And as a bonus, ditching the Ring subscription goes a long way to covering the Unlimited Cam Plus subscription. So I’m really hoping these products work well for me.
I’m looking forward to trying these out. I’m sure I’ll have more questions in my search for creative solutions and I’ll let you know how I make out!
It’s indicating that it is a drop-down with more information inside about this subject in that sentence. It will explain what I mean when I said “Targeted bouncing method” I just made the term up because I couldn’t think of a more scientific and appropriate terminology at the time…take it with a grain of salt.
Hey carver, if you disable all motion in event recording, but enabled person detection, will it still starts the cooldown for any motion even if it doesn’t record, since it would have to upload that video to the cloud for the ai?
If you go to Event Recording and toggle off Detects Motion, there will be no events created, Thus the cooldown never happens because the cooldown is unlimited. And no events go to the cloud for the AI, so there is definitely no Person Detection ever done.
Some people do this on purpose because they don’t want any of their video to be in the cloud. So, if a person wants no cloud video nor thumbnails (they’ll also not get any notifications), they can toggle off everything in Event recording, then just have the SD card record continuously. In this case, the camera will basically just function locally with all recordings only stored on the SD card. So, for example, if law enforcement issued a warrant to Wyze to turn over recordings from your camera, Wyze would have nothing to turn over because there are no events in the cloud. They are ONLY on the camera SD card (or on their harddrive if they are using RTSP and recording to an NAS or something). So yes, you can do this on purpose to keep everything local only. In addition, if you send the camera feed through another program like Tiny Cam Pro or another RTSP program, they can still give you motion alerts through that program locally without Wyze storing any of the video or being the one to send you notifications. There are all sort of reasons why some people might want to disable Event recording options and do it themselves in different ways, including to bypass the “cooldown” limits without paying for a subscription.
Heh, yeah, I’m very detail oriented and analytical. Some personalities prefer more conciseness, others prefer details. Both are good. Sometimes I’ll do a tldr; summary at first or enclose extra writing in collapsible section.
I didn’t realize that was a thing. Now I know. And thanks for those ideas to locate video. Makes a lot of sense.
BTW, Cams and doorbell ordered. I’ll have them by Monday. The floodlights will have to wait but I did learn that product shipping to Canada comes from the Canadian warehouse (not the American one as the first CSR told me). She was insistent that ALL product is shipped from the USA. I think the credibility of the 2nd CSR was higher. That will making getting the floodlights a lot easier not having to deal with customs and duty etc.
Do you know if there is a way to get a threaded view of conversations on this forum? I find those easier to follow but couldn’t see any way to get that.
Sadly no…Discourse (the forum software this is based on) does not support that. It was one of the first things I asked when I joined this forum too. I also really like threaded views or at least the option of it.
Just to give you an update, I’ve installed a bunch of cams including v3, doorbell and floodlight. I’m quite happy with the setup and the system (other than the fiddling I had to do to mound the floodlight onto a standard surface mount electrical box). But in general things are working well. Still tuning to get alerts for only the stuff that I want to be alerted for, but I’m making good progress. So thanks again for all of your help.