Most Samsung SmartCam cameras are not made to use outside. However a lot of people buy one to monitor the action outside their home. At least that’s what I did. My Samsung SmartCam SNH-E6413BN Security Camera is serving that purpose. For the past six months, I have used this to stand guard over my pool and has done so through a window. I found out almost instantly, that the default settings aren’t going to work well, especially at night. I couldn’t find out anything on the internet. So I’m sharing my lessons learned as to how to use a Samsung SmartCam through a window.
Glare is a killer when using your your Samsung SmartCam through a window. Nothing worse than seeing a reflection of your own camera. That’s what you will see during the day. If you think the daytime image is bad, just wait until the sun goes down. You get to see an even crisper image of the camera itself, unless you have night vision activated in which case you get to see the infrared lights. We will need to make some changes to get a good picture and that’s what we will cover in the remainder of this article.
Place the camera directly against the window. I’m talking about directly against the glass. Anything less can result in that mirror image of the camera. For night use, the room that the camera is in should be dark. If there are lights on, it will result in a halo effect on the outside of the image. If there is a ledge, place the Samsung SmartCam somewhat elevated on a small stand so that you can get that flush position against the glass.
That status light is nice to ensure the camera is on and connected properly. After you have it set up, that status light gets in the way, especially in the case of window placement. It will light up your video and you will see the reflection of the status light. Turn the status light off via the SmartCam settings.
The Samsung SmartCam has a series of infrared LEDs that activate with night vision. These IR LEDs seriously get in the way at night when pointing your Samsung SmartCam through a window. Hopefully you’re outdoor area is reasonably lit. Disable the night vision through the SmartCam settings. You will see a remarkable improvement. No more glare and the image that you see should come fairly close to what you would see if standing in front of that window.
If night vision is an absolute requirement, there are external infrared lights that can be purchased can activated only when needed. You can locate them outdoors or potentially through an adjoining window. Attaching them to a remotely controlled outlet such as Wemo is a great way to activate the external IR lights only when needed. You can also purchase a timed outlet to turn these on at certain times of the day.
The Univivi IR Illuminator 90 Degree Wide Angle 8-Leds IR Infrared Light is a good external source for use through a window or placed outside the home. This one comes with an AC cable which for whatever reason isn’t always included. I found that I didn’t need this, but if your outdoor scene is very dimly lit, this might be a good addition.
The Proof is in the Photo
The photo that accompanies this article is using my Samsung SmartCam SNH-E6413BN Security Camera through my patio doors at the back of my home in Florida. No external lights. This was taken in early May at about 8PM using the high resolution setting. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? All the tips that were discussed in this article are what contributed to the excellent view you are seeing this evening in southwest Florida.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).