Synology NAS with Reolink camera

Best IP security cameras for Synology NAS

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Creating your own security system at home or in the office is easy with a NAS enclosure and a few IP security cameras. A network-attached storage (NAS) device is typically set up with a few tasks in mind, such as media streaming and file storage, but these only utilize the available system resources for a period of time. Surveillance will run 24/7 and store footage for later viewing. Here’s what you’ll need for setting it up on a Synology NAS.

What is an IP security camera?

An internet protocol (IP) camera is a security recording device for capturing and storing footage on a connected server. An IP camera can be connected to a server on the network, be it a NAS or network video recorder (NVR). Using a Synology NAS, IP cameras can be connected to the enclosure using the company’s in-house developed Surveillance Station.

IP security cameras are used at various locations, including houses, offices, banks, shops, and other public premises. There are different types of cameras, some are fixed, others can automatically adjust their angle, and some can even be powered through the ethernet link. Depending on what you need the camera for, there’s one for almost any scenario.

What is the best IP camera for Synology NAS?

Choosing the right IP camera for connecting to a Synology NAS is similar to selecting the best camera for other connected devices. You’ll need to choose one that’s supported by Synology’s Surveillance Station. Depending on your networking infrastructure, the IP camera may need to have wireless capabilities to connect to a router or access point.

Then there’s the question of power. Do you go for a power-over-ethernet (PoE) camera that can draw electricity through the data link from the switch or provide it with power from an outlet? Does the camera need to have night vision? How about the ability to adjust its viewing angle? These are all questions you’ll need to answer.

Synology’s NAS enclosures support a wide range of IP cameras from various brands – there are more than 4,000 listed! There’s even a chance it’s supported if not officially listed by Synology, but I recommend choosing one from the official list for peace of mind.

My Synology NAS IP camera recommendations

Reolink RLC-811A

Best fixed IP camera

Reolink RLC-811A
Reolink RLC-811A. (Source: Reolink)

A good all-round bullet camera from a reputable brand with its own app solution. Supported by Synology NAS, the RLC-811A is a great camera to protect the home or office.

Sensor1/2.8-inch CMOS
Video resolution3840 x 2160
25 FPS
Optical zoom5x (optical)
Field of viewHorizontal: 105° – 31°
Vertical: 55° – 17°
Infrared range~30 meters
DetectionMotion
AudioTwo-way
ConnectivityEthernet
Power~12 W
DC
PoE
StorageMicroSD (~256 MB)
AdjustmentManual
ProtectionIP67
Dimensions80 x 72 x 238 mm
Weight838 g
  • Excellent video quality
  • Premium features
  • PoE support
  • Not the cheapest camera
  • Manual adjustment only
  • No wireless capabilities

Relink’s standard bullet security camera is also one of the best you can buy for protecting the home or office. The Reolink RLC 811A is a solid workhorse that can be powered through PoE and keep the installation tidy and seamless. Its sensor is excellent for picking up every detail, regardless of the time of day.

Full motion detection will ensure you’re only recording footage should someone be detected within the configured zones and a MicroSD slot is available if you also want to save footage to the camera itself. No power adapter is included with the camera, so you’ll need to buy one separately if not using PoE.

This is also a non-wireless version, so you’re stuck with ethernet, though I recommend having your security cameras connected through cables if possible, to keep as many devices off the wireless network as possible. This is the camera to get if you need to cover a garage, door, or windows.

Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW-28MM

Best turret IP camera

Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW-28MM
Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW-28MM. (Source: Amcrest)

This Amcrest camera is excellent for securing the home or office by mounting it to the ceiling. With ample manual adjustments and an affordable price tag, this turret camera offers good recording quality.

Sensor1/2.7-inch CMOS
Video resolution2592 x 1944
20 FPS
Optical zoom16x (digital)
Field of viewHorizontal: 103°
Vertical: 71°
Infrared range~30 meters
DetectionMotion
AudioOne-way
ConnectivityEthernet
Power~7.2 W
DC
PoE
StorageMicroSD (~256 MB)
AdjustmentManual
Protection
Dimensions100.9 x 109.9 mm
Weight390 g
  • Good value camera
  • PoE support
  • Compact design
  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • Manual adjustment only
  • No wireless capabilities

To keep the camera out of the way, there’s nothing better than a turret like the Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW-28MM. This compact camera has high-resolution recording capabilities with PoE or DC input for power. It’s designed for installation on the ceiling and routing cables above the ceiling or behind the walls to the NAS.

Reolink E1 Zoom

Best indoor IP camera

Reolink E1
Reolink E1. (Source: Reolink)

Designed to keep tabs on anyone inside the home, the Reolink E1 Zoom is a great affordable way of securing your home with some surveillance. So long as you have access to some available power outlets, you can place a few of these throughout the building.

Sensor1/2.7-inch CMOS
Video resolution2560 x 1920
20 FPS
Zoom3x (optical)
Field of viewHorizontal: 355°
Vertical: 50°
Infrared range~12 meters
DetectionMotion
AudioTwo-way
ConnectivityWi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n)
PowerDC
StorageMicroSD (~256 MB)
AdjustmentAutomatic
Protection
DimensionsΦ80×111 mm
Weight250 g
  • Compact design
  • Automatic adjustment
  • Easy to set up
  • Standard recording quality
  • Not suitable for outdoor use

For protecting animals, babies, kids, fish, and anything else inside the home or office, I’d suggest considering the excellent Reolink E1 Zoom. This compact camera has an automatic adjustment, which can be controlled through the Reolink app or Synology Surveillance Station. It’s powered through the included DC adapter and connects to your network wirelessly.

Although you can’t use this IP camera outside the premises, the MicroSD card slot, solid wireless capabilities, and high-quality lens make this an excellent pick for indoor usage. It’s also super-easy to set up and enjoy. The only drawback is the required adapter which anchors the E1 Zoom to power outlets.

Amcrest ASH21-B

Best affordable IP camera

Amcrest ASH21-B
Amcrest ASH21-B. (Source: Amcrest)

The Amcrest ASH21-B is similar to the Reolink E1 Zoom but has slightly worse specifications. You’ll still have 1080p footage capture, but it has a weak infrared range. Ethernet is a bonus!

Sensor1/2.7-inch CMOS
Video resolution1920 x 1080
30 FPS
Zoom16x (digital)
Field of viewHorizontal: 93°
Vertical: 48°
Infrared range~10 meters
DetectionMotion
AudioTwo-way
ConnectivityEthernet
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)
Power~3.5 W
DC
StorageMicroSD (~256 MB)
AdjustmentAutomatic
Protection
Dimensions106.1 × 77.4 x 77.4 mm
Weight238 g
  • Super-cheap price
  • Decent recording quality
  • Automatic adjustment
  • Weak infrared range
  • No PoE support
  • Not suitable for outdoor use

If you want to save the most money yet still have a decent camera worth buying, I recommend the Amcrest ASH21-B. It has wireless and ethernet network links, so you can route the camera up to your Synology NAS in a variety of ways. What you cannot change is the power input, which requires a DC adapter and so you’ll be tied to a power outlet.

Reolink RLC-823A

Best outdoor IP camera

Reolink RLC-823A
Reolink RLC-823A. (Source: Reolink)

If you have the funds available, the Reolink RLC-823A is a beast. It has high-quality recording capabilities, excellent infrared support, and automated adjustment for one of the best outdoor surveillance systems for Synology NAS.

Sensor1/2.8-inch CMOS
Video resolution3840 x 2160
25 FPS
Zoom5x (optical)
Field of viewHorizontal: 105° – 31°
Vertical: 55° – 17°
Infrared range~60 meters
DetectionMotion
AudioTwo-way
ConnectivityEthernet
Power~24 W
DC
PoE
StorageMicroSD (~256 MB)
AdjustmentAutomatic
ProtectionIP66
DimensionsΦ136*201mm
Weight1.8 kg
  • Powerful camera
  • PoE support
  • Automatic adjustment
  • Expensive
  • Not designed for home use

If you have more ground to cover outside, I would suggest something such as the Reolink RLC-823A. This is designed with such needs in mind with its fully automatic adjustment, secured mounting bracket, and full PoE support. It’s easy to install, set up, and run with Synology’s Surveillance Station.

Which Synology NAS is best for IP cameras?

Almost any Synology NAS enclosure will do. IP cameras are versatile and will work with most Synology NAS devices. Synology offers two free camera licenses with each NAS, though if you wish to add more cameras, you’ll need to buy a license per camera. Don’t worry as these can be transferred to other NAS and cameras.

Interestingly, Synology’s own BC500 and TC500 cameras do not require a camera license. More details on Synology’s camera licensing can be found on the company’s website. To start with, I’d go for the Synology DiskStation DS223j with two WD Purple or Seagate SkyHawk drives. It’s an excellent affordable NAS with two drive bays and a decent Arm CPU.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time using the NAS and found the specifications to be excellent for the price. According to Synology, you’ll be able to add up to 12 IP camera channels, which should be more than enough for even a medium-sized office.

Synology DiskStation DS223j

Synology DiskStation DS223j
Synology DiskStation DS223j. (Source: Synology)

Synology’s DiskStation DS223j is a great place to start with setting up a surveillance system. It’s capable of handling up to 12 IP camera channels and will let you install two drives for good capacity and redundancy.

What NAS drive is best for surveillance?

Should you use Western Digital Red or Seagate IronWolf drives for surveillance? I would recommend against doing so. These two drives and other NAS-specific drives are excellent for storing data, running apps, and other tasks on an enclosure, but they’re largely overkill for surveillance and storing footage.

That’s where Western Digital Purple and Seagate SkyHawk drives come into play. Both drives are designed with surveillance footage in mind. They’re better suited to storing footage from connected security cameras, regardless of whether you’re protecting the home or office.

Seagate SkyHawk

Seagate SkyHawk

Seagate SkyHawk is the company’s range of surveillance drives, designed for use inside NAS and NVR devices. They’re great for storing data from connected IP camera sources and come with necessary features for continuous operation.

Western Digital Purple

Western Digital Purple HDD
Western Digital Purple HDD. (Source: WD)

Like Seagate’s SkyHawk range, the Western Digital Purple drives are solid and reliable for surveillance deployment. With up to a 180 TB/year workload, you won’t have any trouble saving up to 4K footage to the Purple range of HDDs.

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