Best Outdoor Zoom Camera

Sad and unfair though it may be, porch pirates are a thing. A camera may or may not dissuade them, but you can at least catch them on tape, and it’s even better if you can zoom into their faces. We’ve tracked down the best outdoor zoom camera for any security concern you have for your porch, deck, patio, or yard.

It has to be outdoors rated however, which is not too complicated to achieve—as we are about to show you!

Keep Your Home Safe With a Security Camera

While a full security suit for your home would be the ultimate deterrent against would-be burglars (or pirates), the cost of installation plus the monthly fee might feel too steep for some of us. A perfectly good alternative can be a combo of motion sensor lights and a camera—which can also feature a motion sensor, depending on the model.

This way, you get a good look at their faces (and, presumably, their expression upon realizing they’ve been caught), which might be good enough to drive them from your property. Plus,  many providers will give you a discount on your homeowners insurance if you have cameras. How cool is that?

Zoom Types on Security Cameras

5X, 12X—we could get really technical here but, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that, the larger the number before the X, the more potent the zoom. This is particularly important if you want your camera to catch faces in detail, but it can impact the price of your camera, and not just in terms of the zoom’s potency, but also its type.

1. Optical Zoom

This is the one we’ve known for generations, pretty much since cameras were first invented. Depending on what lens you have (related to size, more specifically), you can get detailed, pristine pictures across longer distances.

2. Digital Zoom

This one is a more recent invention, and it is not actually enhancing the picture. Rather, what this one does is cropping the picture so everything in it looks larger, giving the impression of a bigger image.

What’s the Best Zoom Option?

This will largely depend on what your priority is: cost, or quality. Unlike optical zoom, digital does not capture additional information on what it is seeing, it only crops and enlarges. This means the picture gets degraded, and the effect is more pronounced the more you zoom in.

It’s like taking a 640×480 image and blasting it to 4K (3840×2160, if you were wondering): it will definitely be a bigger image, but you will likely be left with a barely distinguishable bunch of pixels. Due to the technical limitations, and because it is overall easier to include—a good example being smartphones—, cameras with digital zoom will be cheaper on average that their optical counterparts.

A Word On IP Rating for Weatherproofing

In this context, we are not referring to Intellectual Property. IP, in this case, stands for Ingress Protection, and it is a system created by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in order to grade how well protected an electrical enclosure is against solid and liquid elements—i.e. how dust tight and waterproof it is. The rating format is as follows:


First digit corresponds to protection against solids, second digit indicates protection against liquids. The higher the number, the better the grade. Zero means that the related protection is nonexistent, and an X is used to express that the relevant resilience was not tested. It’s not common to see an X in the first position (IPX6, for example), but as long as the water resistance is high enough, it’s safe to assume dust will not be too much of a problem either. You can read more about IP rating and consult the actual scale here.

Keeping An Eye Out 24/7: Our Selection of Outdoor Zoom Camera Options

Among the following options you will find models with varying degrees of zoom, be it optical or digital, and different features you may find useful—including in terms of how they receive power.

ReoLink Security Camera

ReoLink Security Camera

Technology has come a long way since the camera as we know it was invented in the early 19th century, and this model is a good exhibit A: its optical zoom may only be 3X, but it makes up for it by analyzing the shapes of animals and humans before sending an alert, which greatly reduces false alarms; if you get an alert, it won’t be a simple raccoon slipping into your trash bin.

Alerts can be received either through push notifications, or emails. Aside from an app, the manufacturer offers a client for managing notifications, replaying video feed, and more. This model relies on PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology so it can exchange data and stay powered through the same Ethernet cable.


  • Fairly easy to keep the camera going: if it’s got internet, it’s got power.
  • No need to rely on an app unless so desired, as manufacturer offers the option of using a client for the same functionality.
  • Smart detection of potential threats.


  • Very low zoom, and no options to get this model with a higher one.

JideTech Waterproof Camera

JideTech Waterproof Camera

5X is not a bad zoom number, and it translates to clear, HD images at 700 feet. That applies for daylight, but this one is also pretty potent in the dark, thanks to the night vision functionality that gives it a range of 200 feet.

Capable of performing a near complete rotation horizontally (355°), it will go 100° up and down, giving it such a wide field of vision any unwelcome party will have a pretty hard time evading it. It will also be better at delivering worthy alarms instead of false ones, thanks to the human detection feature.

And if you happen to spot someone coming in? The remote viewing and two-way radio functions let you talk to anyone in the surveillance area, which means you can give them a stern warning if they’re not welcome—or a proper greeting if they are!


  • Useful for communicating adequately with arrivals, even from a distance, depending on whether they are welcome or not.
  • Does not require a specialized app for operating; a conventional browser (Chrome, Firefox and so on) will suffice.


  • Setup software difficult to use; some critical information such as the password for hooking to WiFi is hard to find.

Wireless SV3C Outdoor Security Camera

Wireless SV3C Outdoor Security Camera Best Outdoor Zoom Camera

Night time is when we feel more concerned about shady characters lurking about, and it is also when this one shines the brightest—somewhat literally! Instead of simply relying on night vision to monitor darker areas, it comes with 10 LED lights that can be set to either come on when motion is detected, or to stay on so the camera will be capturing full color image during the hours you are asleep.

The lights can also be set to stay off even if motion is perceived, and the night vision feature will maintain the camera’s vision capabilities. False alarms are reduced, thanks to the shape detection feature.



  • Not a truly wireless camera; although it can connect to WiFi for broadcasting its feed, it still depends on a cord for power.
  • Only browser supported for operation is Internet Explorer.

Solar Battery Powered Home Camera

Solar Battery Powered Home Camera

Select the proper location, and this one won’t be running out of power so easily, as the solar panel provides it with all the energy it can possibly require, and the 150000mah battery got plenty of storage available.

Between the wide range of rotation (355° horizontal, 120 vertical), 130° viewing angle and 4X digital zoom, anything that comes close enough will be caught on tape pretty easily. Picture will be pretty good quality too, thanks to its FHD 1080P and 65-feet infrared vision. For storage, it admits an SD card of up to 128GB capacity, and it also offers cloud storage, although it requires a fee after 7 days of free time for new customers expire.


  • Anybody who lays hands on the camera to steal it will be instantly caught on picture.
  • Its dual antenna allows it to be set at a farther distance from the router.


  • The panel is affixed to the camera; this may limit location options around the house, as the entire thing must be somewhere exposed to sunlight if it is to receive power.

Amcrest 4K Optical Zoom IP Camera

Amcrest 4K Optical Zoom IP Camera

Unlike the somewhat spherical models we have covered so far, this one features a more conventional look that might be popular among the nostalgic types, but that doesn’t mean its features are any less modern than those of its counterparts.

As it incorporates Power Over Ethernet technology, it can both exchange data and receive power through the same wire, although it requires an injector or a switch for it to work in this manner.

Aside from the smartphone app, videos can be viewed via conventional browser, or through the proprietary software, the latter being designed with an emphasis on professional recording and playback.


  • Ideal for those who really care about image quality, as it is among the few that support 4K.
  • Camera connects via HTTPS/SSL, for increased security.


  • Power Over Ethernet feature is not so easily accessible; it requires separately purchasing an additional accessory in order to benefit from it.

The Best Outdoor Zoom Camera: Wireless SV3C Outdoor Security Camera

By price it is among the higher tier, but not by much, and we feel that this model delivers adequate value for its asking price. Its IP66 rating means it is well protected against the elements, it can work with an SD card so you don’t have to worry about external storage, and the floodlights it comes equipped with are perfectly capable (per several reports) of dispersing the darkness and keeping focus on anything—or anyone—moving around your property.

The lights can be set to work either full time, only when needed, or not at all, and the camera will still work as it is supposed to even in the dark; the shape detection feature will keep false alarms to a minimum, and you can also spook away (or welcome) whoever is approaching.

All in all, for its price, it’s a pretty good choice in just about any way.