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I've never done this and will probably work with a hardware contact I've got, but I was wondering if anyone here had any experience of this kind of project?
Another company in that area is Mobotix - more involved in surveillance compared to Axis. Their cams are quite a show, designed for outdoor, poor light etc. They also have built in webservers and I think they also run on Linux.
Canon has a not very well known line of cameras which also have a network jack and come with tilt/pan heads. Last time I looked they were quite expensive.
Finally, there are a lot of free tools around to periodically upload pics from a el-cheapo USB $25 webcam. Some of these tools are quite sophisticated and can do surveillance as well. Downside is that you need a PC within USB-cable range.
A few caveats: most of the DVR cards specify newer Intel processors and 32+MB video cards.
Also, cards, cords, and cameras come with a variety of plugs, mostly phono and BNC. Adaptors are cheap, but I learned the hard way not to buy this stuff piecemeal.
Finally, USB based surveillance units (4 input) are out there for around $60, but the performance was herky-jerky with only one camera and unacceptable with two on the unit I bought. I never tried 4 cameras but the literature said frame rate goes down to 2 per second, many of the frames being garbage too!
I haven't shopped much for webcams, but I think the break-even point is around 3 to 4 cameras a PC card-based system becomes more economical than webcams. Plus, I think Webcams often have a very low frame rate.