$260 IR Outdoor 'Speeddome' Tested

By John Scanlan, Published Apr 20, 2016, 08:27am EDT (Research)

Just $260 for an outdoor 'speeddome' form factor with integrated IR, wireless, HD video and more?

Pricing has certainly come down (e.g., we recently tested a ~$750 Hikvision speeddome), but $260 for a PTZ is eye opening.

We bought a Foscam FI9828P [link no longer available], based on a few member's requests, to understand how well it truly worked and failed.

Summary

The Foscam FI9828P offered decent image quality day and night in our tests, especially for a ~$260 outdoor PTZ camera, though with limited zoom capability compared to typical full size PTZs. Additionally, the camera's mobile app/cloud access worked without issues in our tests.

However, it had significant issues, including:

  • No ONVIF support, despite the camera's packaging clearly displaying the ONVIF logo (though not listed on ONVIF's site).
  • Focus was lost when moving or switching from day to night. After the camera stopped moving or the cut filter switched, autofocus usually (but not alway) functioned properly.
  • We were unable to add the camera as anything other than RTSP (with no PTZ control) to VMSes, including Exacq, Avigilon, Milestone, and a Hikvision NVR.
  • Tech support was poor, with long hold times, and the support tech literally asking us to spell "ONVIF"

If users can overcome these issues, the FI9828P may be a good value for DIY/residential settings, as it is much less expensive than typical PTZs.

Pricing

The Foscam FI9828P sells for ~$250 USD online, making it much less expensive than most IR PTZs, such as the low cost Hikvision DS-2DE5220I-AE ($750 online), though these models typically are higher resolution (1080p/3MP) with longer IR range (500'+).

Physical Overview

Compared to other outdoor IR PTZ domes, the Foscam camera is much smaller, about half the height of the Hikvision 5220, seen below (which is small compared to other IR PTZs.).

We review the physical construction of the camera in this video:


Configuration

For those familiar with other Foscam PTZs, the 9828P's web interface will look very familiar. As with past models, few controls for image quality are included and streaming is constant bitrate only, with a default cap of 4 Mb/s, which may be problematic in busy scenes.

We have included our screencast from the Foscam Low Cost HD PTZ Test below:


VMS Compatibility

As with past Foscam models, we were unable to successfully integrated it with any VMS or NVR, including Exacq, Avigilon, Milestone, and Hikvision. This is despite clearly displaying the ONVIF logo on the camera's box and including statements about ONVIF compatibility in its user guide. RTSP streaming worked without issues, though no PTZ control is supported.  When we checked the Onvif site it was discovered that there are only two conformant products from Foscam and neither is the FI9828P.

Tech Support

Foscam's tech support was poor. During our tests, hold time was over 20 minutes. When we finally reached someone, the support rep spent the better part of the call determining whether we had purchased the camera from an authorized source or not and would not proceed without that information (note: we purchased the camera on Amazon, an authorized seller). 

We asked support for help in connecting the camera to a VMS via ONVIF. Their response was literally, "Can you spell that for me, sir?" They had not heard of it, but offered to remotely connect to our machine to help us troubleshoot it (we declined).

IR Range

In our tests, the FI9828P reached its specified 20m/~65' range, approximately the middle of the street in the clip from a residential scene below.

Shooting the camera in an interior scene, below, we can see that the IR pattern is brighter in the center/darker on the edges, with the subject visible, but without details at the edge of the FOV.

Focus Issues

The FI9828P had difficulty tracking focus when moving, such as the clip below. Focus is lost when the camera begins panning, with autofocus not working until 4-5 seconds after movement stops.

We saw difficulties when switching from night to day mode and vice versa. For example, in order to refocus the camera in the scene below, we had to zoom out then in to trigger autofocus.

Image Quality

We tested nighttime image quality of the Foscam PTZ against the Hikvision DS-2DE5220-I IR PTZ and their DS-2[[insert hik model number here]] compact PTZ (no IR). This image shows our subject at 80' and 40' distance.

No camera produced details of the subject at ~40' range, with both the FI9828P and Hikvision 5220 providing solid detection of the subject. The non-IR PTZ was unable to produce any usable images.

Daytime Image Quality

Indoors the Foscam performed similarly to other models tested, with solid details of the subject and test chart legible to line 4/5.

Test Parameters

Cameras were tested using default settings except exposure, which was standardized to 1/30s max.

The following firmware versions were used:

  • Foscam FI9828P: 1.4.1.10
  • Hikvision DS-2DE5220I-AE: V5.3.9 build 150910
  • Hikvision DS-2DE2103: V5.3.0 build 150403

1 report cite this report:

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