Foscam Low Cost HD PTZ Tested

By: Derek Ward, Published on Jan 24, 2014

The $68 SD PTZ we tested disappointed, due primarily to poor image quality and high bandwidth consumption.

A member suggested we test a newer HD version that cost $40 more - the Foscam FI9821W, so we bought one from Amazon for $127 to put this to the test.

This model claimed 3 major improvements over the original one we tested:

  • 720p HD instead of SD
  • H.264 instead of MJPEG only
  • ONVIF conformance

So we put the new model to the test against the old one and two fixed HD cameras from Dahua and ACTi.

***$** ** *** ** tested************, *** ********* ** poor ***** ******* *** high ********* ***********.

* ****** ********* ** test * ***** ** version **** **** $** more - ********* *******, ** ** ********* **** ****** *** $127** *** **** ** the ****.

**** ***** ******* * major ************ **** *** original *** ** ******:

  • **** ** ******* ** SD
  • *.*** ******* ***********
  • ***** ***********

** ** *** *** new ***** ** *** test ******* *** *** one *** *** ***** HD ******* **** ***** and ****.

[***************]

Key ********* *** **********

*** ******* ****** *** following *** *********:

  • *** ****** **** ******* had ************* ****** ******* image ******* **** *** SD ***********, *** ******* compared ** ***-**** **** cameras (**** ***, ***** HD2100N).
  • ** ************ ***** **** beyond ************* (**/~**'), ******** to ** ***** **'. However, ****** ************ ** present ** *** ****** of *** *****. ******** is ****** ************* ******** to ********** *** ****** IR ************.
  • ***/**** ******** ******* ****, with *** ******* *** smooth ********** *** ******** movement **** ** ******** or *********.
  • *** **** ******* *** the **** ******* ********* consumption (***/*) ** *** SD *********** *** ***** easily ** *** ***** as *** **** ******* showed ** ***/*, *** compression *** ************* *** for **** ******.

*******, *** ********** ********:

  • ***** ****** ****** *** FI9821W ** ***** **********, integration *** ************** ** ***** *** find ** ********* *******'* ******** ****. *** example, ** ***** *** camera *** ** *****, but ***** *** ******, and ** ************, *** camera **** *** *** stream, *** *** ************* did *** ****. ** contacted ******'* **** *******, and **** ****** **** they **** *** ****** the ******* ****** *** VMS's, *** **** ****** it **** * ******* of ***/****.
  • ***** **** **********, ***** rate, *** ****, *** keyframe ********, ***** *** no ****************** ********* (**** ** exposure, **** *******, ***).
  • *** ****** ******* **** CBR ****, **** * cap ** *****, ***** could **** ** ******** image ******* ** ****** is *** ** ** view * **** ** complex *****, **** ** a ****** ************.

***************

***** ~$** *** **** than *** ** *********** (Foscam *******), *** *********** gain ** ***** ******* and ******** ********* ******* are ***** **. ***** looking *** ** ** indoor ***/**** ****** *** find ***** ** *** Foscam *******'* *********, ** that ***** **** ******** for ***** *** *************, and *** **** **** the ******* ******* ********* on *** ******.

*** *** *******, ** course **** *******, ** VMS ***********. ******* *** controls ** *** ***, what ** *** ***** of ****** * *** connected ** * ***?

Physical ********

*** ****** ******* *** the **** ******** ************ as *** ****** *******, so ** **** ******** the *******'* ******** ******** for **** ***********.

Web ********* ********

*** ***** ***** ****** the *** ******** *** functionality ** *** ****** FI9821W *** *********.

****** ******

****** ****** ** *** camera ** *** **** (which*** ** *** *** work) ** ****** **** forwarding, **** ** ** automatic '***** ****' ********** (i.e.,*******). ** ****, ***** may ** ********** *** spend * *** ** time ****** **** **** strong ********* ****** (******* holes ** *********, **** forwarding, ***.).

IR *********** ***********

** ****** *** *******'* IR ************ ***** ** various *********, ******** **** Foscam's ********* ***** ** 8 ****** (~**-**'), *** tested ** ******* *** Dahua ******* *** *** SD ****** ******* ********* ***********. ************ ** this ***** *** ******, and ** *** **** clearly **** *** *** first **** ** *** eye *****, ** **** as *** ********** ********** further **** ** *** chart.

**** **** ***** *** of ***** ******* *** fixed ******, **** **** staggered ** ********* ********* from *** ******* ** this ****, ** **** differences ** ***** *** seen ** *** *********** below.

**** *** ******* ****** further **** **** *** cameras (~**'), *** *******'* image ******* ** ******** better **** *** ***** HD2100N, **** *** *******'* face **** *********** *** distinguishable, *** **** ** the *** ***** ** visible.

Image ***********

** ******** *** ******* to *** *** **** HD *******, ******* *********** *******(**** ~$*** ******), ** see *** ********* ** resolution **** ***** * camera **** ***********. ** tested ** *** *****, ~20' **** * **' HFOV, ** ********* ***********

**** *****

** **** *****, *** Foscam ******* ******** **** below *** ***** ******, and * *** ***** the **** ***. ******** to *** ****, *** subjects **** ** ******* and **** *******. *******, when ******** ** *** Dahua, ***** *-* ** our *** ***** *** more *******, *** *** resolve ***** ******* **** the ******. ****, **** how *** *** ***** appears ****** *** *** overexposed (**** ** ******** settings ** *** ******), while *** **** *** Dahau *** *****'* *** not ***********.

*** *****

** **** *****, *** Foscam ******* ******** *** strongest *** ** *** cameras ******. *** ****** FI8910W's ** ********** ************* impacts ***** ******* ** this *****, *** *** Dahua *** ************************** ******** ******* **** the ****** ******* *** able ** *******.

Bandwidth ***********

*** ******* ** *.***, CBR ****, **** ** options *** ***/*****. *******, there *** ** ***** controls ***** **** ********** (720p ** ****), ***** rate (* *** ******* 30 ***), ******** ******** (1 ** ***), *** Bit **** (***** ** 20Kbps).

** ****** *** ****** FI9821W *** ** *****, and * ****** **** ~18 ** **** *****, ~15 ** *** *****, and ~** **** *** on * ****. **** is **** ***** **** typical ****** ******* * levels ** **-**. ** such, *** *** ******** dropping *** ******* ** a ***** ***** ** save *********.

Comments (4)

I use a couple Foscams here and there and have had a 19821W for over 6 months now. I generally use them under an eve or in a shed in an outdoor enviornment but protected from rain/snow. The "pros" for me are 1)very good wifi reception, 2) P/T and 3) good audio. Audio is important to me because of our very rural location. I can hear a rig coming in long before it gets to our property and into video range. I also like to hear the chickens and wildlife making all their noises besides my bovine grunts and breathing.

The 19821W does have a much better and wider daylight image and lower bandwidth usage than the 19810W but the audio reception is not even close to the 19810W. My HDW2100 uses 2 times the bandwidth of the 19821W but does better with low light.

I do have the 19821W working very well on Blue Iris which is my VMS. I keep it at 10 fps but it will easily do 16-18 fps, always via WIFI. I picked it up for $125(on sale) with free shipping. It has not missed a beat.

And no, I am not a big Foscam lover but they fit at he the bottom of my ip camera spectrum.

I picked up the Foscam HD816W on my last trip to China, which is the same as the FI9821W, but for the Chinese market. To my understanding they are otherwise identical, except for languages and model name.

First impressions were good and match the review. However I later found two major issues with it.

The first one is that sometimes during the day (around 1 or 2 in the afternoon), when there is just the right amount of sunlight, the camera can not decide what expsure/sensor gain to use. It looks like it starts to increase the sensor gain and then just becomes brighter and brighter, until it's almost too bright and then reverts back to normal exposure, at which point it starts over and becomes brighter again. This makes watching the video very annoying as it keeps flickering. I've googled this for the FI9821W and it seems that some people have issues with this, while others don't. It might be due to what light you have and for how long it goes on each day.

The second issue is stability, depending on how the camera is accessed, it might just stop streaming after 1 or 2 days of use while connected to a VMS. The camera API might still respond, but streaming is broken. Rebooting the camera using the API (if it still responds) or power cycling, is the only way to get it back online again. This is my biggest issue with the camera, if this gets fixed, then its not that bad for home/economic use.

I've accessed it mostly through their public API with MJPEG streaming (for legacy/compatibility reasons), and not using Onvif or RTSP. Since I switched from accessing the camera to occational MJPEG live view and FTP upload of motion events, it's been fairly stable. (But FTP upload has it's limitations when it comes to FPS.)

What is your experience of the camera with regard to stability? Have you had it hooked up to a VMS for several days and checked if it was still alive after a couple of days? What firmware are you using?

The camera firmware which I use is,

System Firmware Version: 1.4.1.8

Application Firmware Version: 1.11.1.20

(Here is a thread where the stability issue is mentioned as well, bensoftware.com)

Hans

I have had it hooked to Blue Iris from the beginning. I assume BI qualifies as a VMS? If not please let me know how I am confused. It has been very stable and has been on 24/7 since I installed it. My router changed the ip address a couple times in the beginning so I set it at a fixed ip and have no problem since then.

It is pointed north and we live in a draw so it never has the sun shining directly at it. I have never had the flicker/exposure/etc problem you mention that I am aware of.

System firmware Version is: 1.4.1.5

Application firmware Version is: 1.11.1.15

I have the 19821W version2 if that matters. Looks like I should update my firmware? Except it is fine now but I would like better audio. I do use the H.264 compression.

Rick,

Yes I think Blue Iris would quality, I should have been more clear, as my intention was to direct those questions to IPVM as well as the article do not state what stability testing they have done.

If the firmware you have is working well for you, then I would hold off with upgrading, as you mmight run into the issues I have. I upgraded in order to get access to the MJPEG API which was enabled in the more recent firmwares.

I think the issues I have might be related to how often the VMS connects or reconnects to the camera. The initial configuration was with no prebuffer, so the VMS would connect as soon as there was a motion event. This was in order to cut down on wifi usage when most of the time nothing happens. I changed that to use a prebuffer with constant connection, but still had stability issues after a few days.

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