Foscam Low Cost SD PTZ Tested

By: Derek Ward, Published on Dec 23, 2013

$68 for an IP PTZ?

That's what the Foscam FI8910W goes for on Amazon where it is the #2 overall selling surveillance camera. We bought one to try it out.

Obviously, at $68, it's no enterprise speeddome. Indeed, there is no optical zoom, and it's SD resolution only. On the other hand, it has built in IR, a true mechanical cut filter and pans 300° and tilts 120°.

While no one is going to seriously use this for professional surveillance, the potential for home and SMB use is clear but how well does it perform?

$** *** ** ** PTZ?

****'* **** ******************** *** ** *********** ** ** *** #2 ******* ******* ************ camera. ** ****** *** to *** ** ***.

*********, ** $**, **'* no *******************. ******, ***** ** no ******* ****, *** it's ** ********** ****. On *** ***** ****, it *** ***** ** IR, * **** ********** cut ****** *** **** 300° *** ***** ***°.

***** ** *** ** going ** ********* *** this *** ************ ************, the ********* *** **** and *** *** ** clear *** *** **** does ** *******?

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

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

**** *** ****, **** are *** *** ********* we *****:

  • ***/**** ******** ******* ****, with *** ******* *** smooth ********* ******* ****** or ******.
  • ** ************ ***** ** well ****** ************* (**/~**'), reaching ** ***** ~**'. However, ****** ************ ****** in *** ****** ** the *****, **** ** automatic ** ****** ********** of ** *****.

******** ** *** *** weaknesses *****:

  • **** ** ********, **** 10 **** **** **** the ******, ** *** hard ** **** *** details ** * ****, while ***** **** ** cameras ***** ** ** far *******.
  • ** *** ***** ******, quality ****** *** ********** by************** ** ************, ********* details ** **** **** close *****.
  • ***** ****, **** ** settings ***** **** ****** per ****** *** ********** available. ** ******* *** RTSP ** *****. *** surprisingly, **** ********* *********** for *** ******* ***** quality.
  • ****** ****** ** *** UPnP ** ****** **** forwarding ****, **** ** "phone ****" ********** ** the ******** *********.

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

** *** ******* **** and ******* ** ******** pan/tilt *** **** *** key *******, **** ** the ****** *** ***. Otherwise, *** **** $** to $*** ****, *** can *** **** ****** quality, ***** ******* ****, easier ** ****** *******.

Physical ********

** **** ***** ** review *** ******'* **** factor *** ******** ************:

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

**** ***** ******* *** features ** ************ *********, ***** *** quite **********:

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

****** ****** **** ** hard *** ****** ****** UPnP ***** **** ***'* router (********** ** **** ***). ***** ** ** true '***** ****' ********** like*********** ***** ** ********* and *********. ** ****, users *** *** ********** and ***** * *** of **** ****** **** have ****** ********* ****** (opening ***** ** *********, port **********, ***.).

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

****** *** ****** ******* 802.11b/g/n, ** **** ****** to ******* ** ** our ****** ******* (***** Aironet, ***** ** ******** key *** *******). ** were **** ** ******* it ** * ******** wireless ******, *******. **** problematic, ** ******** ** given ** *** **** as ** *** ********** fails, ******, ******* ***** with ******* *********** *** troubleshooting.

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

** ****** *** *******'* IR ************ ***** ** various *********, ******** **********'********** ***** ** * meters (~**-**'). ************ ** this ***** *** ******, with *** ******* *** FOV **** ***.

************, ****** *** *** way ** ~**', ************'**************, *** ******* ** still **** ***********.

*******, **** **** ************ power ***** ******* *** camera ** ***** *****. Details ** *** ******* are ****** ********** ******** with *** ** ~**' from *** ******. **** is ********** *********** *********** the ******* ** **** likely ** ** **** in ******* **** *** office *****, *********** *** low **** *** ** resolution.

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

** ******** *** ******* to *** *** **** HD *******, ******* *********** *******(**** ~$*** ******), ** see *** ********* ** resolution **** ***** * camera **** ***********. ** tested ** *** ******, ~12' *** ~**', ** best ********** *********** ***********.

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

**** *****

** **** ***** ***** (~12'), *** ******* *** difficulty *********** *** ******* and ********* *** ******* features (**** ** *** color, ****** ********, ***.). Both **** ******* ****** produce ******* ** ******* and *****.

*********** ******* *********** ** longer *****, **** *** FI8910W ****** ** ******* even *** ***** **** of *** *** *****, let ***** *** ******** of *** **** *******. The **** *** ***** cameras *** **** ** distinguish **** ***** ** our **** ***** (******* line *-*), ** **** as *********** ******** ** our ***** *******.

** *** *****, **** IR **, *** ******* cannot ******* **** *** basic ******* ** ***** in **** *****, *** to************** *************. *** ******* ** able ** ******* ******* of **** ******* *** chart ******* ** *** higher ********** *** **** even ** ************. *** color **** **** *** is ****** ** ******* any ***** ** **** lux *****.

** ****** *****, *** FI8910W ******** ** ******* whatsoever, **** *** ******* barely ************ ** *****.

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

*** ******* ** ***** only, **** ** ******* for *.*** ** ****-*. Further, ***** *** ** CODEC ******** ***** **** resolution (*** ** **** only) *** ***** **** (1/5 *** ******* ** FPS), **** ** *********** or ******* ***** **** typically **** ** ************ cameras.

******* ** ****, ********* consumption *** ********** ****, especially *********** ** ** SD **********.

Comments (8)

IPVM, good info as always. At work I use the good stuff, but at home... I was lazy (didn't want to cable) and thought these wi-fi Foscams would be just the ticket, so I was using a few of these PT(noZ) Foscams inside my house and some bullet ones on the outside. I've since started replacing them with PoE wired 1.3MP Dahua cameras. The Dahuas are worth the little extra $, with the higher rez, color rendering and obviously the connection quality is much better than wi-fi. I'd rate the Foscams as a don't buy.

It would be interesting to see what the side by side comparison would look like if you use Foscam's 720p H.264 version of the product

Thanks, I was not aware of that one. Model # is FI9821W and available on Amazon for $127.

At that price, if it performs reasonably and works with some 3rd parties, it could be interesting.

I just ordered one. Derek can do a quick test on it.

Brandon, It looks as if your conclusion is made basing connectivity going from wireless to wired.

Stating: "obviously the connection quality is much better than wi-fi".

Did you not know that the fi8910w is wired also?

http://foscam.us/foscam-fi8910w-wireless-ip-camera.html

Of the three small images in the above link. Clicking on the center one clearly shows the back having wired connectivity. Including yellow and green LAN LEDs built into the RJ45. Plus seperate red LED (power light) and green LED (Network light).

I have several. ALL wired. They work well for me. Even with a latency when viewing over the Internet.

There seems to be a lot more information supporting it as a useful camera.

Example: "In addition, it is smartphone compatible (Iphone, Android & Blackberry) as well as viewable over the internet using standard web-browsers."

Having twice purchased my fi8910w's direct from Foscam I recieve email offering same and similar nodels at reduced prices.

I've had others including Panosonic (P/T), one still in use, and DLink (static), now disconnected.

I accept that the Foscam's we are discussing are VGA resolution and Wi-Fi and ethernet, and all things being equal, my biggest issue with the VGA Foscam's are their poor color rendering even in well-lit scenes.

You should really try a test on the VSTARCAM T7838WIP model, is the same price as the foscam published but quality of images are much better.

Jorge, thanks. I can't find it for sale online and the brand is not well known, two things that make a test less interesting.

I am not a 'fan' of Foscam in any way but it is an offering that is widely known and commonly purchased, making a test of greater utility to more members.

Hi Derek,

“Otherwise, for just $50 to $100 more, you can get many higher quality, lower storage cost, easier to access cameras.”

I would be very interested to know the make / model of some of the pan tilt alternatives you allude to in your recommendations. Both the Dahua and Acti used in the comparison are fixed cameras, not pan tilt units.

I would like to know of a Foscam “beater” that is within $100 of the Foscam price. Prefebarly something that can compete with the Foscam FI9821W Indoor Pan/Tilt H.264 720p Wireless IP Camera and within $100 of the Foscam price.

Thanking you and Happy New Year,

Jim

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