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Cheap Chinese IP PTZ Camera Review

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winxter
New Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: Cheap Chinese IP PTZ Camera Review Reply with quote

I am new to this technology, new to this forum, and therefore pretty much a newby on this whole thing.

I do, however, think there are probably some folks wondering about this camera:

http://cgi.ebay.com/WPA-Wireless-WiFi-IP-Internet-PTZ-Dual-Audio-Camera_W0QQitemZ390097429946QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item5ad39e65ba

I took a risk and ordered it (I paid an additonal $2 for shipping insurance to get a tracking number). It showed up in a little under two weeks and was in perfect condition. It looks like a pretty well made little device and the manual, although a bit challenged in its grammar, is remarkably complete.

While it worked well right off the bat in my local network (my only complaint: the Z shouldn't be in the PTZ, it has no zoom, although to be fair, it doesn't claim that other than the PT"Z"), It took me a good while to get the internet connectivity working: First of all it needs ActiveX. When using the included software my Firefox browser asked for, and subsequently automatically used the appropriate ActiveX plugin and it worked. I, therefore felt I had solved the ActiveX problem.....WRONG!

Every time I accessed the camera without using the included software (i.e. just with a browser) it would bring up a nonworking camera screen. The solution: read the manual, it tells you how to deal with ActiveX (I just use IE for this and Firefox for all other things).

My only other connection problems arose by entering info EVERYWHERE I could and therefore overdoing it. For example you only need to set up DynDNS info in your router OR in the camera NOT BOTH PLACES.

I used port 8080 (although I have no idea if 80 would have worked or not). My final problem was due (I think) to the fact that my Bellsouth DSL modem (Westell E90) acts as a router and therefore, in conjunction with my Belkin F5D7234 I had 2 routers in series. I probably had other fixes but putting my modem into DMZ mode worked.

Through this whole thing I got minimal (but reliably, I always got some response) support via email from the vendor but there appears to be no website for firmware updates and futher support.

The camera works remarkably well (although, to be fair I have nothing else to compare it to). It works in total darkness and all other light levels. I have not tried the wireless functionality but so far I think it is a pretty good value.

I bought this as a lark, I always enjoy learning things, and I feel this is a pretty good deal if you understand he lack of support.
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erictanyh
New Member


Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Penang, Malaysia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi winxter,
I also took the risk and order this cheap IP camera from ebay yesterday...... but after reading your review and i felt some confidence on it Laughing From your review, u mean the software work only with IE...(Due to the ActiveX)..? and when we are at outside, we need the PC/notebook which have to install the IP camera software too...?? Thanks.....
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magohn
Trusted Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please read this thread:

http://www.networkcamerareviews.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2900

I too have the Chinese camera you have and the linked thread contains a link to a nice firmware update. That update really improves the cameras functionality. One of the biggest improvements is that it provides a new login interface that includes a "mobile" login link. However, the new "mobile" login link works in ANY browser and requires no ActiveX. I use the moile login from a standard browser (firefox) and its actually better than the ActiveX login. Lightweight and fully functional.

Please make sure that your camera is the same before updating the firmware. Heres a pic from my chinese cam - great value for $.




Thanks, magohn
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erictanyh
New Member


Joined: 15 Oct 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Penang, Malaysia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your great info magohn....!! Very Happy
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marklemac
New Member


Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just received one of these and it has the new firmware on it, and yes I have the mobile and smartphone options which don't require activex, which is great as I use a Mac.

I am trying to find out the address to actually configure the camera (ie the wireless / ftp etc etc)

192.168.1.209/login.asp gets me to the main page which admin/admin get me in to view the camera.

I need help in configuring it ?

is there a page like 192.168.1.209/configure I can use ???
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm intrigued so I ordered one. Can you configure it to store events on a USB or NAS drive or FTP site? Also, on motion detect, can it send an email with a short video or picture?
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marklemac
New Member


Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok little update.

contacted the seller and they were quite helpful.

They pointed out that on the left hand side of the login screen is a button (LOL about 2 pixels wide button) that once pressed shows all the admin controls.

cool.

In this window I can now see the motion detection button, email, ftp, WIFI, etc.

ok next problem.

WIFI is WEP only and not WPA. Bugger, my networks are all WPA, not WEP. Plugged in via ethernet at the moment,

On my Mac I can see all the windows, but the window that contains the motion detection button I cannot activate.

Logged in via Windows and it uses activex, so I can get to the window but Explorer keeps crashing. Tried IE 6/7/8. Says there is a some sort of activex plug in problem. Don't know why, its a fresh windows installation.

The night vision side of this camera is really impressive and the frame rate is excellent too.

Let down big time by the crappy web software that is loaded onto it.

I'll persevere with it as I can see the potential.
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do they provide a way to open up problem tickets and get the software fixed. I work for a software company, and if you don't tell them what doesn't work, they can't fix it.

It would be cool if this little camera came in a dome enclosure, looks more professional and you can't see if the camera is pointed at you or not?

I got my Arecont 3MP camera today. Unfortunately, the lens isn't coming until Tuesday. So I'll have a 3 MP Mobotix that runs about $1,600, a 3MP Arecont which runs about half that at $800 and the $83 camera, then I can do a side by side comparison and blog about it on my website. I need megapixel capability for what i got the more expensive cameras for, but many time, a VGA camera is good enough.
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stratedge
New Member


Joined: 12 Nov 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone tried the audio functionality on this thing and can comment?

Specifically, can you actually speak through the camera and if so, just how horrible does it sound?

TIA. This is a great review, and it's exactly what I was searching for after I stumbled across these on ebay.
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be careful when buy this. I got the one the OP showed and it's a clone of the real deal. The sad part is, it's not much cheaper than the real one which is made by Foscam. In side by side images shown, the clone is only sharp in the very center, most of the image is very soft and the color saturation looks poor. When you search for these cameras on ebay, make sure it's Foscam. The clones come in an identical box and look exactly the same, but perform differently. One way to tell you got a clone is if the camera came packaged in white foam materials. The real deal comes packaged in cardboard inside. With the clone, you will not be able to do firmware upgrades or see the camera from your cell phone.

One on left is clone, one on right is Foscam

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magohn
Trusted Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little feedback to some issues raised in this thread:

1. using the linked firmware I can use WEP or WPA

2. To install the Internet Explorer ActiveX component, temporarily allow all activeX and scripts on the page until the activeX component is installed (via Security in IE)

3. I think for the $, the camera and software is a great deal (I paid less than $100 with shipping)


I have had my cam for almost a year now and its still going strong. My only "wish" would be an option to turn-off the IR lights so that I could place it in an indoor window without IR reflection at night....

Magohn


Last edited by magohn on Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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magohn
Trusted Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. i moved the cam to the garage. here is a night-vision shot (total darkness)...

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marklemac
New Member


Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

magohn wrote:
1. using the linked firmware I can use WEP or WPA


sounds promising Smile

What linked firmware ? Where can I find this please ?
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magohn
Trusted Member


Joined: 10 Oct 2009
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The firmware is available in this thread:

http://www.networkcamerareviews.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2900

Please be aware that if your cam does not accept the firmware you COULD brick the cam (so I have read). My cam took the fw with no problem, though I have read of people having issues.

Also, I used the "Foscam" camera setup in Blue Iris and I now have full Pan and Tilt within Blue Iris - pretty cool Smile
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buellwinkle
Wizard


Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2504

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I bricked the camera, but just run the camera IP tool that came with it and wait a while, a few minutes and it eventually will give you an IP address. Then right click and apply a different firmware. Even though mine is clearly a clone, I used the firmware update from the Foscam website and it works fine.

My only complaints right now are that it does zero compression, so a 5 second video takes like 5MB, where my other cheap Chinese camera of different heritage would put out a 500K video. Also, I'm not able to connect to my email server but I can with my other camera. Lastly, it requires that the PC be running for the events to record, where my other camera is not connected to a PC and sends me emails 24/7 if it detects motion. Lastly, I thought it would be cool to look at the video from my Blackberry Storm. I can get the login screen, but that's it, doesn't go beyond that.

I did order a genuine Foscam to see if it's different, better, worse. Also, I ordered a wider angle lens from DX, see if that helps.

The IR emitters are a hit & miss. Too close to the camera where a face becomes recognizable, it washes out with too much light. Too far away, it's dark, so not much dynamic range.

The camera came somewhat out of focus. You can focus the lens by unscrewing until you get the focus you are looking for. Still not what I would call sharp, even for a camera in this price range, but much better.
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