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Vivotek Install: Maybe a gamble yet so far a success!

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Joined: 29 Aug 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:54 am    Post subject: Vivotek Install: Maybe a gamble yet so far a success! Reply with quote

Greetings all,
I'm fairly new to the entire IP camera arena yet learning quickly. Played around with a few Sony and Panasonic IP cameras a year or so ago but never kept them. I'm also one of those that tends to Google my way to what I hope is/was a good buying decision.. Smile
Well, with researching the "numerous" types/brands of cameras you can imagine that I stumbled upon Vivotek.. Form and function looked, read and sounded good yet obviously there isn't a lot of love for them on the forums. I actually never read a pure negative review by an actual owner - in all reality reviews in general of Vivotek (beyond the marketing verbiage) were hard to come by. Sometimes thatís good sometimes bad.. Anywhooo,, despite the lack of reviews and some poor comments on support etc, I snatched a single new, opened yet still in the plastic IP7361 bullet off eBay for $315. Figured for half of retail I would make it my learning experience cam.
Arrived, new/never used as described and I quickly installed in my backyard via about a 150ft run of shielded CAT6a. I already had a few GB switches for my home network thus dedicated an 8 port to my IP Camera side. Wanted to utilize POE thus went for the individual injectors. Big picture: powered it up and utilized the supplied Vivotek camera/installation utility to a quick and painless operational state. Played around with the onboard camera software/firmware for several weeks, some learning curve of course yet easily figured out everything to include port forwarding and recording to sending events and pictures to email etc. The darn thing has worked as described without missing a beat.
Fast forward a bit and I now have five Vivotek cameras (thus far) around the property:
2x IP7361
2x FD8161
1x FD8361
I must say the quality of construction on each is great - I can only hope for the same on longevity/operation..

I have yet to dive into server style recording yet, that is in the future along with trying the Vivotek recording software. I'm building/piecing together a dedicated PC/server that will handle my small array.. Currently however I have an 8GB SD within each camera storing photo/events as well as logging emails w/photos on the office PC.

The two IP7361s have been up and running for over a month 24/7 and the others about two weeks of the same. Each was a pure breeze to install and configure - and to my joy they just worked.
I also have all five cameras configured for monitoring on my wife's iPhone and my iPad. We utilize both the "EyeSpyFX - Vivotek Cams" and the "IP Cam Viewer" apps. The two basic apps have worked flawlessly streaming all five cameras simultaneously, within their limitations of course.

As for operation/video quality,, on one of my first posts here on this forum I stated my thoughts on Vivotek video quality yet have since felt given my lack of experience with other brands/quality etc, I should not try to go beyond what I actually see. I'll try to upload a few pics/snapshots. As others have stated however, I would not call the Vivoteks "very sharp/crisp" but more of a clear though "soft" picture. And you are not going to read any license plates beyond about 25 ft. From what I have seen posted online however, in the $400-$550 price range and this type of housings, video quality is typical. Nighttime with the onboard IR does work. The IP7361s and FD8361 work best at the greater distances due to the IR beam strength/width - and you do get a small amount of IR reflection from the glass/lens. Up close you just get a very bright round spot that washes out everything else. The FD8161s must utilize less on the IR side due to both of those working nicely for my entryway and living area cams.

Overall, I'm not a Vivotek fan (just yet) or distributer etc but thought I would convey my "current" positive experience with my project. I did speak to Vivotek directly on the phone once to validate a warranty question but as they say the service after the sale is key.. From a few comments here my current hope is I don't have to utilize/challenge them anytime to soon..
I'm open for any questions any one may have and to all of you local experts and forum contributors, thank you for your time and efforts teaching/guiding those of us that are in the learning phase. Very Happy

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