Fast response, reliable, great low-light performance and focus.
Expensive, no soft reset feature, not intuitive GUI software, help system needs to be built with control software
I decided to go with 4xEM IPCAMWLPTZ camera, as opposed to the Dlink DCS-6620G, and I am very happy I did. I have been using it since Saturday, 2/5/06, and very impressed with its performance. Its low-light performance works much better than I expected. Its daylight performance is ... Read full review
I decided to go with 4xEM IPCAMWLPTZ camera, as opposed to the Dlink DCS-6620G, and I am very happy I did. I have been using it since Saturday, 2/5/06, and very impressed with its performance. Its low-light performance works much better than I expected. Its daylight performance is excellent. It responded very quickly (~1 sec, avg) to my commands (zooming, panning, tilting, etc) from 20 miles away over the internet, and through my work place's firewall. I tested its ftp feature for 1 day, it worked great. I tested at different fps, up to 30fps. Very smooth video streaming, even at 10fps, 64kbps video quality, from 20 miles away. The clock was ticking at every one sec, indicating no frame is lost. I can hear my mom's voice (24kbps or above is recommended) even 20 feet away from the camera. I've using the wirelesst and it is very stable. I only needed to reset once (pulled off the power supply, and plug back in. Didn't seem to have the same issue as the DCS-6620G!). I am not sure if the built-in webserver crashed or not; but I was not able to connect to the camera remotely (20 miles away) over the internet. Since then, it is running smoothly. I have been able to log in and out, testing, configuring, running multiple video streaming screens, while runing ftp at 1 snapshot every 3sec (ie, 20 snapshots per 1 minute). With all of that, it has not yet crashed. I've very happy with it so far.
The only thing that needs improvements on is its configuration GUI software. Some parts of it are not intuitive, and help system embedded with the software does not exist. Thus, for detail explanations of functions within the control software, one needs to use the User's Manual pdf file. [color=red]Also, 4xEM needs to work on adding a feature that allows users to remotely perform a soft reset of the camera, without having to physically pull the power supply or press the reset button on the camera. It is a shame that this feature is not there with a $650 camera. The low-end Panasonic (BL-C30A, $300) does have this feature. [/color]
Anyhow, I just wanted to share my experiences with you. I hope you don't have to go through the same pain I did, spending 2 weeks not sure which one (DCS-6620G/IPCAMWLPTZ) I should go with. If you're looking for a network camera, you'll be happy with the 4xEM. The tech support is great too; they've been very responsive to my emails.
Good luck, and thanks all for providing your inputs.
It was a hurry to give an excellent score (8 out of 10), for this product. Last night I tried out their Smart VS-IP Surveillance System software that comes with the product, for the first time. The sw allows users to view multiple cameras (up to 16) and do video recording, very useful. Guess what, the camera was locked up. I was not able to log in the camera this AM. My wireless router sometimes shows the camera, and not some other times (ie, IP address of camera was sometimes shown in my router, some other time not). Since I started the Smart sw before I went to bed, I did not know when the camera became locked up. I can't confirm if it was because of the Smart sw or not, however, I am confident it was. I will do some more testings with the Smart, and post another message. I feel the sw has bugs and caused the camera locked up. This time, turning off the power was not good enough; I had to physically reset the camera through the camera reset button. Also, I can no longer launch the Smart sw anymore, regardless of how many I pressed the Smart application icon on the my PC desktop. Another thing, audio through the Smart is much worse than through the IE. There was a lot of clicking background noise, when my PC speakers were turned up max. When accessing the camera through IE, audio was excellent like noted in my earlier review.
Before I was using accesing the camera, using IE. That worked great, as I indicated in the previous review message.
After weeks of testing and running in production environment on the IPCAMWLPTZ, here are my final thoughts. Overall, I am quite satisfied with it and rate it 8 out of 10. There is still much room for improvements.
- Tech support is super and very responsive. I called and sent emails several times, I got all responses back.
- Quite easy to have the camera installed, configured, and operational for the 1st time.
- It is quite a solid camera, with some advanced features (motion detection, ftp).
- Ftp, email, zooming, clarity, low-light performance work great. In daylight, its focus and clarity are super. I tested ftp at 3 sec per snapshot, still work great. I received, I would say over 99% of the time, exactly 1 snapshot at every 3 seconds, at the remote ftp server.
- Its recording/playback software that comes with the package works pretty well.
- The recording software saves video in a proprietary format, which can be converted into .avi format. This proprietary format is much small-sized than the .avi format.
- Doesn't work with Firefox.
- Motion detection feature can be further improved.
- Playback software can be improved to make the conversion job to .avi easier and more intutiative.
- Should be less than $600. However, comparing it to other network cameras with the same price range, like the Dlink 6620G, the IPCAMWLPTZ is price competitive.
- No https. It is important so username/password can not be compromised, especially when one tries to access home network camera from remote location over the internet, using IE or recording software. I believe this is the most important feature of all, if 4xEM was to compete with others. Axis starts to have https for its new line of network cameras. Third-party software such as Visual Hindsight now has https support for video recording, for Axis cameras. It would not be surprising to see Dlink soon come out with new network cameras with https feature.
- No remote reset/reboot capability of the camera. The work-around today is to save the network settings, which forces camera to reset. It would be nice to be able to reboot the camera remotely, as if the reset button on the camera was pushed. Even better, this remote reset feature can be scheduled at certain times, ie, once a week/month, etc. Once in a while, the camera needs to be reset when its performance is slow or remote access to it is not possible (screen says "Connecting to 188.8.131.52 ..", but it never gets connected.).
- Lack the ability to direct camera to preset locations, at certain times, daily. For example, preset location 1 from 8am-5pm. Then camera automatically moves to present location 2 from 5pm-8am the next day. This is very useful feature for a business office.
- Lack the ability to automate the Auto Pan/Patrol feature. It would be nice to tell camera to auto pan/patrol at certain times within a day, or at every few minutes/hours.
- Sometimes, it takes a while to log in the camera, using IE from remote location. I still can't figure out why. As result, I have to refresh the IE several times.
- Better documentation, especially with the recording/playback software that comes with the package. Help system needs to be included with the IE camera control software.
- No support for PDA, like Windows Pocket PC. I have the Dell Axim X51v PDA. It would be very nice to be able to view it on my PDA. Some of Sony network cameras do have PDA support. Or it would be nice to instantly notify my PDA, via text messaging/short messaging when motion is detected at night, so then I can view my camera on my PDA right after.