Top positive review
20 of 21 people found this helpful
Great image quality & highly responsive remote PTZ controls
on January 12, 2012
Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend this camera to anyone looking for an outdoor IP network camera.
To get an idea of my background, I am a camera 'snob' and carry only high-end Canon L series lenses on my personal camera. I have tried many "web cams" in the past mounted indoors in windows (including PTZ type cameras) and have been highly disappointed in results over the years. In other words, I'm a stickler for image quality. Tired of the limitations of my windowsill for remote viewing, I did not necessarily need a security camera, but wanted an overall yard-monitoring camera to keep an eye on my livestock and check in on weather conditions at my higher elevation home.
This camera was easy to set up using Windows 7, once I found the path for the 64-bit installation (that part was a tad tricky). The image is fabulous and crisp indoors and outdoors. Despite the tinted plexi dome, it captures natural colors with splendid accuracy. I have this mounted under the eaves of a building and I can even watch livestock across the yard at night. Perhaps the other reviewer didn't have any lighting available at night, but I have a large sodium light in my yard and this camera even still showed full frame rate color streaming video. Love that I can access it from any browser and via my mobile (hint: TinyCam Monitor for Android supports full PTZ functionality for this camera). I thought I would need to purchase a second one and mount it elsewhere to achieve the coverage I expected from a camera like this but the sweeping range of panning view is so great that I really don't believe that's necessary any more.
Physically, the camera has a nice low-key semi-industrial appeal. It is mounted on the exterior of a building on my property and it blends right in; but if you look right at it, it is clearly a camera -- and a nice deterrent to anyone with less than palatable intentions. I think it could be easily masked if someone wants to hide it, but I believe it could also be more prominent if someone desires to put it somewhere a little more out in the open to act as a security deterrent.
I have shared the link/login to this camera with several people, all of whom have been amazed at the quality of the image (note: so far, two of the three people I have shared it with have only seen it after dark).
I had a couple of technical difficulties with setup which necessitated my contacting the manufacturing company (located in Hong Kong) and they were pleasant, prompt, and provided exactly the information I needed to complete my setup. I was truly pleasantly surprised to receive such prompt and helpful feedback via email and live chat from their website.
There are a couple of things to be aware of: 1) Wireless setup seems straight-forward but I was unable to set it up. I have it set up via ethernet as it is all connected indoors (punched through building envelope to feed plug ends through). Which brings me to issue 2) The power cord attached to the camera itself is a nice heavy duty outdoor-rated cord. The power 'brick' and cord that attaches to the wall plug-in is an indoor-rated cable and not suitable for outdoors. Probably would have to enclose the entire cable in a PVC/ABS tube if it were to run any significant length outdoors, even under eaves. I would imagine the thin "indoor" power brick portion of the cable would probably break down pretty fast unprotected outdoors (heat, cold, UV, etc.). 3) The browser software for viewing the camera could use some help. If you plan to use this camera to share with your friends, note that there are only three membership types that you can assign users to: Administrator (you), Operator (anyone who can have access to the PTZ controls, including saving over any home positions you have preset as the administrator) and Visitor (any visitor with log in access who can simply view the camera at whichever angle it was last stopped at by either the Administrator or Operator). My gripe about that is that I'd like to have Visitors be able to pan/tilt/zoom but not have access to be able to save over administratively set preset angle positions (of which there are 8, by the way -- I like that). Issue #3, for me, isn't enough to deter me from using this camera one bit as the PTZ responsiveness, image quality (even at night when in an environment with some form of lighting available), and overall wide-angle view makes this camera more than sufficient for my needs (overview of my horse riding arena and horse corrals).
I would certainly purchase another Apexis camera, and if I had the need for an additional one of this model, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Before now, I have not seen such a responsive PTZ camera (especially outdoor-capable!) with such an amazing picture in my decade+ of owning various "web cams" (although this model far exceeds the traditional term "web cam" and would certainly be well-suited as a security camera, mounted indoors or out).