Most helpful positive review
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Good performance for price
on January 29, 2012
Overall, fully acceptable performance. I purchased three Foscam cameras for inside the house and decided to try the Loftek Sentinel for outside. It is the only one that offers pan, tilt and zoom in an exterior camera at anywhere near this price. I am impressed by the clarity and colors. Low light vision is acceptable for in-city use. My outside lights are sufficient to see colors on the porch, and I can see the street and other houses but not as clear. There are no infra-red lights so do not expect much performance if you yourself can not see in the darkness. Daytime, the colors are correct and not washed out. Response time is acceptable, although it occasionally will do a full pan rather than a step movement. The field of view is more narrow than I expected.
I have not had it long enough to see how high wind and rain will affect it. The bracket has four U slots, but it is difficult to get the screws in as the camera bulb and antenna plug are in the way. I ended up using a 90 degree offset screwdriver.
The AC adapter sucks. It is a rather large, palm-sized brick that plugs in sideways - goes to the side of the plug receptacle rather than hanging down. This would not be too much of an issue inside, but for outside receptacles, it does not fit well and will not fit any of the exterior receptacle boxes that I found. The power cord is only four or five feet long; for an exterior camera a 20 foot option would be a nice accessory. (Philmore 48-1024 12' power line extension cord runs about $6; plug size is 2.1x5.5mm)
The cables are an octopus of wiring! Ethernet, audio in, audio out, alarm and power! Over a foot long, and how are you suppose to waterproof this mess? I bought a 4x4 plastic junction box from Home Depot, drilled a hole for the electric extension cord (I cut the female end off of 110 AC extension cord, inserted into box then attached a new female plug) and a slot for the octopus and managed to fit the mess inside - the wiring would have been easy, but the AC adapter and extension cord plug will barely fit.
I am running Blue Iris (which is great software) so did not bother to load the included software. If you have installed a Foscam, you will find this pretty similar and easy to install. If you have never installed an IP camera, most of your time and trouble will be spent dealing with your router, not the camera. I am now a semi-expert on routers! The camera's mobile phone setting works surprisingly well.
One thing I have learned is that after three or four wireless IP cameras, the b/g network performance will degrade significantly. I am now running most interior cameras in lower format (320x240) and slower FPS. If you can run wired cameras, by all means do so. For an older, two-story home, wireless is pretty much the only option.