34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Overall pleased but with a few hitches.,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: LOFTEK® Sentinel Wireless Pan/tilt 3x Optical Zoom Waterproof Outdoor & indoor Dome Wifi/Wirelss/Network/IP Camera. 4mm-9mm Lens, Viewing Angle: 30°-69°, Pan/Tilt Angle: 355°/90°. White (Electronics)
This is my 2nd PTZ IP Camera, the first was a Wansview and I also have a review up of that one.
I bought this one specifically because I wanted a weatherproof outdoor remote IP camera and the price on this item is great for the features. Some people have taken stars off cuz it's not a nightvision camera, but nightvision won't work inside a dome due to reflection so it is not really fair to complain about that on this product.
I had read that people had spotty luck with getting this camera in good working order, specifically there are issues with white balance and focus out of the box. I had some minor color issues which so far can be easily corrected and a big issue with the focus, which is what prompted me to write this review. I was able to open up the dome and fix the focus issue myself and took some pictures which unfortunately did not come out clearly, my cheapo camera can not get close enough. I think I will post the images here anyway because though they are blurry you can make out the little set screws that you need to loosen to fix a focus issue and might be helpful to someone else.
Once the item ships from Amazon you get an email from Loftek's tech support telling you to write to them with any technical issues. Shows that they have lots of issues with their cameras, but also shows they are proactive about addressing them with the customer and others have commented already how great their support is, so that's really not a negative either, it's a positive I think.
When my camera arrived it was set on maximum zoom and the focus was not clear. When I zoomed out, it was a total blur. As I got the camera set up and used it for a day or so the focus got much worse, so I decided to respond to the Loftek's email and ask for help. While I waited I nosed around and found out how to adjust it so I did so without waiting for their help.
Anyway to the focus issue, the dome unscrews easily and then the camera and the mount is exposed. You want to be very careful when you adjust it since you don't want to force the PTZ mechanism, that could break something. I used the remote controls via the browser to move the mount into its furthest position so there was less available movement then held it carefully fixed there with one hand so I couldn't accidentally break something inside.
To adjust the focus on this camera you actually have to physically move the camera itself in or out on a short neck that attaches it to the frame. There are two small silver set screws that you can loosen or remove in order to slide the camera in or out. There is not much to play with and a slight change in position makes a huge change in focus. I was extremely happy with it when I got the focus right, wow what an improvement and my opinion of the camera shot way up! (Take a look at the user images to find my blurry closeups.)
You probably don't want to remove those screws or you might need medication to overcome the anxiety attack you will get trying to put them back. I accidentally removed and dropped one of them which was the worst part of the whole operation. Once the camera was in focus I replaced and tightened the screws and put the dome back on and now am entirely happy with this product. I can't give it the five stars though since I didn't buy it as a DIY project.
I mentioned color issues, it developed a greenish cast over time. I found that if I aimed it at a white background and zoomed in the color came right back true...so it needs a white balance reset from time to time, but it's easily done.
A quick remark on the software...though it has different colors etc., it is really recognizable as the same software that my Wansview cam uses, and the two applications can see and control both cameras. I am also using Blue Iris which has a big learning curve but also easily finds and controls both cams. The booklet and software that comes with this camera really is not all that bad, allowing for some translation details etc. the info is actually thorough and accurate.
I would definitely purchase another of these cameras or another Loftek product based on this experience.