Customer Review

367 of 381 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars on everything but user friendliness, May 25, 2011
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This review is from: Foscam FI8905W Outdoor Wireless/Wired IP Camera with 4mm Lens (50 Viewing Angle) 100ft Nightvision - Silver (Electronics)
First off. I purchased one of these cameras to make sure it meet my needs before getting another and then finally 4 more. I have a total of 6 cameras protecting my property and am using the blueiris software to record and manage the cameras. It is the best software but this review is not for the software ,which is excellent, but for the camera.

Camera construction:
Robust. Perfect for outdoors. In fact all my cameras are outdoors but under overhanging eves. The shell is waterproof and cord out of the camera is waterproof as well.

Wiring the cameras:
These are wireless cameras but i will inform you that you will have to run a wire of some sort as these cameras will need wired power. so i went ahead and wired the cameras via ethernet as well since i had to run power. one suggestion is you can use what i did and run cat6 for the ethernet and POWER. that is if you are technically inclined. I used 4 wires for the ethernet (orange, orange white, green, green white) and the blue and blue white for power and the brown and brown white for ground. I physically cut the power cord that comes with the cameras in half and soldered one end to the ethernet cable extra wires and the other end. the cameras are really low wattage so you can easily get away with this. I ran 40 feet of cable this way and the cameras work fine.

Software on the cameras:
If you get a real foscam then the software built in to the cameras is very good and will do everything you want to do except record video stream. The cameras will do time delay snapshots but for advanced features such as stream captures etc i recommend blue iris software. Make sure you get real foscams as there are unofficial clones with a different interface.

The camera picture quality:
Here is where the camera is both a blessing and a curse. Curse first. The cameras during the daytime show everything as washed out. Grass is white and not green. Trees are a purple hue. But you can see and makeout everything fine. At night everything is of course white as well but the camera has extremely good night vision. The infrared LEDS are so good that if you switch out lenses to a smaller focal you will get a "hot spot" or "ghost ring" of overbright led power. there is a solution for this, see the next section on lenses. Blessing, the camera does night vision perfect and daytime good. what other camera for 100$ has this cameras abilities and build quality? Can you get a better quality camera for daytime..YES. This washed out look is inherent to any IR cameras as the way the infrared filters work. So a camera that doesnt have night vision will look very good during the day but dont let that fool you that this is an inferior camera. Do robbers come during the day? Some do i guess.

Lenses:
The 12mm lense is unusable for me. the quality of the lense is excellent but 12mm shows you a 10 foot by 10 foot area 100 feet down the block. Not good for home surveillance. But good for a radio tower or traffic camera.
You can use CCTV lenses. they just unscrew. lenses are cheap on amazon or ebay. Figure out the focal length you need using online calculator. Im using 1 8mm lense 2 6mm lenses, and 3 2.8mm lenses.
To avoid the ghosting from the overbright LEDs when using smaller lenses....use wax paper. yes the stuff you cook with. cut a ring out that fits over the leds and cut the center section out for the lense and install behind the glass. this filters the infrared, or blurs it if you will, and produces a good night vision without the hotspot.

Networking setup:
The camera is a nightmare. im a IT guy and hate to admit i had a bit of trouble with it. I have it using wired ethernet with wireless as a backup. Im using gmx for my email setup as that provider works with the foscam software for email. I have my cameras accessible over the internet. i suggest you get one camera, dont mount it and configure it in front of your computer and test to make sure its working on your network before mounting it. once you figure out how to network one of the cameras the others are a simple cut and paste and change a few settings such as IP address if you use a static like i did.

Summary:
Almost all the cameras shortcomings can be overcome. the cost of the camera is exceptional for what you get. the networking setup is where most people fail the camera or give it low reviews. its not really the fact that the camera is the problem. there is just alot of configuring to do...email alerts, ftp, web access, wired dhcp static or dynamic, wireless setup and security...etc.
These cameras are alot of bang for the buck. Dont regret my purchases 1%.
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 27, 2011 10:23:17 PM PDT
Dustin Scott says:
I'm very interested in getting a little more info on how you modified the cabling to get power to the unit. I would like to get a few of these setup with a POE switch so i don't have to run power to them.

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 11:26:40 AM PDT
Marty says:
Same question as Dustin. Please provide more detail about the modified power cabling. Then connecting that to a POE switch would be pretty sweet too.

Posted on Aug 20, 2011 3:13:06 AM PDT
I would like to change my 3.6 lens to 6. Any suggestions as to what CCTV lens I can buy that will work well and not cost too much? Thanks, Pedro

Posted on Oct 23, 2011 6:50:32 PM PDT
How did you properly protect the power circuit per NEC requirements?

Posted on Nov 1, 2011 11:28:47 PM PDT
K. Goode says:
Excellent review.

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 4:30:08 PM PST
Brian G says:
Hi Guys, can someone please provide the pinout diagram or explain how to use the Cat 5 for the power and data transfer?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 3:00:09 PM PDT
All he is doing is cutting the power adapter that comes with the camera and soldering the + to the solid blue - to the blue/white and ground to the brown on both ends of the cable. Eric never said he was using true PoE.

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 5:19:28 PM PDT
TScabbard says:
The washed out white grass is a symptom that the IR Cutover (a.k.a. IR Cut) relay is not working. These cameras have quality issues. I went through 4 to get 2 that worked correctly. In one the IR Cut relay would stick (you would not hear a click when power cycling the camera). In my case the IR filter stayed engaged and had no night vision. The other failure mode is when it sticks in disengaged mode. You will get washed out greens, but night vision works great.

Other issues with Foscam involves the field of view. They advertise 67 degrees but sometimes you get 47+/- degrees of view. This is not an issue with the lens, it has to do with the CCD sensor. On some units they are shipping 1/4" CCD's instead of 1/3". The smaller CCD gives a narrower view than the larger CCD. I ended up with 2 of the smaller CCD's with narrower viewing angles but after multiple returns settled on cameras that work. Once I had two that were reliable I stopped doing returns. There is no way to look at the cameras on the outside to tell if you have a 1/4" or 1/3" CCD. It takes doing some measurements and some computations to figure out what you have. Not fun.

The cameras I have in service have been online 24/7 for a year.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 4:11:33 AM PST
Paul Umeh says:
Hello Eric, Thanks for the excellent review. I'm new to the whole cctv thing and was wondering if one needs a public ip address to get the cameras accessible over the internet or will a normal cdma internet access do the job?

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 4:37:54 AM PST
Davey Jones says:
Hi Eric,
I was interested in getting a 2.8MM lens that fits the cam, the cheapest I have seen is $69 is there any other source you used to buy the three that you have that isn't as pricy?
Great review BTW!
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