Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, feature-packed 720p IP camera, July 17, 2013
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This review is from: HUACAM HCV712 H.264 1.3 Megapixel Indoor/outdoor POE Ip Camera,IR-Cut Filter,2.8mm Wide View Angle. (Electronics)
It's very rare that I will buy something from Amazon that has zero reviews anywhere online, especially if it costs more than five bucks or so. But the Huacam HCV712 was the cheapest 720p IP camera I could find in Amazon, and the slighly higher-resolution HCV701 seemed to have decent reviews so I decided to give this one a try.

Update 7/9/2014: Eventually did encounter video corruption issues with Vitamin-D. I've been using BlueIris since October or November 2013 with much better results. No, BlueIris isn't free, but it's easily worth 30 or 40 bucks, given all the time I wasted trying out competing products and finding that they had video corruption issues and weren't as capable or as easy to use.

Update 8/10/2013: It seems the quality of your recordings is heavily dependent on your software. Although ZoneMinder and iSpy are very popular, they seem to have issues with the HCV712 and introduce a lot of visual artifacts both when streaming and recording. Huacam's support has been excellent--they have responded to all of my e-mails within a day, even letting me know when they needed more time to research the issue and get back to me. At their recommendation, I tried a different DVR software package called Vitamin D and have had much better results. I'm still getting a lot of false alarms, but not as much video corruption. So for now, I'm going to bump my rating back up to 4 stars.

Although there are still some issues to work out, I haven't seen the green picture or all-white picture issue for several days and decided to order another one.

Update 8/8/13: After several days, the picture turned to green on occasion, then at some point turned solid white and remained that way even after rebooting the camera. I finally resolved the issue by resetting the camera to factory defaults and reconfiguring it, and so far (maybe 4 days later) it hasn't turned solid white.

I was having trouble getting the motion detection to work, but finally figured it out with some help from Huacam's support. (They have been very helpful and responsive.) You need to add a motion detection schedule--even though it looks like there's a schedule set by default, if you look more closely you'll see that the fields are populated but you still need to click a button to add that schedule.

I'm having a very difficult time tuning both the camera's built-in motion detection and my external software's motion detection. The motion detection zones have to be defined as rectangular areas parallel with the X and Y axes (i.e., no diagonal lines). This doesn't work very well for me because I'm shooting down my driveway from off to the side, so everything is angled. The camera's image quality is inconsistent enough to trigger the motion detection constantly and I was getting thousands of motion detection alerts per day. After backing the sensitivity down to 1 (from a range of 1-100 where 100 is high sensitivity), I'm still getting hundreds of motion detection alerts per day.

The video stream also often drops dozens of frames when there actually is motion, so all I see are maybe 2 or 3 horrendously pixelated frames.

I really want this camera to work since it's so inexpensive, but until I get it working, I can't justify buying more!

Update 7/31/13: bumping this camera down to 3 stars because the quality is inconsistent. Sometimes it's really crisp; other times there are a lot of visual artifacts and goofy colors or the framerate drops.

So far, I've been pleasantly surprised with the Huacam HCV712. I'll share a quick summary of my thoughts before I get into the specifics. It might seem like this camera has a lot of negatives based on my brief summary below, but the pros far outweigh the cons, especially if you're comparing this camera to a cheap (sub-$1000) surveillance DVR system.

What I like:
* Pigtail cable is about 20"--long enough to go through a wall for secure installation
* Decent picture quality
* 2 mounting brackets for flexible installation options
* IR illuminators
* Weather resistant (actually advertised as "waterproof" but I would still install it somewhere shielded from precipitation if possible)
* TONS of configuration options, such as phone/HTTP/email alerts, shutter speed, IR cut-off mode, and IR cut-off sensitivity
* Comparatively cheap price

What I don't like:
* Wired Ethernet only, no wireless
* Need to drill a 1.25" hole to fit the cable through a wall
* Audible click when flipping the IR filter (aka IR cut-off filter) on and off
* Motion detection is awkward to configure
* Huacam's website and manual advertise this model with an analog video out in addition to the other outputs, but mine didn't come with the analog video out. Huacam support said I received an old copy of the manual and suggested a couple alternatives.
* The audio pick-up is very noisy. I haven't tried the speaker yet.

**Installation**
It comes with all the accessories you'll need for installation, including two different mounting brackets--one for installing on the underside of a soffit or ceiling, and a different one for installation on a wall. Unfortunately, because the Ethernet port's housing is rather large (about 1" square), I had to bore a relatively large hole for installation.

**Configuration**
In order to configure the camera, you need to install either an Internet Explorer ActiveX control or a Firefox plugin. After that, you'll need to install an additional plugin to actually see the video feed in the web interface. You'll need to connect to port 8081 at the camera's IP address. Huacam provides a utility to scan your network for cameras and connect to the default port, but you can also connect directly by typing h t t p : / / IP_ADDRESS : 8081 into your web browser, removing the spaces and substituting the camera's actual IP address.

The web interface can be a little confusing at first because it contains all the PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) controls and settings even though this IP cam doesn't have those features. Ignoring that, there are a lot of useful options in the configuration menus, and almost all of them are pretty self-explanatory and straightforward to configure. The only one I found to be unintuitive was configuring the motion detection, which is a little quirky. The user manual on the included mini CD isn't particularly helpful, but I did figure it out after experimenting with the buttons on the motion detection screen:

1. Open the configuration page
2. Click on "Advanced Settings"
3. Click on "Motion Detection"
4. For the rest of these instructions, be sure to look only at the controls in the "Motion Detection Region Settings" box.
5. Make sure the "Enable Motion Detection" and "Show Motion Detection Regions" boxes are checked. If they are not, check them and click the bottom Save button (again, I'm referring only to buttons in the "Motion Detection Region Settings" box).
6. Select a number from the "Select a Region" comboox/drop-down menu (for simplicity, start with 0).
7. Click Edit
8. Click and hold the moue button at one corner of your desired motion detection then drag the mouse to draw a rectangle around your motion detection area.
9. Click Save
10. Repeat steps 6-9 for as many as 15 additional motion detection areas. Note that it is okay for multiple motion detection areas to overlap.

Note: I'd suggest using the default sensitivity (50), but you can later go back and tune the sensitivity as necessary (0-100, where 100 is the highest sensitivity).

There are way too many other features for me to cover in this review, but suffice it to say you can also configure the camera to send e-mail alerts, HTTP alerts, and even upload image captures via FTP. And although I haven't tried it yet, you can also have it call your phone!

**Connecting with third-party software**
Once I had the camera configured, I had it up and running in no time in iSpy. If you want to connect via RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol), you just have to add 2000 to the camera's web interface port. For example, if you keep the web interface running on the default port 8081, RTSP will run on port 10081. If you change the HTTP port to 80, the RTSP port will default to 554 (which seems to be the standard RTSP port).

**Security**
Although the camera does allow you to configure DDNS to work in conjunction with port forwarding, it may be a better idea to configure a VPN, given the security shortfalls of many CCTV DVR manufacturers.

**Other thoughts**
For some reason, Huacam's website only lists a small number of their products. Huacam's support reps have confirmed to me that their IP cameras are actually rebranded Grandstream cameras, although it seems they must mix and match the internals and housings, because if you compare Huacam's and Grandstream's cameras, you may notice that two cameras with the same specs look very different.

I had incorrectly assumed this camera had WiFi in addition to the wired Ethernet port, but I noticed upon receiving it that it obviously did not have wireless. Since that was an oversight on my part, I can't dock any stars but thought I should point it out to anyone else. In any case, you'd still have to run power to it, so it isn't much more trouble to Ethernet in addition to, or instead of, the power cable. If you're really serious about doing things "the right way," you might even run a single Ethernet cable instead of Ethernet and power, and use a POE (Power Over Ethernet) splitter and injector.

If you want to use this camera as a baby monitor or otherwise don't want the clicking sound of the IR filter flipping on and off, I'd recommend configuring the IR filter to be always on or always off. To do this:

1. Click on Basic Settings
2. Click on CMOS Settings
3. Set IR CUT setting to Manual
4. Set "Daytime/Night Model" to "Daytime" if you never want IR mode, or "Night" if you always want IR mode (keep in mind that IR mode will always appear black & white regardless of your Color Mode setting)
5. Click Save

**Performance**
I still have to do some more testing, but my first impression is overwhelmingly positive. I could tell immediately that the video quality is vastly superior to my 640TVL and 700 TVL analog cameras. (I'm sure the 480 TVL DVRs that those cameras are connected to are at least partly responsible for the poor video quality of those cameras.)

The plain-looking box was labeled "CCD Video Camera" but the documentation and web interface say the camera type is CMOS. Interestingly, the markings around the camera lens say 3 MP, so maybe it's possible this could even be hacked into a 1080p or higher-resolution camera. Whether or not that is wishful thinking on my part, the picture coming out of it is pretty decent.

The ActiveX control shows zero lag and very smooth video when previewing the video stream, but I get about 1.5s of video lag and motion is not as fluid when connecting with iSpy via RTSP. I suspect encoding and decoding the MPEG4 video stream accounts for the lag. It might not be a deal-breaker, but I figure it's worth noting.

**Conclusion**
For the price, this is an awesome camera. It definitely has some room for improvement, but overall you won't find a better IP cam for less money.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 13, 2013 10:58:31 PM PDT
Excellent and helpful information! Thank you very much!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2014 7:55:52 AM PDT
J. Canfield says:
I just bought the Huacam 724 and could not figure out how to set up a motion detection zone and it was driving me CRAZY! (I have 13 various kinds of IP cams scattered around the house and out-buildings, so I'm no stranger to the technology.) Fortunately the 712 and 724 must share many similarities so many thanks for the process to set up a detection zone - I was about ready to send the cam back.

Posted on Jul 4, 2014 6:54:46 AM PDT
Ron G says:
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Motion detection was driving me crazy!!! I could not figure out how the regions worked... I assumed they were pre-set areas, and mine just weren't displaying. Assumed wrong. The manual was useless... Your instructions were VERY helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 6:36:58 PM PDT
fosv says:
Hello Ron G,

Thank you for your support, Motion detection not works maybe because the "Check all" button below Motion Detection Time Schedule not selected, please select the "Check all" button after the setting.

For the Motion Detection, the below step can be refered:

1 Select "Enable Motion Detection"
2 Select "Show Motion Detection Regions"
3 Select a Region
4 Input Sensitivity,you can be useing the default '50"
5 Click "Edit" button,and set a reagion you will motion detection
6 Set the alarm action as you want.
7 Set Motion Detection Time Schedule and click "Check all" button below the Schedul

Save your setting and now the Motion Detection can works well now.

If others issue,please contact us freely.we will work with you to solve any problems.

Thank you very much.

HUACAM

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 6:38:02 PM PDT
fosv says:
Hello J. Canfield ,

Thank you for your support, Motion detection not works maybe because the "Check all" button below Motion Detection Time Schedule not selected, please select the "Check all" button after the setting.

For the Motion Detection, the below step can be refered:

1 Select "Enable Motion Detection"
2 Select "Show Motion Detection Regions"
3 Select a Region
4 Input Sensitivity,you can be useing the default '50"
5 Click "Edit" button,and set a reagion you will motion detection
6 Set the alarm action as you want.
7 Set Motion Detection Time Schedule and click "Check all" button below the Schedul

Save your setting and now the Motion Detection can works well now.

If others issue,please contact us freely.we will work with you to solve any problems.

Thank you very much.

HUACAM

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 2:59:24 PM PDT
igen says:
Glad to help!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 3:17:00 PM PDT
igen says:
J. Canfield and Ron G, configuring motion detection was driving me nuts, too. Unfortunately even once I got it working I found it to be difficult to fine-tune for my application, and have since switched to using the motion detection feature in BlueIris. BlueIris motion detection also is not perfect, but I've managed to get it working well enough.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 3:25:53 PM PDT
J. Canfield says:
Moot point for me, I sent the cam back. It would not respond to an HTTP request several times a day but I could ping it, switched to TriVision 1080p cams - I have nine of them now and they are rock-solid.

Posted on Jan 19, 2015 12:28:00 PM PST
HappyDad says:
Thanks Igen for the detail review. Can you confirm that the field of view is indeed 2.8mm wide?

Posted on Feb 13, 2015 3:54:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2015 3:56:05 AM PST
NICOLA says:
thanks for helpful information, but can you help me to install the usb storage? i try to connect a flash usb but it isnt recognized from web server camera, i configure motion area but where record if i can't install usb storage?
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