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on July 14, 2013
Summary: Foscam is manufacturing and selling cameras with a known manufacturing defect. If the camera is pointed at a scene with too much detail (trees, grass, wood grain, window screen, etc) the camera will fail by either freezing, displaying black or rebooting. This defect was introduced as the result of a sensor change in December 2012. It was first reported by users to Foscam in May of 2013. Foscam publicly confirmed this manufacturing defect as the DSP in December 2013 and they also put a repair procedure in place. This procedure involves shipping the newly purchased camera to a distributor in Texas for repair. I've personally sent two cameras in for repair; the first repair took 15 days and required a significant amount of effort to process including a BBB complaint. The second repair took 18 days to turn around and was processed easily. Oddly, the serial number of this second camera changed before/after the repair so they seem to have sent a different camera instead of repairing. Regardless, the camera now works. Other users have reported varying amounts of friction when attempting to process these repairs.

This DSP problem is widespread among Foscam cameras. Many users potentially have cameras with the defect but do not observe the effects because the camera is not pointed at a scene with enough detail to trigger the fault. Other users may observe the defect but incorrectly identify the problem as cabling or other networking gear. At last check, 423 faulty cameras have been reported in the Foscam forums. These forums detail this defect extensively, and also offer a DIY solution for users brave enough to open the camera up and fab a custom USB cable to interface with the DSP. This forum thread can be found by doing a web search for "MJPEG Cameras hanging rebooting based on image data." The defect is reproduced by many users with a variety of Foscam models.

A review has been posted to each of these confirmed models. This includes Foscam models 8904, 8905, 8906, 8910, 8916, and 8919. However, be aware that the defect may exist on additional models as well. Amazon is aware of these details being documented on multiple reviews for different models. Please see the update at the bottom of this review for more information regarding this.

Foscam currently claims that all cameras purchased from specific retailers as of November 2013 have the issue 100% resolved. Unfortunately, the forums show 111 faulty cameras reported from 11/1 through 12/10. To be fair, some users have reported purchasing non-faulty cameras and hopefully this will continue. But other users (as of February 2014) continue to report new cameras from these specific retailers with the defect. Unfortunately, purchasing a Foscam camera continues to be a gamble.

There is a relatively simple way to verify if a specific camera has the DSP bug. The Foscam web GUI has the option to capture a snapshot. Faulty cameras that have the DSP bug are not able to capture a snapshot greater than ~60K. If a camera is able to capture a snapshot above this threshold then it does not have the bug. If the snapshot is smaller than 60K then the current scene does not have enough detail to verify if the bug is present. The camera will need to be pointed at a more complex scene and tested again until a snapshot greater than ~60K is achieved or failure is observed. Faulty cameras that have been repaired by Foscam can also capture above the ~60K threshold.

I do not recommend buying this camera, or any other Foscam MJPEG camera unless you want to gamble with this known and confirmed freezing/black/rebooting problem. Based on the quality of support I recommend staying away from all Foscam cameras in general. They are inexpensive, but your time and sanity are worth a far greater value.

::::Foscam posted a response to this review. If you are seeking additional information, my comments on the response are below::::

Foscam US, thank you for the response. I have been close to this issue since the defect was first brought to Foscam's attention in May and this is the first public acknowledgement that I am aware of. Previously this had only been acknowledged privately through email/phone. As there are currently 62,997 views on this topic in the Foscam forums and over 400 reported faulty cameras I'm glad that there is now an "official" acknowledgement of this defect.

I do contend with some of the statements you provided as these statements do not match the current experience from actual users.

Foscam US - "all cameras currently sold by Foscam US through the Foscam US website as well as through Amazon.com direct and the Amazon store "Foscam Digital Technologies LLC" have the issue 100% resolved as of November 2013"

This is simply not true. Users continue to report faulty cameras from these sources. It is also worth noting that several times over the last 7 months Foscam support told users (privately over email/phone) that the defect has been fixed and newly purchased cameras will function correctly. Regardless of these statements by Foscam, users continue to report defects. Data from 11/01 through 12/10 shows that 111 additional faulty cameras have been reported since November 1. Time may show otherwise, I hope it does, but currently this statement is simply not true.

Foscam US - "Furthermore, Foscam US (not the manufacturer which is Foscam China) is willing to replace any cameras free of charge (shipping cost covered both ways) which are suffering from this defect"

This is also simply not true (unless this policy very recently changed). I have 50+ emails back and forth with Foscam support detailing exactly how difficult it is to process the repair. My experience was not unique, as other users have reported similar experiences. Since 8/23 there have been 7 BBB complaints; overall the BBB gives Foscam a D rating. However, if these policies have recently changed then I applaud the decision to reverse Foscam's previous policy. (Amazon Review Update: Credit where credit is due, my second repair was processed smoothly so this process may indeed be getting easier)

Bottom Line:
1) Foscam's response claims that cameras sold from specific retailers have the issue resolved as of November 2013. This is simply not true based on consumer reports.
2) The response also claims that Foscam US will replace faulty cameras free of charge. If that is true, then that is a change in policy and a step in the right direction. However, many users outside of the US are also reporting faulty cameras. Unless the manufacturer (not simply a US distributor) steps up to repair the cameras, then these international users are still without a repair solution for their faulty cameras. Foscam the manufacturer needs to assist users in correcting this defect.

--The referenced data and user experiences above are detailed in the Foscam forums and from the BBB.--

:::: Update Regarding Multiple Reviews ::::

On 2/17 a version of this review was pulled-down from the Foscam 8919 listing. I asked Amazon to review the removal. Amazon performed a review (Megan, Kath and Kai specifically) and relisted the review unmodified on 2/20. In an effort to preempt any future problems I have modified some reviews for other affected Foscam models to point to the full details on this review. However, to be clear, Amazon approved the relisting as-is. Thank you to Amazon for taking the time to have humans evaluate this review in the context of my other reviews and to relist. It is always good to see a system/process that works as intended.
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on May 11, 2015
I have had this camera since January of 2014. I have a home office about 40 feet from the front door. I usually beat any service people and or delivery people to the front door. Also since I have a "No Soliciting" sign on the front door, I can Email the police a photo of the Solicitor resulting in 3 arrests from would be burglars pretending to be solicitors. Since the camera is motion sensor activated it will take a photo and Email my phone. I recently updated the camera and Roy Martin, remoted into my puter to fix a firmware Wi Fi problem, excellent support for a Sunday night! I plan to purchase a later model of this camera sometime this year. The only draw back of this camera is, I have a arched window above the door where I mounted the camera. Since the camera is mounted behind glass I cannot use the night vision feature since the LED's reflect back off the glass. Since my house is all brick there is really no place to mount the camera outside, other then that an excellent camera!
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on July 1, 2014
Works fine for me since I have background building computers and configuring routers and networks. What that helped me with as understanding the directions. Even so, I still had a few issues and had to walk away from it for an hour, then return and check all my settings and restart my router/computer. MY hangup was getting it to be viewable from the internet. It setup perfect and fast on the internal home network. But I was stuck on the internet thing until I took a break.
I didnt have to call tech support. I followed the directions step by step,. Its not HD, but I just wanted to get the whole process figured out before I invested too much money in it.
At this point, I'm ready to add 3 more cameras. I've got the hang of it. The picture is quite reasonable for non HD. The camera pans and tilts nicely. Very easily mounted on my garage wall I'd say maybe 75' from the router and behind 3 walls, out in the garage. Connection appears perfect.

My last advice is if you think you have all your settings correct, CHECK them again, restart your router, then restart your computer. Follow the directions line by line. You should be good. I've only had this an afternoon, so I'll update if anything else comes up. Be patient.

UPDATE July 7: Just installed my second camera. It was a breeze. I now have two going on my phone, tablet, and tower computer. The software that comes with it works nicely. It does all I need it to do. Allows multiple cameras and viewing from the internet.
Setup is really EASY. When setting up to view from the net you MUST do these things. Assign a port number in the setup page on the IP cameratool. You can assign almost anything. Try 8000, then make the next camera 8001, and so on. NOW, you have a camera with an ip address that is YOUR home IP address followed by :8000 or :8001. That now becomes the IP address of the camera. Go to Starbucks. Type your IP address in with the colon/port number (your ip:8000). There you go. You get the login screen. Log into the camera.
If you want to use the software that comes with it, add the camera with that SAME number.
I admit I was a bit stumped on the first one, but after playing with it for a week, then adding the scond camera, its a breeze for THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE SOME CONCEPT OF NETWORKING!!!!!! If you dont, either hire someone or dont buy this camera.

UPDATE: I've since added 3 more of these. And as I said, if you understand what you are doing, you'll be fine. but it is NOT for the average non networking person. You MUST understand how to allow ports through your router IF you want to setup viewing from your phone in a remote location. I use an Android app called IP Cam Viewer Basic. You have to pay 2.99 if you want to use the sound and mic features. Well worth it. The app is excellent. I would not advise the Foscam app as they try to bait you into another app that requires you to "login" with an email. No thank you.
I am completely satisfied with the price, setup and use of these cameras. Just ordered another anf a friend of mine ordered one based on my recommendations.
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on September 10, 2017
It was initially very exciting to imagine setting up a camera and have remote access to video when on vacation. But that required unjustified trust in the manufacturer. I know of NO OTHER networked device that requires a browser plugin to access that device. When you connect your cam to your router, you can detect it on your network with Fing, it gets an IP address, but you CANNOT access it; you get am error message telling you to download a plug -in, and then you can access the device. Why? Your guess is a good as mine. It doesn't seem to do anything except allow control of the PTZ. Adding to my suspicions is the report of a fake Foscam (is Amcrest just Foscam by another name, or are both hands just cover for a maker?) phone app about two years ago, and reports of ipcams phoning home autonomously.

To improve the privacy and security of the camera, I placed it on a separate subnet and finally behind a firewall. Furthermore, I set up Blue Iris on a dedicated PC to interface with this and two other cameras. Never have I been able to get reliable, unhindered access to the cameras. Sometimes they feed video, sometimes they don't. The PTZ controls sometimes are backwards, and IR on/off just doesn't work through Blue Iris, and didn't even work through controls through the web browser (sigh, yes I did download the plug -in against my better judgment).

Even in the setting of our workplace, where two Amcrest POE cameras are managed by an IT professional using Blue Iris, those cameras will just stop feeding video for no reason. We have a long way to go.

Again, the thing that drives me nuts is the need to download plug-ins for simple access to the camera web interface. You pretty much cannot do anything until you do, and as far as I'm concerned it is an unnecessary step that only benefits Amcrest.
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on September 4, 2014
Pretty pleasing image quality, functionality/rotatability, and really great remote international support, free! The cam works well as advertised.

One important caveat for Mac users (for Austria and maybe some other countries) : this model is not IPv6 compatible, alas. Will not work with ISPs running IPv6! It can't be accessed / recognized from outside your home (eg on your iPhone) if your ISP is using IPv6 protocol. This was confirmed by Foscam to me.

My ISP, UPC in Austria (main provider for Vienna) upgraded its systems nationally from IPv4 to IPv6 without any apparent notification. The FI8910W (purchased in May) worked fine in June 2014 under IPv4, then it was impossible to get it working under UPC's IPv6 protocol. UPC Austria does not answer any emails or bother to help its customers with a personal (downgrade?) solution for using this product.

I am very pleased nonetheless with this model while it ran on IPv4 and at this price; when I consider the US troubleshooting and setup support I got over the phone from Europe, free, albeit half hour toll free wait, it is commendable and I will buy additional products. However, it would be nice if Foscam made this IPv6 compatible to other existing users of this popular model. There may be geek tweaks to fix this issue but I just want a simple dependable security solution and await this to use it properly.
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on November 30, 2014
I purchased two of these cameras; one in Feb and one this month. I had been trying for months with the first camera to get the DNS (free w purchase) to work. I tried many troubleshooting steps in addition to tapping the expertise of my brother who is a network expert. I reluctantly tried Foscam tech support. The first thing she requested was remote access which I declined; she then was stuck on port forwarding even though I confirmed that it was setup and working properly. She was obviously reading from script and would not budge. I kept bringing her back to what I thought was the issue but she would not budge off of port forwarding issues. I disconnected from her and tried again to contact support. (In my years of experience in tech support, rep surfing is sometimes the only way to get proper help; I expect 1 good tech support rep for every 3 calls made). I was lucky with the next support person I reached. Instead of phrasing my issue that I could not get my DNS to work, I instead asked if the Manufacturer's Domain in the DDNS Service Settings should be blank. This worked. The rep asked me to very firmware version and when she confirmed it was the latest version, she told me that the camera firmware was faulty and required replacement. The only issue is that they required me to send it in and be without it for an unknown period of time. This camera was purchased to check in on an elderly family member who recently had surgery. Even without the DNS working, I am able to view using iCam app on my iPhone which uses the internal IP address. I then requested advanced replacement from Foscam (since my return period with Amazon had expired) and provided my credit card info for authorization. I emailed not once, not twice but three times and have received no reply. I decided to purchase a second camera for myself and set it up the same day I received it and it worked without issue so I know that the blank DDNS info is the cause of the issue. Not only are the cameras hit or miss, but so is the support. I have worked in tech support for over 15 years....be wary of reviewers indicating that support is great....no company has spot on tech support 100% of the time.
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on October 19, 2017
Have now used this camera for a few years, and it is still working fine. For a 480p camera, image quality is OK.
When senses motion, it might take a second or two before it takes a series of 5-6 images, and if a fast moving object, it might already be out of frame.
Also after those first 5-6 images, camera has to push them out (mail in my case) and it seems like it takes a little while to get it ready for a new set of images. Hence, a culprit could trigger the camera, let it take the first series of images, and move past it before it has "reset" and is ready to take an additional set.
Biggest drawback: the "soft" ("rubbery feeling") plastic breaks down and gets messy/sticky over time. The cheaper looking hard and shiny plastic is way better - and also much easier to keep clean.
Foscam has had some issues with firmware updates, etc, and I think the new US based company, Amsec (?) is better in managing an ensuring that these devices are not becoming backdoor entry ports to secured down networks (my camera is NOT accessible from the outside via the camera, so I never had an issue, but Foscam is on the hot list for "bots" when left open for outside access.
Final note: when buying a camera, look at the focal length and field of vision. Factors that DO matter depending on where you'd like to have it placed.
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on July 19, 2015
I bought two of these cameras almost 2 years ago, one black and one white. They've performed quite well since I got them, the white one was flawless but the black one was a bit quirky. I'm not sure if it was because the black one was installed behind a window pointing out towards the southwest where it gets its (almost) daily dose of intense direct sunlight. The matte finish of the black plastic became a sticky gummy surface that was impossible to clean. Also, the black camera recently stopped working. I've powered it down about a dozen times and it would not come back to life. As a last resort, I did a reset (to factory specs) and while at it also did a firmware update, which gave it a second life. It is now back in service like when it was new.

Just a word of caution when buying the black version of this camera, unless Foscam made a change in material, the plastic surface will deteriorate to a point where it will be sticky to the touch particularly when exposed to direct sunlight.

Connecting these cameras to the Blue Iris Software (purchased separately) gives these camera another dimension in their utilization and usefulness.
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on March 27, 2014
Just received this item today and I'm very happy with its capabilities especially for the price.
In addition to the required stuff, they include a CAT5 cable and even a nice wall/ceiling mount.
I like the SR-71 matte black finish, seems to be designed and built well. The pan/scan capability is smooth and excellent.

It took me just shy of 2 hours to get everything 100% setup, config over wire first then connect to protected WIFI, setup static IP with non-80 port, forwarded port in the router, setup DDNS, install and setup iPhone app to connect from outside the firewall, setup/test alarm schedule plus email notifications and image upload.
It's got a great menu... whatever you want to setup, it's in there. Whatever information you want, including logs of each time the unit noticed a sound, it's there too.

If I had one wish for this cam, it would be a higher image resolution (as in 1080p). I would also expect such a thing to be more expensive.
I also have a Tenvis on the way, it will be interesting to see how these two guys work together software-wise.
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My husband and I purchased this camera instead of a $300 Motorola nursery video monitor, and we really like it. We love that we can remotely login and move the camera around the room, we can see our baby even in a dark room and with a secure network no one can hack in. Our friends told us about this product, as they used it for their little one, and I'm so happy we listened to their reviews!
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