Now that Camcloud has extended its cloud services to support most consumer IP cameras, we’re going to start regular reviews of the cameras we support, giving our users the pros/cons of these various devices.
This post will look at the Foscam FI8909W camera. I’ll evaluate the camera’s Setup, Configuration and General Use. Overall I like this camera. Very easy setup and configuration. Picture quality is pretty solid and the features will suit most needs. Plus the price just can’t be beat. This is the cheapest camera I’ve reviewed at $60 US and once you connect it to our cloud storage and services for Foscam, it’s a fantastic overall value.
Easy, just what the doctor ordered. Install program that detects the camera on your network and it guides you right to the web based configuration. I do so many of these setups that it is just second nature to me but I love when it brings you right to the setup. Some cameras try to install some software first that does some of the setup. Bah, bring me to the configuration right away. Foscam delivers exactly that.
Once you are in the webpage it has a “Device Management” button that lets you configure anything you want.
Here you can setup the wireless, the network settings such as static IP, date/time etc. Easy and intuitive. Full marks to Foscam for keeping this simple.
Once I have it all setup I tried setting up snapshots to my ftp server.
I ran into an issue where it wouldn’t connect to my FTP server saying it didn’t support PASV mode. I know my server did so I didn’t understand the nature of this error. This was a good opportunity to email Foscam support. I’ve never tried using support before for any IP camera but thought this was a complex issue they could tell me about. Well, not quite. A few days later I received a response with a link to an article on how to setup FTP. Argh, I clearly outlined the steps of setting up the FTP server. Oh well, eventually I figured out the problem on my own. In fact Foscam didn’t like how my server was setup, so there was a setting I adjusted and it started working. A bit frustrating as I’ve tried many other cameras and never had a problem with FTP.
At any rate, small hiccup overall, in the end setting up motion detection and snapshots to the server eventually worked well. You can see the full explanation of how I setup the camera with Camcloud in our Foscam and Camcloud Setup Guide.
My only complaint is the hardware stand/mount. I like to mount the camera with the stand high up on a shelf. But the way the hardware pivot is made it can’t be pointed down far enough. Picture quality is great, motion detection works as expected (although I did have to bump up sensitivity to the top end). Functionality is minimal, for example when you setup motion detection you can’t create a motion window. This is a focused area in the cameras view, like a door or window. I should note that this is an MJPEG camera NOT H.264. This essentially mounts to sending images and not video. Even though you look at the live view and it looks like a video its not. It is just a bunch of images put together really fast. There are numerous pros and cons to this especially in comparison to H.264, you can see a nice description of the differences in this article. In terms of using this type of camera I’d say the one thing I’d miss is sound. Sound is certainly nice to have in synch with a video.
As you can see quality is great.
Overall this camera is hard to beat. Make sure you know what you want to do with this camera. If it is video surveillance of your home or office, do you need sound? Do you need video instead of just images? Still $60 (I can’t get over how cheap it is) for this camera pretty much covers what you need. Check out our Foscam page to see a list of other supported cameras and info on where you can buy them. Stay tuned, I hope to review a few other cameras that Camcloud supports and eventually I hope to give a review on my absolute favorite.