This is part of our continuing series of IP camera reviews. The reviews focus on cameras that work with Camcloud’s IP camera cloud services. Hopefully this will help customers pick the camera that’s right for them.
For this post I will review the Sony CX600 Network Camera. Sony makes a large number of cameras, many of them targeted at high-end commercial, banking and other applications. They are not considered a consumer camera, but some of their entry level cameras can be found at Amazon.com and other retailers. These are definitely worth considering if you need an IP camera with extra monitoring features for your home or business.
Warning though – if you’re price shopping cameras, they aren’t cheap. The Sony CX600 is priced at $350+ dollars on Amazon at the time of this writing.
I’ll review the camera’s Hardware & Video Quality, Motion Detection Features, and Video Storage Options.
Hardware and Video Quality
Well, what can I say? It’s a Sony. All the hardware components are well built, right down to the sturdy metal stand. The only grumble on the hardware side was the USB connector required to enable WiFi. First, I don’t understand the reason for a separate USB port for this, and it could just be me (probably is), but I couldn’t actually get WiFi setup. Still, I’m 100% sure their WiFi works fine, just a problem I ran into.
Regarding video quality, it’s great, as you’d expect for a camera priced at this level. I had the camera pointed outside on a snowy day and it picked-up individual snowflakes while maintaining good contrast on what was a very white, bright outdoor scene. That’s obviously a subjective rating, but rest assured these cameras will allow you to configure more video settings than you’ll probably ever need. It supports up to 3 video streams with up to 1280 x 720 resolution, with full control over just about every facet of that stream’s video settings — everything from frame rate, bit rate compression options, white balance, exposure, and on and on. Great stuff if you’re a video settings geek.
So, all in all a slam dunk in this area.
Motion Detection Features
This is where this device shines. If you want to use an IP camera to monitor your premises or small business, the Sony CX600 has numerous options to configure how and when to record video. I’ll do a whole separate post on the motion detection options since they are worth a write-up of their own. The basic summary, however, is you can set a large number of different “triggers” that the camera will then use to begin a recording – everything from Facial Recognition to Camera Tampering Detection. Even the Motion Detection settings have some great options — very flexible Detection Area settings, along with other options you can see in the screen grab below.
For the purposes of this review, I used some straightforward motion detection settings (which I actually configured through Camcloud, see next section). The Camcloud defaults configured the Detection Area as the full screen, used the camera’s default Detection Size options, and Sensitivity at approx 2/3 of the scale. This worked well during my tests which were mostly indoor office applications capturing people moving about. As mentioned previously, I’ll do a deeper dive on their full range of features here in a separate post.
As mentioned, I setup the camera to work with Camcloud since I’m partial to cloud-based storage where all the media is stored offsite in the cloud. (If you’re interested, here’s a video that shows how to setup a Sony network camera with Camcloud.)
If that’s not your bag, there are plenty of other options built right into the camera, see screen grab below. Most of these options are offered in other cameras, except for a few you don’t see too often like custom Voice Alerts and HTTP notifications. FTP upload option is for still images only (side note: if you use Camcloud for storage we will record and store video for you).
Regardless of what option you select, setup is straightforward. I really like how you can combine different actions; when combined with the highly customizable event triggers, this camera gives you maximum flexibility for how and when you want recordings to be captured. Great stuff.
If you have the need for a high-end camera to capture important recordings, definitely include this device on your list (I’d also add some cameras from Axis Communications). If your needs are more straightforward — watch some live video when you need, along with some basic monitoring capabilities, then this camera is probably overkill, especially when you consider the price. We see many customers who deploy 5+ cameras in their business, so I could see the need for 1-2 of these cameras that are monitoring areas that need the Sony features and the rest you could get away with a lower-priced option. If you take that approach and need cloud storage, try the Camcloud service for free since the service allows for mixing and matching different cameras. Good luck!