If you’re a beginner to using home security cameras or aren’t looking to set up a whole CCTV just yet and really only need a camera or two that you can keep an eye on for your front/back door (or other space of your choosing), the Foscam FI8918W is an awesome choice. At a price point hovering around a mere $80 – $100, these are inexpensive, have a great deal of features to play around with, and will bring you a great picture and sound quality day or night.
I’ve owned the previous model in the past (the Foscam FI8908W), so I have reference for comparison in this overview. That being said, I must say that I enjoy the look and feel of this model more than the older one. Not a ton has changed; you can tell that the newer models base is definitely a bit larger and sturdier feeling, making the camera a bit more solid and “bulkier” feeling which is actually nice. The microphone hole (which used to be on the sphere containing the camera in the old model) has been moved onto the base. My favorite change to the design however goes to switching the blinking LED light to the BACK of the camera instead of on the face! Hard to believe nobody considered the difficulty of keeping a blinking camera hidden. Such a simple engineering task that makes such a big difference in customer satisfaction.. I’m certainly not the first consumer to gripe about this issue in the old model.
These are a cinch to get started up and running for just about anyone, even if you’ve never owned a video camera of any kind. If you’re experienced at all with these sorts of things you could probably get by without even using the included quick installation guide. If electronics are a hurdle for you, the guide even includes screenshots and pictures of how to set everything up, This includes adding the camera to an existing home or business network as well as using the free DNS services that let you view the cameras from any computer or smartphone.
If you’re concerned about setting the camera up wirelessly, this is simple as well. All I had to do was scan for a wireless network and put in my network security code and it was all set. Viewing on the cameras web interface is pretty nice as well, and I didn’t even have to install the included software in order to do so through my browser. If you’re tech savvy you can set up the software to view up to 9 different security cameras at one time, which leads to of course mentioning that the cameras network is expandable up to a total of nine cameras if you’re looking to have an impenetrable fortress of defense. These nine (or less) cameras can each individually be viewed and controlled using the remote viewing feature on any computer or smart phone.
Speaking of that blinking LED earlier.. the web interface now also includes an option to turn it on and off! Another simple feature that doesn’t change everything, but gives you a smile to find. Now only is it not on the face of the camera any longer, but it doesn’t need to be there at all anymore if you’d prefer.
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You won’t be able to make out someones eye color with the quality of this camera, but for the price you really cannot beat it. Streaming video comes in at an excellent 30 FPS (Frames per second). Picture quality isn’t bad at all either. Faces and other details can be made out easily, and although colors are a little saturated and washed out (think pre Iphone/Droid quality cell phone picture) if you really need much better color accuracy for some reason you should expect to pay a bit more. The color doesn’t detract from the functionality of the camera altogether at all, however.
The FI8918W includes 11 infrared LED lights on its face surrounding the camera lens which allow viewing in total darkness up to 8 meters with the picture remaining pretty clear. With decent lighting the picture quality is excellent though. When panning around with the camera lens you’ll notice the FPS drop down to 10 – 15 or so but will quickly return to normal. Images look great especially in normal lighting though, and especially when the camera lens is stationary.
You can take your picture quality even a step further though with the shutter speed settings feature. If you’re streaming/recording video in low low/darkness, there’s a 60hz setting to accommodate this. Medium/decent lighting has a 50hz setting, and if you’re using the camera outdoors during the day around 40hz or lower is your best bet. Even with these options, you can leave it around medium and let the automatic light sensor make changes to optimize for lighting. Unfortunately, shutter speed is not one that can be auto corrected for light.
As stated earlier, you can view and remotely control up to nine of these at once. This is great if you have a large area to view or simply want every nook and cranny covered of your home or business.
If you’re a smart phone user like myself using either an Iphone or Android device, there are applications available that support remote viewing of your wireless security cameras directly from your phone. This means you could be on the other side of the country checking up on your home in real time directly from your phone. Directly through any browser as well on any computer with an internet connection you have the ability to view and control any of your nine home security cameras. The browser and smart phone application both have a number of options to remotely control the camera view. You can pan up and down to the point of going from the ceiling to the floor, and can adjust the speed at which the camera will pan as well. The faster you’re moving the lens the lower your FPS will appear of course, although it never is reduced to the point of becoming a slide show.
The smart phone application doesn’t come with all of the features of the browser unfortunately, but for viewing remotely on the fly anywhere you find yourself with your phone is pretty amazing in itself. The “swipe-to-pan” method used to pan with your phone is admittedly a ton of fun. The browser comes standard with a lot of features, including the ability to toggle the audio in/out off and on, toggle the infrared LED’s on and off, as well as whether to begin or stop recording video. If set up for the task, recorded video can then be emailed to you or saved on a server of your choosing.
You can even set up the motion detector feature to activate emailing a series of emails to yourself and four other recipients featuring images of what was taking place in the moments following motion detection. You’ll receive an email containing a number of images of the recorded movement, and can even have the light set to turn on prompted by detected movement.
Anything else worth mentioning? I could probably go on about this particular cameras features, but I’ll spare you.
Whether you’re new to remotely viewable and wireless home security cameras or seem to have a never complete collection of them to play with, this model can satisfy just about anyone in any price range. In one camera you’ve got the ability to remotely view from anywhere with an internet connection, monitor with decent image quality in any lighting conditions, record video and audio simultaneously, and that’s not even everything. This is a very affordable but formidable piece of equipment for anyone to consider for their expanding home security camera systems.Compare Prices And Order Now!
* Will work fine on all standard browsers, Wi-Fi simple to connect
* Remotely view from anywhere, record from anywhere anytime, automatic alert when movement detected via email or image uploaded to an FTP server
* Remote control pan and tilt functions from any browser or smart phone, Easily toggle the Infrared LED on/off
* Automatic Infrared LED illumination for use in total darkness and outdoors (up to 8 meters)
* Easy to configure, excellent image and video quality, reciprocating-direction audio monitoring