Observation on lowcost PTZ IP cameras (Foscam, Foscam clones et el – as found on

Many of you will be aware of the lowcost cameras on ebay, but I thought I’d offer up my observation, it may help somebody out.

I bought 2 x IP PT cameras, the first one was a clone of the second, I’ll explain. The name brand camera, is made by a company called Foscam, there are many many clones of this camera, which look identical, but are not quite the same ( do a Google for ‘Foscam IP camera knock-offs etc ), the first camera I purchased was the clone/copy, I was aware of this but thought it worth shot after some research.

Follows a very quick summary of the differences, maybe some overlap here…

Clone of Foscam

Cost less, around $15 less
Nearly as good as Foscam (rumour has it they are made in the same factory)
Supplied software is not as good as Foscam, also the documentation is poor
Not quite as well made, but not much in it, Foscam slightly better built
The audio function doesn’t seem to work, and apparently from what I have read, never will..needs further testing though to be certain.
Image not as clear as Foscam

Foscam FI8908W

Cost slightly more
Supplied software is better, supports ‘push’ to Firefox
Image clearer from edge to edge when compared to clone
I think the embedded software is very similar if not identical to the clone, except for this, the Foscam has a setting where you can turn off the front mounted network activity LED, the clone did not have this, maybe newer ones do.
Have higher hopes of getting the audio to work

AFAIK, no zoom on both cameras, should be called ‘PT IP cameras’ really.

I had the need to ask the reseller of the clone a technical question, and to be fair, they responded within 24hrs, broken English mind you, but the they did answer the question, had to do the same for the Foscam, same result.

I also bought 4 lowcost analog cameras, like these: http://cgi.ebay.com/36-IR-leds-NV-420-TVL-Sharp-1-3-CCD-Camera-3-6mm-lens-/230513373263?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0

They are not bad considering the price, however, I’ve had issue using the supplied 1A PSU with very long cable runs, 100 to 200ft. With the long cable runs the image is fine, but the IR LEDs do not switch on at night, the PSU doesn’t supply enough juice to the cameras, easily proved by connecting several short cables to the cameras,and then the IR LEDs work fine. I bought a camera PSU unit and have connected 2 of 1A circuits together to provide 2A, they still do not switch on, so I’m hoping 3A will work

I also find a possible bug in the Foscam firmware – I’m trying to set the ‘Set AlarmRecord Path’ under ‘User Settings’ to something OTHER than ‘C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents’ – every time I browse and set it to my location of choice it sets it back to the default again. I have tried rebooting etc etc all to noavail.

I have no issue in setting the ‘Set Record Path’ to a location of my choice, just the ‘Set AlarmRecord Path’ causes a problem.

They may have fixed this now, I based this on the software that was supplied with the camera around 18 months ago.


About hedscratchers

A UK ex-pat now living in the USA.
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