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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Value for money WMCIS?
I've had a Foscam 8908 PTZ for several years, bought to keep an eye on the little ones when toddling in their room. My many happy hours of tinkering set me in stead for the software set up of these puppies, which may not be for the faint hearted or less tekkie savvy...

Set-up. Don't mount them then try to set them up! Put them on the kitchen table, or better...
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by Mr. N. Coleman

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok for the price but let down by a serious bug
Apologies in advance for the long review.

I hadn't heard of Foscam until recently. A burglary has caused me to review my house security arrangements and I decided that some outside cameras should be part of the solution.

I knew I wanted IP cameras (sometimes referred to as Netcams) but there is such a variation in price and quality that I decided to...
Published 3 months ago by Mr. N. Edwards


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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Value for money WMCIS?, 23 Sep 2011
By 
Mr. N. Coleman (SW England) - See all my reviews
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I've had a Foscam 8908 PTZ for several years, bought to keep an eye on the little ones when toddling in their room. My many happy hours of tinkering set me in stead for the software set up of these puppies, which may not be for the faint hearted or less tekkie savvy...

Set-up. Don't mount them then try to set them up! Put them on the kitchen table, or better still, put them on top of your router and plug them in (Ethernet). Initial setup is by Ethernet only, Wi-Fi setting must be input from the browser interface once you have an Ethernet connection to the camera.

I suggest using their camera connection application and then set a fixed IP. Once done, log into the web interface by plugging in that IP into your browser. Word of caution. If you get a version of this camera with a colourful login page, take heed: use the top login for MS I. Explorer ONLY, use the "Server push mode" button for all other browsers - Firefox, Chrome, Rockmelt, Opera etc - you will lose a lot less hair that way!!!

The interface is no-frills but very functional. The administrator settings provide for 'Device info', 'Alias Settings (camera name), Date & time (auto from any NTP server), Users (admin plus extra other logins for non-administrator-users), Multi-device settings (enter the IP & logins of other cameras on the same system to see them all in one page), Basic network settings (same as the camera connection tool), Wireless LAN (with a scan button to find your SSID - and WPA2 encryption), ADSL dial-up (if you need that), UPnP, DDNS, Mail (tricky to set-up but will mail you if the motion sensor-based alarm is triggered), FTP (motion sensor alarm), upgrade firmware and reboot device.

I have two of these, one for my home-studio (music) and so long as you accept the distance cited as being the furthest you could reasonably expect to identify a person (day or night with IR illumination built in) then you are good to go. There is another version of this camera with a 30m range but of course the viewing angle is much-reduced.

With a little patience I found these to be superb value for money, not terribly difficult to set-up and offer good, clear images in the day and night, and at dusk the image is surprisingly clear right up to when the IR illumination automatically turns on.

Be warned, the cables are short! There is a female RJ45 for Ethernet and this needs a 20mm hole in the [wall, window cill, door frame, etc]. I wouldn't leave the RJ45 and DC power plug out in the weather, they won't cope, which means you have about a metre of cable from the camera mount position to the parts which need to be inside. Typically in CCTV, there would be a weather-proof enclosure for these things but this is the very cheapest end of the market and something has to give in order to bang these out for low bucks... Still a great bang for your buck nonetheless.

Highly recommended but be patient or get help from a tekkie friend BEFORE you screw them to the wall and you are good-to-go.

They are cheap but so far have given perfect service. They are quite wide angle
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly good, 16 July 2011
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nice camera and easy to setup.

good points:
- very low power consumption (3watts or so)
- uploads to FTP server
- acceptable image quality in both night and dark (good for this price range)

bad points:
- locked up once, which required removing power to get it back. unknown cause.
- weak mount. i am suprised the camera has stayed in the same position. i dont forsee the mount breaking, but the locking thumbscrews give little confidence it would hold up to any more than a light breeze. My camera is in a sheltered corner rather than exposed on an external corner/long wall.

other notes:
- motion detecting somewhat unpredictable - i guess no system is perfect though. it's better to have it too sensitive than not at all in order to save disk space, but also capture events. because of this, email alerts wouldn't be very useful.
- fly-lead from the back of the camera could do with being longer for some installs. you get around 1meter of cable which needs to be either installed in either a waterproof outdoor box, and/or consideration where you mount the camera for network/power.
there are suppl
- additional (generic) lenses are available from certain auction sites/imported from USA if different angles are required.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but be careful with the DC supply, 28 Dec 2012
By 
David Ramsay "David" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Taking advice from other reviews I set this up in the living room within easy distance to reboot it if necessary. Once I had the camera working, remove viewing and sending emails etc.I then mounted it on the outside of the building.

The problem here was that the power supply it comes with has a ridiculously short lead if you are to mount the unit outside. I bought a DC extension lead as suggested by Amazon and it did not mate properly with the camera connections so wire cutters and chocky-block was employed to extend the DC supply about 4m from the nearest mains socket.

All was fine, until it got dark and at that point I lost connection to the camera. When I looked at it the red leds were illuminated so there was DC power there. After a lot of mucking about and dis-mounting and re-mounting the camera I found it would work inside on a short DC lead in the light but not in the dark.

I then replaced the thin DC extension lead with a bit of mains cable (much thicker) all is well now. I can only surmise that the thin cable is responsible for a voltage drop even on a 4m run which is fine until the camera needs to power the night-vision LEDs.

So I suppose what I am saying is be careful with the length of extension that you use to power the camera and just because the LEDs are powered it doesn't mean the camera has enough power to keep the WiFi connection up.

The camera is now working well, although the field of vision is narrower than ideal and the trigger sensitivity is a bit random, but as a firt go at getting the system working and trying things out is has been worth the money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok for the price but let down by a serious bug, 28 May 2014
By 
Mr. N. Edwards "NiallEd" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Foscam FI8904W External Wireless IP Camera with 20m Night Vision and Remote Viewing (Electronics)
Apologies in advance for the long review.

I hadn't heard of Foscam until recently. A burglary has caused me to review my house security arrangements and I decided that some outside cameras should be part of the solution.

I knew I wanted IP cameras (sometimes referred to as Netcams) but there is such a variation in price and quality that I decided to tread carefully. The price and features of the FI8904W satisfied the requirements for my initial investigation.

The first thing to bear in mind that the resolution on this camera is 640 x 480 (also known as EGA). This is quite low by current IP Camera standards an more akin to the analogue CCTV cameras. The picture quality is ok and has a reasonable field of view. You can control brightness, contrast and frame rate but that is about it.

However, while you will be able to see someone standing 10m away, you will probably not be able to make out many of their facial features. I would only recommend using this camera in a close proximity situation such as close to a front (or in my case, back) door or for just general surveillance where fine detail is not required.

My second point is about WiFi. This is an outdoor camera and it is most likely going to be mounted on a brick wall. WiFi doesn't go through brick very well. Unless you are going put your router very close to the camera then be aware that you may experience interference or weak signal issues. Some reviewers have said they had problems with the camera not re-establishing its WiFi connection. If you have a weak signal then it is likely to exacerbate the situation. Amazon do sell a 'High Gain' antenna that reviewers have confirmed does improve the signal strength. Personally, I am planning to use an Ethernet cable and possibly a couple of powerline/homeplug adaptors as these are much more reliable.

Out of curiosity, I did a test using WiFi with the standard aerial and the results were disappointing. The camera was located outside about 5m from the router with several house brick walls between them. My laptop had no problem picking up the WiFi signal outside although it was down to about 3 bars. The camera worked for a few minutes and then refused to transmit a picture. In spite of several power downs, I could not get it to work again until I brought the camera back into the house and plugged the Ethernet cable back in. This worries me, as most people these days just expect wireless to work. At the very least, the power off/power on cycle should have got things going again.

I incorrectly thought this was due to poor WiFi performance but it turns out to be something much worse. Apparently there is something known as the DSP bug that affects all the Foscam model FI89xx cameras of a certain age. I don't know if Amazon will allow me to include a link but just in case they do, it is http://www.amazon.com/review/R30GQV3F3C8KGX/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B006ZP8UOW&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

if they do remove the link, you can find out much more about it on Amazon.com website in a review written by J Den titled "Foscam 8904 DSP bug". Foscam have responded to say that the bug has been fixed in all cameras manufactured after August 2013 but it definitely hasn't in the one that Amazon shipped to me on 28 April 2014. In essence, it makes the camera reboot itself when there is too much detail in view in bright light. You can mitigate it to some extent by reducing the contrast and brightness settings on the camera but it is still a serious problem.

I'm afraid this bug is what reduced my rating to 1 star.

My third point is about the bundle of cables that come out of the camera. In particular, the network adaptor. Foscam seem to have used the most bulky way of connecting the camera to the Ethernet cable possible. You will need to make a pretty big hole (around 30mm) if you want to pass it through a wall. To make matters worse, the power cable also connects to this huge connector.

I recommend that you buy some sort of weatherproof box to act as a junction point between the camera and any cables that you want to connect to it. That way, if you are using WiFi then you will only need a hole big enough for the DC power cable.

Once you get the camera, the first thing you will probably need to do is update the firmware. As Foscam fix problems or add new features, they make new firmware available for download. For some reason, Foscam make you register with them before they will tell you where to find the downloads. If you don't want to do that then do a search for 'foscam down3'. Look for a link that refers to 'ShenZhen Foscam Intelligent Technology'.

Be aware that some Foscam Cameras models start FI89xx and others start FI98xx, it is easy to get the two mixed up and you definitely don't want to install the wrong firmware. Foscam also have come up with a fiddly & long winded way of doing the upgrades. It isn't particularly difficult, it just takes a while and is not helped by the poor English translation.

It is strongly recommended that firmware upgrades are performed using an Ethernet cable rather than WiFi and I would suggest you do this along with any other configuration before you mount the camera.

Setting up is about as involved as you want it to be. If all you want is to be able to see the picture from the camera on your computer then it doesn't take much more than searching for your WiFi SSID and putting in your WiFi key. This camera uses ActiveX Controls which means that to get full functionality, you will have to use the Internet Explorer Browser. You can still use other browsers like Chrome or Firefox but there won't be so many options available.

For the price, the software built into the camera has quite a lot of functionality. You can set it up so that motion will trigger an alert and this in turn can start recording the video feed, send an email with pictures attached and upload images to a FTP server. It really is quite flexible, the only trouble is you have to keep a browser running on a PC to do the recording.

If you don't mind setting up a route through your firewall/router then you can view the camera remotely from the Internet. I'm not completely convinced about the security implications of doing this but the option is there and I suspect it will appeal to quite a lot of potential buyers.

If you only have one camera then there is enough functionality built into the camera to do recording and emails without installing any additional software. I don't know how well it work for Apple users though.

Foscam do provide some additional free camera monitoring and recording software which in theory will allow you to monitor all your cameras on a central PC. Unfortunately, it is horrible to use, buggy and the English translation in the help file is appalling. I very quickly gave up on it. I think Foscam realise this as they recommend using some monitoring and recording software called 'BlueIris'. It doesn't cost much and is definitely worth the money if you are planning to monitor several cameras (including many not made by Foscam).

This is a Day/Night camera which means it uses built in infra red (IR) LEDs in the dark so that the camera can still 'see' and record. This works quite well if you don't mind the black and white images. The image quality also seems a little worse when using IR and I don't know if you would be able to make out a face on a moving object but I haven't really tried it close up. To be honest, it might be better to put up a PIR controlled halogen or SMD LED flood light and use that to provide light for the camera at night. It would also improve the deterrent effect at night as ideally you want a potential intruder to see the camera and hopefully go away.

Overall, for the money, I think this camera is ok (apart from the major bug). You get a lot of features and acceptable quality when compared to an analogue system. I hesitate about recommending it to a complete novice though as the English translation of the help files leaves a lot to be desired. Personally, I think the FI98xx cameras (such as the FI9805) are a much better buy; they have a higher resolution, better picture quality and seem to be getting regular new features added by Foscam.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars FOSCAM FI8904W - All good except wifi, 28 Jan 2012
By 
K. Shah "KJ" (Solihull, UK) - See all my reviews
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The camera seems extremely cost-effective solution and value for money for the price.

Looks good, functions well. I was able to set it up quite easily. As per the other reviewer, I connected it to my router using a cable first, and was able to set up wifi, motion detection, email functionality & ftp image upload functionality. When I set it up outside my house, everything worked like a charm.

The only issue, wifi connection would break for no reason. And when that happened, there was no other option but to power off the camera and switch it on again. Then things would work fine again for some time (or days) and then wifi connection will break again.

I looked for the solution online, with no success. So, had to return the camera.

If someone is going to use it as a wired camera, I don't think there is anything else available in the market in this price-range. But as a pure wifi camera, I am not sure.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't use outside, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Foscam FI8904W External Wireless IP Camera with 20m Night Vision and Remote Viewing (Electronics)
We bought 6 of these camera's to set up an outside security system specifically to record any events such as intruders in our gardens or walking around our large detached house. My comments here might not be relevant to every one. It depends on what you want from these cameras.

Generally the cameras are well made and good quality. The picture quality is good and the infra red at night time is also good.

I had an electrician install and set up the cameras.

Two of the cameras were faulty on arrival. One would not connect to the wireless network. The other had no infra red. these were quickly replaced by Amazon - Thanks.

The plan was to connect all 6 cameras to the network wireless. The network signal is excellent at every position. So this was the first major problem. The cameras would drop off the network for no good reason. Unreliable. So we made the decision to wire each camera, which took the best part of a days labour from the electrician, 6 x 30 meter network cables and 2 x network switches as we didn't have enough spare ports on the routers. (+300)

After that all 6 cameras functioned OK.

The software supplied did not function at all. After several hours and a long telephone conversations with Foscam we downloaded a different version which at first glance looked OK. However, that version too had several major issues and could not be set to record events from the cameras.

The solution was to use the software built into each camera, which can be set to alarm and record on the PC and send a notification email. However, that only alarms, records and sends a notification email if the camera view window is open. It stops these activities if you are on the settings menu, so remember to have the camera view window open all the time on at least one camera or cameras don't alarm or record.

The last issue which is totally unacceptable is the way the camera motion detector triggers with rain or fog. Even set at a very low sensitivity they are almost permanently triggered when raining of foggy. There is no way you can set the cameras not to trigger when its raining and still trigger if you walk pass them. Consequently when its raining you need to turn all the alarms, email alerts and recording off. In other words they are basically useless if you want them outside to record when triggered. The first night of having the system working it started to rain around 3am. I had to get up and turn my wifi on my tablet off due to all the emails. In the morning I had over 700 emails and half my hard disk was full of video of rain!

So its for all the above reason I score these as a 1. The cameras were only a small part on the investment as we have bought LED spot lights, uninterrupted power supplies ( 2 x 3000VA) so the cameras, flood lights,PC and the network still function if power is cut, and the electricians bill as well, and its totally useless. So if you want a camera to monitor a baby or see who's at the door, or monitor a shop , office or factory, then you will probably be OK. If you want to use them outside to record events and alarm is there's some activity then these are a total waste of money. If any one from Foscam read this and has any suggestion I will be please to here them!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality - avoid, 19 Nov 2010
This product is frankly appalling; had the description stated "cheap, unbranded and made in China" I would not have wasted my time and money. The fixing bracket is flimsy and the cabling cumbersome. The short length of the cable is highly restrictive and would require a significant size hole in the structure of the property to have any hope of security and/or concealment without cutting and re-fixing if being used outside. The alternative of leaving the cables on the outside of the property would leave the re-set switch exposed and vulnerable to interference and exposure to the elements.

The unit is not only larger than other products on the market the wireless antenna is overtly prominent making the unit unattractive for a domestic residential setting. Reaction to changes in light is slow and deteriorates over distance.

The software provided is very straightforward and loaded easily enough on Windows Vista, likewise the setup interface is user friendly when running on a fixed LAN. Motion sensor and email alerts work well on LAN but the wireless functionality (which is essential given the aforementioned cabling problems) is unstable.

Whilst a basic understanding of computer components will allow you to set up the camera the instructions provide little technical detail of any use and are poorly translated. There is no obvious source for on-line support; ie no website, email address or telephone number for advice.

This would be a reasonable product for indoor use on a fixed LAN but as a serious contender for exterior WAN security my personal view is leave well alone. I can only hope that the returns policy is of better quality and more reliable than that of the product they are providing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foscam F18904W, 16 Feb 2014
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Great CCTV camera for the price - Good clear daylight picture and acceptable night-time range on infra-red. Couple with a good app (I use the Android app 'tinycam monitor pro') and you have easy access on tablet or mobile and the ability to record at a reasonable rate if required (not an apple addict so not sure what is available for iPhone or pad). Read the other reviews and plan your installation carefully though as the attached cable that terminates in a ethernet plug, DC power connector and reset button is only 28" long. Ideally you will want to have the ethernet plug tucked out of the weather as well as the power lead - you may also need access to the reset button without climbing up ladders if a reset is required! The Ethernet plug needs a hole of around an inch and a quarter so I mounted my camera at gutter level and cut a hole through the wooden soffit board and then ran a power supply across my loft keeping the vulnerable end of the cable safe from the weather (didn't fancy drilling an inch and quarter hole in my wall, but not a disaster if you have to). Set-up was straightforward but do it before climbing up ladders to install the actual camera. The supplied mount looks flimsy but mine has so far survived the worst winter (very windy) with no miss-haps (fingers crossed)! I only have my cameras connected via my home WiFi network and have not yet tried connecting remotely via internet but hell, nothing like a good old techie challenge to test those grey cells - just not got round to it as not a priority. Anyway, you pays for what you gets and I consider this to be a great product for the price!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value CCTV wireless Option, 8 July 2013
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This is the second Foscam camera we have purchased. The picture on this model is crisper, unfortunately the bracket, although much improved, is a little flimsy. Very good value and would use again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FOSCAM Silver FI8904W Outdoor IP Camera (3.6mm lens) - UK, 27 Nov 2011
Overall I am satisfied with this camera. The motion detector works fine. The quality of the images are decent, nothing exceptional. Video quality is good. I intend to add 3 more of these. The only annoying part is the power supply. Mounting it on the outside wall is not so easy, however this is more due to my inexperience.
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