Friday, February 7, 2014

Foscam FI8918W and F18910W Review

In the last several weeks, I've had 2 friends inquire about the webcams that we utilize to keep an eye on our pets while we are away.  That got me thinking that I should do a post in case others might be interested in webcams as well.

We got our first webcam over 5 years ago, it was the Panasonic BL-C131A, which is outdated/discountinued. It has served us well and continues to work just fine.  You can control the camera remotely via web interface and it has tilt/pan/zoom.

Foscam FI8918W

However, we recently added 2 new webcams to the mix.  They are both the
Foscam FI8918W, shown here below. 

We went with these for a number of reasons:
  • Offers a much larger range of motion:  Pan/Tilt Angle Horizontal:300°/Vertical: 120°.
  • Provides night vision: Infrared Light 11 IR LEDs,Night visibility up to 8 meters.
  • 2 way audio capability  
  • Inexpensive, currently in the mid $60 range.  Original cam was double that.
  • Excellent reviews on Amazon
The cameras have been great.  We purchased the first Foscam about a year ago and recently added the second one.

The reason for 3 cams is that the cats hang out in 3 main spots, our living room, our master bedroom and the spare bedroom.  So we actually use the Panasonic and 2 Foscams at the same time when we're not here.  That pretty much allows us to see most of our 2 story condo.  

After we got our Foscams, my sister Michelle got 1, a friend of mine at work got 1 and then added a 2nd one and another friend just asked me to forward him the details and he is ordering one as well.

They've been a big hit and work really well!

The only issue we run into occasionally is that the camera that is furthest away from the wireless router occasionally goes inaccessible for short periods of time.  It is only intermittent and due to the weak signal in that room.  By the way, you can also use a wired network connection if available.

In regards to the 2 way audio, the camera has a built in microphone so that you can hear what is going on in proximity to the camera.  If you need two way audio, you would have to hook a speaker up to the camera.

Honestly, we have only listened to the audio 1 time and have never had a need to be able to speak back, but if that is important to you, just wanted to make you aware of how that works.

These cameras are a great way to be able to watch pets while you're away, to use as a baby monitor, or even just to keep an eye on your home.

I'm thinking that my sister Jen needs to get one and set it on the bookshelf so that we can watch our nephew Max play all day.  That would make things so much easier, no need for anyone to carry around an iPhone or iPad for FaceTime video chats!

And oh, by the way, the web interface where you can control the webcam is all accessed by login/password.  You can setup custom accounts that have limited or full access.

There are several different free apps for your mobile device that you can use to control your camera(s).  The one we use for the iPhone is called CamViewer.  Below are actual screen shots from my phone utilizing CamViewer that I just took when I got home.  The two kitties upstairs were looking out the window and the other two came to greet me downstairs. 


The above pictures were taken with my phone in vertical mode.  If you switch to horizontal mode the picture is bigger and the arrows to control the cam go invisible as shown below.  In horizontal mode, you just click on areas of the screen to move the cam.

If you are on a computer, you just point your browser to the appropriate URL and you're good to go.  The browser screen looks like the image below.

The one we all have is the Foscam FI8918W

Foscam F18910W

On the product page, they also mention there is a newer version available which is the Foscam F18910W, which has is supposed to have a slightly better picture for about $10 more.


Either webcam is highly recommended and with 4 separate households utilizing them, I can say for sure that if you're looking for a webcam, you can't go wrong with the slightly less expensive Foscam FI8918W or the newer, slightly better quality Foscam F18910W!


Jen said...

Mom said no camera... you'll have to take that up with her.

Chris said...

Haha, bummer. It would be so much more convenient! :o)

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