Foscam FI8909W IP-Camera Review

Foscam FI8909W
This review will look at the Foscam FI8909W wireless IP-camera. We will evaluate the camera’s setup, configuration, general usage, as well as the image quality. We’ll start out by saying that overall this is a solid IP-camera and with a street price under US$75.00 (Google search 10/24/2013) and it delivers a very good value.

The setup and configuration was straight forward and easy to follow. Picture quality is crisp and clear and the features will suit most small business needs. The price-to-feature comparison of this camera pushes it into the recommend column. This is one of the most inexpensive IP-cameras we have reviewed that delivers this kind of quality video imagery. Although this is an MJPEG camera and NOT a H.264 IP-camera it is still an excellent overall value.

Setup
Easy and straight forward as anyone would hope. Install program was actually able to detect the camera on our network. The wireless connectivity was strong. The rest of the setup guides you to the camera’s webpage configuration. We have done so many of these setups that it is just second nature now but it’s nice when it brings you to the setup without extraneous steps. Some other cameras may install additional setup software first instead of just bringing you directly to the configuration screen. Foscam delivers exactly that.

Once you are in the webpage it has a “Device Management” button that lets you configure anything you want.

Foscam Initial Setup
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Here you can setup the network settings including the wireless functionality. As best practices dictate for any IP-camera, you will want to set the static IP address of the camera. On this setup page you will also set the date/time and other general camera items. Again, this process is easy and intuitive. Top marks to Foscam for keeping this simple.

Configuration
Once the general setup settings were implemented, we attempted to set snapshoting to our FTP server.

Foscam Configuration

We ran into an issue where it would not connect to our FTP server indicating that the FTP server didn’t support PASV mode. Our server did support PASV mode, which meant something was amiss. This was an ideal opportunity to email Foscam technical support. A few days later we received a response back from Foscam with a link to an article on how to setup FTP. That was a bit disappointing.

We had clearly outlined the steps of setting up our FTP server in our email so they should have been able to see that the FTP setup was not the issue. We tried various FTP settings and eventually found one that would allow the connection to the FTP server. This is small not as other IP-cameras we have setup for FTP did not have this idiosyncrasy.

Next, setting up motion detection and snapshots to the server worked well.

General Use
Our only usage complaint is the hardware stand mount – technically not really part of the IP-camera. We tend to mount cameras with the stand high up on a shelf looking down in it’s field of view. But the way the hardware pivot is made it can’t be pointed down far enough.

Picture quality is great and motion detection works as expected, although we did have to bump up sensitivity to the top end to trigger the recording. Motion detection functionality is minimal. For example, when you setup motion detection you can’t create a motion window. This is a focused area in the cameras view, like a door or window.

Being a MJPEG IP-camera means we are sending images and not a video stream. Even though you look at the live view and it looks like a video it is not. There are numerous pros and cons to this especially in comparison to H.264. In terms of using this type of camera I’d say the one thing I’d miss is sound. Sound is certainly nice to have in sync with the video.

A typical example of the really good video image quality.

Quality Video Image Quality of Foscam FI8909

Overall, this camera is a very good value. Make sure you know what you want to do with this camera. If it is video surveillance of your home or office, do you need sound? Not only is the low cost a positive, it pretty much covers what you will need for a basic surveillance camera. Check out our Foscam page to see a list of other cameras.

Do you have a Foscam IP-camera? We would like to hear about feedback.

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