Welcome to this first post on my new blog!
This post will be about cheap Megapixel IP camera’s from China and my experience with them. Over the last year I’ve had 4 different models all with their own problems and faults.
There will be a separate post dedicated to the now ‘fixed’ 5Mpix camera which is finally working great! Making it a great quality camera for an unbeatable price.
I have purchased these cameras with 2 main tasks in mind:
- Usage with Genius Vision for event security purposes
- Usage with Xsplit to broadcast live video with overlays to ustream
In both cases I need the RTSP output of the camera.
The cameras that I have purchased are the following:
Now, let me tell you how my venture into cheap these Chinese Mega Pixel cameras went and all the hurdles and problems I’ve faced with them. 😉
When watching the videos please do so fullscreen and select “Original” quality for the best representation of the original video footage.
Using the well known Alibaba.com Chinese wholesale website I bought a IPS-913v. This camera is a 2Mpix camera developed by IPScam and has a 4x Zoom lens which can be controlled from Software. Fully Day and Night compatible with 20m range of IR LED’s.
Upon receiving the camera and trying it out I was very happy. The picture quality during the day was very good. The first problem appeared when zooming with the camera, the level of sharpness was affected by the zoom and so fully zoomed in or fully zoomed out where never both perfectly sharp. This was a bother because it made the zooming function pretty useless, but ok, as a static camera it was still pretty good.
Then night came and I tested the camera in the dark using IR. For some reason my daytime sharp scene was suddenly incredibly blurred! Unusable. After fiddling with it for days and getting into contact with IPScam the following turned out to be true.
The lens was horrible. Zoomed out and sharp during the day meant blurry at night. But, it would be sharp zoomed fully in during the night! :S Sadly, this made the camera useless for any purpose whatsoever.
I did come away with a good experience with the IPScam company and how they tried to help me.
To illustrate I have uploaded some sample videos to youtube:
The little DealExtreme camera. I bought this one to try a different brand and to see if all the cameras suffered from the same poorly constructed lens problems. To my surprise this little camera was actually pretty good! For the 1.3Mpix sensor it produced good images during the day and fine images during the night.
So the quality was overall fine, but combined with the price it wasn’t that great of a value. So the search continued but this proved that with a good lens the cheaper cameras could deliver!
Some sample videos:
The big order with IPScam. 3 Bullet style cameras and 1 Dome. Sadly, this experience wasn’t great either. The dome camera was ok, day was sharp and good but night with IR was still a bit blurry, but now workable.
But for some reason the bullet cameras did not share the same good quality and also showed problems with IR. IPScam tried to correct this by sending me new lenses (sadly 6mm instead of the 4mm I had) and although this helped the problem a bit, it still wasn’t as sharp or consistent between day and night as I would have liked. But certainly usable.
Some samples of using the IPS-922 Dome:
And samples of using the IPS-911 Bullet Camera:
The reason for writing this article. I ordered this camera because it was only a little bit more expensive the the above models and was still below 200 euro! I prepared myself it would be too good to be true and in part it was. I was unable to use the camera reliably until yesterday…. and that will be explained in the next blog post.
This camera also used to give corruption in Genius Vision, I am currently testing with the new firmware and results will be posted in the dedicated post.
Before the ‘fix’ it was unusable with xsplit because the stream would freeze about 10 to 15 minutes.
A sample of the 5 Megapixel camera, more in the dedicated post:
If you are wondering what to buy? The IPScam IPS-922 Dome did fairly well, the same would be true for the IPS-911 if the lens quality was better. Thus my conclusion is that IPScam has a quality consistency issues. They do however provide good support. These cameras with POE will cost you ~125 euro + shipping.
But since the 5Mpix camera is now working correctly. It’s image quality blows all of the above out of the water and is absolutely great. Day or night it’s sharp and just looks great! It is a bit more expensive with it’s price of ~200 euro, but well worth the extra cost. Continue reading it’s dedicated post.
If you have any questions or comments, please post below. I really appreciate any feedback! 😀