Foscam FI8918W

I have a webcam page on my website since 2007 or so; the first camera I used for this page was a Sony EVI-D30 PTZ camera with a Convision V200 video server. You could even move the camera around but this was rarely used and the Convision wasn’t really efficient, it got really hot so I wanted something else instead; so I bought a Axis 206 Network camera and used that one for a couple of years. A couple of months ago the Axis stopped working, so I had to find a new camera. The requirements for this new camera were not that hard, cause all this camera had to be able to do was showing a LED bar reasonably well, it should have wired Ethernet and the housing should not be too big. And of course it should support all browsers, with or without a little ‘help’.

I decided to test a Foscam FI8918W. Some highlights:

  • Image Sensor: 1/4″ Color CMOS
  • Image res. 640 x 480 Pixels
  • Minimum Illumination: 0.5 Lux
  • Built-in Microphone and Speaker
  • Resolution and fps: 15 fps @ 640×480 (VGA), 30 fps @ 320×240 (QVGA)
  • Ethernet: 10/100Mbps RJ-45
  • Wireless: IEEE 802.11b/g, WEP & WPA WPA2
  • Protocols: HTTP,FTP,SMTP,DHCP,PPPoE,DDNS,UPnP
  • Pan/Tilt Angle: 300° /120°
  • 11 IR LEDs, night visibility up to 8 meters
  • Dimension: 110 x 100 x 108 mm
  • Net Weight: 418 gr.
  • Power Supply: DC 5V
  • Power Consumption: 5 W
  • Price: <100 euro.

The time between unpacking and actually using this camera is very short; you should be able to get it up and running in a matter of minutes. Connect the Ethernet cable, start the IP Camera tool that’s on the setup CD, double-click on the camera found and you’ll find the login page:

Device configuration is very straightforward; all settings are categorized into 15 pages for Network settings, DDNS, Wireless, Mail, FTP, PTZ etc. so it’s very easy to find the setting you’re looking for; and it’s all there – all the settings you may expect to be on a camera in this price range. Some pages (FTP, email) have their own test buttons, so you can instantly test if your settings are correct.

I removed the old Axis 206, assigned the IP address of the old Axis to the Foscam , mounted the camera to the ceiling (upside down),  and in 15 minutes I was good to go 🙂

Since the webcam page worked with a Java applet, I had to change that page a bit. But with a SDK manual I found, this change was very easy to do; all I needed was a <img> tag in the page, like this:

<img src="http://cam2.hekkers.net/videostream.cgi?user=guest&pwd=guest" />

This was enough to support all non-IE browsers. However, there are still some people who are using IE and I didn’t want to burden them with downloading an ActiveX file to be able to view the camera image. I mean, would you download an ActiveX from an unknown, nerdy website about Domotica? I wouldn’t 😉 So I used a few lines of Javascript to create something acceptable:

<img src="http://cam2.hekkers.net/snapshot.jpg?user=guest&pwd=guest"
         name="foscam" id="foscam" width="320" height="240" onload='reload()'>

This <img> tag and the Javescript below creates a constantly reloading snapshot on the webcam page:

Add some browser detection to the page so that each browser (IE vs. non-IE) gets its own ‘version’ of the page and everybody can view my new Foscam camera without the need for ActiveX! And that’s exactly what I wanted.

Conclusion: this new Foscam camera gives excellent value for money, provides a decent image, has all the features you can expect considering the price (of which many aren’t even used by me…) and certainly worth considering when you’re looking for a new webcam.

Another thing worth mentioning is the good support I got from the people at ipcam-shop. Although I haven’t bought any camera there yet, the quick response to my questions was astonishing; these people still know what customer care means. I know where I will buy my next cameras, that’s for sure!

 

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2 Responses to Foscam FI8918W

  1. Michael says:

    Thank you for the helpful info you published on your website.

    You mentioned “a SDK manual I found”; I have been searching the internet for just such a document. Would you be kind enough to share where you found it? I am a developer who is interested in creating some code for my own website to view and control my cameras.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  2. Michael,
    Just use your favorite search engine and search for “IPCAM CGI SDK 2.1” and you’ll find it 😉

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