IP cameras & comparing IP camera video quality

 My experience with four Foscam IP camera models

On this page I share sample video clips from my four types of Foscam IP cameras (FI9821PB; FI9804W; FI9803EP & C1) and from an Amcrest IPM-743E. I show critters doing critter stuff but it all applies to sketchy humans if you are focused on home & property security more than wildlife.

Foscam FI19821 Indoor 720P Pan and Tilt Camera IP camera IP cameras

Pan and Tilt cameras can be pointed in all directions by hand or remotely. Mine runs on a wired network but the camera has WiFi. IR LEDs allow night vision.

I have 720P IP cameras units inside and out and a couple of megapixel units. I tend to buy cameras with slightly outdated specification that are cheaper, these give a fair picture. I also worry about overloading my upload capacity on the camp DSL with the highest resolution cameras making larger data-streams and files. My video of a bad-boy possse of raccoons raiding my basement via the cat flap gives a feel for quality that can be achieved at 720P resolution. Something to watch is the raccoons vs the background: The quality of the moving parts of the image that has to be processed fast vs the static stuff where there is little change (the Raccoons look fine to me). That was shot with a Foscam FI9821PB baby-monitor style indoor pan and tilt camera recording via Ethernet cable in my PC copy of Blue Iris and triggered by motion. There is an updated model with 1.3 megapixel resolution. Usually this camera sits behind my main TV: If anyone tries to move the TV then they are on camera but the camera is not otherwise streaming my home life. When I leave for camp I move it on top of the adjacent mantelpiece so it is scanning the whole living-room while I’m away.

Foscam Outdoor IP cameras for cabin security & wildlife

Foscam FI9804W 720P IP camera, IP cameras

Foscam FI9804W 720P IP camera mounted on camp side. The cable bundle has separate lines for power and Ethernet (the plugs are safely tucked into the crawl space). I’m not using the WiFi option That siding is called Adirondack planks. The camera gets a hat because the ice dropping off the roof can be destructive.

My cameras from Foscam and Amcrest have infrared lighting built in to see in the dark. They can also work at fairly low light levels in monochrome. My first outside camera at the camp was a Foscam FI9804W. I caught a nighttime video shot of raccoons at the camp with this camera, and also a night-time clip of a deer taking a break under my pines next to the lake. For comparison, I have had geese stop by in the daytime.

The Foscam FI9804W is sending signal over Ethernet cable but has wireless capability. The power is conventional with a converter block (Plugged inside with line running out). The camera has a jack to accept a microphone but, like most outdoor IP cameras, doesn’t have one built in. It is now several years old. If you watch the videos then you can see the geese stop/start and I think I’m losing some frames which could be inherent to the camera and its internal software, or it could be gradually failing. There are updated models available in a variety of flavors – wired, wireless etc. I might go with this POE model, or move the POE camera from my cabin porch to this location. Its now complicated to watch the feed in web browsers as the dated browser plugin is unsigned.

Foscam FI9803EP megapixel POE camera

Foscam FI9803EP megapixel POE camera supported by just the Ethernet cable carries power and data). Picture snapped at final visit of the year, at a break in the weather, when I had to do some last minute fixes


My most recent camera addition at the camp is on the back stoop (porch) looking up the driveway, this is a Foscam FI9803EP that is a megapixel picture quality POE model (it simply has the internet cable jacked in, no wireless option, no other power cable). This daytime squirrel clip from the FI9803 isn’t so exciting though the little guy sure goes (in the last half you can see the squirrel bouncing through the woods-good resolution). I think this was a hare triggering the camera (first few seconds). Here a raccoon triggered the LED porch security light as well as the camera. The main point is that the image quality is good and the motion looks natural. It was $86 in May 2016 (and another $15 for the POE injector).

Finally, the outlier among my outdoor cameras is one from Amcrest. This is a 1 megapixel POE outdoor camera model IPM-743E and its on my Stoop at home in a classic security camera configuration. Its a POE unit and has a great picture both day and night but I needed help to configure it because I didn’t have experience with the Amcrest internal software and the manuals are horrible to follow, I’m pretty sure the instructions skipped a few steps at several points.

A solid cheap indoor Foscam security IP camera

Foscam C1 Indoor HD 720P Wireless IP Camera with Night Vision, IP cameras

Foscam C1 Indoor HD 720P Wireless IP Camera with Night Vision. I have fit running on a wired network. It can be manually tilted in one dimension. I mounted it on a wedge to tilt to one side.

My workhorse inside internet camera is the 720P resolution Foscam C1 that is now under $60 (There is a newer megapixel HD version for $100+), not the pan and tilt model I described above. These can be manually adjusted up/down but not side to side. I have a couple in my basement/garage and one pointing at the door inside my camp. There were some break-ins around the lake the winter before last so I figured I should have something at the camp that is for security more than wildlife. The sample video clip ‘strike high, strike fast‘ is the cat savaging a catnipped sock in my home basement. The C1 units do have audio built in so you could have a conversation through the camera to someone at a PC or on a ‘phone App, but the audio here is more as an alternative (sound) signal for recording, triggered either within the camera or in remote software.