Purchased Nov 15, 2012, $369.99
The first thing I would like to say is this series of cameras are specifically designed as security cameras. They are not usable as video chat or VoIP services such as Skype. Secondly these Logitech cameras seem to be designed to sell you a pay service, sort of like your smart phone. You can use them in-house, or you can monitor live images via the Internet, but if you want to really be able to use them to check up on your house, (and see what burglar triggered the camera to send you an intrusion alert email) you will need to pay for the subscription service which is about $100 a year. Without the subscription service, you can only look at live images while you are away from home/office. To be able to view recorded images you must subscribe to their pay service.
It is important to understand that this camera comes in 4 varieties. There are indoor, and outdoor versions available. Each of those comes in 2 versions, master and add-on. While it is explained on the box, it is not clear to the novice that you MUST buy ONE (1) master camera. It can be either the outdoor or indoor version, but you only need ONE master. All the rest of your cameras (up to 6 total) only need to be the add-on versions. The master versions come with the HomePlug Ethernet module that you plug into an electrical outlet and connects to an available port on your network router. Then each camera comes with a HomePlug power/Ethernet adaptor which plugs into a nearby electrical outlet and communicates with the single HomePlug master. Other than that, the only difference between the indoor and outdoor cameras, is the housing. They both have the same specs and internal camera electronics. The main reason for only buying one master is the master version costs around $50 more than the add-on cameras and there is no point in paying $50 for a part you can't use. (NOTE: as of this posting, April 1, 2013, for some reason I can't find an 'E' add-on version of the outdoor camera on Amazon, only the master outdoor camera. I will continue to check and add it when available)
The cameras are very well built compared to all other cameras I have reviewed. They are solid and substantial. They come with mounting hardware which works well in all the situations I have tested them in. I have so far only purchased the outdoor models, but those have mounting threads on both the top and bottom so you can hang the camera from a ceiling, or support it from below, or from the side.
Each camera comes with a 10 foot, very thin, flat cable to go between the camera and its HomePlug adaptor. You can use a standard Ethernet cable if the one that comes with the camera is not long enough, but that is not recommended. You CANNOT connect a camera directly to your router or any other Power over Ethernet adaptor. It can only connect to the HomePlug module that comes with the camera. So far I have had no problems with the HomePlug devices not being able to see each other. My only problem was when I swapped out the computer running the software and had forgotten which names and passwords I had given the camera so had to reset the camera and start over. I did not lose any video when I reset the camera.
The cameras can only be viewed through the supplied software or over the web with a web browser via the viewing service. You can view live images across the Internet for free but as stated above if you want to see recorded images you must subscribe to the service. You cannot connect your web browser directly to the camera as with many other IP type cameras.
Now down to the camera's performance: EXCELLENT. Thanks to the design engineers at Logitech, this camera has great, sharp and clear images.
Within the software, you can design a number of rectangular areas of the image to watch for movement. When the camera sees movement within any of those areas it will begin storing a video (in MPEG4 format) ...now get this... starting about 10 seconds BEFORE the movement is detected, catching the bad guy as he comes into the picture, not after he is already within the field of view and starting to break into your wall safe (or whatever), as with the one other brand I have tested to this point. There is also a slider (under advanced) that allows you to set the movement sensitivity.
The camera comes with a 2 gig micro SD removable memory card to store videos on so you don't have to have a computer going all the time. When you start up the software and it connects to your cameras, the software will download the videos to your computer for long term storage. The 2 gig card seems to store about 2 weeks of video (not continous video though). I purchased a 16 gig card for my first camera (the one looking at the driveway) and that has stored videos as far back as 4 months. When the card fills up, the camera will begin to delete the oldest videos to make room for new ones.
So far, our driveway camera has captured neighborhood dogs that escaped their invisible fence, mule deer, squirrels, bunny rabbits, birds, and even a black bear in our driveway (See my Youtube channel) not to mention visitors, our contractor and delivery men. I'm sorry to say that it also captures every car who's headlights light up the front of our garage as they pass, and it tends to capture the tall grasses as they sway in the wind. I have worked at trying to adjust the motion area frames and motion sensitivity to cut down on those false triggers but I have not been able to eliminate them totally. Needless to say, the majority of my captures are of nothing worth looking at. So keep that in mind when choosing a place to mount your camera outside. It would be better for it to watch areas that won't have any movement or variable lighting showing.
The software interface is pertly well designed. The one confusion I had was I didn't recognize the zoom control until I happened to click on it accidentally. Looking closely it appears to be an icon showing a narrow tall tree on the telephoto end and 3 narrow tall trees on the wide view end. (see the slider bars in the lower right corner of the display) Originally I thought it had something to do with audio volume or motion sensitivity so I hadn't bothered to play with it. I believe a pair of binoculars would have been more obvious.
One problem I am having is if I leave the computer interface running for long periods of time, like all day, while the software continues to work, it seems to be locking up the keyboard and mouse causing me to have to perform a hard shutdown. Although this could be just a problem in the Windows XP computer I am using to monitor my cameras. Along the same line, after running for a number of hours with the interface engaged, the software seems to become sluggish and the live images become jumpy only showing a single frame every 20 seconds or so. Again, I suspect this is because the computer is rather old and not as fast as newer models. I am not detecting any memory leaks from the software.
The bottom line: if you are looking for a security system, (and not a webcam) and don't mind the price and the subscription cost, I don't think you can go wrong with this system. Logitech has another winner.
|Sample images showing how this camera performs under different lighting conditions|