D-Link Pan/Tilt/Zoom Cloud Camera DCS-5222L full review
The DCS-5222L camera is D-Link's premier network camera. It can pan and tilt, has infra-red night capability and claims a 720p (1Mp) resolution for daytime viewing. The unit provides dual connection options which include both wireless 802.11n with full WPA2 security and 10/100 ethernet. See all webcame reviews.
The unit it feels solid and well made and the base is heavy enough to prevent it tipping over when turning and rotating. There is also a small Wi-Fi antenna on the rear which connects via a standard screw in port which means a larger or directional antenna could be used for slightly greater range (although the transmit power is of course limited to 100mw). See also SwannSmart Wi-fi network camera review.
The setup of the unit is straightforward and requires an initial connection via ethernet. This process allows you to choose between wireless (802.11n) and wired (ethernet) connections. It also allows you to set up a D-Link account to log into your camera over the internet via the D-Link website. However, the picture on the web portal is very low resolution and to get the full size image you need to log in directly to the cameras internal website. This requires you to set up a DDNS service (which is offered free from D-Link) forward the port from your router and set up a static IP for the camera. The interface for these operations is the same as D-Link's routers, which is clear and simple to use. The interface for moving the camera is a selection of arrows which must be repeatedly tapped to turn the camera around. This can be tedious to traverse more than a few degrees so there is also a pan mode which moves swiftly from left to right with the option to stop at any point. There is a delay from pressing the button to the camera moving of 0.6seconds and an additional one second delay to receive a picture. There is an additional method of access via iPhone app which works well, however the lack of fast pan makes turning the camera a few degrees at a time a little tortuous.
The camera images do not really resemble the sharpness and clarity we have come to expect from handheld consumer cameras claiming 720p resolution. Even in daylight the image appears grainy. To find the reason for this you need to delve into the technical specifications not listed on the box. The sensor in this camera is CMOS but its size is 1/4" . This means it's light gathering area is 7.68mm². To put that in context the current iPhone 5s has a 1/3" sensor which is over twice as large at 17.94mm² (low quality compact cameras are 28mm²). While the image is less than stunning it seems 1/4" is generally the standard for security cameras of this type. As is the case with most cameras at this price point the zoom on the camera is digital which is useful but again shows up the lack of resolving power of the sensor.
The night mode uses infrared LEDs which the specification indicates will light up dark areas up to 5m. We tested this claim in total darkness and the LED lights easily light up an entire room with objects 5m away clearly illuminated.
The unit is also capable of selective motion sensing where you can specify distinct areas of the frame to be sensitive to movement. We tested this by selecting a path 100m away and each person that passed triggered the recording of a video clip. We also set up an email alert where a frame was emailed to us each time motion was detected.
D-Link Pan/Tilt/Zoom Cloud Camera DCS-5222L: Specs
- Focal length: 4.57mm, F1.9 , 360 Degree Pan and Tilt, H.264/MPEG4/MJPEG simultaneous triple format compression, 1280x720 resolution, light sensitivity 1 [email protected] , CMOS sensor 1/4 inch, power consumption 8.2w, 802.11n, 10/100 ethernet, speaker out, microphone