Pros: 10x optical zoom
low lux capable
Cons: poor customer support
patrol doesn't actually "patrol"
We were looking to purchase IP based cameras for building security on a 4 story building.
At the time (and today) there are very few cameras that offer optical zoom and pan and tilt capabilities.
Why We Chose the DLink DCS-6620
We purchased approximately twenty $800 units based on the product specifications on DLink's website.
· Motorized Pan/Tilt/Zoom
· User-Selectable Compression Codec - MJPEG and MPEG-4
· 2-Way Audio Support
· Extreme Low Light Sensitivity
· Smooth Video Recording of Up to 30 FPS
· 10X Optical Zoom
· Power Over Ethernet (POE) support (Additional device required)
·Remotely monitor your camera using a Web-based interface or through the included D-Link IP surveillance software. The Web-based interface allows up to 10 simultaneous users to view the live feed from the camera. Using the feature-rich IP surveillance software, monitor and manage up to 16 cameras, set recording schedules, configure motion detection settings, and change settings on a single
or multiple cameras.
What comes in the box?
· Power supply
· Ethernet cable
· AV Cable
· Drivers Disk
Setup Experience (What I liked)
Basic camera setup was actually a fairly easy setup.
Each camera is setup by default with DHCP, so I recommend putting it in a NAT’d VLAN until you have completed the setup.
If you happen to know what the IP address is, you can access the camera’s view and setup screens easily through its built-in webserver.
The camera also comes with setup software you can install that will crawl your network and find cameras that are available for you to setup.
You can setup video settings strictly through the web interface or the recording software.
You can adjust microphone, “motion sensing,” pan/tilt, zoom, gain and contrast through the web interface. You can also invert the views for when you “hang” the unit from a ceiling.
Video was around 20fps in most instances, with a resolution of 640x480.
The images were clear enough for us to use it to convict a thief caught on camera.
Motion sensing it strictly used in the recording software-
The recording software will put a “bar” on the recording progress bar for each incident of movement that was recorded (handy for fast forwarding through a long recording of emptiness)(it is still recording though).
The zoom is incredibly powerful.
The zoom is very responsive and quick, and the autofocus is good (you can usually get slightly better results through the manual focus option).
Sound quality was also very good and sensitive(sound quality/bitrate could be adjusted in the web interface)
The Recording Software (What I didn’t like)
The recordings create VERY large files in the neighborhood of gigs if you don’t specify a max size (not set by default).
The pan tilt controls became very awkward when you flipped the camera’s view (The controls would not flip) so every movement would be in reverse (Up was down, left was right).
The software had two modes: View/Record and Playback.
We had to run the recording server on WindowsXP because Windows Server 2003 was not supported.
Many times when switching to the “Playback” mode, the software would simply crash and not load until you restarted the computer.
When the playback mode WOULD load, it would load EXTREMELY slowly as it was buffering the very large video files.
Everything about the playback software was clunky.
If you didn’t type in a specific time/range to view, fast forwarding was painfully slow.
If you went by the motion incidents (remember it’s always recording) there were many times so many false movements picked up that it made navigating by incident nearly useless.
Other interesting features
There were a few other “features” that made this camera interesting.
It’s ability to view in low light was extremely good, however like many low-light camera’s it could easily be blinded when the lights turned on or a single bright light was in the room.
The camera had the ability to display the videos as negatives (not sure how this is useful, but it was sometimes fun to play with).
Power over Ethernet was one of the features that made this camera
one we wanted.
We purchased the $40 unit that allowed us to run this unit in hard to wire places.
The downside is that with this adapter, you still had to have a power box external to the camera that had a wire power adapter to the camera (instead of just having the camera handle it internally).
Other notable rants
Besides the software crashing frequently, the cameras themselves would periodically freeze, requiring you to unplug their power, or using the configuration software to remotely reboot them.
There is an option to “Patrol” an area.
This sounds like a GREAT feature!! You can pan, tilt, and zoom to specific locations and set those locations like macros. When you click patrol, it will automatically repeat those locations for you!
We could NOT get this feature to work continuously. It would run through the locations once and then stop.
1st and 2nd level tech support with DLink insisted that the units were defective and we would have to remove them all from their installed locations and return them for replacement. WHAT!?
Finally I spoke with a DLink engineer who explained that this was not a defect, but a “feature.”
When I enquired to why it would only allow one revolution of the patrol, he responded that the motors and gears used in the camera were not of high grade and if they let it continue to patrol they would overheat and fail!
NONE OF THIS IS EXPLAINED IN THE MANUAL OR WEBSITE. I THOUGHT THIS WAS VERY DECEPTIVE.
DLink’s support overall is HORRIBLE.
I had open tickets from one unit that arrived DOA.
Because we had twenty to setup, we didn’t find out it was dead until almost 9 months later. At that time I did a web-request for service. After being given bad answers multiple times and finally calling their phone number and receiving equally bad service, I tried their RMA department directly.
Even though they could see I opened the case well before the 1 year warranty expired, because of their slow support, it had now lapsed over 1 year. They denied the RMA.
I now have an $800 paperweight.
When I asked if I could send it in and at least pay to have it repaired I was told that they do not repair these items outside of warranty!
SO BUYER BEWARE, THIS IS A VERY EXPENSIVE PURCHASE WITH VERY LITTLE SUPPORT FROM DLINK.
If it breaks even before your warranty, if they don’t have it in their hands before 1 year (with proof of purchase) they will NOT repair it; not even for a fee.