We have covered only a few Foscam models over time, but thanks to iClever, who sent us two of the current models, we have been able to take a small new look into Foscam’s current line. One of these is Foscam’s C1 Lite, a small 720P camera that functions quite well in both well-lit and low-light environments.
As mentioned, this is Foscam’s answer to the dropcam essentially, offering a small camera that is easily placeable for multiple scenarios. Unlike the larger pan/tilt/zoom models, it is a fixed camera that is comprised of the camera, a thin body and a round base, each connected to the other by a plastic hinge/bolt solution similar to what you would find on GoPros.
The camera can be installed to a wall, ceiling or simply placed somewheres using its stand. The base of the stand pops off when you rotate it till the tabs on both sections align. This allows you to screw the small plate to the wall or ceiling and then re-attach the base/stand together making it easy to detach at anytime and keeps any screws hidden from sight.
The two hinges allow you to position the camera into the desired direction, although your adjustment options are limited since both hinges face into the same direction. Maybe a ball-joint solution would have been a little better as it would allow greater movement. Thankfully, since the two parts of the base/stand do spin, you can use that to your advantage to try to obtain a specific angle if the hinges aren’t letting you. Keeping in mind to keep the tabs from aligning, else the two parts may disconnect.
Outside from hinges and ability to spin the base around, you may find that positioning the camera flat against the wall or ceiling obtains the angle you’re looking for (a straight shot). The camera can achieve this since it can collapse flat.
The backside of the camera features a small micro-USB port for keeping it powered with. This is great because if something were to go wrong with your cable, you don’t have to buy a proprietary solution since micro-USB to USB-A cables are a dime a dozen and so are the wall adapters. The other benefit is you don’t have to use theirs to begin with, like we did in our tests. We opted to use a 3rd party outlet adapter since we found that Foscam’s adapter featured an odd buzz when it was plugged in. It wasn’t that loud, but it was indeed noticable. Regardless of if this was a defect or not, we swapped it out just to be safe. We used an old adapter from an Lenova tablet and it worked perfectly. You simply need to match it with an adapter that outputs 1000mAh at 5v. Hopefully this was just a defect in the adapter that came with this specific unit. If you have witnessed this as well, please do share in the comments below.
Aside from the micro-USB port, you have a small status LED indicator that shows power or when there is a problem, a power button, a WPS/Reset button and a speaker. The camera does power on automatically when you first plug it in, so the power button would mostly be to cycle power without removing the cable. The WPS / Reset button allows you to reset it to factory defaults by holding it in or pressing it once to pair it using WPS if your router supports it (which we will go into in a second). The Speaker is towards the top of the unit (which we will also talk about in a minute).
Adding the camera to the network is easy as you have two simple options. The first option, is that you download Foscam’s EZLink app for your mobile device. More information about that can be found here. Once you have downloaded the app and set it up, you simply have to scan the barcode on the camera, enter your WiFi login information and it will add the camera to your network for you. You can also grab the app by scanning the barcode to the left. The other option is to use the WPS button on the back. When you press the button, it begins to go into pairing mode (essentially) and you then have to hit the same button on your router. They will eventually see each other and shake hands, and your router will give it all the information it needs to connect.
To access the webcam, you can use the same app or any 3rd party IP camera app, which are always available no matter the type of device OS you have. You can also access the camera from your network by accessing its IP and port via any browser. This can easily be down by downloading Foscam’s IP Camera Tool, which will search your network for all connected cameras and display them in a list where you can access each one in your browser with. It is advised for security purposes to modify the default ports that the camera(s) uses (obviously this advice is meant for intermediate or greater users who aren’t intimidated by playing with such settings).
The C1 Lite functions as any other IP camera, accessible via these apps and applications for both viewing and adjustment. It doesn’t pan or tilt, but there are still plenty of settings to have a field day with. You can control whether or not it responds to motion detection and sets off an alarm, emails you the images or uploads them to an FTP (video options included). The camera’s web-based interface for adjusting all of these settings is great as it really breaks things down and even allows you to control how the camera responds to motion by selecting certain areas as hot spots within your shot, so that things like moving trees and cars don’t create a false positive (which can be seen in the following image).
Image quality when compared to one of the older non-HD models shows a wonderful increase in quality which can be seen in the following two images below. It isn’t the best 720p that you can get from a camera, but it works wonderfully when you look at how much this camera costs. The camera will run you about $50, so when you compare that to solutions such as the dropcam, you are more than getting your money’s worth. I’d love to see what the 1080p C2 model looks like in comparison.
Image quality is great as you are able to make out faces just fine and although it doesn’t have IR tech, it does have low-light correction that allows it to function well in darker situations.
Sound quality through the built-in speaker on the back is also pretty amazing. You can listening remotely to what the cameras hears as well as speak through it using an app that supports it. Your voice comes through surprisingly clear allowing perfect communication on both ends if you are using it to communicate with somebody near the camera. They also don’t have to be that close as the built-in microphone is pretty strong for picking up distant sound.
This camera works great for just about anywhere. It is an indoor camera, so it will do best inside, but I am sure it will do fine outside as well as long as it is not placed anywhere that is closely exposed to weather and dirt (ie, under a large awning, close to the wall). It would work great for monitoring large sections or rooms of your house or building with it’s 115 degree lens view, and would also work great as a baby monitor.
It is really small and impressively light in weight, making it easy to install, even without using anchors when you can’t find a stud to screw into (doesn’t pull out of drywall). The only added weight is coming from the micro-USB cable hanging out of the back for power, which doesn’t create any pull as long as you install it well. You do of course have to find a place to plug it in, so an outlet needs to be nearby, else you will have to run the cable around the wall or ceiling to the nearest one. They do sell extensions for the power cable, but you simply just have to search eBay for any brand of micro-USB to USB Type-A cable in the length your need and it will work.
The C1 Lite is a great little camera. Light weight, easy to install, comes with a lot of the same settings and features you’d expect to find on a Foscam and packs a wonderful picture. The price, it doesn’t get any better than this. Foscam truly has something special with this model. Flexibility of angle could be a little better, but at least you can compensate by rotating the base. Metal reinforcement in the hinges would be nice as well, as the plastic doesn’t feel that durable if you crank it too hard (so be careful). Finally, the buzzing power/wall adapter was a concern. This brought the score down slightly since we had to use a 3rd party adapter. It isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t disappoint. The camera proves to be an excellent choice for both quality and price.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
|Sensor Type||1/4″ CMOS|
|Display Resolution||1.0 Megapixel (1280 x 720 )|
|Lens Type||f: 2.8mm; F: 2.4|
|Minimum Illumination||N/A (Without IR Illuminator)|
|Diagonal Angle of View||115°|
|Horizontal Angle of View||100°|
|Audio Input/Output||External RCA interface for two-way audio|
|Wireless Security||WEP, WPA, WPA2|
|Multi Stream||Dual stream|
|Motion Detection||Alarm via email, upload alarm snapshot to FTP|
|Built-in DDNS Server||Yes|
|External Card Slot||Micro SD Card 32GB|
|OS Supported||Microsoft Windows 2000/XP, Vista, 7, 8; Mac OS|
|Browser Supported||Microsoft IE8 and above version or compatible browser,
Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari
|Firewall||Supports IP Filtering|
|User Accounts||Three-level user role|
|Power Supply||DC 5V/1.0A|
|Power Consumption||< 3 Watts (Max.)|
|Dimensions (L*W*H)||70*70*120mm (2.76”×2.76”×4.72”)|
|Operating Temperature||-10°C~ 60°C (14°F ~ 122°F)|
|Operating Humidity||20% ~ 85% (non-condensing)|
|Certification||CE, FCC, IC, WEEE, CCPSA|
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.