Ezviz C8C Review: Weatherproof Smart Security Camera with 360° Vision
The Ezviz C8C is a sub $100 smart security camera that can remotely pan and tilt to almost any angle you choose and is also IP65 weatherproof.
- IP65 Weatherproof
- Full HD, 30 FPS, H.265 Video
- Color Night Vision
- Supports Micro SD Cards (Up to 256gb)
- Two bright floodlights
- Motorized pan & tilt
- Supports micro-SD local storage up to 256gb
- Brand: Ezviz
- Resolution: FHD, HD, SD
- Connectivity: 2.4ghz Wi-Fi, LAN
- App Compatibility: iOS, Android
- Night Vision: Full-color, black-and-white, smart night vision
- Power Source: 12V
- Axis Control: 352° horizontal rotation, 95° vertical rotation
- Excellent video quality, even in the dark
- Weatherproof design
- Google & Alexa Integrations
- Easy setup & installation
- Customizable security modes & settings
- Automatic night vision modes
- No two-way-talk
- AI human detection is not reliable
- No audible alarm
The C8C offers reliable connectivity options, impressive video quality – even at night – and has several customizable settings in its app to tailor its security features to your needs. In our tests, it provides above-average video and low-light performance compared to other options but tended to fall a bit short with its smart AI detections.
The biggest advantage to this system is that you can easily change its viewing angle at any time remotely, allowing you to see a much larger area using just one camera, even if you’re away from home.
Included with the camera you’ll find a manual, 12v power adapter, installation screws, a drilling template, a waterproofing kit for the cable connections, and a quick start guide.
Physically installing and mounting your camera will require a bit of planning out. One of the biggest limiting factors for most users is likely to be finding a convenient power source for the camera. Especially if mounting outdoors, some users might opt to drill a hole through their walls or fixtures in order to feed the power cables through.
It’s important to note that while the camera itself is IP65 weatherproof, your connections and power adapter aren’t. Using the included weatherproofing kit will help protect and seal your connection between the power adapter’s plug and the camera’s wire, but it is up to you to safely run your power adapter and any extension cord to a dry and covered location.
As this camera does not have any built-in battery and needs to be plugged in, you’ll either need a power outlet that is only about four feet away at most from the camera, or an extension cord. For my outdoor front door tests, I luckily had a power outlet outside, but still needed an extension cable.
Connecting to your camera is straightforward. On the bottom of the camera, there is a QR code that you’re prompted to scan within the Ezviz app. In my tests, I was using the iOS version, which for the most part was very reliable and feature-packed, with only one minor quirk which required the installation of a Micro SD card before I could flip the image.
Once the app scans the camera’s QR code it will auto-recognize the camera model and guide you through a few simple steps to get connected to your network and add the camera to your account.
In addition to the usual 2.4ghz WiFi connection, the C8C actually offers the option of connecting via Ethernet, which is pretty unique in this category of budget smart security cameras. Whether it’s for added security, reliability, or because of Wi-Fi deadzones, users will appreciate this flexibility. However, it doesn’t support Power over Ethernet (PoE), so you’ll still need an external power source, or to purchase a PoE splitter separately.
You also have the option of buying and installing Micro SD cards up to 256gb. There are two small screws that need to be removed in order to access the card slot. After doing this, the app will prompt you to format the card.
This enables the camera save all its event recordings internally, which can then be viewed at any time. You can also record continuously for days, at which point it will overwrite the older footage. Compared to just relying on the free Ezviz cloud account – which won’t save any footage or even snapshots to the cloud – this is of course a huge upgrade to functionality. While Ezviz makes a strong push to get users to sign up for their premium cloud service, provided you have the Micro SD card installed and your camera always connected to your network, you can access all of those same features from anywhere in the world, but without the cloud storage (although some people may actually prefer this).
I tested the Wi-Fi strength across a few different floors and locations of my home (all of which are part of the same network name across different routers). The camera never struggled to get reconnected to my network after I booted it back up and I did not experience any noticeable drops in connectivity.
Via the app, you can change the name and room/location of the camera which is useful if you’re managing several other cameras. You have the option to connect this to your Google Home and Alexa accounts as well. Using this with Google Home you can manage many of the camera’s motion alerts, armed modes as well stream the video feed to compatible devices. Overall the smart home integrations worked pretty well.
Video Features & Quality
Perhaps most appealing to a camera like this is that it can capture nearly angle you would need. The Ezviz C8C claims to be the "first outdoor WiFi Pan/Tilt Camera". With its 352-degree horizontal view and 95-degree vertical view, it can move around to see almost anything in front, behind, or underneath it.
Since it can’t really look upward, to get the most utility out of the C8C, you would want to mount this high above everything you want to possibly look over. With just the one camera you can pan and tilt around to see a much larger area compared to traditional, static mounted cameras.
The app brings up a virtual and quick responding joystick that lets you move the camera around whenever you want. Again, provided the camera is connected to the network, you can pan and tilt even if you’re away from the house which is incredible.
I believe this feature would be even better if you could save specific angles as presets so that you can more easily switch back and forth between them. Let’s say for example you primarily want the camera to overlook your front entrance to make sure no one steals your packages, but occasionally while you’re out of town, you want to change the camera angle to check on your garden. While it only takes a few moments to return the camera back to that main angle overlooking the front entrance, it’s very easy to just forget and close out of the app before reverting back. As you can imagine, this could potentially lead to problems and a lack of coverage.
Video Quality & Modes
The camera features an f/1.6 aperture lens with a 2.7-inch CMOS sensor an adaptive shutter. Videos are recorded at 30fps with H.265 compression. This means the video files and streaming use less space and bandwidth than H.264.
The camera can be set to record in Ultra HD, HD, or SD. For my tests, I kept the camera in Ultra HD quality as I wasn’t limited by storage space. If you’re using a smaller Micro SD card or want the camera to keep a backlog of all your recordings for as long as possible before it begins to overwrite itself, then you’d probably want to reduce the video quality.
Those concerned with privacy will also appreciate the privacy mode feature which rotates the camera vertically until it is no longer facing outwards. This physically prevents the camera from recording any video.
The camera has three night vision modes. Full-color night vision is possible thanks to its two bright floodlights which will automatically turn on when the camera detects darkness. Without the floodlights, black-and-white night vision is automatically enabled and will still let you see up to about 100 feet away. Smart night vision mode will switch from regular black-and-white to full-color when it turns on its floodlights after it detects human movement. In practice, both indoors and outdoors, the camera did a good job at switching to these modes.
Because of its automatic floodlights, especially when set to always stay on in its full-color night mode, the camera doubles as an outdoor security light. This can help further deter unwanted visitors as the entire area around the camera will be very well lit.
Smart Features & AI Detection
Via the Ezviz app, you can adjust a wide selection of settings, the most important ones being scheduling alert detection, setting active defense (which has the camera flash its floodlights if it detects any human movement), as well as configuring the area for motion detection, which is done by clicking a grid overlay of the camera’s feed.
In my experience, however, I had trouble getting the camera to reliably detect humans. With it installed at my front door, I did several tests to see how reliable its detection was. I was able to simulate a porch pirate coming up to my front door and stealing a package. I didn’t even have to run or move that quickly to evade the camera’s detection.
Even during the day when everything was well lit, I could come into full frame of the camera, take something off my front steps at a relatively calm pace and then leave without any detection.
I found that I had to be in the frame for a good amount of time or actually turn and look up at the camera before it would trigger its active defense or notify me in the app. Perhaps future software updates can improve these features, but at the time of this review, this is probably the biggest downside to the system as the smart AI features are currently not very reliable.
Noticeably missing as well is a speaker on the camera. As such, there is no audible alarm or siren that goes off when active defense is triggered. An alarm can go a long way in drawing attention to where potentially unwanted people are and I think this is a bit of a missed opportunity.
This also means two-way talk is not available. Even in the case where you just want to use the camera to see and talk to someone at the front door as you can with many other security cameras and smart doorbells, this is not available with the Ezviz C8C.
Overall, the Ezviz C8C is a very capable camera that excels in video quality and has a handful of unique features that help it stand out from the competition. If your priority is getting a very versatile weatherproof camera that can be remotely controlled, monitored, and save days worth of footage locally, but you don’t mind the (currently) buggy smart detection and alarm features, this could be a good choice for your home, property or business.
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August 26, 2021 at 06:18AM