China Camera’s the second wave (Aote IP Camera Review)

It’s been a while since my original posting about the IP Camera I had acquired with the TI DaVinci DM368 DSP. Since then, that article has been expanded quite a bit with more firmware levels, and I wrote some other articles on how to make a timelapse. I have since aquired 6 more camera’s with the same chipset, all in different forms and configurations, read more about those and where you can buy them in this article.

After having stable and good working firmware with the TI DaVinci DM368 DSP I decided to buy a few more for the same purposes as the original one. To recap this was using it with xsplit for online streaming and using them as a security camera at the events I organize. Since them I have also started to enjoy making timelapses with them.
 
I do use this camera with the in-built capture and upload capabilities, I also believe the camera needs to have inbuilt memory to use these functions which my models do not have.
 
For this I acquired four different models, all with a different combination. I will comment on those below: All of these camera’s have been purchased with a company called “Aote Technology Company Limited“. They have a shop on aliexpress which isn’t always the most dependable site but in this case it worked well.
 
Aliexpress is a website which is a front for several chinese re-sellers  There are lots of camera’s for sale on there but after an extensive search and contact with a few shops/sellers Aote stood out in the best knowledge of their product and their swift responses. As with most Chinese sellers, it takes a bit to get your order right and get everything just the way you want it, but in the end my order was 100% perfect.
 
A very positive difference all of these cameras share over the previous model is that the IR switch function in the management/software interface now actually works. You can force it to switch to day or night mode now and also use the automatic settings. This didn’t work with the previous model I wrote about and is certainly very nice to have control over now!

People who wish to download the images in their original quality can look in my picasa for the images.

Also, please note that any new firmware updates and download links will be added to my original post!
 
First off the cheapest one of the lot the W5625P-B. A DM365 based camera, the DM365 is a bit down in horsepower compared to the DM368 but since I wish to use these camera’s at the full 5Mpix resolution, it would mean a difference of 2 FPS (DM368=10 FPS, DM365=8 FPS) and for any purpose I use it for, this is negligible. What was important for me is that the platform is stable and I took a bit of a gamble that the DM365 would be just as table as the DM368 because they are using the same firmware.
 
This camera was the cheapest model on there which met my specifications. It had to be weather sealed, 5Mpix, either DM368 or DM365 based and with a good lens. Also I wanted it to have a 4mm lens. This was a bit of a problem because originally this camera can not be configured with this lens (min 6mm), Aote told me it would give me “Horrible distortions, especially in the corners”. But, for my purposes, I need an overview, not a specific zoomed in area. After a bit of reluctance they agreed to configure the camera with the 4mm lens I requested.
 
The camera is listed for ~150$ including shipping. An awesome price for a great camera!
Side view
 
Front View, the three IR leds work well enough for about 10 meters
 
I have never figured out or used the coax adapter

 

Back side, the cable input has me a bit worried, but up until now even in rain storms there have been no problems

 

It didn’t come with a arm attached, however Aote did supply one
 
The included arm, works well and allows for a reasonable amount of positioning
 
The camera itself works excellently. There was however one problem with it on the 5Mpix resolution. The bottom part of the image would start corrupting as seen in one of my other posts. At frist I thought this might be because of the DM365, and while it is, it is not unfix-able. 
 
For whatever reason it seems that the camera will start generating corruption if the stream is using too many ‘bits’. Depending on scene complexity the camera will start corrupting or not. For me a value of “3000”  always works. But depending on the scene I can use a bit higher. The 3000 does give more then enough image quality for the price so it isn’t really a problem in my opinion. But I do hope they are able to fix it with a future firmware sometime.
 
The settings I use with my camera, no corruption and 100% stable with these settings. The 10 FPS setting is possible and it does seem to deliver on it too
 
A view of my backyard
 
In a high tower to provide a birds-eye view of a parking lot

 

The same view during the night, there is enough light to not trigger black and white mode

 

Different side of the tower

 

During the day
 
 
As you can see the 4mm lens makes the view so wide that you can almost see both walls at the same time. Ideal if you wish to cover a large area with one camera, the lens gives you the angle, the resolution gives you enough detail anywhere in the image.
 
Do notice that this does indeed cause image distortion, the roof on the left side isn’t actually curled in reality and also you can see some black spots in each of the corners. All problems that don’t bother me and are worth the sacrifice in my opinion of having such a wide view!
 
 
 
This little dome camera, although officially weather sealed is more suited for indoor use. I also configured this camera with a 4mm lens (same warnings apply) but in this case they could use something called an “Aspheric Lens”. For whatever reason it seems the sensor module and lens used in this small little dome is different then the one used in the W5625P-B. And in image quality it does show, this little dome has excellent excellent image quality, sharpness and above all color reproduction!
 
This camera can be had for ~160$ which again is an awesome price!
 
A very small camera which has a two part housing in which it can be rotated, because of this it can be very tightly mounted in a corner of a room to provide a complete overview of a room with one camera
 
Close up of the front side
 
Back side, cable can be routed through the provided holes providing a flush mount of the camera has been angled slightly
 
A room of about 6×9 meters, with the 4mm lens we can see both walls and the complete room

 

A room that is used to check-in people at one of my events. During the night, this room is pitch black, you can’t even see your own hand in front of your own eyes. The IR LEDs work great to light the room

 

During the day, people outside and inside can be clearly seen. Anything ‘taken’ would also be easily visible
 
Great little camera, best image quality of them all. I do find the mounting mechanism a bit tedious, but that’s probably because my installations are always temporary. When it’s mounted and fixed down, it’s well and sturdy.
 
There is no “WDR” function on these camera’s but I find the backlight compensation setting to work well enough for most situations.
 
 
This one was for use in ‘rougher’ situations and I configured it with a 8mm lens to capture area’s located further away from the camera. So instead of an overview more of a zoomed in spot of interest. For this purpose it also has 4 high power IR LEDs. This camera uses the DM368 so doesn’t have the bitrate problem.
 
The housing is heavier and more sturdy then the other versions and also comes with the arm attached. For this camera the cable runs through the arm so if the camera is flush mounted to the wall the cable can’t be reached to disable the camera. The arm is also a lot heavier then with the previous models.
 
This camera is ~250$.
 
Front of the camera with the 4 IR LEDs

 

Side view of the camera

 

Another view

 

Cable goes into the arm so it can be mounted flush without access to the cable. There is room to route the cable if needed

 

Lights in the network connector, always a good thing
 
No pictures from this camera but the quality is the same as the other cameras. Do note that using a tighter lens to bring far images closer causes the camera to be a bit more fuzzy and need more light to achieve the same picture quality as the others.
 
 
This camera was also a bit of an experiment. It’s a PT not Z camera. So it can remotely be controlled to pan and tilt but is not able to zoom.
 
Since this is an ONVIF camera these functions can be controlled using either the Web Interface or an ONVIF compatible application. There is no serial access to the motion controls. Luckely ONVIF is becomming more popular and the makers of Genius Vision sent me a test version with ONVIF PTZ control enabled and it worked brilliantly.
 
I have a bit of mixed feelings about this camera. It’s more expensive then the other models but the picture quality is a step down. Although using the same CCD and DSP368 it doesn’t use the same quality of a lens and thus the picture result is worse. It’s not horrible, but not great either.
 
The PT functions do make up for that a bit, but I would have much rather seen the great quality of the other cameras combined with PT functions. The Z function is hard because it requires a lens that is a lot more expensive and is correctly IR corrected at all zoom angles, etc.
 
 
Front view

 

Front view again, here you can see this camera has normal IR LEDs which really don’t cover much distance and also that the lens hole is a lot smaller then with the other cameras

 

Back side

 

Under side, the black part can be twisted off, secured through the holes and then twisted back on thus securing the camera to a roof. The picture can be inverted in the camera management

 

Turned the camera, IR LEDs on

 

Another picture
 
With Daylight

 

During the evening, some lights where on
 
 
Should you buy this camera? If you want PT, sure, it’s not very expensive and the image quality is fair. But maybe there are better models out there.
 
 
All in all I am very happy with all the camera’s, they are even better then the first one I bought, where less expensive and have been working great for the uses I have had over the past few months. So I can definitely recommend them to anyone looking for them.
 
Comments, Questions are very welcome!
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