Dericam M801W: The Z in PTZ...

Sep 21, 2011

The popular PTZ term in IP camera is widely overused for devices that only do Pan and Tilt, but not (Optical) Zoom.
True PTZ cameras are normally priced from 200€ and up but there's an exception now.



If you browse on eBay for "PTZ IP Camera", you'll find in the middle of the cheapest, a newcomer called Dericam M801W, just below €80.-


The box contains the usual stuff: 1 camera, 1 antenna, 1 CD, 1 color printed manual, 1 flat rollback RJ45 cable and a mounting bracket. It is interesting to note that you can mount the camera on a wall/ceiling without this addition thanks to the 2 holes already present on the base.

While the casing is different, it is comparable in size to the traditional form factor used by most other competitors. The microphone returns a correct sound quality and the speaker is slightly better than I expected, but the audio-out connector at the back is there for a reason. It would be nice to see some buffer control in the future to reduce the feedback effect when both microphone and speakers are in use.

The presence of the IO Alarm connector seems to denote a hardware platform similar to the FI8908W (or M501W from Dericam), but issuing a "get_params.cgi" returns variables  such as alarm_msn and mail_tls which are normally only used with the newer hardware platform like FI8918W, so I have to check that point with Dericam.





The web interface will feel familiar to anybody who owns an IP Camera already, the main difference being the zoom+ and zoom- buttons to control the vari-focal zoom lens.

Varifocal 3x Optical Zoom
I think that having an optical zoom on a traditional IP Camera actually makes sense for the following reasons:
- It balances the drawback of the typicaly low resolution (300K pixels, VGA).
- It helps to focus the motion alarm on a portion of the room. You could, for instance, keep it zoomed on a doorway to allow a more accurate identification of potential visitors.

- You can also more easily consider placing the camera further away and out of reach.

Several Pan and Tilt positions can be saved as presets. I just regret that the zoom position is not part of it. According to Dericam, it's in project. 

The picture quality here is affected by the GIF format compression
The picture quality is comparable to a Foscam. Same goes for the software which also responds to the same CGI command set. I actually installed this camera with the existing Ipcam Tool and ActiveX plugin from my previous devices.


This is very handy as all the tricks gathered on this blog will also apply to Dericam: FAQ for IP Cameras & Shortcuts to some IP Camera functions

A CGI command will actually be necessary to work around a little bug: Change to the PTZ option "go to center on boot" does not get saved from the WebUI, so the camera always rotate on reboot.
The solution is to submit the following command from the url bar:
http://[ipcam]/set_misc.cgi?ptz_center_onstart=0




The QuickStart CD provided with the camera (I've prepared some download links at the end of the post) provides the manuals, J2ME phone viewer, ActiveX files, and a PC software called "Collect Client".
It turns out to be a good surprise in comparison with the classic and ugly Super Client usually bundled with most models. Once you know that the initial application login is "admin" with no password, and that you need to create a group first (There's a manual provided and maybe one day I'll read it...), the rest is quite straightforward. Cameras on the LAN are all detected and you just need to set their respective credentials to start viewing.

This universal IP Camera client takes control of everything, and even can access the settings of each device with a more convenient interface than the WebUI. Setting the Alarm schedule, for instance, is much easier as you can drag over the time table instead of clicking every single case one by one...




Third-Party application support:
Of course, the applications listed in Third-Party software for IP Cameras are compatible, since this model shares the same CGI command set as the Foscam cameras. Several fully support the M801W zoom function,  like IP Cam Viewer for Android or Live Cams for iPhone. For the others you can simply pick a Foscam model (but then with no Zoom control).









Several look-alikes already:
Other manufacturers are using the same casing even though not offering a Zoom function: An example of this is SKU #50181 from DealExtreme. Instead, it comes with a µSD card slot that the M801W doesn't have. You'll have to decide for yourself which feature is important for you.
Personally, I have security concerns with local storage: If you rely on the camera snapshots in case of intrusion, then these pictures should be stored away in a safe location (NAS or web FTP), so if the camera get stolen, the pictures remain!

Best way to buy a M801W-with-Zoom is to check their Where to Buy section. (mine comes from andy.lig)


Technical support: Good news! There is actually someone behind tech@dericam.com and that's how I could obtain some extra information, like their CGI SDK reference manual.
Dericam also confirmed that updates are to be expected in the coming months and should be available via email requests. Thanks to Denny for providing me with this information.


Conclusion:
If the Z in PTZ makes any sense for you and you're on a budget, this camera is a sensible choice.
 

Quick Start Disk (~12MB) : Download + mirror

See also:
- Dericam M801W page
- Live demo of M801W
- WeatherProof (IP66) outdoor equivalent: M601W
- Live demo of M601W

46 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for this review, I just ordered one :-)

    Will be using it as a baby monitor, I hope... I want to monitor the audio stream on my server, alerting me when there's noise, any hints appreciated.

    I suppose that with the I/O port and the documentation I'll be able to switch relays (e.g. a light) as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did it work out as a baby monitor? Any problems? Thanks in advance.

      Delete
    2. Hi Padolsky,

      It's working well. The zoom is very useful for getting detail. The sound isn't very loud but we notice when there's a problem. The camera is also well supported in apps these days so no problems getting it to run.

      Delete
    3. Hi, thanks for your reply. Was there any problem with the sound the camera makes when it rotates? Or does anything? Does it wake your child up?

      Delete
    4. Hi Padolsky,

      no the camera is pretty quiet and we don't put it too close to our kids. Also, we don't move the camera that much...

      I did have to replace the power supply though, and the 2 way audio is pretty bad but we don't use that at all.

      All in all I like it, my IPRobot3 was a lot more hassle to get working and I needed to replace the power supply twice so far. Forget about using cheap Chinese power supplies :-(

      Delete
  2. Hi Wout, monitoring the sound could be done with almost any of apps listed in the post "3rd party software", I recommend that you check the "Smart Baby Monitor".
    vlc can be used to intercept the audio and video stream, it is also explained on this blog (FAQ for IP Cameras).
    For the I/O, I think there's not a single word of it in the manual, but you can apply those from Foscam's manual which available in the "Firmware history page", it just works the same way. Pretty simple, pins 1/2 are output, 3/4 input.
    Just one thing to note: the camera alarm itself is based on "motion detection", no sound.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you mean firmware, I'm pretty sure not!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Was more the Foscam viewing software I was thinking about ?

    Keith

    ReplyDelete
  5. hello,
    is that there is an adjustment of the focus
    the focus changes to zoom

    ReplyDelete
  6. @pupu
    The lens focus changes as it rotates to zoom. The initial focus is not meant to be adjusted manually. However I did some fine-tuning on mine when I recently dismantled it to see the guts.
    It's a delicate operation and likely to void the warranty, you have to take the head appart to do this. I'm preparing a second post with details for soon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for making us aware of this cam Bubbah :)
    I was pleasantly surprised to find that Live Cams Pro for iOS already supports Dericam, with 1-way audio!
    http://www.eggmantechnologies.com/featurematrix.php
    However I'm not quite sure if the "Dericam profiles" refer to the M801W or older models and if the PTZ controls will actually activate optical zoom rather than the default digital.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Apologies for double posting but I just noticed the following on the Live Cams blog:

    Live Cams Pro v1.5 is currently under final development stages and entering the test cycle. Among the various bugfixes and improvements are:

    TWO-WAY audio for Axis, Foscam, INSTAR, HOOTOO, and select Trendnet, Wansview, Dericam models. More models to come soon!

    http://livecams-iphone.blogspot.com/

    Nice!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Does the Dericam have an option to manually turn off the IR LED-s like the newer Foscam models?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @jaan, no it doesn't. The Live Cams Pro app lets you send the commands but they don't do anything...

    ReplyDelete
  11. bonjour,

    j'ai un probleme avec la camera et le mode wifi.
    J'utilise sur mon reseau la protection maximum : wpa (tkip+aes) et cela ne marche pas.
    J'ai essayé le mode wpa (tkip) et cela fonctionne mais mon reseau est moins protégé.
    La camera ne fonctionne pas si la clé WPA utilise des signes comme & par exemple.
    Y a t'il une mise à jour du firmware?
    Mon firmware est le 0.37.2.38
    merci,

    ReplyDelete
  12. @denis
    J'utilise WPA2(PSK+AES) sans problème avec cette caméra (également en 0.37.2.38). D'après Dericam, il devrait y avoir une mise à jour avant la fin de l'année mais celà ne corrigera sans doute rien au niveau du Wifi. Ces problèmes sont identiques à ceux rencontrés depuis des années sur Foscam, Eyesight, et les autres...

    ReplyDelete
  13. @all

    I have 2 of this (outdoor!) cam. Both work just fine!
    Now I try to do a webpage to control the PT.
    I used the "decoder_control.cgi" with &onestep=1 command. The cam start to rotate, but does NOT STOP ! It just rotates the whole time, till I stop it manually.
    Any confirmation on that ?? Any solution on that ?? (asked the support but still waiting for usable answere ....)

    Thanks allot
    Stefan

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Stef
    It's definitely something seen before by someone else with Foscam and somewhere in the thousand comments here. I'd also thing that explicitely sending the corresponding stop command (1, 3, 5, 7) should work, I cannot try that right now.
    You can check how it's done from the Push Server interface itself by displaying the page sources. It is quite easy to retrieve the .js files used. Another way is to "sniff it" while using the PTZ controls with a tool like Fiddler

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Bubbah
    j'ai envoyé un message à Dericam pour signaler le pb.
    Le modem (box adsl) utilisé ici est une Freebox V5.
    J'ai d'autres appareils : pc, radio wifi, imprimante, smartphone, tablette qui n'ont aucun pb en WPA(psk+aes).
    Je trouve dommage de modifier mon réseau wifi pour cette caméra...
    En lançant le scan des reseau wifi, mon reseau est en gris sans possibilité de cliquer dessus.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Which range of channels can you use? is 13 channel available?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes it does 12,13 unlike the 8918

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was having trouble connecting my wireless router to this camera. I have MAC address filtering so I added what I thought was the MAC address "Device ID". It turns out this is not the actual MAC address of the wireless card in the camera.

    To get the MAC Address connect to the device wirelessly without MAC Address filtering turned on. After "IP Camera Tool" connects type the following into Command Prompt:

    C:\>arp -a
    Interface: 192.168.1.xx --- 0x4
    Internet Address Physical Address Type
    192.168.1.xx xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx dynamic

    Now use that address for MAC Address filtering.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Do Led_mod parameters
    ( 0:mode1
    1:model2
    2:shut off the led)
    work in Set_misc.cgi command ?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello, How can i shut off the IR LEDs??

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Kees
    Unfortunately this is not possible with the M801W.
    Apparently the fact that they kept the I/O relay connector for this hardware version prevents the control of the LED unless rewiring the inside.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello Bubbah,

    I findout how to disable the IR-LED's and the IR Cut filter stil working.

    See de photo i have made:

    http://www.freebits.nl/images/486cam5.jpg

    Cut only 1 Wire

    Greetings Kees
    Holland

    ReplyDelete
  23. Kees: Does cutting that wire still allow you to turn the IR-LED's on and off?

    ReplyDelete
  24. @headkaze

    It is not possible to turn the IR-Led's to turn off and on.
    But if you want to shut then Off you van cut the wire and the LED's are off.
    If you want to shut them on you can make a switch between the cut wire.

    Greetings Kees

    ReplyDelete
  25. Think I'm going to order one too, at the widest angle, is the zoom comparable to the Foscam F8918W ? I read the Dericam has a 4mm à 9mm lense, not sure what the Foscam is. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The M801W is indeed 4~9mm
    For FI8908W it's 3.6mm

    One difference to note: on FI8908W and 8918W you can easily replace that lens.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi! Bubba. Do you know if the Deri M801W has a reset button and where it is? I can't access my cam through the IP Camera tool!?
    Is there any other way to do a factory reset?
    Many thanks
    Brianro

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi,
    it's not marked asa such but there's one: if you click on the bottom view of the camera in my post, you should see a tiny hole with no marking on the right side somewhere between the QC label and the larger hole for hanging the camera.
    The use of it is similar to what is explained in the post titled "FAQ for IP Cameras"

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks Bubbah! I thought that might be it. All now working fine business. Your help and posting much appreciated. Brianro

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello,
    I have tried all tricks I know to reset the cam, but I still can't get in with the admin password..

    anybody a tip to help out ?
    I did do the number -11- of the FAQ
    Q. How to factory-reset my IP Cam?
    A. Start with the camera powered off.
    Keep the reset button pressed while re-plugging the power cable. Keep the reset button pressed for up to 20 seconds. On a PTZ camera, you know that you can release the reset button when it starts moving and the network indicator starts to blink.
    The Foscam camera should now be back to factory default with user "admin" and no password. Since the IP address is reset as well, it may not appear on the network. Use the IP Camera tool to access it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Still enjoying my M801W although it would be nice to have a memorized zoom level, any new on the firmware update they said would allow that? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  32. @Webvan
    no news and I haven't seen much activity around that model for a while, looks like they're mostly focusing on the M502W for now.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hey Bubbah,
    Have several Foscams and Dericams here around my house and I am very happy with them. I bought a M502W lately also from Dericam but I cannot make it to work with my third party software H264webcam from Tim Hillone. Cannot get the stream or singel jpg. Are you intend to test this HDcam?
    Greetz from Kees in Purmerend Holland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you can use more than one of the Dericams on your home network? I was going to buy another camera and found out that I could only use one on my home network. I want to be able to look in on both of my children's rooms with an iPad app. Will that be a problem? Thanks.

      Delete
    2. Hi Padolsky, there are a number of iPad apps that allow you to look at multiple streams at once; the Livecams Pro app allows you to listen to audio from multiple at once.

      Delete
  34. @KoosHopeloos
    It tried the free version and could connect as "Maygion Ip Camera RTSP mode", however the program tends to crash often.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks Bubbah for the quick response. I made a mistake. It is not the M502W but the H502W. It very sharp HD and very good in the dark and you can switch the irleds on and off But I cannot make it work with my securitysoftware.

    ReplyDelete
  36. @KoosHopeloos
    That's well the one that I tested and it works (reviewed here). Took some time to connect but works when "H264WebCam 3.97" does not crash on me.

    ReplyDelete
  37. can someone who bought the M801W camera send my a sample video recorded using the web softwere. it can be only a few seconds long preferably 640X480.
    thanks alot!
    nawow@walla.co.il

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Bubbah,
    i have bought a second hand Dericam m801w. The image is out of focus. Is there a way to adjust it without open the case? In negative case have you a step by step guide that i can follow to adjust the problem?
    Thank you in advance

    Regards

    Gianpaolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I have is in that post with inside views of the M801W
      Look at the 5 last pictures, they show the 2 long screws holding the pcb to the lens block. These screws can be used to re-adjust the focus. You need to keep the camera connected in order to monitor the change in real time. Both screws should be adjusted the same way and not too far in/out, don't force!

      Delete