Foscam FI8904W

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This is a basic IP camera, with passable daytime video quality and IR night capability available cheaply for only £65 from Amazon.co.uk in the UK in December 2011. BenF

I wouldn't expose it directly to the elements without some shelter. Note also the plugs/sockets from the box are captive and have only a ~1m lead so you'll need something like an external junction box to terminate them.

The camera I have arrived with

Software
Firmware Version 11.25.2.38
Embeded Web UI Version 2.4.9.15


Note that a request for updated firmware from Foscam support offered me a much older firmware.

The details on the Foscam page were a very useful in getting this setup, especially in passing your username and password.

The below assumes you have got the camera setup and connected to your network, and use a static IP address. You will have also setup a new user on the camera and are using that account to retrieve the snapshots or video.


Using the FI8904W with Zoneminder :

You can either use the snapshot stream, or video stream.

If the IP Address of the camera is 192.168.1.100 then the monitor settings for each are:

Snapshots :

For a 640 x 480, ~ 5-7 frames a second stream :

Protocol : HTTP
Method : Simple
Remote Hostname : <your camera's static IP address>, eg 192.168.1.100
Port : 80
Path : /snapshot.cgi?user=<username>&pwd=<password>&resolution=32&rate=6
Colours : 24 bit
Width : 640
Height : 480


I found the camera could supply a maximum of 9-10fps.

The only other issue is your box running Zoneminder box will be quite busy decoding jpgs - the libjpeg-turbo MMX libraries do help here if you have a modern CPU. Alternatively, switch to the videostreaming method below,.

Video Streaming :

Config as above, but the path changes to

Path : /videostream.cgi?user=<username>&pwd=<password>

To get a stream running about 10-12fps. I found that the stream wasn't entirely smooth, with a small pause every 2 seconds. Forcing a frame rate just slower than this does help give you a smoother stream, and so better playback:

Path : /videostream.cgi?user=<username>&pwd=<password>&rate=6

Gives for me a framerate for me of 7.5fps, and rate=3 gives 10fps.

Changing the Lens :

It appears different sensors may have been used with different lens fittings depending on the age of your unit.


Possibly pre- Jun 2011 cameras appear to take 'CS' lenses, which can be swapped if you don't mind some disassembly of the unit - there are a few videos on YouTube showing people doing this. These are readily available available from eBay as CCTV Lenses, for £5 GBP.


The camera I have arrived appears to be a revision made in June 2011 according to the PCB silkscreen next to the sensor. The sensor also appears to have changed to be what is known as a 'boardcam' - a smaller unit with the lens being a 'M12' fine thread type lenses also used with Bulletcams. These lenses are also known as 'board' lenses, and suppliers include T&S imports

I have successfully swapped a 8mm and 12 mm lens - but note these lenses have a much more defined focal point and for shorter distances ( under 3-4m ) need a little care adjusting the focus to suit your needs.