There was a time when the idea of a personal surveillance camera was laughable: it was expensive to buy, expensive to set up and expensive to maintain. And to have automated features like motion and sound detection, or remote viewing capabilities — no way! Only corporations and millionaires had that kind of money. Good thing then that we’re in the 21st Century and D-Link has their Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera (model# DCS-2630L) ready to go.
The DCS-2630L does a lot but before anything else what doesn’t it do? It doesn’t charge you for using it because there are no subscription fees. So yeah you can take a few weeks to get used to using it (or even to figure it outright) and not feel like the clock is ticking on next month’s payment.
Setting up the DCS-2630L is as simple as any other D-Link camera. You download the app for iOS/Android/Windows and enter some specific s about yourself. Then you plug the camera in and follow the command prompts to connect to the xxx and have it connect to the home network Since it uses 802.11 AC WiFi, that makes for a fast response and fast streaming capabilities — all good stuff since we’re dealing with a Full HD video signal moving at a normal frame rate.
So what can you do through the app besides set up the camera. You can program in how it reacts — from setting parameters (zones) for sound and motion detection (aided by infrared for more efficient/effective results), to when it records and for how long. There’s no cloud recording charges to consider, because the camera doesn’t record to somebody’s server. Instead it records to its own SD card (which is formatted in the camera prior to being used and should last quite a while since the signal is compressed). Don’t like that — even though you can access the recordings later locally — then you might want to either get D-Links dual USB digital recorder or plan on never sleeping and always having the app tuned in to what the camera is looking at.
The camera itself has some interesting characteristics — some of which are similar to others of its type (for example having dual audio for listening in and for speaking out through a reasonably large sized speaker), some of which are similar to others of its type but better implemented (for example, giving you 16 solid feet of night vision capabilities) and some of which doesn’t exist in other cameras — this is the wide angle view that is deconstructed to eliminate the edge bending views that are characteristic of such extreme wide angle lenses. In the case of the DCS-2630L, the wide angle characteristic has been modified so that the wider view is more “flat” — meaning that what you see at the sides aren’t bent up like the reflection in a snow globe but more like that of a “normal” lens’ view.
The camera itself is mounted on a metal stand that is designed either to be positioned standing up or wall mounted using an adjustable tilt to keep the camera level (the camera itself is 360 degree rotatable). Granted that it must be powered via a USB circuitry and so there has to be a cable attached, but besides the use of an AC USB adapter, a compatible portable USB battery pack of correct wattage is an alternative to positioning where a wall outlet isn’t handy, convenient or even possible for the location chosen.
In use, the camera performs exactly as expected, with the view presented both sharp and clear — even through the Internet when miles or more than miles away. The best part might be that it can eliminate the need for multiple cameras due to the excessive angle of view it allows for: being used in places where catching a view that needs to be cinemascope is possible versus TV tube-sized perspective.
The DCS-2630L provides a secure and stable streaming video signal that makes watching a surveillance camera many times more enjoyable than it should be (okay, for all those cat lovers on YouTube, just have it aimed towards your tabbies). True it can’t do remote pan and tilt, but leaving that out it is really something what it CAN do — the wide angle ability not being the be-all but an integral part of a well constructed and well thought out surveillance camera. Is it worth $199.99? You can bet your security on it.