The Escam QD300 is an inexpensive outdoor camera. At just $40 with the promise of privacy mask areas and motion alerts I was beyond intrigued and couldn't wait to test out this camera. I've been searching for an outdoor camera that doesn't spam my phone and that doesn't break the bank and though Escam did neither, I'm still searching for the perfect outdoor camera...
- Clear Video
- Solid Night Vision Performance
- IP66 Enclosure
- Difficult Installation
- Not Wireless
- Terrible App Performance
Escam QD300 Camera Quality
The Escam QD300 can record in HD up to 30 frames per second, 720p. This is comparable to the last outdoor camera I tested, the iSensor Patio but the overall picture quality is better with the QD300. The Qd300 uses a 1/4" 1.0 megapixel progressive scan CMOS sensor, H.264 compression, and multiple IR LEDs for stellar day and night vision. Only 1 megapixel? Yup. And this is proof that more megapixels isn't always better. The picture quality on the QD300 was excellent. No color distortion, no warping, clear night vision, a quality visual experience at just $40. The only issue I had with the camera was streaming video. Streaming video had a slight lag and was also choppy at times but it was tolerable for the price I paid.
There was one feature of the streaming video I did not find tolerable. The fact that setting up live streaming to my computer was a pain in the ass to setup and the user interface isn't friendly. Escam is a Chinese company and the instructions and software are mostly in Chinese. I was unable to connect the camera to the suggested mobile app but streaming to my computer worked well minus the choppiness that I mentioned. I seriously considered purchasing a paid software to manage Escam but I didn't invest in anything during testing. I looked at BlueIris and iSpy but decided that investing time and money into the camera only made it more expensive when I could have just purchased a more expensive plug and play camera to begin with.
The camera has a fairly limited viewing angle of just 70 degrees but in some ways a smaller viewing angle works for this outdoor camera. Less monitoring = fewer false alarms. It was also wide enough to capture video of my two car driveway which was the area I really wanted to monitor with this camera. There are cameras that offer a wider field of view or even cameras that you can mechanically pan and tilt if you need a greater field of view. Unfortunately, this is not offered on the QD300 so keep that in mind if those features are important to you.
Escam QD300 to Enhance Home Security
The Escam QD300 has multiple integrated features that could be used for home security but I couldn't get them to work. The camera includes email alerts for motion events and also what they call a privacy mask which is similar to smart zones used by Dropcam and Flir. The software should support of to 4 privacy mask areas. Essentially, point your camera at what you want to monitor, draw a privacy mask around the areas you want ignored, and the camera will monitor what you want and ignore the rest. As the app didn't work for me I could not use these features. Even if I had successfully connected the app, I'm not sure that I could have successfully navigated the app to setup these features without investing more hours. For example if you want to set up snapshot alarms you must log into the interface, navigate to device config, settings, record, snapshot just to get to a page that looks like the one below. Would you know what to do here? I wouldn't. What is channel? PreSnap? Period? It's not at all user friendly.
Want to setup email alerts? It's just as challenging. Navigate to netservice, double click "email" option, and navigate to a screen that looks like the one below. Not as challenging as the snapshot alarm set up but certainly challenging at best.
Want to know what the device configuration screen looks like?
A picture is worth 1000 words. I'll just leave these here to make my point so that we can move on.
My biggest issue with the Escam QD300 as a home security device is that it requires you to weaken your internet security. For example, I had to put a hole in my firewall and open up ports yet the camera doesn't require a password at all and this fact is printed on the bottom of the camera for anyone curious enough to take a look. This is a huge issue for both security and personal privacy.
BlueIris vs iSpy
Though I did not invest into BlueIris or iSpy, I will assume that those still interested in the QD300 might be. I do think adding software to the camera might be the best solution for actually making it manageable.
|BlueIris Full Version||iSpy Connect|
|Live Streaming||Live Streaming|
|Event Clips||Record Video and Audio On-Demand|
|Digital Zoom||Digital Zoom|
|PTZ For Some Cameras||PTZ For Some Cameras|
|iOS and Android App||iOS, Windows and Android App|
|Supports Push Notifications||Supports Email Alerts|
|Receive alerts via loudspeaker, email, instant message, voice phone call (with automatic redial), or external program/script.||View floor plans online with realtime movement/ sound alerts|
|Set up Motion or Audio Alerts||Set up Motion or Audio Alerts|
|Supports H.264 Streaming||Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support|
|Control the Speed of Recordings up to 64x Speed||Time-lapse record from any camera|
|All passwords are stored encrypted.||Encryption – Unknown|
|Control Up to 64 Cameras Simultaneously||Connect and monitor as many security cameras and microphones as you like.|
|And More||And More|
I think the real question here is why? Why would you want to go through all this hassle versus purchasing a true plug and play camera that comes with free software. For some, this isn't a complicated setup but for 95% of the US population this is complicated.
Also, the Escam doesn't integrate into any known home security or automation platform. If you purchase software, you can add other brands of cameras but again the process is complicated.
However hard it may be to ignore such a low price tag for an outdoor camera, I think it's advisable. The Escam QD300 doesn't do what it says it can do and the set up process is difficult including instructions that are partially in Chinese.
If you are feeling brave, you can purchase the QD 300 here. It is currently priced just over $40.