Vantage VIPC1431EP review
There may be a huge choice of IP cameras on the market, but if you want one that can handle all that the great outdoors can throw at it then you’d expect to pay a premium. Vantage’s latest bullet IP cameras buck this trend, as the VIPC1431EP has an affordable price tag and yet is IP66 certified.
Ingress Protection is an industry-standard accreditation and IP66 passes the camera as totally protected against dust and capable of withstanding low-pressure jets of water.
To put this camera’s capabilities into perspective, the Sony SNC-DF80P is designed for external surveillance and costs more than £800 yet has no IP rating, so must be placed in a sheltered area. The VIPC1431EP is clearly capable of withstanding the vagaries of the British summer.
The camera is a very solid aluminium tube with a metal sunshield on top. The business end is protected by a glass cover sealed in a removable outer metal ring, which will need to be removed since the lens has a couple of pullers behind it for manually adjusting focus and zoom. The VIPC1431EP can handle
24-hour operations, as the lens is surrounded by 15 IR-emitter LEDs. All connections are at the back, where cables are routed through the sealed rear cover.
Power options are good – there’s a standard supply but it also supports PoE, and we had no problems with it connected to the lab’s HP ProCurve 2626-PWR PoE switch. Installation is aided by the bundled IP utility, which locates the camera on the network and offers quick links to firmware upgrades, configuration backups and the main web interface.
On first contact with the live view, we found colour balance to be good but focus was too soft. Car park surveillance could be a problem, as number plates will be difficult to make out. Facial recognition will also be problematic. However, general motion – even at 25fps – was smooth.
Night-time operations are hands-free, as the camera’s sensor automatically switches on the IR illuminators and, as light levels drop further, it will also switch to mono mode. Testing confirmed that the camera could shed light for up to 30m and our test subjects could be seen clearly in pitch black, although facial recognition was only possible at close range.
You can adjust image quality, resolution and frame rates plus saturation, contrast and brightness from the web interface, but for the majority of surveillance functions the camera relies entirely on the bundled IP Video Control Center software, which can handle feeds from up to 16 cameras.
For motion detection you can set up three windows of differing sensitivities from the camera’s setup pages, but all triggers and actions are configured from the software. Once triggered, the software can send images to an FTP server and email them to one recipient. You can also set up recording schedules.
The VIPC1431EP delivers a good range of surveillance features at a low price. Overall, image quality is a casualty, but the IP66 rating, PoE support and integral IR emitters do make it extremely versatile.
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