Y-Cam Black SD review
The Y-Cam Black SD is a compact network camera that’ll stand guard over your home or business. It doesn’t swivel or zoom (unlike, for example, the EyeSpy247PTZ); but it has a decent 53-degree horizontal field of vision, and with its sturdy metal bracket you can mount it at any angle you choose.
It doesn’t even need to be within range of a router: slot in a micro-SDHC card and it can keep its own record of interesting sightings. Depending on the location, though, we’d be wary of relying on local storage alone, just in case an enterprising thief swipes the camera.
So the Y-Cam remains primarily a network device, and though it lacks WPS we found it very easy to connect to our wireless LAN. The web-based console is slick and usable, with settings and displays set out clearly and logically. A particularly thoughtful touch is way the software automatically determines and displays both internal and external URLs for the main feed and the low-bandwidth RTSP stream.
As you’d expect, the camera can be set to record to a schedule, or whenever movement is detected in any four definable areas of view. Alerts, images and footage can be sent by email or uploaded to an FTP server – or recorded directly to your PC’s hard disk, so long as you have the software open in your browser.
And when it comes to image quality the Y-Cam excels, with bags of detail and fluid movement in both MPEG4 and MJPEG modes. The default stream resolution is 640 x 480 at 30fps, though you can step it down to accommodate lower-bandwidth viewers – or configure a secondary feed with its own encoding settings and a separate URL. The tiny built-in microphone won’t win any audiophile awards, but it’s clear enough to catch a conversation from a good few yards away.
Unlike the EyeSpy247PTZ, the Y-Cam is also a true night vision camera, with an infrared sensor that picks up an impressive degree of detail even in apparent pitch darkness. There’s a trade-off, though: the Y-Cam’s infrared lamps blow its cover by giving off a visible red glow when in use, and the IR sensor is apt to add a purple tinge to footage recorded in sunlight.
There are a few let-downs elsewhere too. The viewer interface looks scrappy, and frustratingly only offers the full range of controls when viewed in Internet Explorer. User management is perfunctory too: either you’re an administrator with full privileges or a view-only user, with no possible middle ground.
All the same, the Y-Cam Black SD is a breeze to use, and produces lovely clean footage. As a simple camera for day and night surveillance it works brilliantly, so unless you have particularly sophisticated needs it’s well worth a look.
|Sensor type||1/4in CMOS|
|Video frame rate||30fps|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|Power over Ethernet||no|
|Compression scheme||MJPEG, MPEG4|