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Axis Communications may have had the network IP camera market pretty much to itself for many years but not any longer as a number of big players have recently joined the game. Along with Panasonic and Sony we now have D-Link with its latest DCS-5300G delivering an impressive array of features. It offers remote pan, tilt and digital zoom functions, automatic patrolling, wired and wireless access, motion detection, audio capabilities and a claimed 30fps video streaming as well.
Design isn’t one of this camera’s fortes as the ribbed, barrel shaped lens housing squatting between two plastic prongs wouldn’t look out of place in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. However, it can tilt through 90 degrees and pan across 270 degrees giving it a much better range than Panasonic’s diminutive BL-C10. Rotation isn’t smooth though as the motor moves the lens barrel and holder in small steps resulting in a series of jerks rather than a glide. A Fast Ethernet port is located at the rear and flanked by video and audio RCA sockets for connecting the camera to a TV. There’s also a four-pin connector block for adding external devices such as relays, door bells, door sensors and so on.
The bundled installation wizard utility makes light work of initial setup as it searches the network for D-Link cameras and offers them up for basic network configuration. The home page opens with a live view and a control pad to the right-hand side for panning or tilting the lens and moving it directly to its home position. You can also point to any area in the viewing window and clicking there will centre the camera on that location.
General picture quality is above average with the best results coming from the 352 x 240 pixel resolution. The highest resolution of 740 x 480 pixels wasn’t as sharply focused and this setting also drops the frame rate to a maximum of 10fps.
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