At a glance
- 8x zoom lets you get up close to the action
- Solid low-light performance
- 340 degrees of pan and 80 degrees of ensure you can see almost anywhere
- No spotlight for “color” night vision
- Initial connectivity issues (though these settled down in time)
- Fairly industrial appearance
The dual lenses on this EZVIZ C8PF security cam feel a bit gimmicky, but the feature is useful in some scenarios.
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Before we get into all that, let’s look at the overall specs of the device. This is a globular outdoor camera that dangles from an overhead mounting bracket which can be mounted to either a wall or an overhanging eave. The all-white unit is largely crafted from plastic and is rated an acceptable IP65 against water and dust, meaning its entirely protected from dust and that it can withstand a jet of water from a garden hose. You can read all about IP codes in the preceding link.
The C8PF’s motor can be controlled via its app and provides 340 degrees of pan and 80 degrees of tilt, giving you a very broad field of view—as long as it’s not upwards. EZVIZ doesn’t state its lenses’ field of view, but the specifications are 12mm for the telephoto lens and 2.8mm for the wide-angle lens. The camera includes a solid infrared night-vision mode, but it does not include a flood- or spotlight for “color” night vision. Two-way audio is included, along with a rather grating siren that can allow the camera to double as a crude motion-detection security system. Network connectivity is via either ethernet or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and the EZVIZ app, which sets up quickly by scanning a QR code on top of the mounting bracket.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The ball-shaped EZVIZ C8PF security cam can be mounted to a wall, a post, or an eave.
The idea with the C8PF’s “mixed zoom” system is that the camera provides its two viewing angles simultaneously, courtesy of a picture-in-picture system in the app. This is very different from the dual-lens Reolink Duo, which stitches the feed from its two lenses into a single almost panoramic view. With the C8PF, you can pinch to zoom in and out on the primary image–up to 8x–while the thumbnail maintains the zoomed-out perspective, though you can’t really interact between the two views. It’d be amazing to be able to tap on a point on the wide-angle picture and have the telephoto lens zoom into that spot but, alas, it’s not possible here.
The PiP feature is admittedly much more useful when you turn your phone on its side and allow the frame to fill the screen. The standard portrait view, which populates pan and tilt controls or a history of recorded videos underneath the picture, is admittedly much less valuable, as the picture-in-picture thumbnail becomes too small.
Recordings can be saved to the cloud or to a microSD card, up to an extraordinary max capacity of 512GB. No card is included, though, and the slot for one is secreted under the camera behind a cover that I found incredibly difficult to remove without stripping the screws. EZVIZ’s CloudPlay service offers six options: For a single camera, you can pay $4/month or $40/year for three days of backup, $6/month or $60/year for seven days of backup, or $11/month or $110/year for 30 days of backup. With up to four cameras (of any EZVIZ model), the fees are $9/month or $90/year for seven days of backup, or $16/month or $160/year for 30 days of backup. A seven-day trial is included with purchase. Alexa and Google Home video devices are supported as well.
The EZVIZ app uses the camera’s dual lenses to present a picture-in-picture view.
Christopher Null / IDG
The camera’s video quality (1920 x 1080 pixels) is top-notch, and its IR-illuminated night vision looks great. EZVIZ’s motion detection settings are a little complicated – they’re under “alarm notification”–and feature two options, allowing you to be alerted on any type of motion (aka Image Change Detection) or only if a person is seen (aka Human Shape Detection). Notifications can be set for 24/7 or on a schedule, and you can opt to have notifications trip the siren if desired. A motion-detection area can be set in the app, and a line-crossing detection system is available, too. I found motion sensitivity to be solid at higher levels of its six sensitivity levels–though note that unlike some PTZ cameras (such as the Imilab C20), the camera won’t automatically follow a moving object it detects. That strikes me as a missed opportunity.
In the first few days of testing the C8PF, I struggled with near-constant signal drops and unstable connections, with the camera regularly spitting out an error during playback or, really, any other operation. The unit settled down after three days, however, and I was finally able to access videos and interact with camera settings without complaint. EZVIZ’s system for skimming through recordings is intuitive and easy to get around in, offering thumbnails that are broken down by day and hour of day, and a fast-forward mode that puts all the clips from a single day into one fast-moving cut is incredibly handy.
While the bulbous appearance of the camera may look out of place in the typical home, there’s more than enough in the C8PF to recommend it, though the picture-in-picture feature comes across as a bit of a gimmick, and the lack of a spotlight will turn some users off. The $170 price tag is roughly in line with other outdoor PTZ cameras with similar feature sets, so it’s worth throwing into the mix when comparison shopping.
Christopher Null is a veteran technology and business journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive, PCWorld, and Wired, and operates the websites Drinkhacker and Film Racket.