Day or night, Dropcam Pro home monitoring camera promises sharper, clearer video
posted Friday, October 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM EDT
We report on all kinds of cameras here at the Imaging Resource news desk, from SLRs and compact system cameras to compacts, camera backs, wearable cameras... you name it. We've even covered cameras that let your pets take your own photos.
There's one segment of the market we don't often discuss, though, even if we occasionally hear from readers wanting to know more. Home / office security cameras are typically either extremely expensive (and we're talking thousands of dollars), or they're little more than rehoused webcams in a fancier-looking package.
A press release from San Francisco-based Dropcam Inc. yesterday caught our eye, though. Priced at US$200, their new Dropcam Pro isn't terribly expensive, but it seems to offer much better features than the typical "security" webcam. It includes built-in wireless communications, and -- with an ongoing subscription -- offsite video storage for either seven or thirty days. It even offers the ability to recognize motion patterns in your videos, and group them by similar patterns. In fact, short of a built-in, remote-controlled motion platform and weatherproofing, there doesn't seem to be too much that the Dropcam lacks.
And its optics and sensor seem better than many, as well. The Dropcam Pro has a six-element glass lens, and according to its maker, has double the sharpness and seven times better low-light video capabilities than its preceding Dropcam HD, now renamed the Dropcam. If the sample video shown in coverage of the new camera at tech blog GigaOM is anything to go by -- they show a surprisingly clear infrared video said to have been shot in total darkness -- the Dropcam might well be worth considering if you're looking for a home monitoring setup. Couple this with a new microphone and speaker, plus a doubling of the audio sample rate, mix in Bluetooth LE and dual-band Wi-Fi, and add an iPad / iPhone setup app, and the Dropcam Pro looks pretty attractive for the price.