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September 2006

   Dynamoo 2006



D-Link DCS-950G Review

 D-Link DCS-950G 19th September 2006

Let's get to the point - the D-Link DCS-950G is a piece of crap. Under no circumstances should you buy one, and if you're struggling with your DCS-950G you should send it back.

On paper, the DCS-950G looks to be a good piece of kit, and indeed it does have its good points. It's quite easy to connect to a wired or wireless network, and it's fairly straightforward to configure the DCS-950G for email alerts. The image quality on video captures is pretty good.

As soon as you try to install the DCS-950G, the problems begin. The main one is that the installation CD (in our case the latest version) is faulty and does not come with the software that you need to install to make the DCS-950G work. It's not buggy.. it just doesn't install at all because D-Link forgot to include the software on the CD (you need to download this version of ffdshow). This extreme sloppiness shows throughout the product.

The web browser interface is strictly an Internet Explorer on Windows affair, so if you were hoping to use the DCS-950G in any other way.. forget it. The ActiveX control that the DCS-950G installs is unreliable and crashes the browser ofter. The camera appears to reset and reboot regularly, so you'll lose communication with it often.

The controls are unreliable and fiddly, and worse still the camera cannot remember some important settings when it reboots (such as the light frequency and image quality). Slider controls are very difficult to use, and the interface overall is badly laid out. Although, if the results were good then it would at least be usable.

The problems with the DCS-950G run deeply. The main one is that the motion detection is truly awful and is extremely unreliable. It will trigger happily if there's a small variation of light and dark, but will completely ignore a person walking by. Or a car driving past. Or a burglar removing your possessions. It will usually trigger long after the event has happened.

If by chance the DCS-950G does capture something, it will send a large 1Mb file containing a very short video clip, which you then won't be able to view because of the esoteric settings that the video Codec needs to work (these are buried on the user manual on the CD.. at least there is something useful on the CD, settings are below).

Now, you might be thinking that this is a configuration problem.. but I'm not a complete novice with these cameras and have set other ones up reliably. However, the DCS-950G is completely unfit for purpose. And yes, the DCS-950G was running the latest software version when tested.

There are a few other minor problems - the shiny surface of the DCS-950G makes it unsuitable for surveillance operations because of the way it reflects light, and you cannot turn off the DCS-950G's LEDs. This can be fixed with some tape though (as you can see if you look closely in the picture).

Overall, the DCS-950G is a very poor product, and yet it could have been so much better. The network connection is fairly easy and the video capture quality is good, but serious flaws in the product make it pretty useless and you'd be much better off looking at another device entirely.

D-Link DCS-950G: ffdshow settings

 D-Link DCS-950G ffdshow settings


 Subj: Shopping and Services


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