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D-Link DCS-5030L HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera review: This camera covers a lot of ground

Michael Ansaldo | Oct. 26, 2016
Although DIY home security cameras can seem interchangeable, no model is suitable for every need.

Once setup is complete, you’ll see the camera’s live feed on the app’s home screen. Along the bottom are buttons for turning the audio on and off, taking a screenshot of the feed, manually triggering video recording, and operating the camera’s pan and tilt. You access the camera’s settings from the three-dot menu in the top right corner.

mydlink lite

The mydlink Lite app lets you pan and tilt the DCS-5030L incrementally with directional arrows.

The last is where you can customize motion and sound detection to minimize false alerts. The app allows you to enable/disable sound and motion detection independently of each other, which gives you some flexibility.

You can also define motion detection areas by tapping squares on a grid overlaying the camera image. This allows you to monitor activity only around ingress/egress points rather than the entire room, for example. You can also adjust the push notifications themselves, enabling them for both motion and sound, motion only, or turning them off completely.

Once I had everything customized to my liking, I found the detection alerts pretty accurate. With each alert, you’re presented with an option to go directly to the camera’s live view. Image quality is clear, though not as detailed as some other cameras, and it had none of the edge warping that often results from wide-angle lenses. The audio was also strong, clearly picking up action that was happening off camera.

The camera’s marquee feature, though, is its pan-and-tilt and I had mixed results with it. The app offers two methods of operation, which you can toggle between using the button on the home screen. The first method is to use gestures—you swipe your finger across the camera image in the direction you want to camera to go. This allows you to cover large swaths of a room, sometimes too large. As often as not, swiping in a given direction sent the camera to the end of its travel whether that’s what I wanted or not. There is an indicator that pops up when you hold your finger on the screen that moves as you move you finger to help you make more precise gestures. It’s not very intuitive, however, and it rarely helped me get the result I wanted.

The other method, when activated, places an overlay of eight arrows on the image—at the four cardinal points and the four corners—with a circle at the center. Tapping any of the arrows moves the camera incrementally in that direction and tapping the circle brings the camera back to its home position. This provided much more accurate control, whether I just wanted to reposition the camera or track my dog through the living room.

 

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