Tried outside camera Reolink RLC-423 PoE
As an attentive reader of this blog, the cameras from Reolink should have come in front of your lens one time or another. Over the past few years I have actually been able to look at a few more of those devices and this time I finally got the opportunity to take a look at a slightly larger PoE model – the Reolink RLC-423. PoE means “Power over Ethernet” in the longtitle – the camera does not necessarily need its own power connection, but can only ensure the necessary power supply via the network connection.
Image sensor: 1 / 2.7 ″ CMOS sensor
Pixels: 2,560 x 1,920 (5.0 megapixels)
Lens: f = 2.7-12 mm autofocus, F = 1.6
Viewing angle: Horizontal: 87 degrees – 31 degrees, Vertical: 65 degrees – 24 degrees
Day / night mode: Automatic switchover
Minimum illumination: 0 lux (with IR illuminator)
IR distance: 58 meters
6 IR LEDs
supports backlight compensation
Noise reduction: 3D DNR
Pan and tilt range: Pan: 360 degrees, tilt: 0 degrees -90 degrees
Speed: Pan: 2.5 – 180 degrees / second (adjustable), Tilt: 1.5 – 90 degrees / second (adjustable)
supports power memory
Video compression: H.264
Resolution: Mainstream: 2,560 x 1,920, 2,560 x 1,440, 2,048 x 1,536, 2,304 x 1,296; Substream: 640 x 480
Bit rate: Mainstream: 1,024 Kbps – 8,192 Kbps; Substream: 64 Kbps – 512 Kbps
Audio input / output: 1-channel audio input
Compression rate: 16-64 Kbps
Interface: 1 * 10M / 100Mbps RJ45
Supported browsers: IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari
Supported operating systems: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Max. User access: 20 users (1 administrator account & 19 user accounts); Supports up to 12 simultaneous video streams (10 x substream & 2 x mainstream)
Storage option: with integrated micro SD card slot; Supports recording on motion detection
Power supply: DC 12 V & PoE (IEEE 802.3at)
Power consumption: <20 W
Degree of protection: IP66
Working environment: temperature: -10 degrees Celsius – +55 degrees Celsius, humidity: 10 – 90 percent
Dimensions: 136 mm diameter, overall camera: 218 x 201 mm
Weight: 1.70 kg
Combined input for: audio input, power, network cable
Card slot for Micro SD (maximum 64 GB)
However, this still requires an additional PoE injector, which pumps the current into the corresponding network cable. So it doesn't work without an injector, so you'll need the (included) power adapter. Because I really wanted to try it out as a PoE solution, I got a PoE injector for just under 40 euros from the e-mail-order company of trust, which it dismantled before the first start-up.
So return, ordering again was no longer an option given the shipping restrictions currently prevailing thanks to Corona. So I stayed with it: The camera is supplied with power as normal, the cam receives the network signal via cable, but directly from a Google Wi-Fi spot that uses my existing mesh network. For the expected transmission, it was clear from the outset that the connection would not be as smooth as with a direct cable connection – but more on that later.
The RLC-423 is beefy and by beefy I mean heavy and big (22 centimeters long, 14 centimeters wide). The whole thing weighs 1.7 kg due to the metal housing. This can be exhausting when assembling. The case is supposed to be made of aluminum, but rather looks cast iron – which also makes the device simply robust. You should also keep in mind that the camera can rotate 360 degrees and tilt the image by 90 degrees. So mounting the camera somewhere in a corner may not be the best idea for you to use it – but you don't actually buy this model for that. At a price of almost 290 euros, I definitely think about whether I really have a suitable mounting location for the camera.
Well, both the power plug and the network cable are not directly connected to the camera, which still has an approximately half a meter long cable harness that combines several connections. Here you will find the port for the RJ45 network cable, the power connector, an audio port, an earth cable, a button for resetting the camera and a weatherproof cap that can be pulled over the plug connector of the network connector. Once you have assembled everything, the set-up can begin, which works again via the Reolink app and is done in under a minute thanks to the QR code (and my existing Reolink account). The RLC-423 then conveniently integrates itself into the overview of the already set up Reolink cameras, but should still be configured. But we'll get to that in a moment.
The camera has all sorts of noteworthy technology. Here I might highlight a few key points from the specifications:
1 / 2.7 inch CMOS sensor
5 megapixel resolution (2,560 x 1,920)
Lens: f = 2.7-12 mm autofocus, F = 1.6
IR distance: 58 meters
Resolution: Mainstream 2,560 x 1,920, 2,560 x 1,440, 2,048 x 1,536, 2,304 x 1,296 (1,024 – 8,192 kpbs bit rate / 25fps); Substream 640 x 480 (64 – 512 kbps bit rate / 6fps)
This gives the RLC-423 a really sharp picture, even at night. Here Reolink promises up to 58 meters of night vision. That may be true, but I can really see faces and license plates, etc. in my test up to a maximum of 30 meters, which in my opinion is really good. The six built-in IR LEDs ensure performance at night. In addition, you can freely rotate the camera 360 degrees day and night and swivel the field of view up and down by 90 degrees. It also offers a 4x optical zoom (2.7 – 12 mm) and a motorized zoom lens with auto focus function. The autofocus takes a little more time than you are used to from your smartphone camera, but it works reliably.
It looks a bit different when I quickly turn the camera over the app and zoom in on the picture. As already mentioned, I was only able to bring the RLC-423 to my power using a power adapter and a network cable in the Google Wi-Fi spot. The direct connection via RJ45 is therefore missing, which means that the turn / tilt and zoom commands are only transmitted to the camera with a slight delay. That takes about 1-2 seconds, but it also ensures that zooming in doesn't work as smoothly anymore and I therefore have to refocus manually more often.
This is not a problem for my scenario, because the area to be viewed is relatively narrow and I do not have to turn the camera. As I said, the result then looks completely different with an existing PoE connection, as the example videos on the product page also show impressively.
You can control the RLC-423 not only via an app, but also via your computer – Reolink offers its own client for both Windows and macOS, in which wired Reolink cameras can be set up, as well as a web client for the most common browsers. The camera does not offer a fixed memory, either a microSD must be used (a maximum of 64 GB is supported) or you can integrate your own FTP server. Of course you can also purchase and integrate a Reolink recorder, which would also guarantee 24/7 monitoring. But these also start from 275 euros upwards, even if there are regular offers here – just like the rest of the Reolink offer.
I decided not to go into the Reolink app again in detail, since I have already done this in detail in all the other camera reviews and the menu and functions here basically always have the same content, although here, for example, the Thank god schedule for push notifications then works as detailed as the Argus PT I recently tested.
According to the manufacturer, the camera now also offers "backlight compensation". This ensures that the dark areas in the image are subsequently brightened, which is generally to be welcomed. However, the bright areas of the image are also overdriven, which is why some areas in the field of view can hardly or not be recognized, especially when there is a lot of sunlight. In my case, this does not bother me because I mainly need the camera for surveillance at night. I wanted to have mentioned it anyway.
At the end of the day, the Reolink RLC-423 gives you an extremely reliable, robust outdoor camera that not only has a very sharp picture, but that in conjunction with a PoE injector can also be operated using an RJ45 cable without any additional power supply can be.
The 360-degree rotation and 90-degree swivel capability ensure that there are basically no blind spots from the point of view of the camera that cannot be monitored. The set-up is simple, unfortunately manual focusing only works so-so. The auto focus is sufficiently fast for this. In conjunction with an FTP server, private 24/7 recording can also be provided inexpensively, otherwise there is still the option of using a microSD card (maximum 64 GB) that is at least secured with a screw or you can use a dedicated recorder of the manufacturer.