I ordered the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B camera from banggood and to my surprise, this camera happens to offer a lot more value than I anticipated at first. I mainly use Uniview and Ubiquiti cameras so I am used to the best quality the market has to offer, hence why when I booted up this $30 camera I did not expect anything spectacular, but I was quite surprised.
Where to buy the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Wireless Full HD Indoor Camera
I bought the Sonoff IP Camera from Banggood, but you can also find it on Amazon here and that listing is from the official Sonoff distributor on Amazon so the service should be first in class.
Sonoff GK-200MP2-B camera packaging
The camera comes in a very neat box, very similar to those smooth gloss white boxes Google uses for the Chromecast. Overall spectacular presentation, but that is to be expected because although this camera is only $30, this is still a Sonoff – a brand that is renowned for its durability and longevity. I mean just check out this article of mine where I show you how I measure the electricity consumption in my house using a Sonoff device, the point being, those electricity monitors and geyser switches run 24 / 7 under constant load for years.
In the box, you get the following items
The quality of the GK-200MP2-B camera
As I mentioned the packaging was brilliant, however, the camera itself is very plastic-like, I know most cameras are plastic even those from Uniview and Hikvision, but it is the type of plastic used on the Sonoff that feels a bit cheap to the touch for me. I have no doubt that this flavor of ABS plastic is good enough to take on some sunlight, but I would have preferred a bit more of a hardened ABS feel. This is where that bias of mine comes in because the Uniview bullet cameras just make an impression the instant you get it into your hands with a compact and robust feel, which I did not get from this camera.
Do not get me wrong, it is still a stunning camera and worth every cent. I am not oblivious to the fact that it is a motorized PTZ camera and in order to facilitate the near 360-degree rotation there will have to be some compromises in the design of the body, however, I think the Xiaomi Mijia MI Home camera has a better design than the Sonoff, but that is about it.
The specifications of the GK-200MP2-B camera
As difficult as it always is, let me stop with the first impressions and take a quick look at the rest of the specifications. Trust Sonoff to name a camera GK-200MP2-B when they enter this space.
Remember when I said I was quite surprised, well the Sonoff packs a considerable punch optically, thanks to an F1.2 aperture lens with autofocus and a Full HD resolution sensor with h.264 video compression and built-in Wi-Fi.
Video Quality of the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Camera
The video quality is exceptionally good for a camera that costs a fraction of what a cameras with similar specifications on paper would cost. The video quality can be better for instance I do not think it has a very high-quality sensor; however, the quality is better than any bank robbery CCTV footage I have ever seen. In fact, I think the quality is better than the 2MP Ubiquiti cameras I have so there is that. The video files are 1080p resolution, but it is 10fps and only a bit rate of 400kbps. I think there is room for Sonoff to improve and offer at least 15fps with a slightly higher bitrate. Static images are great, but because of the low FPS, any fast-moving object (like a cat) will be a blurry object.
Night vision quality of the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Camera
This is the part where I was impressed, it performed a lot better than a 2MP Ubiquiti Camera that costs 10x the price. So no complaints there.
The Sonoff camera app
One of the primary reasons I went and bought this camera is because it being a Sonoff I know I am buying into durability, not just of the physical hardware, but also in terms of software. The eWeLink app is incredibly stable and integrates with any smart device there is. The PTZ functionally is easy to use and there are many top-end features available out of the box like the easy rtsp setup which is normally reserved for the more expensive cameras. I cannot stress enough how much the value of this camera is increased by giving you a RTSP feed. Look at it this way, if you buy a 4K Xiaomi Mijia camera you do not get access to RTSP, in otherwords you are tied in to their app that lags. The Sonoff camera gives you full access to RTSP which you can then plug into any NVR or app of your choice.
The app allows you to talk to the other side via the camera’s speaker and it also allows you to drop in and listen to what is happening using the camera’s microphone. The app also allows you to move the camera around and taker snapshots or record videos to our cell phone.
How to pair the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B camera to the eWeLink app
Step 1: After powering on the camera a voice prompt will let you know the camera is ready to pair.
Step 2: Open the eWeLink app and tap the “+” sign on the bottom of the app to add the camera after you hear the camera say “please use mobile phone for W-Fi configuration”
Step 3: On the app select “Sound Pairing”
Step 4: Select “pairing sound is heard” and click next.
Your phone will now make noises which the camera will listen to and configure itself with.
The ugly side of the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Camera
The only real complaint I have is that the PTZ controls can be made better, in order to rotate the camera you need to tap the direction and then the camera moves 1 set and then you need to click again. I would have liked if I could simply hold or drag the PTZ controls to move the camera.
Note: They are not full PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) they are PT (Pan-Tilt) without Z (Zoom)
No POE, this is the real bummer, I understand this is mainly aimed at indoor use and for niche use cases, but I would gladly pay a little extra to get POE functionality.
I also would have preferred if they could have been powered over USB since it is 5V anyway. It would tremendously add to the usability if they could change the power input to USB in the next revision. I can see a few Arduino based Sonoff robots if they added and opened the API for the PT functionality and allowed USB powered operation.
There is no way to set automatic points for the camera to move to from time to time, instead you can only move the camera via the app and this has to be done manually – it’s not a big deal, but it would be nice if one could mark pre-determined locations / positions / spots that the camera moves to in a schedule or by selecting that zone, for instance it would have been very nice to say “Hey Google, move Sonoff to position x”
There is no way to download the footage from the eWeLink app that is being recorded to the SD card of the Sonoff camera. I hope this is a feature they will enable via a software update to the eWelink app as every other IP camera system I used allowed you to download the recorded content.
Setting up an NVR with the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Camera
The Sonoff camera cannot record continuously; when you have a SD card inserted it will record the motion snippets to the card and when you click record on the eWeLink app then it will record those snippets to your phone, however you cannot without using a RTSP recorder or dedicated third party NVR record constant video 24 / 7 and that is why the first thing I did was hook the Sonoff Camera into my existing VMS, you could also use Home Assistant (generic camera with rtsp) or set up a MotionEye deamon.
My go to NVR is Luxriot Evo, they have a free version that you can run on a Mac or windows PC which allows you to record to your local hard drive instead of paying for a cloud server or using a micro SD card in the camera. There really is no better VMS than luxriot and I have tried them all. You can download the free software from here and then follow the friendly Setup Wizard that allows for quick and easy installation and configuration of the Luxriot EVO software. All you will need to do is add the RTSP feed of the camera as the source for the EVO software. You simply need to enable the RTSP protocol on the APP and that will then give you a URL like so rtsp://rtsp:firstname.lastname@example.org:554/av_stream/ch0 which you can enter into the EVO software or any third-party app for that matter.
How to enable RTSP on the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B camera
Step 1: Open the eWeLink app (after you paired the camera).
Step 2: Select the camera.
Step 3: Click on the 3 dots top right of the screen.
Step 4: Click on “more settings”
Step: 5 Then click on “RTSP”
This will show IP allocation as “auto” – and an IP address of 192.168.xx.xx (depending on your home network) – account name “rtsp” and password “12345678”.
It also shows a button offering to “Create RTSP Link”. Click on that and then the link will be displayed which you can now copy to your clipboard.
How to stream the Sonoff video to VLC media player
Get the RTSP url from the Sonoff camera and then enter it as a media source into VLC by going to media in the top menu and then selecting “open network stream” and then pasting the RTSP link and you will be able to view the camera video inside VLC.
What is next for the Sonoff GK-200MP2-B Camera
Some immediate improvements would be POE capability and the ability to access the PTZ and configuration via a web API (or ideally Onvif). That said the camera can be configured to cast a video to the RTPS stream within the network which if you use a MikroTik router you could open that stream up to external services like YouTube.
Another improvement that can be made to the Sonoff Camera is the ability to see how much space is left on the SD card and to allow a user to download a recording from the SD card. Essentially allow users to export recordings from the SD card.
I think down the line we will see a 2K resolution Sonoff camera with a motorized lens for zoom because they have the PT side nearly perfected all that is missing now is better image quality and a higher resolution with optical zoom to become full PTZ, then they can take on the big boys like Uniview.
It would also be great if they could have a built-in webserver to manage the camera instead of having to load up the app on the phone each time – that said the use of an NVR solves that particular hassle, but setting up an NVR is a bit more advance and I do not believe everyone would be up for the task so a simple web interface would be nice.
The Sonoff camera is inexpensive I mean for $30 you get a motion-controlled full HD wireless IP camera, sure they can improve on it, but Sonoff is not trying to be the next Uniview, they want to compete on price and for that price bracket they are the best option available, no real complaints from my end, I own 2 of these and I am planning to buy a few more and then see what we can do with the firmware and maybe write some custom scripts for it, I think creating my own app for controlling the PTZ functionality would need a bit reverse engineering but shouldn’t be that difficult just by sniffing the traffic to the Sonoff camera.
I am trying to say that this is a fantastic camera to buy if you are not familiar with CCTV setups and how to set up an NVR or VMS system and just want a video feed that you can access on your phone whilst you are on the road.
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