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The Reolink RLC-823A 16X was launched earlier this year, and as the name suggests, it is essentially the same as the existing Reolink RLC-823A, but the zoom has been increased to 16x vs 5x.

This is the most expensive camera Reolink does. I would say that it is quite a niche camera as the zoom length means this is likely only to appeal to people wanting to monitor properties with a significant amount of land. It probably has more appeal in the US, but rural properties and farms in the UK may appreciate the unique qualities of this camera.

Specification

ModelRLC‐823A 16X
Image Sensor1/2.8" CMOS sensor
Video ResolutionDefault: 3840X2160 (8.0 Megapixels) at 25 fps
Lensf=5.3‐86mm, zoom module
Optical Zoom16X
Video FormatH.265
Field of ViewHorizontal: 54.2°‐3.6°
Vertical: 41.7°‐2.1°
Day & NightAuto‐switching with IR‐cut filter
Infrared Night VisionUp to 80 meters (260 ft) (LED: 7pcs/28mil/850nm)
AudioTwo‐way audio
PoEIEEE 802.3at, 48V active
DC PowerDC 12.0V72A,
PowerDC power port
SystemReset button
EthernetOne 10M/100Mbps; RJ45
StorageMicro SD card slot (max. 256GB)
AudioBuilt‐in microphone and speaker
Pan & Tilt RangePan: 360°, Tilt: 0° ~ 90°
Pan Speed1.4°‐281°/s (speed can be set)
Tilt Speed1.4°‐56°/s (speed can be set)
Preset64
Patrol1 patrol; up to 32 presets per patrol
Auto TrackingAvailable
Power‐off Memory FunctionSupport
Frame RateMainstream: 2fps ‐ 25fps (default: 25fps)
Substream: 4fps ‐ 15fps (default: 10fps)
Code RateMainstream: 4096Kbps ‐ 8192Kbps (default: 6144Kbps)
Substream: 64Kbps ‐ 512Kbps (default: 256Kbps)
Browsers SupportedEdge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari
OS SupportedPC: Windows, Mac OS; Smartphone: iOS, Android
Smart AlarmMotion detection; person detection; vehicle detection; pet detection
Record ModeMotion‐triggered recording (default); 24/7 recording; scheduled
recording
Protocols & StandardsHTTPS, SSL, TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP, IPv4, UPnP, RTSP, RTMP, ONVIF, SMTP,
NTP, DHCP, DNS, DDNS, FTP, P2P
Maximal User Access20 users (1 admin account & 19 user accounts); support up to 12
simultaneous video streams (10 substreams & 2 mainstreams)
Smart HomeGoogle Assistant
TemperatureOperating temperature: ‐10°C ~ +50°C (14°F ~ 122°F)
HumidityOperating humidity: 10% ~ 90%
WaterproofIP66
DimensionΦ132*281mm
Weight1.6kg

Reolink RLC-823A 16X vs RLC-823A

The optical zoom capability is the main difference between the RLC-823A 16X and the standard RLC-823A. The RLC-823A 16X has a 16X optical zoom, while the RLC-823A has a 5X optical zoom.

The RLC-823A 16X also has a narrower field of view with just 54.2° vs 105° with the camera fully zoomed out.

The RLC-823A 16X is more suitable for rural areas with more open land, while the RLC-823A is recommended for suburban or urban areas where a larger field of view and spotlight are more important.

It is worth noting that my installation was in an urban environment, so it was not really optimal for testing.

Unboxing / Installation

The unboxing of the RLC-823A 16X reveals the camera, warranty and, waterproof lid installation guides, and several accessories and parts for installation.

The camera has a solid and waterproof housing, making it suitable for various conditions.

The bracket for the camera is metal, whereas other PTZ cameras often use plastic brackets. This is then separate from the camera, and you run the cable inside the mount with them popping out the base of the mount.

This is a huge camera, which is possibly off-putting for home users. My neighbours already think I am a bit weird with the number of cameras I have, so I am sure they will have some thoughts about this. That being said, it is so large that you can’t really miss it, so it is likely a good deterrent.

Temporarily installed in my back garden while I set it up

Set Up

Setting up the RLC-823A 16X is straightforward; you can use the Reolink app, but with this sample, I used the Reolink Windows application. The app automatically recognised the camera on my network, and I just had to initialise it.

Both the Windows and Android app provides a user-friendly interface for controlling the pan and tilt features and person and vehicle detection.

Blue Iris / NVR Integration

The RLC-823A 16X can be integrated with Blue Iris or an NVR for recording and storage.

For Blue Iris or other third-party NVRs, you will want to enable RTSP and ONVIF within the settings, under network and advanced. The RTSP URL format is the same as other Reolink cameras:

rtsp://admin:password@192.168.xx.xx:554/h265Preview_01_main

The camera supports motion-triggered, scheduled, or 24/7 continuous recording, with videos saved to a micro SD card, Reolink NVR, or FTP server.

In Use / App

The Reolink app allows for remote management and control of the camera.

Users can view live footage, control the pan and tilt features, and set up person and vehicle detection.

You can also access the camera on a computer using either the Realink Windows app or the browser to view either the IP of the camera itself or if you use a Reolink NVR, you can use the IP of the NVR.

Motion Detection

The RLC-823A 16X features advanced motion detection, allowing for accurate detection without a subscription. The camera can be set up to trigger recording based on person and vehicle detection.

I chose not to install a microSD card at first, as I planned to use the Reolink NVR. However, within the NVR, not all the functionality is available like the other cameras. For example, the NVR doesn’t seem to tag the motion detection as human or vehicles.

However, once I upgraded to the latest firmware that was launched in July 2023, the motion detection on the NVR seemed to work correctly.

Initially, when the camera launched, it did not support auto-tracking, but this was enabled back in December 2022.

I think for this to work correctly, you need to set up the horizontal tracking range.  

This is the first time I have used auto-tracking on a camera that is placed relatively high up with a lot of foot traffic. It works quite well, but you need to dial in the settings for the best performance.  With it zoomed out, the camera will only track when a subject is moving out of the field of view. In comparison, my Eufy Floodlight Camera E340, will lock on to the subject and auto-track it as they move. The Eufy works well for tracking people entering my property, but I imagine it would be a bit erratic for more public areas. The Reolink is better at more public spaces, but I expect it wouldn’t be as good at capturing as much detail on an individual subject.

I have not uploaded the auto-tracking footage, as it was tracking random people on the street.

Day Time Footage & Zoom

The RLC-823A 16X delivers high-quality daytime footage with 4K resolution and up to 16X optical zoom.

Users can zoom in for astonishing details or zoom out for a wider field of view.

It is the zoom that’s the most impressive feature of this camera. My property is not best suited to this specific camera, but I placed it outside my first-floor office window facing towards the road.

With the zoomed-out view, there is nothing particularly special about it. The image quality is good, as you’d expect for an 8MP 4K camera. Zooming in shows you just how good this is; I zoomed in on some of the street signs around my property.

The best example is the small sign on the roundabout, which I would guess is about 75m away. Zoomed out, you can barely see it is there, certainly not read the sign. Zoomed in, the text is legible.

The field of view could be an issue for some people. This has a narrower field of view compared to most other Reolink cameras in general. It goes from 54.2°-3.6° depending on the zoom. In comparison, the RLC-823A with 5x zoom has a much wider FOV of 105°-31°. Similarly, the TrackMix has 104°-38°.

Night Time Footage

The camera’s infrared night vision is capable of providing clear footage up to 80 meters (260 ft) in complete darkness.

The camera also features auto-switching with an IR-cut filter for day and night transitions.

Unlike most of the recent Reolink cameras, this doesn’t switch to colour night vision when. I assume this is because the illumination wouldn’t be adequate enough for colour footage with such a high zoom.

Therefore, the low light footage is a bit hit or miss and will depend on your placement and specific needs.

For me, when the camera is facing the road, the IR lights have a negative impact on performance as they glare off number plates and street signs. There is a lot of street lighting, so there is not much benefit to the IR. The image is good without it.

If I rotate the camera to focus down my garden path, it is perhaps a bit too dark to have the IR off. But again, with it on, there is some reflection.

I will reiterate that my house isn’t best suited for this specific camera, and I haven’t mounted it in an ideal position. In a more rural or open environment with the camera mounted clear from obstacles, there performance should be a lot better.

Price and Alternative Options

The RLC-823A 16X has an RRP of £314. When I started writing the review, there was a small discount of 4%, taking it down to £ 301.43 with limited stock left.

Amazon has the RLC-823A 16X listed but it was out of stock when this review went live.

The RLC-823A 5x zoom is £204.99 with a £249.99 RRP, then the Reolink TrackMix PoE is £189.99 RRP and at the time of publication, there was a £46 voucher available taking it down to £143.99.

Options from competing brands include:

  • Annke CZ500 Ultra
    • 4MP 25x optical zoom, which also has a limited 55° FoV
    • Price: £385
  • Annke CZ800 Ultra
    • Price: £839.99
  • Hikvision DS-2SE4C425MWG-E(14F0)
    • Dual lens limited to 4MP with 25x zoom and a separate wide lens (similar to the TrackMix)
    • Price: £500

Overall

The Reolink RLC-823A 16X is an excellent 4K PoE IP camera if you need the 16X PTZ capabilities.

The 16x optical zoom will obviously make this outclass cameras with a lower zoom, but I can’t understate how impressive it is when you zoom in on something you can barely see with your own eyes.

As impressive as it is, I’d say the 16x zoom makes this quite a niche camera compared to many of the other Reolink cameras. The narrow FoV limits appeal the appeal somewhat, and you need enough space to take advantage of that 16x zoom.

It will work well in commercial settings or on properties with a lot of open land. The niche appeal of this camera is also reflected in the pricing, as it is the most expensive camera Reolink sells.

I’d be inclined to recommend the Reolink TrackMix PoE over the RLC-823A 16X for most home users. It is almost half the price; you get 6x hybrid zoom and the benefit of a zoom and wide lens.

That being said, if you need a high-zoom lens, then you will struggle to find a better option than the Reolink RLC-823A 16X.

This is especially true when you compare it against the competing options from the likes of Annke and Hikvision, which cost significantly more money.

Reolink RLC-823A 16X Review

Summary

If you need a high-zoom lens, then you will struggle to find a better option than the Reolink RLC-823A 16X. The image quality is excellent, and it undercuts competing brands. The downsides are that this lacks a spotlight or superior camera sensor means that the low-light footage is black and white and the FoV is a bit narrow compared to other Reolink cameras.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Zoom performance is outstanding
  • Superb 8MP 4K day time footage
  • Auto tracking pan tilt

Cons

  • Narrow field of view
  • B&W low light footage
  • Limited stock availability

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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