Video doorbells are becoming increasingly popular, and have the potential to make a useful addition to any CCTV system. Our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy works with many different video doorbells, but choosing one to use can be difficult, as they vary significantly in terms of feature set, quality, reliability and cost. In addition, many video doorbells (e.g. Ring, Nest, Eufy) are designed as closed cloud-based systems that lock you into a subscription, and specifically don’t work with NVR (Network Video Recorder) software such as SecuritySpy.
The Axis A8105-E doorbell offers a good all-round feature set, including 2 MP resolution, Power-over-Ethernet, two-way audio, compact design, and multiple input/output ports to connect accessories such as chimes and door openers. A 1.56mm lens provides an outstandingly wide 180º horizontal field of view and the ability to capture people very close to the camera.
The additional attention to detail is also impressive: the unit has plenty of useful additional features such as a programmable call button light, tamper detection, various overlay options, and audio clip playback.
In terms of physical size, the Axis A8105-E is nice and compact, measuring just 147mm x 35mm x 48mm. This, combined with its unobtrusive and minimal appearance, makes this doorbell suitable for a wide variety of installations, including both home and business usage. Axis also sell an optional “flush mount” that allows you to recess the doorbell into a wall or doorframe.
With an aluminium housing and stainless steel button, the unit feels solid and well built. The design of the rear panel and internals makes installation and wiring easy.
The camera comes pre-set to obtain an IP address automatically from your router via DHCP, so setup is simple (full details can be found in our Setting up network cameras instructions). To use this camera in SecuritySpy, enter the camera’s address (e.g. its auto-discovered Bonjour address) and use the Axis profile. The web interface is well designed and works well in Mac web browsers.
Image quality is somewhat disappointing. The 2 MP resolution is quite low by today’s standards, although for a doorbell camera this normally wouldn’t be too much of a problem since the subject that you want to capture is usually close (e.g. a person walking up to the door). However, besides the resolution, the sharpness and overall clarity that doesn’t quite match up to expectations.
The camera does have a WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) option that improves the overall image by boosting the brightness of very dark areas while reducing the brightness of very light areas (it was enabled in the above image). This is especially important for a doorbell camera, where you typically have large areas of sky, which can be far brighter than the rest of the image.
Barrel distortion is signifiant, which is not unusual for an ultra-wide lens like this. The camera does have an option to correct for this in software, however this does reduce sharpness somewhat.
The camera does not have built-in night vision, nor does it have great low-light performance. The best solution for this is to install dusk-to-dawn visible lighting – this allows the camera to produce serviceable images at night, and is also a good security measure in itself.
Audio quality (both microphone and speaker) is good, allowing for clear conversation with someone at the door (e.g. via SecuritySpy running on your Mac, or via our SecuritySpy iOS app running on your iPhone or iPad).
The terminal block inside the back panel of the unit offers all the connectivity most users will need: a 12v output (e.g. to power accessories such as door chimes), two digital IO pins that can be configured as either outputs or inputs, and an independent relay output (e.g. to control an entry locking system).
Overall, this is one of the better video doorbell products on the market. The image quality is underwhelming, but everything else about this product is excellent. Axis is a long-standing manufacturer of high-quality CCTV products, and you can be confident when buying Axis that you are getting a well-made, reliable product.
- Easy installation with well-designed casing and PoE (Power-over-Ethernet)
- High-quality, aesthetically pleasing, compact design
- Two-way audio with high-quality mic and speaker
- Good connectivity; ability to add accessories such as chimes and door openers
- Well-designed web interface; highly compatible with macOS and SecuritySpy
- Mediocre resolution and image quality
- A bit expensive at $800
- We are not associated with any hardware manufacturers, nor have any financial incentive to recommend products; our recommendations are based entirely on our own testing.
- SecuritySpy is macOS CCTV software that turns any Mac into a fully-featured NVR (Network Video Recorder). It works with virtually all IP cameras on the market. A free trial is available.
- Other camera recommendations can be found on our Supported Cameras List and blog.