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Who Is Cheaper Than Dahua And Hikvision?

Hello my question is very simple.

Who are the cheapest suppliers that can offer stable nvr and ip cameras ?

The companies we mainly know are Hikvision and Dahua. Can anyone recommend a company can supply cheaper cameras than Hikvision and Dahua.


There's not many cheaper than Hikvision and Dahua. The only options are other (smaller) Chinese manufactruers. The key challenge there is what you refer to - stability (also support is an issue).

For example, take a look at our $29 ONVIF IR IP Chinese Camera Tested and $39 ONVIF NVR Tested. We are also doing test of Cantonk and Longse right now but the rights so far are poor (look for the report next Wednesday).

If you want the lowest cost, stable, supported options, best to look at analog HD options from Hikvision and Dahua, respectively HDTVI and HDCVI. They are notably less expensive than their comparable IP counterparts.

Expanding on what John said: in my testing of the cheaper brands (Foscam, Wodsee, Cantonk, Longse, Zmodo), you're going to sacrifice tech support, reliable VMS integration (if any, most will only be usable via RTSP), and image quality. Video from these cameras isn't horrible, but it's a step down from Dahua/Hikvision to be sure.

Moreover, the cost difference between these import brands and imported Dahua is small. At least here in North America, if we want to buy Wodsee, Cantonk, Longse, etc., it's going to be $30-60 depending on quantity on Alibaba. But I can buy Dahua from sellers there for $45-60. At prices that similar, I'd prefer the Dahua every time.

It may not be the same firmware as you'd get from a seller in your region, but chances are it's going to work better, their ONVIF implementation is real (and they're listed as conformant), and some VMSes even have direct drivers for them.

The other thing to consider with cheaper brands is usability.

We used to offer standalone DVRs only in those extreme cases where the customer REALLY REALLY needed SOMETHING, but wouldn't or couldn't pay a few grand for a Vigil... at the time, the main offerings we had available were some little GE units (that at least HAD network capability, limited as it was to its own clunky and buggy Windows client), or a National Electronics model that had no way out exporting video except to connect a VCR to the monitor output. Both were absolutely dreadful to work with, but at least they recorded video. A few years later, we installed some really craptastic no-name offshore stuff doing some sub work for another company, that made even the National DVRs look good (two of five were actually missing parts internally... another would run for an hour and crash, consistently... and all were horrendous to configure).

We generally avoided standalones as much as possible, until I was given a demo of a Dahua DVR. Engrish aside, I found them extremely well-featured and relatively easy to configure and operate ("relatively" being the key word... but then when you're really familiar with one system, something new always seems more complicated), and we started regularly offering them as a low-cost option. The fact that NVR and DVR all share the same interface, and along with the cameras can be fully configured from the VMS app, is a big plus.

Not long ago, I installed a HIK NVR for a job... found while it was still worlds better than the old stuff we used to use, it was still a lot clunkier than the Dahua units. True, not as familiar either, but it just didn't seem to be as inclusive or configurable, and I had a BEYOTCH of a time getting the port forwarding set up, as settings seemed to randomly not "stick", and UPnP didn't work at all.

Which brings us back to the original point: keep in mind that different/cheaper options may cost you more in Tylenol and hair plugs, than what you're saving on the cheaper gear.

All the posts above have said what needs to be considered.

A place besides Alibaba is 'Tmart'... see Tmart IP cameras . There are other 'cheaper' brands there that I have not seen mentioned.

I have No affiliation with TMart nor the other brands.

Why do you need CHEAPER than Dahua/Hik?

In the future, manufacturers will pay you to use their cameras, making it up on volume...

It's certainly worth knowing if there were ones, but the bigger point is that there really is nothing substantially less that has any track record of quality, reliability and support.

Cheaper than $75 for an IP camera?


At $75 it is already a commodity, a "throw-away" item if it breaks. At $75, the camera is less expensive than the wire and the labour required to install it.

At $75, you can sell it for $125 and get 40% sales margin on it.

But why, oh why, would you ever want to???

At $75 cost and $125 selling (the aforementioned 40% margin), you will generate a whopping $50 of profit for the hour it takes you to install the camera.

Why would anyone want this?

Well, I can understand why an end-user would want this but I fail to understand how integrators can see any advantage in this... unless their only selling argument is "I have the lowest price".

The race to the bottom is over and we now have the winners.

Why. Two things:

  1. If integrators have local low-cost competitors or perceive online / big box kits as their competitors, they need the low price to compete.
  2. "At $75, you can sell it for $125 and get 40% sales margin on it." If they don't have that much competition, they can sell it for $200 or $300 for 300/400% margin. I've heard quite a number of Dahua / Hikvision integrators selling their cameras for way over 100% markup on deals they don't have competition.

That said, I agree with you that there are diminishing returns for further cost cuts. Dropping price from $600 to $300 and from $300 to $150 might have been big but as you get close to $0, the importance does drop.

This all assumes the markup on the camera is ALL you're making on the job, too. There's still (presumably) labour charges... but perhaps only if a better price on the camera helps you GET the job in the first place.

Also, we'll often use a combination of high-end and "cheap" cameras on a single job - the restaurants we do get Axis P3384s for all front-of-house and public areas (for the WDR/Lightfinder capabilities, mostly), Dahua minidomes for well-lit back-of-house areas, and HIK IR domes for darker BOH and outside areas (parking lots, sidewalks, etc.). The balance of high-end and cheap helps keep the customer happy :) After all, a $1200 Axis camera is extreme overkill in a staff area when a $150 Dahua provides perfectly good picture.

We do a very similar scheme, but instead use the Samsung SND-6084R (~$600) for the WDR, or about half the cost for similar results.

How does it measure up for the low-light performance? The Axis is pretty good in Lightfinder mode...

This is a night shot of the SND-6084R. I wasn't there to measure exact light levels, but it is pretty dark there at night. This shot is for sure more detail than the naked eye allows.

Interesting. Not done with slow-shutter tricks either? I looked at the test John linked as well, might have consider this for an on-site test soon.


The example above has a min shutter of 1/30. No tricks, just treats!

That's an indoor camera, right? The similar Hikvision model is DS-2CD4124FWD-IZ with 120dB WDR, 0.014 Lux minimum w/o IR, 30m IR range, 2.8-12mm motorized varifocal and smart features.

An outdoor model with 140dB WDR is DS-2CD4525FWD-IZH.

Hikvision has Dark Fighter technology for clear color in extrememly low light. It's just in some high-end cameras so you don't pay for it when you don't need it. DS-2CD6026FHWD-A3 is one of the Dark Fighter box camera models with 2MP, 1080P, 120dB WDR, 60 fps with WDR off / 30 fps with WDR, 3.8-16mm varifocal with auto back-focus, 3.5mm audio input/output jacks plus built-in mic, and smart features.

I wonder how much profit Hikvision and Dahua make on their prices. Any idea what is their gross profit on their balance sheet ? It's important, because, if they are also not making money, then who really is making money in the entire value chain? Seems only customer.

Rajesh, this is something we discussed here - Hikvision 'Flooding The Market'.

The key issue is the margin breakdown between the China market and the overseas market.

Overall profits are strong (higher than most leading Western surveillance manufacturers) but most of their revenue is from the Chinese domestic market so it appears that they are getting very lucrative deals at home.

I am not sure how Hikvision sells HD cameras for $100 direct in North America, with large sales, marketing and support teams and makes much of a profit.

Which cameras are cheapper than Dahua and Hikvision.....and have the same or better features.

Hernan, I don't understand your question. That was the original question of this discussion and has been answered. None.

ok, I'll try to rephrase.

- what are the main feature that you look for in a camera?

at least myself, good image quality. (this should be achieved with a good sensor. hik and dahua doesn't manufacture image sensor or image chips)

- after that, some extra features.

stability, good codec compresion, reasonable usability, general reliability.

the pricing in asia are impressive, but the problem is to trust in the "brand".

"hik and dahua doesn't manufacture image sensor or image chips"

Neither does Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, Pelco or most of the big brand manufacturers.

I see some image chips here that appear to have a Dahua logo....?

No one has ever suggested Dahua makes their own imagers or chips. The more likely explanation is that they are re-labelled.

John, I would tend to disagree, but I'm not certain. Since it is their own technology (HD-CVI), I would think it is likely their own chips.

I did not know you were showing a CVI product. Then yes I agree with you.

I meant for the imager and the IP chip side (where almost all manufacturers generally use either Ambarella, HiSilicon or TI).

Perhaps that helps explain why their CVI product line is even a notch cheaper than their IP product line...

Sure, that's one reason. The other is the economies of encoding in one place rather than 4 or 8 separate locations (as it is done in IP).


Specific chip are not made by this manufacturers, but maybe the board and some general use components.

The expected end of this discussion should be: "XX brand use high quality components and has been tested several times"

Hernan, we have tested the products discussed in this thread several times, that is the basis of our conclusions here.

Sorry to disagree John but those look like ASIC's fabricated for Dahua under their Ajhua trademark. I have a background in ASIC design/manufacture and I can tell you that you are looking at several million dollars of investment right there!!!

I wonder what their ROI is on that bearing in mind the low cost of the cameras.



Thanks, feel free. I don't know that much about component manufacturing. What is ajhua?

I googled Ajhua and its a trademark registered to Dahua so I guess thats their Engineering/Intellectual Property Dept/Group.

I bet those ASIC chips are "System on a Chip" or SOC designs incorporating a uP core, RAM etc and a hardware H.264 Encoder/Decoder compression engine coupled to a hardware frame grabber and A-D converters etc. Each chip can probably handle multiple channels of video, maybe 4 channels per chip.

They may use an ARM core for the processor and an Amberalla core for the video stuff but with those 2 licence fees (charged per chip) their chip costs would rise. Knowing how the chinese work its much more likely they used their own core designs or open source versions obtained from somewhere like a chinese university.

Using all their own cores and design teams and ordering 100,000 at a time they probably pay around $5 a chip. With the TI chips around $15 you can see the ROI from the $2M investment in the design if you sell enough cameras.

Be really interesting to do a break-down on all the popular IP cameras and compare the designs and chip counts and costs. If you did that you would probably be able to predict who was going to survive best in the current "race to the bottom".



As far as "trusting in the brand", I'd rate Dahua right alongside the best of anything else I've worked with. I've had some minor glitches with a couple cameras (had one or two that bricked during a firmware update, and sometimes they don't come back after a quick power-cycle and you have to power them down for several minutes) but nothing worse than anything else I've worked with.

We used some rebranded HIKs a few years ago that were just dreadful (remote zoom/focus on one model didn't work on 7 out of 10 cameras out-of-the-box, another model had terrible powerline noise in the image), but lately they've all been good.

The Axis cameras we use tend to have about the same VERY minimal failure rate... worst I've had was one P3384 where the iris drive was disconnected, but I fixed that in the field... and every now and then one will do a factory reset after a power cycle, which appears to be a well-known issue.

We used IQ Eyes for years and they tended to be really solid aside from the odd failed power board in the 501/511 line (easily bypassed by adding PoE).

As an installer, I love CNB, IQ, and Axis's dome designs... for the longest time we were using CNB's "Monalisa" series of analog cameras for their fantastic low-light capability, and I wish they'd brought that technology into the megapixel realm.

On the other hand, also speaking mainly as an installer, my most-hated brands are Pelco and Panasonic, for cameras that seem to have been designed by engineers who have never actually installed a camera in their lives.

And my issues with Arecont cameras have been well-documented here and elsewhere; they have a special level of contempt with me.

So... yeah. Trust that brand.


every now and then one will do a factory reset after a power cycle

That may have been related to something we noticed when testing VMS' with Axis P33xx cameras in 2012/2013. What we noted was that power cycles tended to reset zoom to full wide. Is that one of the issues you noticed? At the time, the VMS manufacturer wasn't certain if the problem was caused by the Axis cameras themselves or some incompatibility between the cameras and their ONVIF driver.

That has been one of my greatest concerns with power zoom/focus cameras. In a casino environment, we tend to optimize FOV of each camera. In fact, I've been called "anal retentive" in my insistence that every camera be located, aimed, zoomed and focused to obtain optimum FOV, but that's another story ;-o

The Axis cameras tended to zoom out to full wide on power reset. That is something we cannot tolerate. It would have a huge effect on our ability to identify card values and suits on gaming tables and cash and chip values.

Hey Carl,

Actually, we tend to run them full-wide except for our ID shots on doors, which all (except maybe one) run full-tight zoom. The ones that have reset, have gone to the factory zoom setting, just a bit below full-wide - I think the lens is something like 3-9mm, so default is somewhere around 4mm.

Do you at least set restore points for them in ACM? Or does that not include the zoom position? I haven't really played with it, I just know it's there... we use Vigil's specific support for Axis via RTSP stream URI, rather than ONVIF, so I can't speak to whether ONVIF is part of the problem.

At least one camera that I've seen reset, happened after an intentional power cycle... the others MAY have been power-cycled before the reset, but I never bothered to look at the recordings to see if they showed a gap that would indicate the switch itself was cycled.

Drat. For some reason, I can never reply to posts directly, only to the discussion in general. Anyway, we haven't deployed any power zoom/focus cameras for that reason and others, including the lack of flexibility of lens choices and lack of interchangeability of that lens type. We also found that despite Axis' claims, none of their cameras we tested were able to provide multiple streams at 30fps.

For some reason, I can never reply to posts directly...

I have the same problem, sometimes. I believe it happens when the number/amount of posts in a thread reaches a certain size, and after that threshold is reached if I click on the name of person who posted, I can only post a general comment.

What I do is just change the page=2 in the URL to page=1, and that reloads it properly and takes you to the last post. The last post can be hard to find sometimes, especially in long threads. You can also click the Display results in chronological order and go to the end of the page.

Actually, I can respond directly to posts from a computer, but not from my Galaxy S4 phone.

Try a different browser maybe?

If I were an end-user, I'd be EXTREMELY concerned if you were my SI and you were trying to find manufacturers cheaper than HikVision and Dahua, because it would demonstrate to me that you're only interested in the up-front additional margin you could make from me, not a long-term relationship, because you'd be sacrificing quality and support to make some additional short-term extra money.

I'm not saying as an SI you should pay top dollar, but the way you're asking this question makes it seem to me that all you care about is getting the cheapest product.

In fairness, you are a manufacturer of premium (priced) products :)

That said, OP asked for products that were stable (not simply cheap) and I do think it's worth inquiring. Since we essentially agree there are none, I think it's pretty much settled.

C'mon John, I didn't say that the OP should pay premium prices. I questioned the motives of somebody asking if there were reliable cars cheaper than a Hyundai Accent, or HDTVs cheaper than Haier (or Vizio).

You know how long I've been in this industry, and how many manufacturers I've worked for. My response wasn't based on my current employer, it was based on my 13 years in the Video Surveillance space. In that time, if I ever saw an SI asking for prices cheaper than the low-price leaders, that never ammounted to a good conversation, or noble motives.

So, c'mon, no ad-hominems.

And yes, I agree, it's pretty much settled.

I saw nothing in OP's question that indicated he wouldn't pass on the savings to his customer - as John notes, he IS concerned about reliability of the products. We have regular customers with multiple sites that don't mind paying for the better gear, but from time to time have budget constraints and need cheaper equipment to fill a job without paying "premium" prices.

Sometimes it's a matter either giving them a lower price, or not doing the job at all, so I understand where OP is coming from.

Does Dahua manufacture its cameras or all of them? I have been told by one chinese camera manufacturer that they use to make cameras for Dahau.

I toured a chinese camera manufacturer last year and saw many of their cameras being labelled for North American companies that hold themselves out as manufactuers of their cameras. A lot of hands (markup) before it gets out ADI's door.

Has anyone visited the Dahau manufacturing facility?

I've been reading a lot of reports about Dahua and Hikvision. So then, where can I go, who can I contact to learn information on ordering equipment direct form Dahua and Hikvision?

You should purchase Hikvision products from an authorized distribution partner. Please check the following link for unauthorized distributors to avoid and a link to some of our authorized distribution partners. You may also contact Hikvision (909-895-0400) to find out who your rep is and get in touch with him or her.

...where can I go, who can I contact to learn information on ordering equipment direct form Dahua...

Please let me know if/when you find out, because I am also interested...


I must say that for me Hikvision is kind of the end of the road. Their cameras picture is as good as I have seen from any IP cameras even their lowest circa $100 cameras (which have trounced in our experience some mega-expensive cameras in term of PQ) . It bogles the mind to see such high quality at such low prices. I have no experience with Dahua but they seem to be as good... I would be careful to go for an unproven brand. Nothing destroys an integrators reputation quicker than hardware regularly failing on the field. So far with us standardizing on Hikvision, we have had very few issues so far and they were related to cameras we bought from unautorized distributors (not clear as to who/whom are the authorized distributors BTW). has a link a the bottom left about unauthorized distributors, and in there is a link to some authorized distributors:

You should contact Hikvision USA Inc. when in doubt about a distributor and to get in touch with the rep for your region for the best assistance.

David, you have to disclose that you are from Hikvision in each comment you make about Hikvision. Please ensure you do that going forward every time.

look into Bolide. Good cameras, great prices. Latin company.