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.
Seneca | IPVMU Certified | 02/18/15 04:30pm
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.
Pro Focus LLC | 02/18/15 06:46pm
Why do you need CHEAPER than Dahua/Hik?
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.
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.
IPVMU Certified | 02/19/15 11:27am
Which cameras are cheapper than Dahua and Hikvision.....and have the same or better features.
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.
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.
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?
IPVMU Certified | 02/23/15 06:27am
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?
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).
look into Bolide. Good cameras, great prices. Latin company.