Member Discussion

Lower Cost Alternatives To Panasonic IP Cameras

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the site and forum, which I'm loving so far by the way.

We primarily recommend Panasonic cameras at our shop here, but there are many scenarios when Panasonic is simply too expensive and maybe too robust for the client's needs.

I do not have a lot of experience with other brands, but I'm trying to find something that would be lower cost, but still deliver good picture quality to my clients. We've tried a camera from a company called "Digital ID View" and we have one on the way from ICRealtime, which I believe is just rebranded Dahua cameras.

The cameras I'm looking mostly to replace are the Panasonic WVSW155, WVSF336, and something possibly that could replace the WVSPPanasonic 306. Our biggest seller is the Panasonic WVSW155 due to it's compact size, and wide FOV, and of course it's a lower priced outdoor Panasonic camera.

I definitely want the cameras that I would be using to be IP cameras, as we always use Milestone for VMS.

I'm open to any suggestions you experts may have!

Thank you!

Dahua, Hikvision, and Samsung are our go to brands, but we are more worried about the correct fit of a camera for the given task. Does it meet the needs, min specs, etc? That is by far more important than brand names. If we had a need for a specific type of camera and only Panasonic made it, we would sell it. However, it hasn't been the case for us so far.

We have tried some cheaper Chinese cams, basically unbranded OEM units, and have found they lack the quality of the big two (Dahua/Hik).

Michael, welcome! Thanks for your first comment!

Since you use Milestone, you will have a lot of options, even among lower cost offerings. That makes it easier.

Basically Panasonic, Axis, Sony, Pelco, Bosch are all pretty much in the same price range. Though you might find something moderately less expensive on some models, overall it won't make a big difference.

Ultimately, for big price savings, you'll be looking at Chinese / Taiwense cameras (as you already doing). One thing, I strongly recommend is to buy direct from the manufacturer - Dahua, Hikvision, Vivotek, ACTi, etc., and avoid these small re-labelling operations. Too much misdirection, limitations on supports, etc., especially since you can buy all of these cameras directly.

Now, to the specific product requests. We have a new feature called BestMatch that will help you here.

For the WV-SW155, here are the best matches:

The FLIR at the bottom looks interesting - here's how the 155 Panasonic and Flir match up. Notice, also big price savings on a number of Hikvision models.

And here are matches for the 306. This Samsung looks especially interesting head to head against the 306.

Thanks for the information! I didn't even realize there was a comparison tool! I'll poke around here and see if I can find some sample images from some of these Dahua/Hikvision cameras.

I browsed around briefly on Dahua's site but I didn't see a place to purchase direct from them. Is there a special site to go to or is this typically done through distributor?

Buying Dahua in the US is a bit of a pain (to say the least). The biggest brand selling Dahua at reasonable prices is FLIR. There are other ways to buy Dahua direct (either off the Internet which we often do) or through 3rd party sites. Both are unathorized and increase risk (depends how much you are willing to tolerate).

This situation is one reason Hikvision is doing better with US sales, as they have made it simpler to buy direct from them.

Is FLIR simply rebranded Dahua? I've come across a few of them and the cameras look quite similar.

A few things. Digital ID View manufactures nothing. They're a distributor with bigger desires.

Panasonic isn't any more "robust" than things at half the price, but they do generally make a good camera. I'm sure others will contribute on lower cost robust options, but I won't. They exist; that's all I have to say on the matter.

When you consider price versus robustness consider the following: If they also sell televisions or mobile phones, their name adds price to their product. It's the nature of marketing and consumer impression. Big names get a bigger price regardless of quality.

What does the end user really need? Would they be happier with a really, really expensive thing that worked almost all the time, of something 1/3 of the price that worked just fine for a year or two, with 10% of the widgets needing to be replaced every year or two?

In most cases, if you aren't dealing with a critical must-record-always-and-have-37-years-of-backup situation, you'll probably find that most end users would prefer the 1/3 cost that you quickly replace end items when there are problems.

I've dealt with both end users, but the ones preferring lower cost 95% solutions are much more common. Paying for a 98% solution at 3-5 times the cost usually isn't their priority.

When you find an end user who does have that priority, enjoy. They have an endless wallet and obsessive nature. Don't hope the next one will be that way though, because they probably won't.

Michael, FLIR is a re-branded FLIR. They've existed since the Vietnam war. A lot of companies take their basic cameras, stick some analytics or whatever in them, and rebrand them though.

Nick, you've missed the part about FLIR getting into the conventional camera business, e.g., FLIR Acquires Lorex.

And, yes, for conventional cameras, a number of FLIRs are OEM / ODM / re-label / inspired by Dahua.

I've been distracted lately. I plead the fifth. And 49th.

Maybe I missed something with shoving metal into people over the last few months, but last I saw FLIR re-sold some things but wasn't rebranding Dahua.

Thanks for all of the information guys!

We got into selling Panasonic from dealing with local government, public safety, and schools/universities.

We are in a heavy resort area where of course, wallets are not botomless, which is why we're trying to find a good product at a better price, so we can win some more bids!

Thank you again!

It looks as if Hikvision may be a good place for me to start, since it appears that my current distrubutor carries them, so it would easy enough for me to order a camera or two to give them some test runs.

Any advantages or disadvantages of using HIK over Dahua, or would it be on a camera by camera basis. Hikvision looks like it would be overall easier to get through a reliable source.

"Any advantages or disadvantages of using HIK over Dahua"

The products are a little bit like Coke and Pepsi, if Pepsi could not be legally bought in the US under its own brand...

The best trick that the devil ever played was convincing the world that it didn't exist (as a legally purchased product in the US, under its own name)? Sounds like super special marketing strategy.

In my experiences with the two brands, I can say that each have minor advantages, depending on perspective and a given topic. Overall though, I see them more as equals. Some people dislike Dahua because they do not sell direct in the USA. They only sell through OEM dealers, like ICRealtime, FLIR/Lorex, Q-See, Swann, EYESurv/Nelly's, SecurityCameraKing, etc.

So, naturally HikVision will be more easy to find and purchase. They do have a USA based office. I have found that generally the cost is a little bit higher than Dahua for an equal model. Performance will vary from model to model, but generally very good for both.

On software/firmware I find that Hik has a lead there with the exception of their iOS apps. I think the Dahua iDMSS app is possibly the best camera app for the iPhone. However, Hik has Dahua beat by a very small margin otherwise.

In the past, Hik had issues with PUP malware installed in their camera firmware, which has been long ago resolved and hasn't been an issue for a while now. Dahua has a glitch with their ONVIF credentials. Even if you change the default passwords to access the cameras built in webpage, you must still use the factory default admin/admin via ONVIF.

They both have very expansive, diverse product lineups and both currently are producing HD Analog products, which are incompatible with each other. We find the Dahua HD-CVI is the better choice here.

Hope that helps.

Panasonic, life SWH or Lenel or other people with lots of time spent with consultants, is good at getting specified. Unless the product is currently horribly ingrained in the organization, try something horribly, horribly sneaky. As long as the bid says that basically the organization can do what it wants when it wants, they can stray from the letter of the bid requirements. A lot of them in the public sector are written by the manufacturer anyhow. Solicit a good product from a different manufacturer at half the price. You'd be surprised at how many will call you back, seeming slightly confused, and say something like, "You submitted a bid that wasn't really to spec but... we wanted to talk to you some more about it."

Yes Its Dahua Product Rebranded.

I would recommend that you look at the Samsung SNV-6013 for a savings from the Panasonic WV-SW155.