Dahua Starlight 1/2" Camera Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Oct 16, 2015

In super low light, an area that the West has long dominated, can the Chinese manufacturers beat their Western rivals?

Dahua has a new 'Starlight' offering, featuring a 1/2" imager, priced ~$300 online. 

We bought one, the Dahua Starlight IPC-HF8281EN and put it to the test against Hikvision's 1/2" Darkfighter as well as top low light performers from Axis, Bosch and Samsung.

Here is a preview of the low light results:

** ***** *** *****, ** **** **** *** **** *** long *********, *** *** ******* ************* **** ***** ******* ******?

***** *** * *** '*********' ********, ********* * */*" ******, ****** ~$300 ******. 

** ****** ***, *** ***** ********* ***-******** *** *** ** ** *** **** ****************'* */*" ************* **** ** *** *** ***** ********** **** ****, ***** and *******.

**** ** * ******* ** *** *** ***** *******:

[***************]

Key ********

*** ***** */*" ********* ******'* *** ***** *********** *** ******** behind Hikvision's */*" *********** **** **** ***** * ******** **.* ****, but ************ *** ***** ***** *** ***** ******* ******, ** well ** *** ***** *** ********* *****.

***** *** ********* ***** *** ***** **.** ****, *** ***** starlight ***** ******** ******** ****** **** **** ***** *** ******* F1.2 ****, ** **** ** *** ********* ***********, **** ******** chart **********, ****** ******* ****** ******* ****** ************* *** ** digital *****.

*** *********** *** ******** ***** **** *********** ***** *** ****** against ****** ********* **** ****** ************, *** ******* ** ** better **** ****** ** **** ***** ** *** *****.

******** ** *** ***** (~*.** ***) **** ********** ***** **** Hikvision's *********** *****, **** **** *********'* *.***+ ***** ***** **. 

*** ****** ********** **** *****, *******, ********* *** ******** *****.

*******/************

*** ***-******* ***** ***~$*** *** ******, *** ********* ****, ** ********** ~$***. **** **** ** do *** ********* *****'* ********* ****** *** ** ********** **** F ***** (*****).

** ***** $*** *** *** ****** *** ****, *****'* ********* 1/2" ***** ** *** ** *** ****** **** ***** *** light ****** *********, ********** ** ***** ** ***** ********** */*" imager ****** **** *** ******* ***-****.

******** ** ***** */*" ******, ** ** ************* **** *********, less **** **** *** ***** ** **** *** ****'* ***** low ***** ****** (*/*" *** */*", *** ***** ~$*** **** than *** */*" ******* ***-****, *** **** ****** **** ********** tested.

***************

*** ***** */*" ********* ******* ** * ******** ****** *** low ***** ******* ******* ********** **. ** **** *** ***** of ***********' ***** *** ***** *******, *** *********** ******* ** *** Hikvision *********** **** *** ****** **** ***** ****** ***********, ** is **** ***** *********** ** *** ***** *********.

Physical ********

*** ***** ******* ** ******* ** **** *** ********** ** most *** *******. ** *** ***** ***** ** ****** *** physical ************ ** *** ****** *** ******* ** *** ********* 6026 *********** *****. *******, *** ******** ********* **** ** **** larger **** ****, ****** *** ******* *** ****** *** **** size.

******

***** ********** *** ****** *** *** *******:

*******, **** **** ********** **** * *****, **.* *** **.*, compared ** **.* ** *.* ***** ** **** *** ***** lenses. ******* ** ****, ** **** * **************** ********** */*.*" *** **.* *****, *********** ** **** *************. ****** **** using ******* ****** ****** ** */*" ****** *******, *******, ** vignetting *** ***** ** ***** ***** *******.

Low ***** ***** *******

*** ***-******* ********* ********* ******** ***** ** *** ***** ******** ** the ********* *********** **** **** ***** *** **.* ****, **** increased ******* ***** *** ****** ******. *******, ** ********* **** better **** *** **** *****, ******* ***-****, *** ***** *** starlight, **** ** ***** ******** ****** ****** ** *** *******.

***** *** ********* **.** ******* ****, ****** *** ******** **** even *** ********* *********** ** *** **** ***** *****, **** 3-4 **** ******* ***** ** *** **** *****. *******, *** subject's **** ******* ******** ** *****.

***

** ****** *** ******* *** ******* **** ******** **** *****:

*** ******* ********* ***** ** ******* ****** ******* *** ****** backlight ** *** **** ******** ****, **** ****** ************ ** our *******, ****** *** ******* *** ***** *****. ** *** dark **** ****** *** ****, ** *** *** ********* *********, with ***** ****** ** **** ******* *** *****.

Full *****

*****'* */*" ********* ***** ********* ********* ** ***** ****** ** **** light, **** ** ******* ******.

*******

*****'* */*" ********* *****'* ********* *********** *** ********** ****** **** competitors ** **** ***** (***** ****** ***), ** ***** ~*.* Mb/s (******** ** ~*.*-*.* **/* ** ***********). ******* ********* ** in *** **** ***** *** *.***+ ** ** *** ********* 6026, ***** ******** **** ** **** * ******** ** *****.

*******, ** *** *****, *** ******* ** ***** **** *******, as **** ** **** *** ********* **** ***** ***** ***** settings *** (********* *** *.***+). ******* ***** **, *** **** Q1615's ******* ***** ***** *** *******, *** ********* *********** ******* higher.

***** **** *** ******* ***** ****** ** *** ** ***** cameras.

Test **********

******* **** ****** ***** ******* ********, **** *** ********* ******** ******* to *** *******:

  • ******* ***** *** *** ** * ******* ** */***
  • *.*** **** *******, ** ***, ~** ************ *** ****

*** ********* ********/******** ******** **** ****:

  • **** *****: *.**.*.*
  • ***** ***-*******: *.***.******* **.*.*, *****: ****-**-**
  • ********* **-***********-*: **.*.*
  • ********* **-**********-**: **.*.*
  • ******* ***-****: *.*********
  • ***********: *.*.*.*****

Comments (26)

Several Samsung employees have asked why we used the Samsung SNB-6004 (1/3") instead of the SNB-6005 (1/1.9") in this test and others.

We are aware of that model, but as of the time this test was performed, it was not available and we are still having difficulties procuring one. We'll order one soon and put it in queue.

Using the Hikvision super low light F0.95 lens, the Dahua starlight model produced brighter images....than even the Hikvision DarkFighter at the same light level

I'm pretty sure somebody at Hikvision wishes they had soldered that 0.95 lens directly to the body of the Darkfighter.

Kind of conserning when you're telling customers Axis is the best, but the tests prove otherwise. Luckily Axis has great support, selection, bandwidth, ACAP, and build quality. However, this would have me hesitant to do a image quality shoot out with a competitor that is half the cost pitching Hikvision. I'm curious how the Axis Q1635 and Sony SNV-VB635 would have done? It's Kind of like buying/sellling a Mercedes and getting beat by a Hyundai. Come on Axis, step up your game. Ugh...

Unfortunately this ins another test where you better should have tested against Axis Q1635 with 1/2" chip.

I know you wrote you don't want to buy an Axis Q1635 but in my opinion but performance test results would have been much more fair and interesting then.

Unfortunately for Axis, they charge nearly 3x what Dahua is charging for the same 1/2" imager class of camera. Let's say theoretically the Axis Q1635 came close to matching Dahua and Hikvision (not guarantened considering how poorly their high end 1/3" Q1615 did), it would still be $500 - $700 more for the same image quality.

Alternatively put, maybe it would be more fair to only test cameras with similar prices, which would further underscore how far Dahua and Hikvision have unforuntately caught up and past Axis.

That said, it is worth a test since more and more manufacturers have 1/2" imagers now.

I just bought one.

However, unless the Axis Q1635 does dramatically better in low light than Dahua and Hikvision, it will not show well for Axis.

That's a great move, John!

I see that from an economic point of view it's hard to beat Hikvision or Dahua.

But from a technical point of view I think it's most interesting to see a comparison with their direct pendant (1/2" chip).

[Poster is from Bosch]

Test with Bosch cameras are not comparable due to different resoluton. You should set the camera to work @1080p (not the stream resolution but the camera install menu). Then you will double sensitivity and increase WDR. Last but not least if you test Bosch camera in night mode you should set Night optimized profile" and if you work in WDR you should set "iAE" profile and you get other 16db.

Thx

We tested the 5MP starlight in 1080p mode awhile back and did not see a meaningful difference.

Second, unless something has changed, the night optimized profile has multiple issues in its default settings. If I remember correctly, it sets shutter speed to 1/15th second max, and increased DNR to higher levels, which definitely reduces noise, but introduces blur.

We did use Intelligent AE when testing. We typically do unless we see negative effects.

Finally, regardless of the camera's capabilities at 1080p, it's marketed as a 5MP camera, and users specifically asked how it would compare to 1/2" 1080p models which is why I included it. Generally users are expecting performance at a camera's max resolution. Also, It's a $1000-1100 camera (online), which puts it in the same spot as Axis, discussed by John above. Even if it's nearer to the DarkFighter and Dahua models, it's still 2-3x the price.

So you used a 1/2" or 1/2.7" lens on a 1/1.8" sensor and you wonder why there is less light on the sensor ? The lux levels are also lower and WDR higher in 1080p. You should probably redo the test if you're presenting this as accurate.

The 1/3" F1.2 lens we used on the Dahua starlight in this test passes more light to the sensor than 1/2" F1.6 lenses, including the one that ships with the Bosch 5MP starlight. I know because I tested it.

Again, as I said above, we have checked the Bosch 5MP starlight in 1080p mode in the past and not found much of a difference in low light performance, though in full light you have the obvious advantage of 5MP resolution. I will check it again in our next low light test with up to date firmware, as well.

Cool, thanks. Surely by lowering the resolution, the larger pixels would gain more light ?

Surely by lowering the resolution, the larger pixels would gain more light ?

  1. Pixels don't change size.

You should set the camera to work @1080p (not the stream resolution but the camera install menu). Then you will double sensitivity...

The Bosch specification that I see only claims lux changing from from 0.0121 (5MP) down to 0.00825 (1080P). Since lux is a log scale and therefore 10 lux is actually only twice as bright as 1 lux, this indicates < 20% gain, not 100%.

How people are still installing box cameras?

How people are still installing box cameras?

Clients who need higher performance.

I encourage you to take a look at Avigilon's HD Pro line, starts at 4K and it only gets better from there!

LOL

Doesn't 4k require 30 frames per second ? Not 12 ... Is Avigilons marketing is better than their maths ?

Is Avigilons marketing is better than their maths ?

English is their strong suit.

I would also recommend that you try the new Hikvision darkfighters. The DS-2CD6026 has been superceded by the DS-2CD4026 which uses a larger 1/1.8" imager. From the testing we have done the 4026 has out performed the 6026.

Looks nice. And cheaper.

Not to mention another technological first, anti-thunder protection.

Take that Axis!

Hmmmm, well it is designed to stop the Dogs getting nervous in a Thunderstorm ;0)...

Tony, Hikvision says "both have a 1 1/1.9 sensor"

Disclosure: from Hikvision USA

I would like to help clarify this. The original datasheets for the 6026 stated 1/2" sensor. The actual size is 1/1.8" (John - my bad to you re 1/1.9").

The 4026 is a re-packaged version of the 6026 in order to bring a full line of DarkFighter cameras to the 4-series with the domes and bullets. It does have a different firmware file and defaults may be slightly different.

Tony and I have shared some dialog on this and his test results which in my view showed similar sensitivity but sharper images on the 4026. This could be due to changes in default values.

The actual size is 1/1.8" (John - my bad to you re 1/1.9").

Truly splitting hairs. ;)

I could round it to 1/2" :)

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Axxon Face Search Tested on Oct 26, 2018
AxxonSoft has brought facial recognition to their Axxon Next VMS for free with the simply named Face Search, claiming to allow users to find...
Hanwha Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (PNM-7000VD) on Oct 18, 2018
Hanwha has introduced their first dual-imager model, the PNM-7000VD, a twin 1080p model featuring independently positionable sensors and a snap-in...
Dahua Face Recognition Camera Tested on Oct 15, 2018
Dahua has been one of the industry's most vocal proponents of the value that AI creates: As part of this, Dahua has released a facial...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...
Hikvision 4MP Camera Tested (DS-2CD2345FWD-I) on Sep 27, 2018
Hikvision's latest Performance Series / EasyIP 3.0 4MP model, the DS-2CD2345FWD-I, was the top performer in our 4MP shootout, besting rivals from...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Report on Nov 15, 2018
ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed as the "Largest Annual Northeast U.S. Security...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact