Hikvision 2013 IP Cameras Tested

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Dec 02, 2013

Hikvision claims to be the #1 surveillance manufacturer in the world. That's, well, debatable.

What's not in dispute is that they have become huge, fueled by the massive Chinese market, with revenue rocketing over $1 billion USD last year (by contrast Axis is the in $750 million range and Avigilon ~$150 million).

But how good are they?

In this report, we share test findings of 4 of their cameras:

Including (and yes, the naming convention is crazy):

We tested them against Axis, Dahua and Sony to see how Hikvision would perform in even, WDR and low light scenes.

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Comments (26)

I have found the following dome with IR from HikVision. The unit looks great, especially for home use. Too bad you didn't have a chance to test that one. But, I bet it is as bad as their bullets.

As for Dahua, I've asked Tri-Ed and ADI, but neither one carry it.

Hi, we were aware of the IR domes' availability, we chose to test the IR bullets instead because we see them used more frequently. The specs on the dome are quite similar to the bullet, though with only one illuminator.

And you're right. Dahua doesn't sell under their own brand in North America. You can find at least some of the line available from OEMs under other names, like Q-See and IC Realtime, as well as some smaller ones. You can also buy it online fairly easily, but you won't get any support or firmware updates, typically. This is one advantage integrators may find to using Hikvision, as they have a North American presence.

It would be great if you could test the x55 series from Hikvision, very good low light 1080P camera. I think this camera will suprise you.

All they need do now is change the name. I just cringe when I show one to a customer and he says "Hick Vision?" with that suppressed grin...

I go out of my way to make sure I say H-I-K Vision, but it doesn't seem to catch on with anyone else. Always Hick, haha.

It is actually pronounced "Hike"Vision. I don't think anyone cares what you call us as long as you call us :)

Will they OEM and let people put their own name to it?

it would be great to see comparison graphs

Comparison graphs of what, specifically?

Is there any reason to be concerned about drivers or compatibility? We use systems from several different VMS houses, but our cameras have typically been Bosch or Axis. Is there any good measure to ensure that there are no support issues from a s/w standpoint?

Yes, you should be concerned about drivers and compatibility. As a practical matter, Axis is typically the lowest risk since they are the most widely used IP camera in 3rd party systems.

That said, there is no fool proof way to ensure support. Step #1 is always to verify directly with the VMS manufacturer that they have tested the integration (simply saying it should work is not good enough).

If using ONVIF, look for Profile S, not 1.x. Beware of manufacturers overclaims on camera support.

Responding for Hikvision, you can get the VMS integration list from our website. We supprot integrations via ONVIF, PSIA, our HIK-CGI and others. We have a dedicated team that keeps on top of this, with a dedicated resource in the US office to faciliate communication with the team at HQ. They maintain good relationships with the major VMS partners.

Specifically, we were looking at the Genetec Web site for compatibility information.

There seemed to be tiers of compatibility. I believe there was “tested by vendor”, “tested” and “certified”. We translated that into, probably works, works and really really works…

It gave way to a curiosity we had about the relationship between camera vendors and VMS vendors. Theoretically, wouldn’t a VMS vendor want cameras to be at the lowest possible price? I mean wouldn’t that naturally translate to increased sales of s/w channels?

We ask, because that isn’t necessarily the reception we get from our VMS vendors. We were encouraged to use extreme caution.

In theory, lower prices may lead to slightly increased camera counts, which increases software channel sales. However, there is a limit to how many cameras are actually necessary at a site, and users won't simply add more because they're cheaper. They'd be more likely to pocket the extra money.

Secondly, storage and infrastructure costs will increase with added camera counts, as those things don't come for free.

Third, the cost to support inexpensive cameras which are more known for buggy firmware and weird performance quirks may be much greater than supporting Axis or Bosch or other mainstream manufacturers. When motion detection doesn't work as expected, for example, the VMS company is going to get the support call, not the camera manufacturer.

Last, the more mainstream manufacturers often have reps which will represent a camera line as well as a VMS line, making it more likely they'll ignore lower cost cameras, many of which don't seem to have rep firms (at least around me). The larger sales organizations of major camera manufacturers also likely drive leads to VMS sales, as well. So it's further incentive for the VMS provider to stick with them.

It's a shame that the report, good though it was, didn't include bandwidth comparisons.

Teza, you could simply ask for bandwidth comparisons and we can add them. Ethan, please do.

Teza, we'll put them together and add them to the report. Just going to take a little bit of time to compile everything due to the number of cameras involved.

Teza, we have included a bandwidth comparison for each of the cameras tested inside our conference room at full light (~160lx) and dark (<1lx) environments. We broke the cameras up by form factor to reduce possible confusion.

I have also included the bandwidth table in this comment for your convenience. The bandwidth section of this report can be found near the bottom of the report, just above the "Test Parameters" section of the report.

Also suggest to test DS-2CD855F-E. Low light performance and 3D DNR is very good.

Wondering why Sony G6 looks so poor in you test results. Personally I found them as the best among tested by me IP cams in low light enviroment.

David,

Sony looks "poor" to you in our test results? This comparison:

Sony is pretty close here to the 'top'.

We have heard reports that HIK and Dahau cameras motion detection performance (probability of detection, false alarms and nuisance alarms) are far inferior to that of better known brands such as Sony, Bosch and Axis etc. Have these lower cost Chinese brands been included in any of your motion detection tests?

Hi Andrew, we haven't yet tested their motion detection against the other brands, but we'll put it on the list for this winter.

I agree, the Hivision DS-2CD3332-I (or DS-2CD2332-I, don't know the difference) eyeball with a single IR illuminator has better IR coverage than their traditional domes/bullets with a ring of lights. I personally use the DS-2CD2732F-IS, very nice vandal dome, full featured, 3MP, nice crisp image at night.

We put up a Hikvision 3MP DS-2CD2132-I off our back alley to test and it's motion detection is a mess at night. The camera records constantly from 9:30pm to 6:00am which is basically sunset to sunrise because of the noise. Even playing with ROIs in Milestone hasn't helped, we've played with the motion and sensitivity settings in milestone and if we want to have detection at 150ft, we have to have all the false positives too. I'll try and get a lux reading sometime at night, but i can see down the alleyway no problem at night so it can't be that low. I would bet the samsung SNV-6084 doesn't even go out of colour mode with the amount of light we have there.

It does look pretty nice in the daytime but it doesn't really compare to the Axis P33xx or the Samsung SNV-6084. Now it is half the price of the Axis, but not that much cheaper than the Samsung

I'll order up a DS-2CD2732F-IS and try it out.

On the positive side it did give me a nice video of some excellent citizen spray painting our building wall at 5:40 in the afternoon. The picture was good enough when croped to 30% of the frame and blown up the police knew exactly who the guy was.

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