Longse vs Dahua and Hikvision Tested

Published Nov 16, 2016 16:50 PM

For many, even $100 cameras are too expensive. That is where spam king Longse comes in with their relentless offer of ~$20 cameras.

In our past tests, Longse was no match for Hikvision or Dahua, with numerous quality flaws. But with cameras advancing and commoditization continuing (plus Longse ripping off Hikvision), have Longse super low cost models closed the gap?

To find out, we bought and tested multiple models of IP (4MP and 1080p) plus 1080p HD analog cameras as well as recorders to see how they stack up against major competitors like Dahua and Hikvision in image quality, build quality, usability, configuration issues, and more.


In our tests, Longse's 4MP IP cameras were solid, competitive with rivals such as Dahua and Hikvision in image quality (day, night, and WDR). However, users may experience VMS integration issues on some platforms, and bitrates were notably higher than Dahua/Hikvision as Longse does not include smart codecs. At ~25% the price of Dahua and Hikvision models (~$40 USD vs. ~$150-160), users may find the 4MP line worth considering.

On the flip side, Longse's 1080p IP and TVI cameras performed poorly, lagging in image quality compared to competitors, with streaming issues and discoloration in IP models not found in 4MP. Given that 4MP IP models are only slightly more expensive (~$40 vs. ~$30), the 1080p models tested are not recommended. 

Note that due to how Longse constructs part numbers (housing style + imager + SoC/processor, etc.), some other 1080p models may perform better and 4MP may perform worse than what is tested here.

Longse Outlook

Since our last test of Longse in early 2015, both build and image quality have definitely improved, especially in new 4MP models. Additionally, while configuration in the past was a frustrating process, with many elements that simply did not work, current Longse web interfaces (though ripped off from Hikvision) are much clearer and simpler to use.

These improvements are significant, especially on basic quality / construction but with still important deficiencies. Considering their much lower pricing than competitors, we expect some integrators and users will at least take a second look. Of course, it is important to remember Longse has no local sales, support, stocking, marketing, etc. which remain important limitations for many / most professional integrators.


Longse cameras are drastically less expensive than even the lowest cost major brands such as Hikvision and Dahua. The prices below were paid direct to Longse for equipment in this test. Quantity pricing would be lower.

  • LBQ24S200 1080p IP bullet: ~$30 USD direct — 1/2.9" Sony IMX323 image sensor/Hisilicon Hi3516C SoC
  • LBN24S400 4MP IP bullet: ~$40 — 1/3" OmniVision OV4689 sensor/Hisilicon Hi3516D SoC
  • LBM24THC200NA bullet: ~$18 — 1/2.7" Aptina AR0237 sensor/Nextchip NVP2441H 
  • TVR3616ES 16 channel AHD/TVI DVR: ~$150

This pricing makes the LBN24S400 4MP bullet about 25% of the price of Hikvision's DS-2CD2042WD-I and Dahua's HFW4421S 4MP bullets, both ~$150-160 online.

The LBM24THC200NA (~$18) is also about 25% of the price of comparable TVI/CVI models, such as Hikvision's DS-2CE16D1T-IR, ~$70 online. 

Huge Number of Models

Unlike most manufacturers, Longse allows users to select imager and SoC used instead of providing a single combination. For example, IP-LBX30 describes a specific housing. However, there are actually 14 IP-LBX30 models, with varying resolutions (720p through 5MP), imagers, and SoCs. So a 4MP model with an Omnivision OV4689 imager and Ambarella S2L system on chip is specific part number LBX30A400.

This flexibility may be attractive to some highly technical users as it allows them to choose more specifics of their cameras. However, for everyday users, the sheer number of part numbers (in the thousands) can easily become overwhelming.

Sales Channel

Longse may be ordered direct by contacting the sales manager for the region. It may also be found from various sellers on Alibaba/Ali Express. Equipment for testing was ordered via Skype/email and paid with Paypal, and arrived within about a week via air freight.

Note that Longse offers OEM services, with users able to customize housing, part number, logos, sensors, chips, packaging, and practically any aspect of the camera or recorder.

Build Quality Issues

Build quality varied widely from camera to camera, but we saw some common issues on all cameras:

Aluminum Housings Solid

Some models, such as the LBN and LBM felt solid, with aluminum housings and bases, very similar to Dahua and Hikvision cameras. Some users may find the housings look "cheap" or "dated", but these are largely matters of preference. However, with Longse this may be changed, as users order the imager/SOC combination they want in a given housing/IR illuminator style. So if one housing is not preferred, another may typically be used, at or around the same price.

Plastic Housings Lower Quality

By contrast, the plastic housings used on Longse models felt lower quality, with both much lighter than aluminum counterparts. Though some plastic models are listed as IP66 weather resistant, users may prefer the more rugged aluminum housings. Note that Longse does not give IK ratings for either housing type.

Loose Joints

In most of the bullet models we purchased, the connection between the bullet housing and mounting arm was loose and could be easily unscrewed. Users unaware of this may accidentally loosen this joint while aiming, potentially introducing moisture into the camera housing.

Missing Weather Seals

Additionally, there was no weather seal whatsoever on this joint, simply metal on metal threads (or plastic in some cases). Users should consider applying plumber's tape or silicon to these threads to prevent moisture from entering the joint.

We review these issues in this video:

VMS/ONVIF Compatibility 

We were able to add Longse cameras via ONVIF to Exacq, Nx Witness, Genetec Security Center, and Milestone XProtect Corporate. We saw no issues with streaming or configuration, though advanced features such as camera side motion detection do no work.

Note that Longse claims "ONVIF 2.4" support, but no conformant devices are listed by ONVIF.

Despite working with Hikvision NVRs/iVMS (described below), none of the cameras tested were able to be added as Hikvision devices to VMSes, only ONVIF.

Cameras Compatible With Hikvision NVR/iVMS-4200

Because of their use of the "Hikvision protocol" we were able to add Longse cameras to Hikvision NVRs and iVMS-4200. In the example below, we add a camera to iVMS, which connects and streams in seconds.

IP Camera Configuration

The web interface and features of Longse IP cameras are fairly basic and similar to Hikvision (see below). The web interface requires ActiveX, so Internet Explorer must be used. 

We review the web interface in this video:

UI Copied From Hikvision

Longse's IP camera web UI is essentially copied from current Hikvision models, with many similar graphic elements and menu layout, shown below (Longse on left, Hikvision on right) and covered in more detail in our report Longse Rips Off Hikvision.



IP Camera Image Quality

We tested Longse 4MP and 1080p IP cameras against competitive models from Dahua and Hikvision to see how they compared in full light, low light, and WDR scenes, as all models included integrated IR and true WDR.

All of the Longse 1080p IP models tested displayed discoloring throughout the field of view, yellow in the center, becoming less pronounced toward the edges, seen below. These issues were present regardless of configuration changes such as white balance. 4MP models did not display similar issues.

In full light, the Longse 4MP performs extremely similarly to Dahua and Hikvision 4MP models. However, the 1080p model's discoloration issues are noticeable, reducing details slightly compared to the Hikvision 1080p model.

At night, the Longse 4MP bullet's images were darkest of the 4MP cameras tested, though details are similar. The 1080p Longse bullet displayed significant artifacting and pixelation, reducing details compared to the Hikvision 1080p model.


Both the 4MP and 1080p Longse models are specified as true WDR. In our tests, WDR was solid against strong backlight, though notably noisier than others in darker areas of the scene, reducing details, seen below.

TVI Camera Image Quality 

Longse's 1080p 4-way HD analog model performed poorly in our tests compared to comparable Hikvision TVI and Samsung AHD models, shown below. Note that this camera performed best when using TVI, though AHD was supported by the DVR, so comparisons were taken using this format.

The test chart and subject's features are significantly more washed out than in other models, reducing details moderately.

Additionally, the TVI model tested displayed significant blurring/smearing of details in the room, such as the carpet/wall and objects seen below, issues not present in other TVI/AHD or IP models.

HD Analog Format Support

The TVR3616ES supported both TVI and AHD 1080p cameras without issues in our tests. However, CVI cameras are not supported, with only monochrome video displayed with black bars on either side:

Note that format is automatically detected (TVI, AHD, SD analog), with no manual selection required. However, users must change resolution, as the DVR defaults to 960H resolution.

Bandwidth Consumption

Longse models' bandwidth consumption was significantly higher than models from Dahua and Hikvision, as Longse does not include the smart codecs found in these manufacturers. Again, bandwidth consumption may vary depending on the specific imager/SoC used (as with image quality and other factors above), but the lack of smart codecs puts Longse at a disadvantage compared to many manufacturers.

For example, in full light, the 4MP bullet model's bitrate is about 4-5x that of Hikvision's DS-2CD2042WD-I, ~4.8 Mb/s vs. ~1 Mb/s, and about 8x higher than Dahua (~640 Kb/s). We found these differences to be approximately similar in all the Longse IP models tested (1080p and 4MP).

Remote Access/P2P

Longse claims cloud access via web and mobile app, called "FreeIP." However, this service had severe issues in our tests which made it unusable:

Unclear Multiple App Versions

There are two versions of this cloud service, FreeIP and FreeIP Pro, each with separate mobile apps and web logins, with no clarity on which app should be used for which device. 

For example, scanning the QR code on a camera's web interface (shown below) links to FreeIP Pro. However, scanning the camera's serial number QR code fails in the Pro app, though not in the standard FreeIP app.

Devices Online But Fail To Connect 

Even after finding the proper app to use, devices still generally failed to connect, despite showing as online. None of the tested IP cameras, nor the TVI DVR, were available using the FreeIP service. Longse technical support was unable to resolve this issue, and suggested it might be a router issue (though note that cameras and recorders show as connected to FreeIP).

Firmware Versions Used

The following firmware versions were used in this test:

  • Longse LBN24S400: 3516D_OV4689_W_6.1.34.1
  • Dahua HFW4421S: 2.400.0000.30.R
  • Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I: V5.4.1 build 160525
  • Longse LBQ24S200: 3516CV200_IMX323_W_6.1.35.2
  • Hikvision DS-2CD2022WD-I: V5.4.1 build 160525
  • Longse TVR3616ES:
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