Dahua 5MP Starlight Camera Tested (N52BM3Z)

By: John Scanlan, Published on Jan 30, 2018

Is 5MP the new 1080p? According to our recent statistics, average resolution continues to trend upwards. And now, manufacturers releasing new generation 5MP cameras featuring super low light capabilities previously found in 1080p models.

In our first test of this new generation of 5MP models, we look at the Dahua 5MP starlight N52BM3Z dome, examining:

  • Physical features
  • Installation issues
  • IR coverage
  • IR range
  • Low light image quality
  • Full light image quality
  • WDR performance
  • Bandwidth
  • VMS support

Note: This report is the first in our tests of new generation 5MP/6MP cameras, with upcoming reports on the Axis Q3517-LVE, Hanwha XNV-8080R, and Hikvision DS-2CD4565-IZH, as well.

** *** *** *** 1080p? ********* ** *** recent **********,******* ********** ********* ** trend *******. *** ***, ************* releasing *** ********** *** cameras ********* ***** *** light ************ ********** ***** in ***** ******.

** *** ***** **** of **** *** ********** of *** ******, ** look ** ******** *** ********* ******* dome, *********:

  • ******** ********
  • ************ ******
  • ** ********
  • ** *****
  • *** ***** ***** *******
  • **** ***** ***** *******
  • *** ***********
  • *********
  • *** *******

****: **** ****** ** the ***** ** *** tests ** *** ********** 5MP/6MP *******, **** ******** reports ** ******* *****-***,****** ***-*****, ************ **-*******-***, ** ****.

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

*******

*** ***** ******* ******* average ** **** *********** in ******* ***** ** our *****:

  • **** ** ** *****:** ******** *** ****, with * **** *** center *** ******** **** difficult ** **** ** the ***** ** *** field ** ****.
  • *** ** ******: ****** ** ****** "*********" performance, Dahua's ******* ********* ****** in *** ***** **** IR **, **** **** details *** *** ****** compared ** ***** ***** models. 
  • ***** ******* ***: *** *********** *** ***** average, **** ******* ** human ******** *** **** chart ******* ** **** backlit *** **** ***** of *** *****, *** with ******* ************* ****** (tending ****/******) *** **** in ***** ******, ** well ** ********* *****.
  • ********* ** ******: *** *******'* ** **** was ********* ** ******, located ***** *** ******'* gimbal **** **** ***** a ******'* ***** ** space ** ****** *** a ******* ********* **** instead ** **** ******* the ****.

******* ** ***** ******, the ******'* **** ********* is *****, **** ***** than ***** ***/*** ******* claiming ***** *** ***** capabilities. 

*****

*** ****** *** ** found****** *** ~$***, **** **** **** the ***** ** ****** and ********* ***/*** *** light ******, *** ~*/* the ***** ** ****' 5MP *********** *****.

Physical ********

*** ******* ** ****** standard *** ******* *****, though ******* *******, ********* below. *** **** ***** audio, */*, ** ***** advanced ********. ** ****** its ************ *** ******** in **** *****:

Size **********

*** ******* ** ******* smaller **** ***** ***+ outdoor ****** *****, ***** below. *******, ***** ***** models ********* ******* */*, audio, ********* ***** ***, zoom ********, ***., ***** the *** *****.

Very ********* ** **** ******

********* *** ******** *** micro ** **** ** the ******* **** *** ** the **** ********* ******* we **** **** ** an ** ******. ** order ** ****** * card, ***** **** ***** and **** * ******** clip, *** *** **** flat ** ********, **** close *** ****, ** opposed ** ****** ******* to ****** ** ****** cards ** ***** *******. All **** **** ** done ** * **** small ***** ****** *** camera's ******, *********** ****** room *** *** ******. 

**** ******* *** ******** **** the ****** ** * well *** ****, *** may ** ********* ********** if *** ****** **** ceiling ** **** *******, due ** *** ***** space, ****** ********, *** the **** **** *** card ****** **** ** position ***** ** *** latch ***** ******. ************, it ** **** ** bump *** **** *** shift ** *** ** position ***** *** **** still ****** (***** ******** in *** ***** *****), leaving ********** ** ******* the **** ** ******** installed, ****** ********** **** as *** **** **** revisit *** ******, **** the ****, *** *** again.

** ****** **** ******* in **** *****:

Very **** ** ** ***** 

*** ***** *** ********* camera's ** ************ ******* was **** *** ** the ****** *** **** at *** *****, ***** below, **** *** ******* nearly ********** ** **** near *** **** ** the ***** ** ****. 

IR ***** *********** *** (***/~**')

****** *** ******** ** poor, *** ****** *********** met *** ***/~**' ** spec. **** ** ***** in *** ******* *****, with *** ******* ******* from ~***' ** *** camera ********, ****** ******* at ***** ***'. *******, due ** *** ******** issues ***** *****, ***** should ****** ** **** coverage ***** ** *** camera is ****** ** *** ***** their ******* ***.

Poor ** ***** *******

** **** ****** (~*.****), the *** ********* ****** ******** moderately ****** ****** **** the ***** ********* *****, shown *****, *** ****** text **********.

** **' ******** (~** PPF), *** ******* ** almost ********** ** ******* in *** ***** *** camera, ******* *** ******* 30m/~98' ** *****, ***** detection ** ******** ** the ***** *****.

Low ***** *****

** ********, **** ******** lights **, *** *** model ******** **** ****** detail **** *****, ********** multiple ******* ***** ** the **** ***** *** some ****** ** *** subject, ***** ******* ** neither *** ******* ** the ***** ********* ******, only *********.

Solid **** *** ***********

** **** *** ******, such ** *** ******* scene *****, *** ******* produced **** ******* ** the ******* *** ******* in *** ***** *****, such ** ****** ****, clothing *******, ***., ** well ** **** **** legible **** *** ** its ****** ***. 

** *** ** ********** or ******** ** *** edges ** *** ******'* lens ** **** *****, with ******* ******* ** the ****** ** *** lens *******.

Average *** ***********

*** ******* ******** ***** details ** *** ******* and ***** **** ******* strong ******** ********* *** in ****** *****, ***** below ******** ** *** weaker ***** *****.

*******, ***** ******* ** impacted ** ************* *** halos ******* ****** *********, with **** ********* ****/****** and ***** ****** *****, less ** ** ***** in *** ***** ***** (and ***** ******* ******). 

WDR ********

****** ** ** * true *** ******, *** N52BM3Z ******** ** ********** slider ***** *** ** used ** "****" *** WDR *** ***** ** dark ******, ** * scale ** *-***, **** a ******* ** **. We ********* ******* *** camera *** ** **** default, ** ***** ******** result ** **** ********* *********** and ****** ******** ******** discoloration, ***** ** *** gif *****.

*********

*** ******* *************'* ***** ***** ** **** ** *.*** support (****** *** ***** support ***** *.*** *******, discussed *****). *** ** the ******'* **** ** and **** ******, ******** decreased ** ***** **** IR **, ***** *****.

VMS *******

*** **** ****** *** supporting *** *******'* *.*** stream(s) *** ********* ******** (below). **** **** ********* uses *****, *** * direct ******, ** ******* to ***** *.*** *******.

******* ******** ****** ***** the ****** *** *** Dahua ****** ******* *****, but **** ***** *.***. All ***** ***** ****** used ***** *** ********** (Avigilon, *****, ****** ****), but *** *** ******* H.265 *******.

Test **********

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** *** **** test:

  • ***** *******: *.***.****.**.* ***** date ****-**-**
  • ***** *******: *.***.****.**.* ***** date ****-**-**

Comments (7)

The spec sheets themselves note that the camera can do color with 0.009 lux minimum illumination. Most of Dahua's other Starlight entries claim around. 0.005 lux minimum illumination, which makes this one of their weaker entries in the field for what they consider Starlight... Strange entry in the field, especially since this only available for the branded product line in the USA.

It seems forced since all the other Starlight products are still 2-3MP. The jump to 5MP feels like they are overclocking the chip and throwing caution to the wind to pose an answer to other "Starlight" products out there that are falsely claiming the title with 0.01 lux minimum illumination for color images.

Still, this is weird. Very, very weird. It seems like a hastily thrown together beta.

What chipset firmware was it using? Rhea? Eos? Nova (not likely)? It'll give some insight as to how they threw this one together.

If they are overclocking then chip will burn out quickly. Maybe IPVM can do a image heat picture on the chip to see if it runs hotter than other comparable cameras?

Can't wait to see some comparisons the new 5MP offerings! Thanks IPVM.

Dahua tends to have three tiers for their cameras. This seems to fall into the mid-tier. Top tier includes more advanced features like audio in/out, alarm in/out, larger chasis, and better IR. Trying to discern thier product design is like betting on the horses — it’s just a big guess. This does appear to be an in-between camera tier. Let’s see what the next 5mp starlight offering is with a larger dome and better features. 

This one is lowest tier - LITE series, not PRO line (middle one).
6MPx is middle tier, on 1/2.9" SONY Sensor.

This is listed in the Pro Series on the US site, screencapped for reference:

Weirdly, I just got an email newsletter talking about new models in the starlight series.

However, all the models listed are 6MP, with much worse minimum illumination specs and smaller sensors, and no mention of "starlight" in their specs at all. 

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