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. 

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

Vivotek 20MP Multi-Imager Tested on May 30, 2019
Vivotek has released their latest repositionable multi-imager camera, the MA9321-EHTV, a 20 MP model claiming "Supreme Night Visibility", "Optimal...
Axis ARTPEC-7 P1375-E Camera Tested on Jul 12, 2019
Axis claims the new P1375-E box camera with ARTPEC-7 chip delivers "clear, sharp images in any lighting condition." But how well does it do? We...
Bosch Starlight 8000i Cameras Tested on Jul 23, 2019
Bosch has released their new Flexidome IP Starlight 8000i cameras, claiming "exceptional detail even in extreme low-light situations." To see...
Hikvision 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 02, 2019
With their latest Smart Series 5 cameras, Hikvision is claiming cameras "fully loaded" with "state-of-the-art technology for high performance and...
Hanwha 4K Wisenet P Camera Tested on Jul 30, 2019
Hanwha claims "premium performance" and to "deliver the best in high resolution performance and efficiency" with their Wisenet P series 4K models,...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...
Uniview Pro 4K Camera Tested (IPC3238ER3-DVZ) on Aug 29, 2019
In our 8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout, Uniview's low end 8MP was firmly in the middle of the pack. Does their higher end Pro Series 4K camera...
Panasonic 4K Camera Tested (WV-S2570L) on Sep 13, 2019
Panasonic has released their latest generation 4K dome, the WV-S2570L, claiming "Extreme image quality allows evidence to be captured even under...
Vivotek 4K S-Series Camera Tested on Sep 30, 2019
Vivotek's highest-end S-series camera claims "Supreme Night Visibility", "Smart IR II", "Smart Stream II", "WDR Pro for unparalleled visibility in...
Axis "Best Of The Best" 4K Camera Tested (Q1798-LE) on Nov 21, 2019
Axis has released their "best of the best" Q1798-LE bullet camera, touting "4K without compromise" with a large Micro 4/3" image sensor, custom...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IronYun AI Analytics Tested on Feb 17, 2020
Taiwan startup IronYun has raised tens of millions for its "mission to be the leading Artificial Intelligence, big data video software as a service...
Access Control ADA and Disability Laws Tutorial on Feb 17, 2020
Safe access control is paramount, especially for those with disabilities. Most countries have codes to mandate safe building access for those...
ISC West 2020 Removes China Pavilion, No Plans To Cancel Or Postpone on Feb 17, 2020
ISC West plans to go on next month, amidst concerns over coronavirus. However, the Asia / China Pavilion has been removed, show organizers...
Hanwha Wisenet X Plus PTRZ Tested on Feb 14, 2020
Hanwha has released their PTRZ camera, the Wisenet X Plus XNV-6081Z, claiming the "modular design allows for easy installation". We bought and...
IPVM Conference 2020 on Feb 13, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our 2020 conference. This is the first and only industry event that will be 100% sponsor-free. Like IPVM online, the...
Bosch Dropping Dahua on Feb 13, 2020
Bosch has confirmed to IPVM that it is in the process of dropping Dahua, over the next year, as both IP camera contract manufacturer and recorder...
BluB0X Alleges Lenel, S2, Software House Are Dinosaurs on Feb 13, 2020
BluB0X is running an ad campaign labeling Lenel, S2, Software House, Honeywell, AMAG and more as dinosaurs: In a follow-up email to IPVM,...
London Live Police Face Recognition Visited on Feb 13, 2020
London police have officially begun using live facial recognition in select areas of the UK capital, sparking significant controversy. IPVM...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in designing video surveillance systems. Though 'convergence' was a big...