The 4MP Shootout - Dahua vs Hikvision

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 30, 2015

4MP cameras are an important emerging trend in video surveillance, aiming to replace 1080p.

This is being driven by new sensors from OmniVision that deliver almost twice the pixel count of 1080p at the same 16:9 aspect ratio. These sensors also include true WDR. They are completely unrelated to the 4MP effort from ACTi from a few years ago.

The diagram below shows the difference in pixel count:

The two companies most aggressively pushing these 4MP cameras are the Chinese mega-manufacturers, Dahua and Hikvision. Not surprisingly, they are offering these cameras at extremely low prices - 4MP, integrated IR, true WDR fixed focal domes for under $300.

We bought 4MP  models from both, the Dahua IPC-HFW4421S and the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I, and shot them out against 1080p equivalents and leading WDR models from Axis and Samsung to see how they stack up in wide day time scenes, low light, WDR, and bandwidth consumption.

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Comments (11)

If the IR is the same in both the low end camera and the 4MP, why do you think you're seeing overexposure in the 4MP? Did you play around with the IR settings at all? I ask because it seems to be a significant difference. Also, I am wondering how these compare to Axis and Avigilon.

It seems like the 4MP cameras are using more gain by default. There is a gain slider which you can use to adjust things down, which helps avoid the overexposure, but you also darken the image obviously.

Alternately, you can manually control IR power, but again, it starts to darken up pretty quick. I think once you have it in your scene and you can test it in place. optimizing both of those should provide some slight improvement.

As far as comparing to Axis and Avigilon, neither really have an IR model in this price range, so we left them out. The Avigilon IR bullets we've tested have really solid range and even coverage, but they're also 3-4x more expensive than these cameras.

Sorry I should have been a little more clear. I was just refering to the WDR comparison between the brands.

I hear more and more customers focused on wanting to view video remotely. How are these cameras performing when viewed from a mobile device( tablet or smartphone) or remote client?

Remote access is phenomenal, my parents have a lake house in the middle of nowhere NH. Their upload DSL speeds are awful (it’s better than the dialup DVR we have down the street though). I can stream 3 3MP cameras no problem, sometimes it can be a struggle so I move to the 4cif low res streams but I can usually get a good fluent picture. I haven’t tried out one of these 4MP but next time I am up there I will plug one in and test.

This article was very timely for me. Working on a few proposals using the new 4MP Hik domes. We were wondering why the heck they were so cheap? Thought it was a typo. Now we see that the pricing is legit!

Hikvision and Dahua both continue to be very aggressive in pricing. It's so aggressive we have heard concerns from distributors that it devalues the existing 720p/1.3Mp/1080p cameras being sold.

It seems like quite a wide gulf between Dahua & Hikvision's max 20 FPS @ max resolution, and OmniVision's max 90 FPS @ max resolution.

I wonder what those 4MP cameras would have to cost if they could encode 4 MP, 90 FPS, 10 bits/pixel into H.264 in real time?

What is the bandwidth for 90fps@4MP? I would hate to pay for that storage for extra frames that most likely would never be used.

Before encoding, 4 Gbps.

After encoding, 4 Mbps.*

*Thoughtful guess.

I would have liked to see how these 4mp offerings compared to Bosch 5mp and 1080p. Your previous shootouts that have included Bosch have compared them very favorably in WDR and bandwidth requirements against Hik, Samsung and Axis

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