Testing Dahua Cameras 2013

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jul 08, 2013

You may not know Dahua, but you should. They are the 'other' big Chinese surveillance manufacturer (besides Hikvision) that is aggressively expanding throughout the rest of the world. However, unlike Hikvision, Dahua is much more reluctant to use its own brand outside of China. Instead, North Americans more likely know Dahua from their resellers like Q-See, IC Realtime, EYESurv, Mace, and many, many others, which have become very popular among budget / DIY / entry level IP camera users.

We bought 3 Dahua IP cameras to shootout their performance against leading Western brands to better determine their competitive positioning. The 3 Dahua cameras are:

We choose those 3 models to get a range of performance across price levels and form factors.

The cameras are pictured below side by side in our test rig:

This will be the first of our ongoing coverage of Dahua.

Updates:

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Key ********

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Other *******

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Physical ********

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Configuration **********

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Exposure/Gain ******** **********

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Box ****** ***********

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Minidome ***********

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Comments (37)

On Dahua IP cameras the DWDR or WDR settings can be varied from 0-100 or from Low to High. This level setting has a significant impact on image quality.

Which WDR level did you use in the day time dark scene?

If you cannot change this setting - your firmware is too old.

I think your firmware version is too old anyway because the time setting issue we have not seen since Jan 2013.

The 03/2013 and 05/2013 are both good. They enable DWDR on all models, improves the VBR algorithm dramatically (it now settles at ~20% on static scenes in VBR level 3), enables H264 High Profile which further reduces bandwidth in VBR mode, improves compatibility with Onvif Profile S, improves the motion detection algorithm, and improves compatibility with with Firefox and Chrome.

We bought the cameras directly from Dahua, and they were shipped to us last month directly from them. I'll let Ethan answer the specific questions on firmware version and settings.

If the login page of the web interface reads "Web Service 3.0" instead of "IP Camera" then your firmware version is too old.

to check the firmware release date, got to SETUP -> Information -> Version

Here's mine for reference:

  • Software Version
  • 2.210.0001.0.R, build : 2013-05-17
    • WEB Version
    • 3.2.1.105704

They have a habit of shipping old firmware on the cameras out of the factory - a conversative attitude towards things I guess.

Ethan: "Dahua is much less reluctant to use its own brand outside of China."

You mean "Dahua is much MORE reluctant to use its own brand outside of China." right?

Or drop the "much less".

How well do they hold frame rate? Can the Dahuas maintain 30fps under varying conditions and especially with two streams, say 1=unicast and 1=multicast?

Single stream realtime I have watched for over an hour with no dropped frames (tested through Dahua's own NVR5232-P with default 280ms buffer and in Luxriot)

I have tested at 1080p@30FPS in the following configs at night and during the day using a model train set:

1. H264 Main Profile, 8Mbps CBR, Iframe Interval 60 (default)

2. H264 Main Profile, 8Mbps CBR, Iframe Interval 30

3. H264 High Profile, 8Mbps CBR, Iframe Interval 60

4. H264 High Profile, 8Mbps CBR, Iframe Interval 30

5. H264 High Profile, 6Mbps VBR L4, Iframe Interval 60

6. H264 High Profile, 6Mbps VBR L3, Iframe Interval 60

7. H264 High Profile, 4Mbps CBR, Iframe Interval 60

8. H264 High Profile, 4Mbps VBR L3, Iframe Interval 60 (what we normally use for residential, city surveillance and retail and warehouses)

We have deployed systems that have used 2 unicast streams full time - however I have monitored for dropped frames for over 3 minutes in this scenario.

The tests were run using the HDBW3202 and HFW3300C, with 03/2013 and 05/2013 firmware

Firmware version is 2.210.0001.0.R, build : 2013-05-17

WDR was tested at multiple levels, and we plan to show the differences in those levels in an individual report. I have a comparison of that scene between WDR 0, 50, and 100, and there was a difference, but not a major difference. That'll be discussed in the individual report. It's too much to include in this overall comparison.

Carl: I ran a test of the HDBW3202 and HFW3300 using two unicast streams - one to a NVR5232-P and another to Luxriot. After observing for 1 hour I did not notice any dropped frame/stutters. With Dahua IP cameras you can only have a single "config" of high res main stream (i.e. both the NVR and Luxriot got the same 1080p H264 Main Profile 8Mbps CBR stream) unlike some more advanced cameras out there. You can however get a separate 30FPS D1 stream as the extra/sub stream.

I will try and setup a proper triple stream testing using two NVRs and a VMS - will get back with results next week.

By the way, Dahua's 2MP and 3MP offerings all use the TI DavinCi DM368 SoC/DSP/Encoder so should all perform similarly.

Will you be testing other models, too? These models all have Aptina chipsets, while e.g. 3202 and 3200 models have Exmor - quite impressive I must say; especially the HDBW3202 model with motorzoom is a big hit...

Just a correction, one of your links is wrong.

"IPC-HFW3200SN IR bullet: $161.00 online"

That link goes to a cheaper 1.3MP (IPC-HFW2100)

version as opposed to the 2MP version you tested.

Thanks, Sean. I fixed that.

Robert, we did test one of the Exmor models, the HFW3200S. We'll be detailing it more in another report, after we get some more IR cameras in hand for testing.

You should test the new Hikvision cameras.

Hi Jorge, we're planning to do some Hikvision testing soon, against Dahua and other brands.

Jorge, each of your comparisons has a narrower FoV for the Hikvision than the competitor. The tests are skewed. I have removed those links as the comparisons are clearly unfair.

If you update the tests with equal FoV widths, I'd be happy to add the link back.

Hi,

Do you plan to test Dahua NVR's and Hybrid DVR's in the future?

Thanks.

Christopher, We are testing a QSee NVR Kit right now. I am not sure how representative that will be of Dahua NVRs in general but that's the next one.

Would highly appreciate if you can include in your testing the points below:

- Is the NVR stable and does not randomly disconnect when using different supported IP camera brands?

- Will the original settings be saved when system is improperly shutdown due to loss of power?

Thank you very much.

Christopher C: We have deployed about 50 x NVR3216-P/NVR5232-P this year - most are using ~8-15 channels - we have only had one failure - which failed within 1 week due to faulty flash memory/BIOs. No other issues except that it is best to assign each camera a static IP instead of using the Auto IP assignment to avoid occasional cases (3 out of the 50) where the Auto IP assignment system goes berserk and causes serveral cameras to go in and out repeatedly until static IP addresses are assigned (at which point the problems goes away). We have clients using Dahua, Hikvision and Hunt IP cameras without issue. However the NVR is really designed to be paired with Dahua cameras in terms of full integration of camera bitrate/res/color/OSD settings, motion detect, dual streaming for remote viewing, etc...

It should be noted that by default, the NVRs reboot onece a week for "self maintenance" - we have note had a project that required disabling this feature yet so it unclear if this is important for the stability of the system.

Toblas S: Custom view can be set at startup using the "Tour" function

I tested the NVR with Axis camera, ACTi will follow. Continius Recording works fine, but Motion not.

The settings stay saved after powerloss and restart. Only maybe the view witch you have choosen return on 16CH view.

Dahua is working on the motion issue per examle that it works on exacq vms.

Apparently the new firmwares coming out supports Onvif 2.2 with motion support. Of course the camera has to have that as well

Sean: What bitrate and framerate are you running on those cameras? Do you get that error message that says you are out of decode resources?

Definetely not exceeding the FPS and Bit Rate limitations. No I did not receive that error either. I had all cameras set to 1080p, 7 FPS, 2048 Kbps on all cameras. Basically if you start adding cameras, you will get to the 20th camera or 21 camera, and it will black out. I recommend that you try this, you will see the same thing, make sure the cameras are set to 1080p and not any lower resolution. It still records the video feed, if you play it back. But the issue is that it just wont decode them all.

We have an issue where the 5232 will not display all 32 cameras at once. For example, if you add (32) 1080p cameras. The NVR can only decode (display) up to 18 cameras. The NVR still records all the cameras, but it will not display all the cameras at once. Basically, anytime you get past 18 1080p cameras, the 19th camera just blacks out. The problem is that Dahua has decided to decode the mainstream 1080p stream on multi-channel view instead of decoding the substream. If they decided to decode the substream on multi-channel view then this issue would be resolved. Hoping for a firmware improvement in the future. Have you seen this Bohan?

Sean: I will run a test for sure - final question - was it VBR 3/4/5 or CBR that you used?

CBR 2048 on all cameras. I only tested it with 22 cameras. So I was far from even coming close to the Bit Rate limit

Looks like I'm not the only one who has modified a speaker stand to be used as a really tall "tripod" for camera testing!

Nope, you're not.

The NVR5232 runs on the Ti DavinCi DM8168 SoC. the SoC contains 180fps of dedicated 1080p hardware decoding in the form of 3 x HDVIP2 cores that each do 60fps. In addition - there are 2 DSP cores that can also decode H264 with custom code (no idea how many fps though...) and an ARM Cortex 8 which is likely only good for control logic. Lastly there is also a SGX530 GPU in there which may for H264 decoding resources but of an unknown fps.

Anyone can comment about the DM8168?

Ha ha! I wish. They provide little documentation on this. When is the 5432-16P scheduled to be released? I was wondering who would make the first 16 port POE NVR! Bohan what is your email address, I'd like to discuss things outside the site so we dont derail the discussion.

Thanks Bohan, appreciate the help.

In a project we used NVR 3216V-P and nine 2MP and one 3MP camera. We had to reduce the 3MP to 2MP because of the bitratelimit. We use 7fps per camera.

The "32" do not have ability to do anything higher than 1080p resolution. The new 52's do though.

In reality the 52xx is still not great fir 3MP.

The new NVR5432-16P with 16 poe ports has real speced in 3MP support to 120fps, and 5MP to 90fps, along with 2MP to 240fps.

What is really hard is working out the total fps when mixing 3MP and 2MP - anyone know how to do that?

When you said "The HD2100N box camera is the standout performer among the three Dahua cameras tested." Were you referring to the HD2100N Minidome or the HF3101N Box Camera?

Good catch. That was the HF3101N box. I've fixed it in the text.

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