Testing Hikvision High End Camera

By Ethan Ace, Published Aug 27, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Chinese manufacturer, including the two mega ones, Dahua and Hikvision, are best known in the West for super low cost, entry level cameras.

However, how well do their 'higher end' ones one work?

We bought a 3MP WDR, Integrated IR Hikvision dome (the awkwardly named DS-2CD4132FWD-IZ [link no longer available]), based on Hikvision's recommendation for a model positioned against top entries from Western manufacturers.

We tested it against Avigilon, Bosch, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony models across indoor and outdoor scenes and for competitive IR and WDR performance.

Here is a preview of the ~1 lux scene:

Here are the key findings from this test:

  • Infrared illuminator reached specified 30m range, moderately weakened at max range.
  • Smart IR features were responsive in adjusting power down as subjects entered the FOV and approached the camera.
  • Smart IR was slow to adjust power up as subjects left the field of view.
  • IR illumination was weak at the edges of the scene when camera was zoomed to its widest FOV. In narrower, 60-70° FOVs, IR coverage was more even, with slight weakening.
  • Good WDR performance, similar to other top WDR cameras against both strong backlighting as well as darker areas of the scene.
  • Excellent bandwidth performance in full light and dark scenes (with IR on) among the lowest of cameras tested.
  • However, bandwidth spiked drastically in low light (2-3 lux) in color mode (prior to the camera switching to monochrome and turning IR on).

Pricing

At ~$550 USD online, the Hikvision 4132 is priced similar to low cost manufacturers' indoor 1080p domes such as Samsung and Vivotek ($500-550), and substantially lower than competitors such as Axis, Panasonic, and Sony. Pricing is as follows:

Recommendations

The DS-2CD4132FWD-IZ's combination of well performing integrated IR and WDR, along with its lower than average price point make it a solid choice for interior scenes where dynamic range and low light are key concerns. However, users should beware of the camera's uneven IR coverage at wider fields of view. Additionaly, day/night switching to levels should be adjusted appropriate to their scene to avoid bandwidth spikes at lower light levels prior to the camera switching to night mode.

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Physical Overview

In this video we review the physical features of the DS-2CD4132. 

The 4132 is similar in diameter to other indoor dome cameras (5.5-6"), such as the Axis P33 series and Sony 6th gen domes in seen in this video. However, it is nearly a full inch taller than the Axis P33, and about half an inch taller than the Sony SNCEM630

Configuration

This video reviews the web interface of the camera, generally unchanged from most Hikvision cameras, but with added options for IR, WDR, and motorized zoom.

IR performance

The DS-2CD4132 reached its specified illumination range of 30m, with modest weakening of IR power. In the comparison below, the 4132 is subject is shown with subject at ~100', next to the Avigilon 2.0W-H3-BO1 and Panasonic WV-SFV631L, both with 30m specified IR range.

 

IR Coverage

We found that the 4132's IR pattern was even when the camera was set to narrower fields of view, 60-70°, with some darkening at the edges. Our subject is still easily visible in the image below.

However, at wider fields of view, ~90° seen below, he was difficult to detect due to substantially weaker IR power at the edges of the scene. 

Smart IR Adjustment

The DS-2CD4132 includes smart IR features which adjust power to compensate for subjects in the scene, reducing overexposure. We found that these features were responsive and worked well as objects entered the scene, but power was slower to increase as the scene cleared.

This video shows the LEDs adjust down as the subject approaches the camera, and slowly increasing in power as he exits.

Indoor Comparisons

We shot out the camera against other leading 1080p models in our interior conference room, with the FOV seen below: 

In full light, the 4132 provides details similar to other cameras in this test with no major issues. Colors appear somewhat duller than other models, but subject details and the test chart are still easily visible.

In the dark, 1 lux and below with IR on, the DS-2CD4132 provides clear details of the test chart down to line 6/7, similar to the Panasonic SFV-631L, and slightly better than the Avigilon H3 2MP bullet. The only non-IR camera providing details near this is the Samsung SNB-6004.

Wide Dynamic Range

We tested the cameras' WDR performance  in a warehouse scene against both strong backlighting from the sun outside as well as darker areas of the scene.

Against the open overhead door, the 4132 performs well, on par with other cameras, with clear images of subject and test chart. In the dark area beside the open door, the 4132 also performs well, better than the Bosch NBN-932V and Samsung SNB-6004, though moderately worse than the Avigilon, Panasonic, and Sony cameras.

Bandwidth 

In full light and dark scene, the 4132's bitrates were low compared to other cameras tested.  However, in low light, 2-3 lux, prior to the camera switching to night mode with IR on, bandwidth spiked to over 7 Mb/s, highest of any cameras in this test by more than 2 Mb/s. Users may adjust the day/night switching threshhold to switch to monochrome at brighter levels to avoid this.

Test Methodology 

All cameras were tested using default settings except exposure, which was standardized to 1/30s max, and CODEC, which was standardized to H.264, 10 FPS, Q~28.

These are the firmware versions used in each cameras:

  • Avigilon 3.0W-H3-B2: 2.6.0.18
  • Bosch NBN-932V: 5.92.0090
  • Hikvision DS-2CD4132: 5.2.0
  • Panasonic WV-SFV631L: 1.52
  • Samsung SNB-6004: 2.22
  • Sony SNC-VB630: 2.1.2

ExacqVision 6.2.63216 was used for recording.

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