Uniview Starlight Camera Tested

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Apr 28, 2015

The company claims $263 million in 2013 revenue and to be the third largest Chinese surveillance manufacturer (after Hikvision and Dahua).

Despite being owned by American investment firm Bain Capital and spending hundreds of thousands on an ISC West 2014 booth, Uniview is not well known internationally.

However, given their size and the strong interest IPVM members have in Chinese cameras, we decided to test a Uniview camera.

We tested their high-end 1080p box camera, IPC542E-DU, claiming both super low light and true multi-exposure WDR performance. The camera has a 1/1.9" imager which is one of the largest we have seen in 1080p cameras. Despite these features, the pricing was extremely low.

Competitors tested against the Uniview included high-end models from:

Below is a preview of our WDR test showing how each camera did in the outside / bright area vs the inside / dark area:

In this report, to determine how Uniview matches up against major competitors, we answer these questions:

  • How does the IPC542 perform in low light and WDR scenes?
  • How well does it integrate with VMS platforms?
  • How does bandwidth consumption compare?
  • What sales and support channel exists?

*** ******* ****** $*** million ** **** ******* and ** ** *** third ******* ******* ************ manufacturer (***** ********* *** Dahua).

******* ***** ***** ** American ********** **** **** Capital *** ******** ******** of ********* ** ***** **** **** *****,********* *** **** ***** internationally.

*******, ***** ***** **** and *** ****** ******** IPVM ******* **** ** Chinese *******, ** ******* to **** * ******* camera.

** ****** ***** ****-*** 1080p *** ******,*******-**, ******** **** ***** low ***** *** **** multi-exposure *** ***********. *** camera *** * */*.*" imager ***** ** *** of *** ******* ** have **** ** ***** cameras. ******* ***** ********, the ******* *** ********* low.

*********** ****** ******* *** Uniview ******** ****-*** ****** from:

***** ** * ******* of *** *** **** showing *** **** ****** did ** *** ******* / ****** **** ** the ****** / **** area:

** **** ******, ** determine *** ******* ******* up ******* ***** ***********, we ****** ***** *********:

  • *** **** *** ****** perform ** *** ***** and *** ******?
  • *** **** **** ** integrate **** *** *********?
  • *** **** ********* *********** compare?
  • **** ***** *** ******* channel ******?

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

Key ********

**** *** *** *** findings **** **** ****:

  • ****** *** ***** ***********, one ** *** **** non-IR *** ***** ****** tested.
  • ********* *** ***********, **** among *** ******* ** this ****, ********** ** dark ***** ** *** scene, ***** *** *******-** produced **** ******* ** the *******, *****, *** surroundings **** ***** *******.
  • *** ********* *********** ******** to ***** ***** *** light/WDR *******, ***** **** all ***** ***-** ******* in *** ***** *** dark.
  • *********** *** *********** *** ONVIF ******* *, **** some ***** (*******, *****) working ****, *** ****** connecting *** *** ********* (Avigilon, *********).
  • **** ********* ****** ** all ***** ******* *****.
  • ****** ***** ****, ********* back ***** **********, **** no ********* *******.

*******

*** *******-** *** ** estimated ****** ***** ** ~$500 *** (*** ********* lens) ***** ** ****** cost *** ******** *******.

[******: **********, ** ****** the ********* ****** ***** as ~$*** ***** ** the ****** ***** **** originally **** **. *******, they *** **** *** the ****** ****** **** for *** ***** ***** be ******, ** ** are *** ********** ~$***.]

**** ** ************* **** expensive **** */*" ****** super *** ***** ****** from *********** **** ** the**** *****(~$**** ******) ******* ********(~$****), *** **** ******** less **** ***** ***********' 1/3" *** ***** ******.

Channel / ************

******* ******* *** *********** on ************ ** **** are ***** ** *** process ** ******** ***** channel.

**** ******* *** ** North ******** ***** ***** or ******* *****, ** those *********** **** ****** account *** **** *********** and ****** ** ******* versus ************* **** ***** operations.

*********

***** *** *** ***** and ****** *********** ** low ***** *** *** scenes, ***** **** *** bitrates, *** ******* *******-** is * ****** ********* against *** ****** **** big **** *************.

**** ***** ****, *******'* lack ** * ***** American ***** *** ******* structure ****** ***** ********* for ********, ** **** integrators *** *** ***** may ** ****** *** by ***** ******.

Physical ********

*** *******-** ** ****** unremarkable ** *** ******* go, **** *** ******** array ** ***** ** the ****: ********, */*, audio, ** *******, ***. Note **** *** ****** includes * ****** **** focus **********, *** ** option *** ****** ***** through *** *** *********.

****** **** **********

**** ********** ***** *** difference ** **** ******* the ******* */*.*" ***** sensor *** * ******* 1/3" ****** **** ** competitors:

*************

*** ******* *** ********* was ****** ** ***, with ******** ********* **** out ** ******** *****. Most ************* ******* *** found ** *** ***** (exposure, ***** ***********, ***, etc.) *** ***** (***** settings) ****.

VMS *************

*** ****** ** ***** Profile * *********, ****** uses ***-******** **** ** to *******. ***** **** port, *** ****** ********* and ******** *** ***** to ***** *** ******* without *** ******, ****** no ******** ******** **** as ***, *****, */* worked. *** ****** ***** to **** ******** *** Milestone ********, *** ** video ********.

**** ********* ****** ******* any ****** ** *** platforms.

Image ***********

** ***** ****** *** Uniview ****** ******* *********** from ****, *****, *********, and ******* ** **** interior ********** **** ***** of ****, **** ~*** lux **** ** *.**.

**** *****

** **** *****, *** IPC542 ****** ******* *** subject, **** ** ******.

****

** *** ****, *** Uniview ****** ** ***** the **** ***-** ******* tested, ******** ****** *** Samsung ***-****, ****** ****** than *** **** ***** and ***** ***-****. *** chart ** ******* ** line */*, ****** ******* details *** ********.

**** *******

****, ** ****** *** performance ** **** ********* scene, ******* ****** ******* backlight ******* ** **** overhead ****, *** ** the **** **** **** to *** ****.

** **** *****, *** IPC542E *** *** **** performer, **** ***** ********** of *** ******* *** chart ******* ****** *********, and ************* ******, ******** images ** *** **** area ****** *** ****, with ******* ******* ******* visible.

*********

*** *******-** *** **** of *** ****** ******** seen ** **** *****, and *** ****** ** any ***-** ****** ** this **** ** *** light (~*.***) *** **** (~0.01lx), **** ** *** chart *****. ***** ************ were ***** ***** *.***, 10 ***, **** ************ standardized ** ~**.

Firmware ******* ****

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

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

***** *** ******** **** used *** *******:

  • ******** ******* ****** *.*.*.**
  • *********** *.*.*.*****
  • ********* ******** ********* **** 9.0c
  • ******* *.* ***

Comments (15)

Thank you for a great review.

As I wrote before we had a very bad experiance with UniView.

The cameras are OK but the service is horrible.

We still have 2 samples and 1 NVR that we do not have much to do with.
I know how I sound and I rarly write warning to other people but, there is such a big difference between the company products and the company behaviour that I feel I should warn IPVM readers.

Itamar, thanks for the feedback.

As we mentioned in the post, at least in North America, Uniview definitely lacks the support infrastructure that many/most have come to rightfully expect (local sales, local tech support, local inventory, etc.).

Hi Ethan, thank you for your very interesting report. The performance of this camera looks great regardless of price.

I note that the rest of Uniview's 1080p cameras use imagers with a size of 1/2.8" or 1/3". Why do you think Uniview only have the one model of camera with the 1/1.9" image sensor? Did you get one of their other "true WDR, low light" camera models (with the 1/2.8" or 1/3" imager) to compare their performance? Thank you!

We just got one box camera, as we were not even sure going in if they were any good at all (given their limited track record outside of China). We will see if they expand their sales/support and if so, will consider future tests.

Why do we think Uniview only has one model with 1/1.9"? Why do you think they should have multiple models? Across the board, most manufacturers have few, if any, very large size imager 1080p models.

Btw, we are going to test a Uniview Laser IR PTZ next month, since they claim 500m IR range.

Why do you think they should have multiple models?

Sorry if I was unclear. I wasn't suggesting that they should have multiple models. I was simply wondering why they had a very large size imager 1080p model and how it performed compared with their other models with traditional size imagers.

Btw, we are going to test a Uniview Laser IR PTZ next month, since they claim 500m IR range.

Fantastic! I was just about to ask you for that so thanks very much. I was previously only aware of Dahua advertizing the Laser IR technique but Uniview already seem to have it. Are you aware of other manufacturers using Laser IR? I haven't noticed them yet.

I have not studied the market for laser IRs, but from what I can tell, in the past there only used to be a handful of expensive niche brands offering laser IR and now it seems the Chinese manufacturers are starting to roll their own, much lower cost versions out.

Any news on the laser IR PTZ test yet?

Thanks John. I'll be fascinated to see if the PTZ cameras can keep focus on distant people as they move closer and further from the camera. Given the quoted 500m range, the IPVM test crew are going to get their exercise compared with walk-testing cameras with a mere 100m IR range!

We (Hikvision) have a few options at 1080p. The DarkFighter DS-2CD6026FWD-A would be a better option to compare as it has a 1/2" sensor vs the 1/3" of the 4132FWD.

You can also disable the IR in the 4132 to do a non-IR comparision.

Thanks, Bob. That camera is going to be part of an upcoming test, so we'll update things accordingly then. We didn't disable IR in this test, as we don't in others, simply because a lot of competitive models are coming with IR at prices at or near non-IR cameras.

One question that the video under "Configuration" seems wrong, the video content is hardware but not configuration.

Per my understanding, this kind of camera are named " star light" which probably used IMX185 Image sensors, there are handful vendors to provide this kind of products now includes Tiandy(http://en.tiandy.com/index.php/Product/show/pid/146) , Dahua, Uniview and Hikvision. Maybe if you are interested, you can purchase those 3 cameras to compare as all of them has starlight series.

Tiandy is probably the top 5 in China, We are selling Tiandy's product in China before, but Tiany now hope to put more resource on oversea market too.If you are interested in it, I can apply a sample from Tiandy for you in your next test for starlight. ^^

One question that the video under "Configuration" seems wrong, the video content is hardware but not configuration.

I am confused. Here is that section. The video is clearly on configuration and goes through the web interface. Copied below.

Configuration

The Uniview web interface was simple to use, with settings logically laid out in multiple menus. Most configuration options are found on the Image (exposure, image adjustments, WDR, etc.) and Video (CODEC settings) tabs.

OK, maybe it is because my computer issue, now is ok for the video clip. Thanks John.

Following the positive test review of the Uniview camera with the 1/1.9" imager, today I received an email from Dahua announcing three "Starlight WDR" models of 2MP cameras with a 1/1.9" imager. I wonder if 2MP cameras with 1/1.9" imagers are the next big thing from Chinese camera manufacturers? If so, it will be interesting to see what impact the new models will have on the traditional high end camera models with super low light performance and WDR.

Luke, thanks for sharing!

I wonder if they are all using the same sensor :)

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

Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
Bluecherry Open Sources Entire VMS on May 13, 2019
Bluecherry announced they have "released the entire Bluecherry software application open source with a GPL license". We spoke to Bluecherry's...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
10 Facial Recognition Providers Review (Secutech) on May 09, 2019
Adding to our 19 Facial Recognition Providers Profiled report from ISC West, IPVM focused on facial recognition technology for our Day 2 coverage...
Hikvision DeepinView Camera Analytics Tested on May 08, 2019
Hikvision is expanding its 'deep learning' offerings with a new camera series called 'DeepinView' claiming false alarm reduction and improved...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...
Amazon Ring Public Subsidy Program Aims To Dominate Residential Security on May 20, 2019
Amazon dominates market after market. Quitely, but increasingly, they are doing so in residential security, through a combination of significant...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Trump Signs 'Huawei Ban' - Executive Order Targeting Foreign Adversary Technology on May 16, 2019
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting technology provided by 'foreign adversaries', in what is widely being called a...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact