Dahua Starlight Mini-Dome 3.6mm (IPC-HDB4231C-AS)

nayr

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This is a all metal mini-dome, with audio and SD storage using the same sensor (Sony Starvis Exmor-R 1/2.8") as the infamous Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z)

IMAG0699.jpg
IMAG0701.jpg


Major differences from my Turret review are:
  • Fixed Lens w/Smaller Aperture than the Varifocal Optics, comparatively this hurts low light performance.
  • No IR, and it has a fixed IR Cut filter so its blind to the IR Spectrum but very low power and no moving parts.
  • IP66 Rating instead of IP67 (no big deal really)
  • Much Smaller, Very Discrete and not intimidating.
  • Domes outdoors are against my religion; this is an indoor only camera.
Verdict: This is an excellent tiny non-ir indoor camera, the best yet I have encountered, but honestly there are not many reasonable places for such a camera. Overall I am very happy with it tucked into a dark corner in my living room, with no IR lights it draws no attention to its self.. In this location form beat function and it does a fantastic job compared to other options I have tried in this location (usb webcam, pinhole, board cams, pi cam, etc) to remain discrete.

I would alternatively suggest looking at the IPC-HDBW4231F-AS (Starlight IR Mini-Wedge) as its pretty much the same camera with IR, The onboard IR on the mini-wedge is software controllable (SmartIR) so you can disable it entirely when the red glow is undesirable, makes this MiniDome kinda pointless as the price should be roughly the same.

When function trumps form then pay the extra money for the Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z) as it comes with terrific low light optics, and vastly more powerful IR for just ~$35 more.. It does look quite nice indoors IMHO, but might just be too intrusive looking in a residential setting inside, the wife acceptance factor of the turret inside is likely pretty low.. (Mine was not pleased when I put the turret in the living room)

Disclaimer: This camera was provided to me in exchange for a fair and unbiased review by @EMPIRETECANDY

Features
  • 1/2.8” 2MP progressive scan Sony Starvis Exmor-R (IMX290) CMOS
  • H.265 & H.264 triple-stream encoding
  • 50/60fps@1080(1920×1080)
  • Minimum Illumination: 0.009 Lux/F2.0 (Color), 0.001 Lux/F2.0 (B/W)
  • Smart Detection supported (Facial Detection/Line Cross/Intrusion/Audio)
  • WDR(120dB), Day/Night(ICR), 3DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC
  • Multiple network monitoring: Web viewer, CMS(DSS/PSS) & DMSS
  • 3.6mm Lens w/87 degree FOV (2.8mm Optional)
  • IP66, PoE (802.3af) <3W
  • Micro SD card memory (128GB Max)
  • Built in Microphone

Product Page: IPC-HDB4231C-AS | Dahua Technology

Price Paid: $135 USD Shipped DHL ($125 USD for IPCT Members via @EMPIRETECANDY)

Downloads:
This is an international model camera, comes unmodified with english translations and is upgradable.

Sample Night Video:

Label:
camlabel.png

Version:
Screen Shot 2016-12-18 at 3.28.04 PM.png

Daytime Indoors (Auto Exposure/WDR Off/NR@33%)
NVR----2016-12-18-16-02-02.jpg
 
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nayr

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Low Lux Comparison (Mostly Xmas lighting)

3MP 4300 Mini-Dome (AutoExposure/B&W)
NVR-Kids Room-2016-12-18-17-50-23.jpg

2MP Starlight Mini-Dome (AutoExposure/B&W)
NVR----2016-12-18-17-46-48.jpg

3MP 4300 Mini-Dome (AutoExposure/Color)
NVR-Kids Room-2016-12-18-17-50-36.jpg

2MP Starlight Mini-Dome (AutoExposure/Color)
NVR----2016-12-18-17-59-06.jpg

3MP 4300 Mini-Dome (Gain Priority/Color)
NVR-Kids Room-2016-12-18-17-57-38.jpg

2MP Starlight Mini-Dome (Gain Priority/Color)
NVR----2016-12-18-17-59-19.jpg
 
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zero-degrees

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3MP 4300S Pan/Tilt 3.6mm:
View attachment 13184

2MP Starlight Mini-Dome:
View attachment 13185
Ambient light the same in both these shots? Is that light over above the fish thank on in both? This comparison doesn't fair well IMO so just trying to assure scene is truly the same. Edges also don't appear as sharp (top right/left) This is all IMO though and based on looking on macbook while laying in bed. I was hopeful for this camera as I need to place two inside the house (kids rooms) and have been looking for something al little nicer than the HIK mini domes. They did great in the last house but I am wanting to play with something different
 

nayr

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lighting is the same between scenes, I dont have another ethernet cable over here so only one camera at a time, a lil hard to get the FOV lined up like this.. but I changed nothing between shots.
 

nayr

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I dont have the dome on the mini-dome right now, so that might account for some of the blur you see on the 4300PT

here is a shot of the test rig as of now.. 2MP Starlight Turret, 2MP Starlight Mini-Dome (naked), 3MP Mini-Dome
IMAG0702.jpg

my test rig got knocked over and my turret took a bit of cosmetic damage, but it survived the drop otherwise..

Once the Family is done with the TV I'll take some direct comparisons between this and the Varifocal Turret so we can measure how much that smaller aperture is impacting night quality.

I dont believe this has a mechanical IR cut filter; will test but I believe this camera is completely blind to IR lighting.
 

flynreelow

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Nayr.

How is the RasPI project going along? I tried to view the demo a few days back, and it was offline?
 

nayr

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Ive been out of town for nearly a month, havent even installed the Starlight Turret yet.. mebe over the holidays, the drive in my development workstation took a shit on me right before I left town so I gotta get that replaced, then the OS reloaded and backups restored to even get back in a position to do anything with it.

im working off my wife's Mac Mini, yay..
 
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nayr

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Well this is not looking so good, here is a direct comparison between F1.4 on the Varifocal Turret and the F2.0 on the Mini-Bullet (IR was turned off on the Turret):
Screen Shot 2016-12-18 at 8.19.20 PM.png

NVR----2016-12-18-20-19-41.jpg

NVR-Dahua 2MP Starlight HDW5231R-Z-2016-12-18-20-21-30.jpg

As @fenderman has been yelling from the tree tops; the Varifocal Turret is worth the extra money.. if only for the better low light performance alone.
 

EMPIRETECANDY

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Well this is not looking so good, here is a direct comparison between F1.4 on the Varifocal Turret and the F2.0 on the Mini-Bullet (IR was turned off on the Turret):
View attachment 13194

View attachment 13195

View attachment 13196

As @fenderman has been yelling from the tree tops; the Varifocal Turret is worth the extra money.. if only for the better low light performance alone.
woo big difference, but if the light not bad, i think still can be good. Cheaper ones.
 

nayr

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and just to double check my results, I unplugged all the xmas lighting thinking perhaps they put off a bunch of light in the IR spectrum.. apparently they do put off a lil IR light, but not much.

NVR----2016-12-18-20-34-36.jpg

NVR-Dahua 2MP Starlight HDW5231R-Z-2016-12-18-20-36-14.jpg

The results are clear, buy the Turret unless you just cant stand the looks of it inside.. this is better than most other mini-domes in quality but falls flat when it comes to the Varifocal performance.

*edit*
Here is the Varifocal Turret w/IR @ 100% just to prove it was off earlier:
NVR-Dahua 2MP Starlight HDW5231R-Z-2016-12-18-20-41-04.jpg
 
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nayr

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woo big difference, but if the light not bad, i think still can be good. Cheaper ones.
only if it was much cheaper, for $35 more you'll be happier with the Varifocal Turret.. Your getting alot of optical performance for the small premium.

in a commercial setting where the vandal protection is required, lighting is always adequate, and the camera count is so high that $35x multiplier will eat into your profit margins then I can see this as a fine choice.. much better than the 3MP Mini Dome I compared it with; I remember when the 4300 Series came out everyone raved about its quality and this thing just spanks it all over for less money than I paid for that.

However for most residential diy uses, which is a large part of our audience; love the turret and be happy your not paying over $300 for that thing.. because you'd of paid a small fortune for a comparable performing IP camera before it landed on the market.

Again thank you so much for providing this to me to compare; even I was not prepared for the dramatic difference.. I came into this fully expecting it to be closer in performance than it ended up being.. I tripple checked everything to make sure I have not made any mistakes.. the only variation I cant account for is the Varifocal turret has a newer firmware but I cant imagine that's going to help.

I'll probably install this in the living room corner here because its so discrete, all lighting is on Z-Wave, and the cost was right (free); but if I were buying a camera for this spot I'd put up with the Turret's less obscure size and just disable the IR.. For the kids room to replace this 3MP Mini-Dome I am thinking the mini-black face ptz.. because size dont matter and the ptz is nice for parking it zoomed in on em sleeping.
 
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EMPIRETECANDY

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only if it was much cheaper, for $35 more you'll be happier with the Varifocal Turret.. Your getting alot of optical performance for the small premium.

in a commercial setting where the vandal protection is required, lighting is always adequate, and the camera count is so high that $35x multiplier will eat into your profit margins then I can see this as a fine choice.. much better than the 3MP Mini Dome I compared it with; I remember when the 4300 Series came out everyone raved about its quality and this thing just spanks it all over for less money than I paid for that.

However for most residential diy uses, which is a large part of our audience; love the turret and be happy your not paying over $300 for that thing.. because you'd of paid a small fortune for a comparable performing IP camera before it landed on the market.

Again thank you so much for providing this to me to compare; even I was not prepared for the dramatic difference.. I came into this fully expecting it to be closer in performance than it ended up being.. I tripple checked everything to make sure I have not made any mistakes.. the only variation I cant account for is the Varifocal turret has a newer firmware but I cant imagine that's going to help.

I'll probably install this in the living room corner here because its so discrete, all lighting is on Z-Wave, and the cost was right (free); but if I were buying a camera for this spot I'd put up with the Turret's less obscure size and just disable the IR.. For the kids room to replace this 3MP Mini-Dome I am thinking the mini-black face ptz.. because size dont matter and the ptz is nice for parking it zoomed in on em sleeping.
Aha, it's fine, i am just very happy to watch your testing report. I think most guys here love this. Future i will offer some free new cams for your testing.
 

nayr

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someone with a keen eye to detail might spot that my analogue wall clock is also TimeSync'd ;)

thats some damn good detail; I really cant get over how badass the Starlight Varifocal Turret is.. astonishing given the price, its a tough act to follow thats for sure.. I hope the Varifocal Bullet is just as good; I need the AlarmIO
 

nayr

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dry fitted the camera today, I do like how discrete and non threatening this appears.. this corner is dark and basically vanishes when not using a camera flash.

now to cut a hole up into the attic and string more wires.
IMAG0709.jpg

and I am kinda re-evaulating my harsh opinion of this camera now that its installed and tuned in a little bit; in autoExposure it seems to be doing very well in low light.. head on head not as good as the turret but still damn good.

here is a screen cap of it on auto exposure, with all lights off but the TV is on and a few minor light sources:
Galileo NVR----2016-12-19-18-23-20.jpg

motion can be a bit blurry but rarely will anyone be moving a whole lot when lights are out.. the higher shutter speed is not really needed when someone is laying on the coutch in the dark watching TV heh.. the noise is much lower than I had expected.

inside low light performance is not everything in the world, I know who's inside so a lil blur is acceptable.. if my alarm is triggered for any reason all the lights come on so this was a great case where form beat function as I would not have enjoyed a turret in my living room.

The IVS features of this camera will be very nice once integrated with home automation; I can have it flip lights on or detect presence fairly well.. ie, someone on couch: dont shut off TV
 
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nayr

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Obligatory Sample Video, the audio pickup on this is quite good.. remember there is no IR at all and for most of the video its merely a few holiday lights and the TV.


AutoExposure, Backlight Disabled, 3DNR@50%
H264, 1080p, 30FPS Max Bitrate, Audio 48k AAC, Noise Cancelation Disabled.

Half way through the video I force it from Color to B&W to show the difference; it did not auto-switch.
 
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drewgost

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Thanks nayr great job, especially at this busy time of the year.
nayr I am new to this setup and have had in the past cameras and recorder from QSee which I no longer use.

I just ordered with Andy 2 of the Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z) your thread was incredible on these units
(Andy if you see this post I replied to your email with my PayPal ID send invoice)

nayr can you recommend a recorder to buy with these cameras? I may also order that MiniDome (IPC-HDB4231C-AS)

I appreciate any information you write,

Thanks again and Merry Christmas

Andrew G
 
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