Dahua Starlight Varifocal Turret (IPC-HDW5231R-Z)

nayr

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I bring you the 2016 & 2017 Camera of the year! the true low light destroyer, and guess what? Its got a sensor size the same as the average man's, normal 1/2.8 Sony Exmor-R.. just proof that its not how big it is; its what you can do with it.. lol, sorry I know that was not classy but I just had to.. but enough with that crap.. now here's the meat:

IMAG0687.jpg

This is a all metal turret, both camera and base.. you will have to take the camera apart to insert a Micro SD card, thats pretty typical.

Verdict: Quite frankly this is the best overall outdoor security camera on the market right now when it comes to a cost vs performance comparison. With Dahua's reliable firmware, software, and hardware; you wont find a better camera. If your looking for the best you can get, or looking to get the most out of your money then this is the camera your looking for. the only downsides are lack of alarm IO, and limited availability of this camera, the latter will improve with time.

The larger aperture on the varifocal models you gain quite a bit of low light performance over the fixed lens starlight models Dahua offers. Combined with the vast flexibility of the motorized varifocal lens to adjust to your environment and needs over time its worth the additional cost many times over for such premium optics. Motorized optics waste no pixels and always achieve the perfect FOV and focus, it takes all the guess work out of choosing the best lens for the location.

Have your cake and eat it too.. Night or Day, in variable lighting or complete darkness, for wide angle over view or zoomed in for maximum pixel density you get a camera that can perform everywhere, every-time. The hype around this particular camera is well deserved; if you want the highest return out of your investment in video surveillance, you want the best quality and performance you can afford.. therefore when these dont fit your budget, you need to expand your budget or save your money :p

Ive been scrutinizing every camera presented on these forums for the last few years; before I got my hands on this model it'd have cost you over $350 USD per camera for something at this level of quality and performance, well beyond pretty much every DIYers budget and fast approaching Dahua PTZ price ranges.

*Update March 2017*
Latest firmware improves quality; at this point but i'd suggest upgrading if your willing to accept a lil risk.. If 12mm is not enough zoom Dahua now has a Dahua Starlight Varifocal Bullet Z5 7-35mm (IPC-HFW5231E-Z5) that provides Starlight Varifocal Performance all the way to 35mm and comes with alot more powerful IR for long range use.. 7-35mm is ideal range for many residential outdoor uses, such as driveways, mailboxes, sheds, sidewalks, etc.

Features
  • 1/2.8” 2MP progressive scan Sony Starvis Exmor-R (IMX291) CMOS
  • H.265 & H.264 triple-stream encoding
  • 50/60fps @ 1080p(1920×1080)
  • Minimum Illumination: 0.006 Lux/F1.4 (Color); 0 Lux/F1.4 (IR on)
  • Smart Detection supported (Facial/Tripwire/Intrusion/Audio)
  • WDR(120dB), Day/Night(ICR), 3DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC
  • Multiple network monitoring: Web viewer, CMS(DSS/PSS) & DMSS
  • 2.7mm ~12mm motorized lens (4.4x Zoom), 97°~34° HFOV
  • EXIR LEDs Distance: 50m
  • IP67, PoE (802.3af) <8.5W (Idle: ~2.5W/~5W with IR)
  • Micro SD card memory (128GB Max)
  • Onboard Microphone

Product Page: IPC-HDW5231R-Z | Dahua Technology

Price Paid: $170 Shipped via DHL (@EMPIRETECANDY offers an additional discount to IPCTalk members)

Downloads:

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

Also see my other Dahua Starlight reviews:

Shipped Firmware:
Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 2.50.24 PM.png

Mine is PAL, but NTSC is now available.. Makes little difference.
Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 2.53.43 PM.png

Label:
IMAG0692.jpg

Micro SD Card Slot:
IMAG0693.jpg

Mounting:


Exposure settings not related to being PAL and SmartIR is included.
Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 2.52.46 PM.png

IVS Features, unlike on my other dahuas you can have multiple IVS features in play at the same time.. that's fucking awesome
Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 2.51.24 PM.png

Low Light Demo Video, default values zoomed out

4MP vs 2MP Starlight Shootout in great lighting conditions that helps the 4MP ALOT

Live Stream Demo (not guaranteed to be online)

Eco vs Ultra Starlight Shootout:

Sample Videos and Screen Caps coming tonight, gong to compare it to both a 3MP 4300S and 4MP Dahuas :D
 
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morpheus

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Hi Nayr,

ah, your Version is newer than mine. I have 2.400.0000.24.R, Build Date: 2016-08-24. I will ask Andy from Empire for the new firmware.

How many IVS-Rules can you create?
 

smiticans

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@nayr Did you purchase the camera from Aliexpress? If so, what seller did you purchase from?
 

morpheus

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Currently there is only one seller, Andy from empire and BEC. I bought my Dahua PTZ on this shop and asked him about the new ipc-hdw5231r-z, he added it to his shops.
 

morpheus

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I can create 10 of em
I have different tabs for Tripwire, Intrusion, Abandoned/Missing, Scene Changing. On the first three i can create 4 rules and one for Scene Changing. I don't have smart plan, what is it?

Firefox_Screenshot_2016-11-09T22-35-50.724Z.png
 

nayr

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Smart plan lets you select between IVS and Facial Detection, they are still split out and cant be enabled at the same time.
 

morpheus

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Ah ok, if i enable face detection all ivs rules are disabled and vice versa.
 

ramleaf

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What a difference! Seems that this camera has a very good potential.
Can't wait to see how it performs in complete darkness.
Thanks for sharing.
 

nayr

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for color mode were pretty much dark already:
Galileo NVR--2016-11-09-17-35-39.jpg

Galileo NVR-Back Patio-2016-11-09-17-35-45.jpg

and here are 2 shots with only the IR from the 4300S enabled, Ive shut off the IR on the Starlight for a more realistic comparison instead of having both IR combined.

Galileo NVR--2016-11-09-17-41-25.jpg
Galileo NVR-Back Patio-2016-11-09-17-41-19.jpg
 
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bigredfish

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Big difference. The Starlights do seem to deliver the goods. Really like my new CVI ones, have to wait another week or so before installing the 2MP IP bullets ... sigh
 
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Wow! I think I ordered the right camera. I think most newcomers assume a lower resolution 2mp camera wouldn't perform as well as higher res versions, but it's easy to see the higher res camera produces muddy images in low light.
 

EMPIRETECANDY

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Thanks Guys, i booked some stock but still not arrives, seems too hot, i booked around 30pcs now. But will come some next week. Nayr, may i put these pics on our shop? Thanks for your perfect posting.
 

Q™

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Thanks @nayr. In this video, please advise as to if any additional light has been introduced into the field of view besides that which the Dahua Starlight IPC-HDW5231R-Z.

 

Tsikura

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Yeah. What was the lighting in that video. Was that just the Starlight? I need a couple of cams but I might just put my money on this model. Nice beard too. Been letting mine grow for almost a year now.
 

fenderman

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@nayr Awesome review! Great cam. Aside from the fantastic low light performance the motorized varifocal, audio, SD card and turret design make this hard to beat.
 
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