Detecting wildlife with Dahua cameras

tigerwillow1

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I made one final comparison of the 6mm 5442 against one of my trusty old chinese market 4431M cameras, not for image quality (5442 is hands down better), but to see how the 5442 with old firmware would stack up for tripwire animal detection. I was hoping the 5442 would be almost as good, but it exceeded my expectation and was very slightly better. I'm a bit uneasy recommending anybody get a new camera and take it back to older firmware, but the IPC-T5442TM-AS with firmware V2.800.00000008.R blows away everything else I've tried that's capable of detecting animals. Most of us are aware of the risks when changing firmware. All I can offer is that I've done it successfully on 3 of these cameras and plan to buy a couple more.

If you want to stay with a current production camera that will detect animals you have to stick with the "Lite" series, meaning the 4-digit part of the model number starts with a "2". There are 4 different series' available, with 2, 4, 5, 8 megapixel models. Looking at only bullets and turrets with IR capability, the general rule is you can't get the best image sensors, and can't have varifocal and audio in the same camera. There are 3 exceptions to these general rules: (1) In each series, there is a single varifocal bullet with an external audio input, which I tried and failed to source in the 2 megapixel line, (2) In the 2 megapixel line, you do get its best
1/2.8 image sensor, and (3) There is a single 4k model with the better 1/1.8 image sensor, the HFW2831T-ZS (but no audio).

Image sensor specs for the current production Lite models:
2231 series, 2 megapixel, 1/2.8 sensor
2431 series, 4 megapixel, 1/3 sensor
2531 series, 5 megapixel, 1/2.7 sensor
2831 series, 8 megapixel, 1.2.7 sensor (except the mentioned single model)

The 5442 line uses a 4 megapixel 1/1.8 sensor. As I found, the optical zoom of the 2231 varifocal provides no useful benefit over a digitally-zoomed 5442 6mm, and I'm assuming the result would be the same with the 4, 5, and 8 megapixel varifocals which don't use the better image sensors. I do wish I had been able to test the single exception HFW2831T-ZS. Based on testing the 5842 varifocal with seemingly the same sensor, this one has the potential to compete well with the fixed focal 5442, if you're willing to give up the audio.

These are some examples of the image quality difference if you go with a less capable image sensor over the 5442 line. The comparison image is from a 1/3 sensor size, 4 megapixel camera, 5442 images on the right.

cat-4431.jpg cat-5442.jpg

coons-4431.jpg coons-5442.jpg

coyote1-4431.jpg coyote1-5442.jpg

coyote3-4431.jpg coyote3-5442.jpg

coyote-4431.jpg coyote-5442.jpg

Kitties-4431.jpg Kitties-5442.jpg

Squirrel2-4431.jpg Squirrel2-5442.jpg

Squirrel-4431.jpg Squirrel-5442.jpg
 
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I've done is to use a 2231 looking at a specific area with regular motion sensing and set up in a way that doesn't generate many falses to trigger better cams as a group. I'd forgotten that the 5231/2231 have IVS. I may have to try that instead.






 
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jack7

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I made one final comparison of the 6mm 5442 against one of my trusty old chinese market 4431M cameras, not for image quality (5442 is hands down better), but to see how the 5442 with old firmware would stack up for tripwire animal detection. I was hoping the 5442 would be almost as good, but it exceeded my expectation and was very slightly better. I'm a bit uneasy recommending anybody get a new camera and take it back to older firmware, but the IPC-T5442TM-AS with firmware V2.800.00000008.R blows away everything else I've tried that's capable of detecting animals. Most of us are aware of the risks when changing firmware. All I can offer is that I've done it successfully on 3 of these cameras and plan to buy a couple more.

If you want to stay with a current production camera that will detect animals you have to stick with the "Lite" series, meaning the 4-digit part of the model number starts with a "2". There are 4 different series' available, with 2, 4, 5, 8 megapixel models. Looking at only bullets and turrets with IR capability, the general rule is you can't get the best image sensors, and can't have varifocal and audio in the same camera. There are 3 exceptions to these general rules: (1) In each series, there is a single varifocal bullet with an external audio input, which I tried and failed to source in the 2 megapixel line, (2) In the 2 megapixel line, you do get its best
1/2.8 image sensor, and (3) There is a single 4k model with the better 1/1.8 image sensor, the HFW2831T-ZS (but no audio).

Image sensor specs for the current production Lite models:
2231 series, 2 megapixel, 1/2.8 sensor
2431 series, 4 megapixel, 1/3 sensor
2531 series, 5 megapixel, 1/2.7 sensor
2831 series, 8 megapixel, 1.2.7 sensor (except the mentioned single model)

The 5442 line uses a 4 megapixel 1/1.8 sensor. As I found, the optical zoom of the 2231 varifocal provides no useful benefit over a digitally-zoomed 5442 6mm, and I'm assuming the result would be the same with the 4, 5, and 8 megapixel varifocals which don't use the better image sensors. I do wish I had been able to test the single exception HFW2831T-ZS. Based on testing the 5842 varifocal with seemingly the same sensor, this one has the potential to compete well with the fixed focal 5442, if you're willing to give up the audio.

These are some examples of the image quality difference if you go with a less capable image sensor over the 5442 line. The comparison image is from a 1/3 sensor size, 4 megapixel camera, 5442 images on the right.

View attachment 142822 View attachment 142824

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View attachment 142829 View attachment 142830

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@tigerwillow1
You wrote "...(1) In each series, there is a single varifocal bullet with an external audio input, which I tried and failed to source in the 2 megapixel line...".
I have been trying to find turrets or bullets with external audio input capability, but have not found any.
Which ones did you find, or do you know of others?
Thanks.
 
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tigerwillow1

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With very few exceptions, turrets with audio support have a built-in microphone, and bullets with audio support have an RCA input for external audio. If connecting a microphone, it needs to be an amplified mic. The most used mic amongst forum members is this one: Microseven IP Cameras . I have a few of them and they work well. They need a power source, commonly 12 volts supplied by a POE splitter. If wanting a camera to pick up wildlife with IVS, you are restricted to the "lite" series. Pull up this web page Lite Series, and click through the 2, 4, 5, and 8 megapixel offerings. For each pixel count there is exactly one camera with the "ZAS-S2" model number suffix, which means varifocal with audio. They all happen to be bullets with external audio input. I was interested in only the 2MP version because the others have lower capability image sensors. I did not spend a horrible amount of time looking for the IPC-HFW2231T-ZAS-S2. Andy does not carry it, and none of the sites I found that carry it had one in stock. I trust Andy to get an out-of-stock camera, buy not anybody else I'm not familiar with. If you don't care about the animal detection, there are some good choices available with the better image sensor and external audio input. An example is the IPC-B5442E-ZE that Andy carries. Please do check the specs for yourself. I try to not make mistakes, but it sometimes happens.
 

EvanVanVan

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Thank you @tigerwillow1 for this entire thread. So if I'm understanding correctly, the best workaround for reliable onvif alerts (IVS triggers? Not entirely sure what I'm talking about lol) for animals from Dahua cameras is to pick up 1-2 older T5442TM-AS cameras and flash an older firmware on them. Then I can:

That's easy to do in BI. Just set up a group that gets triggered from one or more other cams. That's what I do in my backyard. I have a 5231, 2231, 5442 and the 4K-X. If any of the cams trigger, they all trigger. So it does as you describe. The IVS on the 5231/2231 say something's there and trigger the 5442/4K-X. I also have a motion detector that does the same (which is what usually triggers things before anything else).
Trigger all cameras at once in BI? I would still use Deepstack to confirm the alert (and analyze every camera, even if there's nothing there)? But hopefully it would be more reliable than motion detection in BI? Especially for small animals... Edit: also, mainly, can I trigger and track animals with a Dahua PTZ camera using one or both of these methods?

Thanks

Exactly and thats why I mentioned, 2 key pieces could be pursued, 1) ensure AI algorithm is disabled when Human/Vehicle/Non-Motor Vehicle (in case of 7x series) is unchecked, 2) use SMD 4.0 AI algorithm for inverse target capture focused on those needed animal capture. I.e.. when AI algorithm is disabled (therefore no human or vehicles are being targeted) instead flip to using the SMD 4.0 'dismiss animal's intelligence to instead target those dismissed objects. That way you still benefit from things like dismissing tree's, branches, leaves, blowing trash etc. Now I just have to build the case, document how to do it in code and sell it to Dahua for their feedback :)
Hi, were you every get this to work or what is was it just hypothetical lol?

Thank you
 
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Mike A.

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Trigger all cameras at once in BI? I would still use Deepstack to confirm the alert (and analyze every camera, even if there's nothing there)? But hopefully it would be more reliable than motion detection in BI? Especially for small animals... Edit: also, mainly, can I trigger and track animals with a Dahua PTZ camera using one or both of these methods?
Yes, you can trigger whatever cam from whatever other cam.

I wouldn't really call it "tracking" but you can have the PTZ move to different presets when triggered from another cam.
 

tigerwillow1

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So if I'm understanding correctly, the best workaround for reliable onvif alerts (IVS triggers? Not entirely sure what I'm talking about lol) for animals from Dahua cameras is to pick up 1-2 older T5442TM-AS cameras and flash an older firmware on them. Then I can:
I have a hard time precisely answering this because I don't use BI. I think BI users know what I mean by "IVS trigger", and they could translate it into BI terminology. Regarding small animals, my experience with the 5442TM-As with the old firmware is that it's hit-and-miss with animals the size of mice, chipmunks, rats, etc. It's pretty good with squirrels and larger. The most aggressive triggering I've seen is with the 5231 varifocal, it catches mice, frogs, flying bugs, spiders, and webs in front of the lens.
 

Contadino

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Wow, I'm glad I found this thread. I am working towards a system to replace my Netatmo cameras. Planning to use Blue Iris, got a T5442T-ZE to experiment with. But I definitely want to to detect people as well as animals. I'm in a rural area so it's a lot of fun to see what animals pass through at night. The Netatmos work pretty well at detecting even small animals. They do detect swaying trees during storms etc.
So if I understand correctly, there are three ways to detect motion: camera itself, Blue Iris, ONVIF. Not clear if ONVIF is an option to me if I am using BI. From this thread it sounds like a T5442TM-AS with old firmware might work, or a HDW5231R-ZE. I think the testing was done using the camera triggering - right? Would BI be able to trigger based on motion from from a small animal?
 

tigerwillow1

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ONVIF if just a standard protocol for a computer or recorder to communicate with cameras. It has fewer capabilities than the proprietary protocol of the device manufacturer, but enough to communicate motion events to blue iris. From my reading, I've concluded that the motion detection built into blue iris is significantly better than the basic motion detection in the cameras. I've also concluded that IVS tripwire and intrusion detection is better than the blue iris motion detection. It's certainly easier to set up. Then the dahua smart motion detection and human/vehicle filters are a big step above any of that, possibly on a par with deepstack on blue iris. I'm stumbling through the BI discussion, not having much experience with it. ONVIF itself has nothing to do with motion detection other than communicating events from the camera.
 

Mike A.

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Right. It's not three different things. ONVIF is how the triggers from the camera are passed to BI. You set up a tripwire or intrusion box or whatever in the camera. Then in Bi you choose to have it listen for those events. When the detection on the cam triggers, that's passed to BI via ONVIF and BI does whatever with that as you have things set up... record, send an alert, trigger some other software system, etc.

BI also has its own motion detection that can be used. Which is better in a given case depends on various things. BI's basic motion detection is generally equivalent to basic motion detection in the cam. Both tend to give you more false alerts (but sometimes you want something that's easily triggered). There's not really a direct equivalent of tripwires and intrusion boxes as on the Dahua cams in BI but you can do similar things by setting up different zones and how things cross zones. As you say, that's much easier to do on the cams I think. The next step up from that is SMD on the cams which is a little more discriminating and less falses but limited in how granularly you can set it up. Then another big step up to IVS AI on the cams and AI in various forms provided through BI (or other alternatives like Frigate, etc.). Some advantages either way. Deepstack, etc., probably is a little more powerful but requires more setup and resources. On-camera AI works great (for people/vehicles at least), is easy to set up, and offloads all of that to the cam vs adding overhead on your server. Other advantages/disadvantages either way.

Really is no "right" answer. All have their place. e.g., I like using the intrusion boxes for vehicle detection for my LPR cams. Works great during the day and doesn't alert on people walking in the street or shadows through trees, etc. But the cam can't see a vehicle at night with the settings use to capture plates well. So then you can switch to BI's motion detection which triggers on whatever but is less prone to falsing at night since you don't have moving shadows, etc., and it pretty much can't see anything either so the only thing that's going to trigger it is the headlights and plate from vehicles. Or as above and more on point for this thread, where IVS is a little too discriminating, you can use BI's motion detection or have an external motion sensor passed through BI to trigger other cams and also keep IVS running on those cams for their own purposes too.
 
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EvanVanVan

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Yes, you can trigger whatever cam from whatever other cam.

I wouldn't really call it "tracking" but you can have the PTZ move to different presets when triggered from another cam.
Ah, ok, thank you. Yeah, I was expecting auto tracking with the camera following the motion, but kind of knew it wouldn't work with animals. At least I have realistic expectations now.

I have a hard time precisely answering this because I don't use BI. I think BI users know what I mean by "IVS trigger", and they could translate it into BI terminology. Regarding small animals, my experience with the 5442TM-As with the old firmware is that it's hit-and-miss with animals the size of mice, chipmunks, rats, etc. It's pretty good with squirrels and larger. The most aggressive triggering I've seen is with the 5231 varifocal, it catches mice, frogs, flying bugs, spiders, and webs in front of the lens.
Wow, that's actually very impressive it catches animals that small (even if it is hit and miss). With BI motion detection we've been missing racoons, small foxes, groundhogs, etc. Might be replacing/relocating all my 5442 varifocals! I just ordered (3) 5442TM-AS - 6mm cameras on sale from Andy today. I'm hoping the 6mm works (not having the experience to know exactly what the zoom/field of view will look like).

Do you have a link to the older 5442TM-AS firmwares you mentioned in the OP? I see one on the dahuawiki but it's not named the exact same and I'm not sure if they're in english and work on Andy's cameras? (if that's where you got your cameras)

Thanks
 
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Mike A.

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Ah, ok, thank you. Yeah, I was expecting auto tracking with the camera following the motion, but kind of knew it wouldn't work with animals. At least I have realistic expectations now.
I should have been more clear in my answer since you'd asked about two different things. The cam may track motion on its own. But that's different than using the spotter cams to move a PTZ to a preset. I don't have a PTZ that tracks to know better but I've seen examples of tracking animals so that does seem to work at some level/given setup.
 

EvanVanVan

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I should have been more clear in my answer since you'd asked about two different things. The cam may track motion on its own. But that's different than using the spotter cams to move a PTZ to a preset. I don't have a PTZ that tracks to know better but I've seen examples of tracking animals so that does seem to work at some level/given setup.
Oh, right, the main thing with PTZ is getting them pointed in the right direction first so they can then track on their own.
 

tigerwillow1

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Do you have a link to the older 5442TM-AS firmwares you mentioned in the OP?
I don't know a link offhand. I'm away from home for a couple of days and have a bookmark for some older firmware I can check out. Worst case is figuring a way to share the copy I have.
 

jack7

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Wow, I'm glad I found this thread. I am working towards a system to replace my Netatmo cameras. Planning to use Blue Iris, got a T5442T-ZE to experiment with. But I definitely want to to detect people as well as animals. I'm in a rural area so it's a lot of fun to see what animals pass through at night. The Netatmos work pretty well at detecting even small animals. They do detect swaying trees during storms etc.
So if I understand correctly, there are three ways to detect motion: camera itself, Blue Iris, ONVIF. Not clear if ONVIF is an option to me if I am using BI. From this thread it sounds like a T5442TM-AS with old firmware might work, or a HDW5231R-ZE. I think the testing was done using the camera triggering - right? Would BI be able to trigger based on motion from from a small animal?
If you want to simplify things and get great object detection, identification, and false detection elimination, try a Camect hub which is good for up to 25MB of total camera resolution input.
I've used one for 2 years.
 

DidyouDahua

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jack7

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That is actually quite interesting. Does it require a internet connection?
Internet is required only for initial activation. A few features like alerts would not be there. Go to camect.com/contact to get a good detailed answer.
 

tigerwillow1

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I placed a copy of the 5442TM-AS firmware that I'm using for animal detection in the forum Downloads section. The normal risks of changing firmware are of course in play. I can report that I have five 5442TM-AS cameras running this firmware and have encountered zero problems installing it. The web browsers that work the best for me are Pale Moon and IE-11. Brave and Firefox also mostly work, with a few of the controls missing.

Older firmware to allow IPC-T5442TM-AS to detect animals with IVS (V2.800.0000000.8.R.190902)
 

EvanVanVan

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I placed a copy of the 5442TM-AS firmware that I'm using for animal detection in the forum Downloads section. The normal risks of changing firmware are of course in play. I can report that I have five 5442TM-AS cameras running this firmware and have encountered zero problems installing it. The web browsers that work the best for me are Pale Moon and IE-11. Brave and Firefox also mostly work, with a few of the controls missing.

Older firmware to allow IPC-T5442TM-AS to detect animals with IVS (V2.800.0000000.8.R.190902)
Thank you!

One quick question although hopefully I don't make things too confusing...I had asked Andy about acquiring the firmware last week when I bought the cameras from him and he said the name of firmware you listed in the OP didn't seem right. I'm not sure if you ever confirmed you got your cameras from him(?), but I just wanted to put it all out there in case of any issues... (I'm going to use V10 FW as an exampled because that's the one Andy replied about)

The v10 FW listed in the OP is
General_IPC-HX4XXX-Volt_MultiLang_PN_Stream3_V2.800.0000000.10.R.191118.bin -------Note the HX4XXX
Andy said the FW should be:
General_IPC-HX5XXX-Volt_MultiLang_PN_Stream3_V2.800.0000000.10.R.191118.bin -------Note the HX5XXX
and lastly, on dahuawiki.com the firmware as:
DH_IPC-HX5XXX-Volt_MultiLang_NP_Stream3_V2.800.0000000.10.R.191118.bin -------Note the NP (versus PN in the first two)
I'm not 100% sure that FW is the same with the General_IPC vs. DH_IPC at the beginning

Similarly, for v8 firmware
you posted:
DH_IPC-HX4XXX-Volt_MultiLang_PN_Stream3_V2.800.0000000.8.R.190902.bin -------Agian, note the PN
dahuawiki.com lists:
DH_IPC-HX4XXX-Volt_MultiLang_NP_Stream3_V2.800.0000000.8.R.190902.bin -------Note the NP

I just checked the checksums and they are in fact 2 different files so it's not like it's a typo something.

Also, maybe it's intended to be a different version than it's supposed to be to get animal detection back on these cameras lol.
 

tigerwillow1

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I totally understand the questions, I'd be doing the same out of fear of bricking a camera. I was not aware of the Dahua wiki page you posted the link for. If I had been, I would have tried the version from there instead of uploading the one I have. I believe the P and N refer to Pal and NTSC, and there's probably no significance to how they are ordered. I bought the newest 2x of my 5224-TM-AS from Andy during the 7-year promotion and have had them less than 2 weeks. Being paranoid about making mistakes, after uploading the 4xxx/.8.R firmware to the forum, I downloaded it to a scratch file and updated the 2nd camera from there. Here's it's version report:
Capture.JPG

Had I know about the 5xxx/.10.R version I probably would have tried that out. I did try the 4xxx/.10.R version and liked the 4xxx/.8.R version better. Nothing scientific about that decision since I can't make any controlled comparison of the random animal movements. I probably will try to load the 5xxx/.10.R version into my 5442 varifocal and see what happens. I've tried 8 different 5xxx firmwares on it and they either wouldn't load or wouldn't detect animals. Bricked it once but the reset button brought it back. I'd be thrilled to get that one out of the closet and back outside.
 
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