Help Choosing Dahua Camera

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I was really excited by the Dahua "product selector" on their website, I was able to choose exactly the camera that fit my needs but I can't even find it for sale anywhere. Not to mention a lot of the ones that are readily available don't even show up in the search. Here are my requirements -
2MP or greater, great low light, Wide FOV, less than $200 per camera (close to $100 if possible). I really like the dome cameras for their looks but I am willing to make exception based on your recommendations. I wouldn't mind having optical zoom for one of the six cameras I expect to purchase. Cams will interface with a NAS. I am looking at Dahua because it seems like a good option but would also entertain other brands.

I am also at a loss on purchasing Dahua from amazon - I read on here that these are "Gray market" but does that also include the ones that are being sold with the Dahua logo? Are the ones sold without the Dahua logo not actually made by Dahua? Is there a hardware quality difference?

I ordered a IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS from amazon yesterday just to play with, without the logo since it was the only one I could get in my hands before the weekend. It had great reviews and didn't have the "cannot update firmware" warning so I figured it was a cam that Dahua had sold to a third party that didn't bother to re-brand or re-flash firmware. Any help is appreciated.
 

aristobrat

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When you have a chance, check out the Cliff Notes document from a computer, it has a lot of info from a ton of different threads compiled into one area.

Most folks here get Dahua from a great vendor named Andy who goes by @EMPIRETECANDY on the forum. He sells OEM versions, which are made by Dahua, just without their logo and all support/warranty goes through him, not Dahua. He participates in a lot of the threads in the Dahua subforum here and has his own sub-forum in the Vendors area here. You can order from him directly via email or the forum "Conversations" feature or from his AliExpress or Amazon shops. He doesn't stock every model on Amazon, so some things you may need to email him on.

If you ever wind up in the "North America" section on Dahua's website and can't figure out why none of those models are talked about on the forum here, it's because most folks here refer to cameras using the model numbers from the "International" location on Dahua's website. For whatever reason Dahua North America only makes a subset of the International models available and then changes the model numbers of them. Andy's able to get just about any model from the International website.

The Starlight models are the most popular here because of how well they do in low-light (for the price). For outside, domes are usually the least preferred because the are more likely to have issues with bugs (due how how the IR lights are located in domes) as well as the potential issue of IR bouncing back towards the dome and ghosting out the image. Not everyone with domes has those problems, but they're something to consider. Wide FOV (like 2.8mm) is great for overview cameras used to cover wide areas but the tradeoff to a wide FOV is that someone has to stand closer to the camera to be ID'ed. A lot of folks will design systems where they use wide FOV for "overview cameras" that cover big areas (like the entire front yard), then rely on cameras with much tighter FOVs (like a varifocal model dialed in tight over the cars in the driveway or on gates/doors) to ID someone.

There's a cool website you can use to lay out specific camera models against a Google Maps image of the outside of your house. You can then move a pin around for each camera (simulating someone standing in front of the camera) and see what that person looks like from various distances. It also shows you a PPF value... you're going to want that PPF value to be 100+ if you plan on being able to ID someone that you don't know from whatever distance you have the pin set at.
IPVM Camera Calculator V3
 
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Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. That answered a lot of my questions. Is the IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS a starlight camera? Some sites list it as a starlight while others do not. I don't see the starvis sensor so I'm assuming it is not. Any ideas how it would compare to a 2MP starvis?
 
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OK so I messaged Empiretecandy and got some pricing. Could someone clarify for me which would be better for my scenario?

IPC-HFW4239T-ASE or IPC-HDW2231R-ZS?

Many thanks - I'm so tired of researching cameras - I'm going to have more labor in researching cameras than the cost of the cameras themselves. :D
 

aristobrat

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IMO (and this is from having no hands-on with a 4239, ... just having seem a few videos) the 4329 seems great at staying in color mode as the light gets lower and other cameras would have switched to B/W mode. From a few of the videos that I've seen when it's fairly dark, the 4239 staying in color is kind of cool, but video quality of things moving seemed more blurry than if there was a traditional 2MP Starlight (like a 5231 or 2231) in the same spot.

The 4239 might make for an OK 'overview cam' of your yard, but if you're wanting to ID someone at night, I think the 4239 will need more light than the 2231. It all comes down to how much light you have to work with at each of the spots you'll be mounting your cameras.

If you haven't already seen it, there's a big review thread for the 2231:
Review-Dahua IPC-HDW2231RP-ZS Starlight Camera-Varifocal

Might be worth searching the forum for '4239' and see what threads there are for that.
 

tigerwillow1

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"IPC-HFW4239T-ASE or IPC-HDW2231R-ZS?"
Nobody will be able to answer that better than you, armed with the best information you can find. They are both good cameras, and also very different. The 2231R-ZS is a varifocal version with internal IR lighting, where the 4239T-ASE is fixed focus without internal IR lighting. It's also incompatible with external IR lighting. If you want to use "invisible" IR lighting in a totally dark area. the 4239 won't work. On the other hand, if the area you're watching at night is dimly lit, the 4239 should give you a better image in the dim light. If you're not sure of the angle of view you need, the varifocal 2231R-Zs is the safe choice. If one of these obvious factors doesn't force a decision, you just have to try to make the best choice. I assume you already know one is a turret form factor and the other is a bullet.

The HDBW4433R-ZS is indeed a chinese market camera where you can't update the firmware. It was probably manufactured by Dahua (I'm assuming if somebody built counterfeit cameras they wouldn't build them for the chinese market). I have a few chinese market dahua cameras, not the model you bought. The models I have look to me to be of equal component and build quality as their international market counterparts, and perform the same as their international counterparts with the same image sensor. You should be able to find a good use for the 4433R-ZS. It should give you a good image when there's bright lighting, but will be clearly inferior to the starlights in dim lighting. Be aware, too, if you're going to use a Dahua NVR, the newer firmware versions will refuse connecting to chinese market cameras.
 
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Excellent. Just ordered three of the 2231 from EmpireTech. About to start looking for a PC to run Blue Iris or similar. Not trying to hijack my own thread but if you guys have any recommendations, PM me. I'm willing to spend up to $500 on the PC and drives (including OS). Thanks for all the input thus far. My personal PC is an I7-2640 with 8 gigs of ram. Watching a live stream from the HDBW4433R-ZS hits the processor harder than any other operation I've done on it. My CPU usage goes to 60% instantly when I open up the stream in a browser. Video bitrate is 4100Kbps. Screenshot is of me closing the feed.

cpuusage.png
 

looney2ns

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Excellent. Just ordered three of the 2231 from EmpireTech. About to start looking for a PC to run Blue Iris or similar. Not trying to hijack my own thread but if you guys have any recommendations, PM me. I'm willing to spend up to $500 on the PC and drives (including OS). Thanks for all the input thus far. My personal PC is an I7-2640 with 8 gigs of ram. Watching a live stream from the HDBW4433R-ZS hits the processor harder than any other operation I've done on it. My CPU usage goes to 60% instantly when I open up the stream in a browser. Video bitrate is 4100Kbps. Screenshot is of me closing the feed.

View attachment 45250
All answered in the wiki at top of page.
 
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Thanks for the feedback. I definitely understand now that it is really dependent on the specific application. I picked up three IPC-HDW2231R-ZS from empiretechAndy, they are very impressive for low light. I do wish they had audio, I'm about to order something that has similar specs but with audio - I'm waiting on a recommendation from etAndy. My house is in an open field, surrounded by forest and more fields. There isn't any ambient light near me except for my house. I found that running the IR lights on the exterior cameras caused more issues, especially with bugs, than they solved. I mounted all my cameras away from other light sources and for the outdoor units I am just running dusk to dawn accent/flood lighting which is enough for the cameras to operate well. The floods get bright when they sense movement and seem to be more than sufficient. I do have one application where I would really like to be able to identify vehicles at around 200-250m. I'm assuming i would need a fixed zoom camera. I asked etAndy about this as well but am open to suggestions here.

I ordered a refurb HP 590-p0033w from ebay for $200 and then proceeded to spend another $200 on 16gb RAM and 512mb SSD. Really eager to get it all set up. I believe if I can store motion footage on local storage and all footage on a HDD on the dedicated PC I'll have all my bases covered and will feel like I'm as good as I can get (other than cloud storage but I'm on DSL in the sticks at 13mb down, 1mb up).

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the eyeball camera I ordered. What specifically would the IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS be good for?
 

aristobrat

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The 5231 is the varifocal turret model that has a microphone:
Review-Dahua Starlight IPC-HDW5231R-ZE 800 meter capable ePOE

If you don't need varifocal, there is a 4231 turret that's around the same price of the 2231. Just make sure you size the lens right when buying it since you can't change that (easily, anyway) after purchase.

If you got your IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS from Amazon, can't you return it within 30 days? I ended up moving my non-Starlight camera (like your IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS) to the inside of my garage. The IR illuminates well enough at night. I like it for when I have the garage door open on the weekends but am in a part of the yard where I can't keep an eye on it directly.
 

mat200

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I was really excited by the Dahua "product selector" on their website, ..

I ordered a IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS from amazon yesterday just to play with, without the logo since it was the only one I could get in my hands before the weekend. It had great reviews and didn't have the "cannot update firmware" warning so I figured it was a cam that Dahua had sold to a third party that didn't bother to re-brand or re-flash firmware. Any help is appreciated.
Hi @FlippityFlippinFlip

1) I would return the IPC-HDBW4433R-ZS camera, it has a very small sensor and the low light image will not be as good as other cameras. It is also a Chinese market camera, and may have been hacked to support English. ( typical for many vendors is to sell Chinese market cameras to US customers which has had the firmware modified to support English )

Remember, if you search for the model number and you do not see a Dahua international nor Dahua USA url returned in the first page you maybe looking at a Chinese market camera ( see the various threads here on potential issues - if you are aware of the issues and wanting to still get a Chinese market camera - that's ok, just remember plan more DIY work to support it as well as determine how you plan to protect it from cyberattacks. )

2) Which Dahua website did you go to?
 
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Thanks guys! I returned the 4433 as you recommended and picked up three more of the 2231R-ZS. Still have two to put up but so far so good.

I'm loving blue iris. The interface is taking a lot longer to figure out than I would expect but there are at least half a dozen things I'm absolutely loving about it. Having all my motion settings in one spot is super handy and ability to store video in multiple locations is really nice as well. I like the flexibility of displaying the active cameras as well. I need to look and see but I was wondering if I could somehow get it to do a soft transition between the cameras unless motion is detected, in which it would do a hard transition. I like having one stream on the screen at a time but I find it extremely distracting when the screen goes from mostly dark to very bright instantly in my peripheral vision.

I do find it frustrating and a little depressing what I have learned about security cameras in general. I didn't realize how, in many circumstances, they are useless for accurately identifying individuals. I have two locations where my cameras are mounted so high that a perfect image the distance to the ground is already on the edge of being useful for identifying someone. Or that is what I think I figured out the other day playing with the tool that was posted earlier in this thread, someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

I still need to get my video streams optimized and I need to go through the cameras and disable all the unused/unnecessary stuff.

How are you guys accessing BI from a PC remotely? From what I'm reading I should be using a VPN. Also, are you guys buying the app on the app store for mobile viewing?

Lastly, does anything look obviously wrong with these video settings?

upload_2019-8-26_7-52-29.png

As a side note, I just switched to 24/7 recording. I had some kind of medical episode in my garage over the weekend. I think I just stood up too fast but ended up passing out and then repeatedly banging my head on the cement. The camera caught me sitting up, disoriented, but I missed the head banging. Never again! (will I miss the head banging)
 
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I changed that setting but when I go to BI and open the camera statistics window, the bitrates are all over the place. One camera is around 5KB, another is 50kb but jumps around a good bit. Is this normal or am I missing a setting somewhere? The stream/substream settings are identical across the four cameras although I haven't looked at any of the BI settings.

[edit] I tried changing the main stream to CBR just as a test, and the bitrate skyrocketed, as it should. I'm guessing that the bitrate is very low because of the compression since basically nothing is changing. Most everything within the camera frame is fixed (no trees or bushes, etc.) The only thing would be shadows from the clouds.
 
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Thanks for the input so far. I had 5 cameras all streaming at around 15kb and using over 40% utilization. I changed to H.264H and my bitrate went to 900kb/s. That put my utilization at over 60%. I followed the Blue Iris Optimizing thread and now, recording 24/7 with motion enabled, I am sitting at 14-20% utilization on the i3-8100 while also running remote desktop. I upgraded PC to 16gigs RAM and crazy fast SSD. Incredible considering how low end that processor is in the scheme of things. If I start trying to play back older video while everything is still recording, it does get a bit laggy. I imagine if I were to upgrade the processor it would improve that lag.

Main thing for me, though, is that it doesn't put off a lot of heat. I can't imagine the 8gen i3 at less than 20% utilization is even the biggest heat source in my network cabinet. Long story short, I'm happy with my PC, cameras, and software at this point. Thanks!

[edit] I picked up a UPS, 900VA, I'm still deciding whether or not to just put the PC on there or also include the POE switch that powers the cameras.
 

looney2ns

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Viewing via remote desktop is most likely causing the lag..
You can reduce the console frame rate when viewing via rdp, this can help.
Or
Use UI3 instead, it's built into BI.
See help file for both.

POE switch definitely should also be on a UPS, either with the PC or on it's own.
 
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Food for thought.....I also plug all of my internet components into an ups.... That way if someone tries to break in an kills the power I can watch in real time remotely while the cops are enroute
 
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I went from 265 to 264H and turned smart codec off. I'm basically using 10x more storage than I was using with 265 and smart codec ON. Is 264H 10x better?

I tried swapping back to H265 with smart codec ON so I could compare some video but now I'm having an issue with the cameras indicating "No Signal" in BI. I even deleted all my cameras and re-added them. I'm still getting "no signal" on 1 or 2 cameras at any given time.
 
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