Review: Dahua DH-IPC-MFW7442K1-Z4-T40 - Dual Sensor (4MP + 4MP) Bullet Camera

Wildcat_1

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Hope all of you are doing well !

Intro

Its time to do another review and this time (as you may have seen in my Coming Soon video), we have 2 of them. Both of these cams are from the same MFW-7x42K1 family and feature dual sensors. I have the 7442 (4MP) and 7842 (8MP) versions of these cams both in the Z4 variant (8mm to 32mm) focal range. Due to some HW issues I’ve seen with the 7842, I wanted to kick off with the 7442 while I look to resolve those issues with Dahua. Thanks as always to Andy (@EMPIRETECANDY) for providing this unit in exchange for a fair, honest, unbiased, no holds barred review. I’ll attempt to answer any and all comments as always BUT please keep those to the main topic of this thread.​
There will be a lot to cover as usual BUT in this case we get to double it for the dual sensor + double it for 2 cams :) The 7842 will be kept in a separate review for easier reference. Let jump in to this new Dual Sensor 7442-Z4 camera.​
Post 2 - Pics & Videos, Post 3 - Special Features / Functions / Tips & Tricks, Post 4 - Bug List (new), Post 5 - Wrap Up​

The Camera

Once again the model numbers are not getting any shorter and in this case many of you that have been around here a while will remember the previous reviews on the older HFW7442’s. Those cameras were (and still are) one of my favorites for the picture quality they afforded and their approach to AI processing which was pretty good for the time, albeit as I mentioned then, the AI processing for ANPR was hit and miss based on algorithms and needed to be dialed in carefully for consistent success (which I helped many on this board with). The other thing I never liked about the old 7442’s was the proprietary base / junction box.​
So are these new MFW7x42’s offer the same functionality as the older units ? Well Dahua has certainly attempted to build this new range in attempts to not only carry the same features as the HFW 7x42’s BUT also improve on them and have tried to push the range further utilizing dual sensors and updating the body. For AI there is now also a dedicated on board GPU to assist speed and accuracy so that will be interesting to see as I put these through their paces.​
One critical thing to remember when considering dual sensor cameras is that that means they capture across 2 channels which in turn means this requires 2 channels on your NVR or platform of choice. In the case of these new MFS 7x42’s this gives you channel 1 as a vari focal sensor (8mm to 32mm) and channel 2 as a wide fixed 3.6mm sensor. The use case for this setup would be that your channel 2 covers the wider shot and more of an overview of the install location while channel 1 can be zoomed in for a tighter FOV to ensure you capture required details for ID. In the product intro video below you’ll see I do a visual comparison against the monster 8442-Z47 as it has a similar appearance BUT don’t get confused, the MFW 7x42’s do NOT feature any form of PTZ capabilities.​
Sticking with the topic of dual sensors be aware that these models come with a T20 (2MP 2nd channel) for 7842 or T40 (4MP 2nd channel) for 7442. Therefore something to note when you are ordering these and again as always I do NOT advocate for chasing megapixels. I’ll be interested to see how the 8MP performs too but in the case of this review here, we get 2 x 4MP sensors (channel 1 having a 1/1.7” and channel 2 having a 1/2.7”) to see how they perform and hold up to the AI tasks thrown at them.​
Lastly, we gain a host of audio improvements with a dual mic array + a mix of IR + warm light options for on-camera illumination.​

Other MFW-7x42 Options

The cameras I am testing are the Z4, 8mm to 32mm versions BUT there are……….wait for it…………… Z7 variants (that I may test at a later time) that offer 8-56mm. At the focal length offered by the Z7’s + dual sensor + AI processing with dedicated GPU, those could be replacements for the trust 5231/5241-Z12’s for LPR. More on those at a later time​

Shipping FW Version
  • 2021-09-30 (VOLT based)
  • After the day 0 bugs I filed, I am now testing 2022-04-15
Mounting Options

The mount options for the MFW7x42K1 are:
  • PFA150-SG (Pole Mount Bracket)
  • PFA162-SG (Housing Bracket)
  • PFB605W-SG (Wall Mount Bracket)
  • PFB603C-SG (Ceiling Mount Bracket)
** Please note that while Dahua does not document that the PFB605W-SG will work with regular PFA junction boxes, I’ve tested (shown in the video) that you CAN use the PFA-121 BUT you must use M4-12mm with slightly wider heads on them **
The PFB605W-SG also features 360° horizontal adjustment + tilt angle head.


Web GUI

This features a Web GUI that allows for separate control of either channels both for configuration, profiles and to some extent (will go into more of this in the deeper review) rule type. With that said however, this is not the new 5.0 Web GUI however AND does not feature Schedule by Smart Plan type that other new cams such as 5x42 or Color4K feature.​

——
Onto the specs

This is part of the Dahua Wizmind range and in this case not only gets object filtering (Human and/or Vehicle) as well as Face Detection, Video Metadata (Human, Motor Vehicle, Non-Motor Vehicle) which you would use for ANPR equivalent + in camera Face Recognition. Please note there is no SMD here.​
Also of note are the NEW dual microphones to assist with audio pickup + a hi-fi speaker improvement + Dahua’s new noise reduction algorithm​


Camera Details

Image Sensors - 1/1.7” 4MP CMOS + 1/2.7” 4MP CMOS​
Effective Pixels - 2688(H) x 1520(V), 4 Megapixels​
Electronic Shutter Speed - 1/3s~1/100,000s​
Minimum Illumination
Color: 0.001Lux@F1.6​
B/W: 0.0001Lux@F1.6​
Illuminator Distance - Up to 100m (328 ft) IR or 60m (196 ft) Warm Light​
Illumination Options
IR On/Off Control - Auto/Manual/ZoomPrio​
Warm light Mode - Auto/Manual/ZoomPrio​
Smart Illumination Mode - Combines IR + Warm and allows brightness control only​

Illuminators
Channel 1 - 4 IR + Warm LED’s (Allowing for light combinations)​
Channel 2 - 2 Warm LED’s​

Lens Information

Focal Length
Channel 1 = 8mm~32mm​
Channel 2 = 3.6mm​
Max. Aperture
Channel 1 - F1.6 (constant)​
Channel 2 - F1.0 (constant)​
Field of View
Channel 1
H: 43° ~ 15°​
V: 23° ~ 8°​
D: 95°​
Channel 2
H: 81°​
V: 43°​
D: 95°​
Close Focus Distance
Channel 1 - Wide = 1m (3.28ft), Tele = 1.5m (4.92ft)​
Channel 2 - 2m (6.56ft)​

DORI Distance

Channel 1- 8-32mm Vari Focal
Wide
Detect - 160m (524.93ft)​
Observe - 64m (209.97ft)​
Recognize - 32m (104.99ft)​
Identify - 16m (52.49ft)​
Tele
Detect - 406.9m (1334.97ft)​
Observe - 162.7m (533.79ft)​
Recognize - 81.4m (267.06ft)​
Identify - 40.7m (133.53ft)​
Channel 2 - 3.6mm Fixed
Wide
Detect - 80m (262.47ft)​
Observe - 32m (104.99ft)​
Recognize - 16m (52.49ft)​
Identify - 8m (26.25ft)​

Audio Information

Dual Built In Microphones​
Hi-Fi Speaker​
 

Wildcat_1

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Post #2 - Pics & Videos

2.1 Product Intro Video For You


2.2 The PFB605W-SG Mounting Arm - Installation + Design Problems
I've reported this to Dahua to fix ASAP

2.3 Daytime Test Video, Comparisons + ANPR


2.4 Nighttime Test Video, Comparisons + ANPR

 
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Post #3 - Special Features / Functions / Tips & Tricks
 

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Post #4 - Bug / Issues List
 
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Post #5 - Wrap Up

Hopefully you’ve all enjoyed the review to this point. I continue to add different elements and tests and as I know people love the comparisons. I also intend to do more of these (in their own right) going forward. Time for me to now post my summary and wrap up this review.

After spending over 80 hours of testing this Dahua MFW-7442K1-Z4-T40 camera (and the 7842, more about this one later) and putting it through its paces, I now feel I truly understand its pro’s and con’s well. This cameral definitely has a lot of strengths BUT unfortunately some weaknesses that in my testing leaves it struggling to find its own identity. Lets explore this some more.

Any camera with dual sensor generally has most people thinking about how they can a) consolidate multiple cameras in an area and b) start to envision how they can use both sensors together for the better of a captured output or target acquisition. In many cases this is indeed what a dual sensor camera gives you. Ttake a look at this cameras bigger brother (8442 - reviewed HERE - Worlds First Review - Dahua IPC-HFW8442-Z4-D47-LI - Dual Sensor Micro PTZ Bullet ) OR some of the panoramic cameras such as the Dahua IPC-PFW83242-A180 or PTZ Panoramic’s such as PSDW82442M-A270-D440. Those cameras aim to give you a primary sensor with generally higher quality and then dual or multiple lenses (can be same as primary) which can be used in conjunction with the primary. An example of this is the Spotter / Overview example I share all the time in PTZ activation / multi cam setups where you use 1 camera to keep an eye on an area, generally wider view and then call a PTZ to a specific preset at the point that the 1st camera identifies a target. This is an incredibly effective way to utilize cameras in any deployment, small, large, commercial, global and I advocate and configure these dual, quad, multi-cam configs all the time.


Does This Camera Fulfill The Expectations of Dual Sensor Cameras ?

So, now you have the background, how does this camera fulfill those needs, well in a couple of words, it doesn’t, not 100% anyway. Why is that the case you ask, well, here are the problems holding it back:

  1. 2nd sensor is an older (and cheaper as admitted by Dahua) 1/2.7” 4MP (on 7442) and 1/2.7” 2MP (on 7842) and doesn’t produce great quality unless you give it a lot of light for night operations
  2. The 2nd sensor is NOT IR sensitive (no IR cut filter) and therefore cannot benefit at night in B&W when IR light is on scene
  3. IVS does NOT allow you to trigger off of sensor 2 EXCEPT for just Motion Detection. Yes I kid you not, there are no IVS event rules for sensor 2
  4. Both sensors are seen as independent in operation therefore you cannot use sensor 2 to ‘spot’ for sensor 1 in camera

Lets jump into point 4 a little deeper. While not a PTZ that can be called to a preset, there is a missed opportunity here. For example, as I’ve shared before, AI cameras rely on the camera detecting a Vehicle before it will process the FOV for a plate, this often times leads to missed captures. Why, well to capture a good plate (and especially for ALPR/ANPR) you need a tight, clear shot that relies on a faster exposure (not uncommon to set 1/1000 or 1/2000 depending on install and target). While this is fine for daytime, at night this of course can make your caps very dark (as expected) and while you can capture a plate for LPR/NPR (manual review of footage), AI caps can be difficult. A dual sensor cam COULD assist these IF the algorithms were such that as a slower exposure, full color (or B&W) 2nd sensor ‘detected’ a vehicle that it passed that info in real-time to the primary sensor that would then automatically start processing for a plate. The ending result would be Color image of vehicle, B&W image of Plate, processed in time for ANPR to kick in with bi-directional metadata on vehicle type, color plate being fused from both sensors into the final capture. That is NOT an option in current deployments using this camera due to its design and implementation. This is a huge missed opportunity.


What About That Primary Sensor ?

Jumping back to the primary sensor now, its nice and sharp, minimal noise and what is there can be mitigated easily. There are some bugs around IR washout when IR is the only source and some areas of tuning needed (like the 5842 I had Dahua complete) that are needed to be fixed here but overall the primary sensor is a solid one. Processing of multiple events in FOV and / or special functions such as ANPR (though video metadata) works well and can keep up with multiple vehicles within quick succession. This latter processing speed is assisted by the onboard GPUI. While bright, the primary sensor still needs light but utilizes it well. As you’ll note from the ANPR section of the videos I posted, even at 1/500 you get a good looking image and one that can lead to an ANPR capture. For ANPR however, as mentioned in my video, I would still recommend the Z7 variant (7442 not 7842) to give you more flexibility for plate and vehicle captures.


Pro's, Con's & Dealbreakers

Pro’s


  • Solid build quality
  • Sharp, bright primary lens
  • Good selection of IVS rule types that the camera recognizes and processes well
  • Camera is snappy to respond in the UI, would have been nice to have seen menu v3.0 being employed on this range though (original 7x42 has it)
  • ANPR capabilities
  • Ability to have a wide + zoom cap of the same area which as I showed can be useful for color details (where light is available) as a wide area and then have the zoom lens dialed in to a choke point or critical cap area
  • Benefit of dialing in each sensor separately both in picture, config, schedules etc is a huge plus

Cons but not dealbreakers

  • No SMD which while not a target for this range in Dahua’s portfolio, at this point should be included on any camera that has standard Motion Detection. In my opinion the higher portfolio ranges (which WizMind is part of) should include all features of the lower range as an option or at least the key technologies such as SMD in this case. I will be recommending to Dahua that they consider this
  • With dedicated GPU’s now being used, expectation for them to be utilized more in rule types and in consistent/accurate processing, this is not there yet and as I mentioned above is a missed opportunity
  • No ability to pair the lenses for coverage duty as I mentioned above RE: ANPR processing
  • Lack of IVS for 2nd sensor

Dealbreakers

  • The mount as I showed in the video does NOT work well and is an important part of any install especially since the arm is needed for any installation involving pole OR junction box mount. This needs to be corrected and quickly
  • The 2nd sensor is cheap as admitted by Dahua and is NOT a 4MP sensor I would recommend. Unfortunately it appears as if this sensor was almost an after thought. If this had the tried and true 1/1.8” on the secondary it would be fantastic and perform a LOT better
  • No IR cut filter on 2nd sensor is absolutely a bad choice in my opinion. While I understand that Dahua was envisioning this lens as full time color, the sensor is just not up to that task without compromises as I showed. Now, if you have enough external light on scene OR don’t mind running on-board illuminators through the night then this may not be a dealbreaker for you but I do think this was another missed opportunity

Summary

While the primary lens is great, decent build quality, camera very capable in taking on the tasks of multiple rule types and scenarios, it really is the 2nd lens that makes this hard to recommend. The mount I’m sure will be fixed and I’ve already had conversations with Dahua on ways to do this BUT that 2nd lens is what really lets this camera down for me. I know the 8442 is its bigger brother, will see an update this year and again has kick ass primary and secondary sensors, thats not a reason to keep a decent secondary sensor from its smaller brother, this camera. With that said, it could be Dahua had to use this specific 2nd sensor due to availability OR that they are using it as a way to differentiate between this and the more expensive model line. If it’s the former then that is understood, if it’s the latter then of course that is not a great way to do this.

Due to the above it really makes this one a hard one to justify the cost. While $500 is certainly half of what the 8442 (new version) will cost it is still a fair amount for a camera that doesn’t (currently) live up to its potential. If this camera had the 1/1.7” (or 1/1.8”) as primary AND secondary (with IR cut filter), this would be a no brainer to recommend and could truly, in 90% of applications replace the tasks completed by 2 separate cameras. However with no IR-cut filter, a noisy and not overly capable 2nd sensor and lack of IVS functionality I think its a hard sell.

This is one of those cams that is a real shame to see the vision that professionals and end users have for a cam like this are not in line with the design decisions made by the manufacturer. This product range has a lot of promise, I’ve always mentioned I’ve loved the 7x42’s (apart from the mounts) and if this was a single sensor unit, price was a little lower then again it would be easy to recommend but not in it’s current state.

I am sending a number of recommendations back to Dahua in hopes that the next model of this great line of cameras really does live up to its promise and that both sensors get treated equally in terms of importance to overall design and performance



So who is this camera for and what camera use cases show here benefit other choices by users ?

Thought adding some additional commentary here may help those looking for recommendations. BTW the reason I don't mention the 49225XA is that while I still highly recommend the older version I reviewed, the newer versions with lack of Auto Track should be avoided.

  1. This Camera
    Someone looking to replace 2 cams with 1, can make a 3.6mm fixed, no IR 2nd sensor work and therefore has enough light on location OR is willing to have illuminators on full at their location, does NOT need IVS and are ok with approx 70% AI ANPR (average accuracy across day and night combined) as an end result

  2. Other Cameras for ANPR / Vehicle Based Targets + Overall Coverage
    Those that are looking for highly accurate, consistent ANPR then look at the LPR-237 traffic camera (I reviewed HERE - Worlds First Review - Dahua DH-IPC-HDW5842T-ZE-S2 / IPC-T5842T-ZE - 8MP / 4K Vari-Focal Turret) + add a 5442/5842 for the wider shot with flexibility of IR or Color depending on your location

  3. True Overview/Spotter Setup
    For this type of user / deployment then consider using a 5842 (reviewed HERE - Worlds First Review - Dahua DH-IPC-HDW5842T-ZE-S2 / IPC-T5842T-ZE - 8MP / 4K Vari-Focal Turret and HERE - Review: Dahua DH-IPC-HFW5842E-ZE-S2 - 8MP / 4K Vari-Focal Bullet Cam in bullet cam form factors) for your wide shot and look to add in the very capable 5A425 PTZ (reviewed HERE - Review: Dahua SD5A425XA-HNR 4MP 25x Starlight IR PTZ)

  4. Camera Based AI ANPR / Video Metadata (Human recognition) + True Plate Algorithm Based ANPR + Face Recognition - Triple Threat Setup
    For the user with these needs that rely a LOT on recognition, your best best would be a combination of the original 7x42 (ZE reviewed HERE - Review - Dahua IPC-HFW7442H-Z 4MP Ultra AI Varifocal Bullet Camera - and compared in this review, Z4), a 5842 (bullet or turret) or Color4K-X (if you have light on scene and can accommodate fixed focal length, reviewed HERE) + LPR-237. With the 7x42 in the mix you could swap the 5842/Color4K-X out with a PTZ such as the 5A425.

  5. Cheaper Option For ANPR & Face Recognition Off Camera
    Pair your choice of camera from above or add in others such as 5241-Z12 with an AI NVR (5216 I/L) or NVR platform (Blue Iris, Milestone etc) with ANPR & Face Recognition plugins and you have another option. If using the Dahua AI NVR you can set channels for AI By Recorder (instead of by camera unless your camera supports the AI feature you want and you prefer to do it that way)

Lastly, What About The 7842 ?

As I mentioned early on, the 7842 I received has a number of problems including IR not working, warm LED lights staying on when disabled in menu etc. I reached out to Dahua on these as well to have them check other units. In the meantime, as this may be limited to the 7842 unit I have, I intend to take apart this camera and look to see if there are board related issues. If this is the case of a mis-soldered connect etc I will fix and then review, if not then I will see if Dahua or Andy wants to send a new unit to review or maybe move to the Z7 for testing. Will keep you updated



That’s it for now
If you’re still reading to this point then THANK YOU and I hope you enjoyed this review. As always, let me know with any questions or other things you would like to see in the future.
Take care all and for those that have been patiently waiting for DM responses, I haven’t forgotten about you and will speak to you soon
See you in the threads and on the next one

Wildcat_1
 
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Wildcat_1

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Thanks @Wildcat_1 i already send the bracket video to dahua, let's see how they can fix up this.
Thanks Andy. With me sending this and you also chasing Dahua, my hope is that we can get this fixed ASAP. While the physical mounting part (bottom of cam to plate on arm) can be adjusted to use the middle hole and overlap the mount as I show in the video, the biggest issue is the cable length to wire bundle connector is not long enough to go through the cabling channel in the PFB605W and allow you to turn or tilt the camera. Any movement will pull the cables out of the wiring channel and exposes them to the elements. This wall mount is also used when connecting to the PFA150 so it really does cause problems regardless of how an individual wants to mount at their installation location.
 

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@Wildcat_1 Thanks for you effort with this! Your new YouTube reviews look really professional and should be used by Dahua instead of their own :)
As somebody who also creates and edits videos I can appreciate how time consuming this is so thank you.
Thanks so much @cyberwolf_uk for the kind words, much appreciated ! Yes I do put a lot into these and am happy to do so, hope that people in turn get a lot / learn a lot from them. I keep getting asked about making them public and I may do in time if people think these are useful to a wider audience as well. Primary reason I produce these today is this forum :) I'll be adding more content and polish to the videos as I continue to evolve the reviews, unboxing, tutorials etc in efforts to make them even more valuable where I can.

If there is anything anyone wants to see I'll try and incorporate as I continue to produce these.
Thanks again
 

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All, quick update, I started the day time capture today for this one and will be bringing the footage from multiple cams into the editor so I can start getting the daytime video ready
 
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What applications would this camera serve? I can think of 1 right off the bat. For me! My birdhouse camera is currently a 5442 fixed 6mm focal. I am planning on taking my 5442-Z4 (8-32mm) down from up high on 2nd floor roof and put it also into the birdhouse (or make new birdhouse to contain 2 cameras) so that I could have zoomed up facial ID and wide area viewing. But it seems this combo camera would do the trick.
 

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What applications would this camera serve? I can think of 1 right off the bat. For me! My birdhouse camera is currently a 5442 fixed 6mm focal. I am planning on taking my 5442-Z4 (8-32mm) down from up high on 2nd floor roof and put it also into the birdhouse (or make new birdhouse to contain 2 cameras) so that I could have zoomed up facial ID and wide area viewing. But it seems this combo camera would do the trick.
Well @Holbs this camera attempts to be the overwatch / spotter + detail cam in 1 where you have an established wide angle fixed view of the location + the ability to dial in your config of channel 1 (vari focal) to a specific area (albeit only Zoom, no Pan or Tilt). Therefore entrances, driveways, parking lots, specific areas inside a building etc could benefit from this (as could bird houses ;) ). ANPR/LPR using the wide to get an overview of a vehicle on scene while the vari-focal captures plates etc is going to be another key area that this camera potential shines. The ability to configure (even down to schedule, illuminator function, warning light, audio linkage etc) the sensors / channels separately also gives an enhanced degree of flexibility BUT there are some limitations in the way that this cam has been built and associated features implemented that I’ll discuss further as the review continues.
 

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Always 'interesting' to edit footage from recent cams due to Dahua making tweaks to the audio codec implementation that therefore doesn't conform to standard MP4 codec import (container is correct, audio codec causes issues). Adds to the turnaround time unfortunately due to having to disect and conform it so I can pull the final videos together. Note to self (or anyone else that doesn't want to run into issues exporting then playing back in certain players / editors etc), disable audio from camera ;)
 

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Quick update. Daytime video test almost finished edit (includes ANPR test), night time footage captured will be edited next.
 

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Is this camera able to have the overview lens set as color 24/7 while the zoom lens go from color to IR on a schedule?
I could use that for a overview of my driveway, in color 24/7, while zoomed onto my mailbox, or use as a LPR, in color & b&w.
 

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Is this camera able to have the overview lens set as color 24/7 while the zoom lens go from color to IR on a schedule?
I could use that for a overview of my driveway, in color 24/7, while zoomed onto my mailbox, or use as a LPR, in color & b&w.
Yes separate schedules by channel means you can have individual color vs B&W by channel
 

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All, as promised here is the daytime test video with comparisons. The video as always is timestamped for convenience. On the ANPR tests, the distance to target is 102ft for reference. Enjoy and be sure to select 1440p. Posting here for inline reference and will also post up in post #2 for ease in locating later.

 
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