Review: Dahua IPC-HDW5442TM-AS (Loryta IPC-T5442TM-AS) (4MP Starlight+)

bp2008

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Hello, everyone!

@EMPIRETECANDY reached out to me a few months ago, wanting to send me one of the new 4MP Starlight+ cameras to test and review, and I happily agreed. Thanks, Andy!

I asked for a wide angle IR turret, so this review features the 2.8mm lens version of the camera.

IPC-HDW5442TM-AS
4MP WDR IR Eyeball AI Network Camera


DH-IPC-HDW5442TM-AS.jpg Dimensions.png

Links

Dahua Product Link: IPC-HDW5442TM-AS
Amazon USA Link (2.8mm): Amazon USA Link (3.6mm): Aliexpress Link: US $158.31 6% OFF|2019 New Arriving IP Camera IPC T5442TM AS 4MP Starlight+ WDR IR Eyeball AI Network Camera , free DHL shipping-in Surveillance Cameras from Security & Protection on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

@looney2ns review of the 3.6mm version: Review-OEM 4mp AI Cam IPC-T5442TM-AS Starlight+
^^ Definitely check that out too, because @looney2ns is far more thorough than I am.

Review

This will be a bit of an unconventional review, because I'm an unconventional user and certainly not a professional reviewer. I will be focusing on low-light and night performance. Later, there will be a direct side-by-side comparison with the IPC-HFW4239T-ASE (2MP Full Color Starlight) to see which one comes out on top.

Test Setup

In preparation for capturing these clips, I turned off the IR on all other nearby cameras.

You should know, I configured the camera's encoding parameters like this:

EncodeSettings.PNG

Lets get straight to the video samples.




I see two obvious flaws here.

1) Close subjects are washed out

As noticed in @looney2ns earlier review, when left on automatic exposure settings, the camera struggles with washing out close subjects. This is partly because the firmware is lacking the common Smart IR feature (tested on firmware V2.680.0000000.5.R, Build Date: 2019-04-04).

Seeing this, I made a point of testing Smart IR on one of my older 2MP Starlight IPC-HDW5231R-Z cameras. See the difference for yourself:




2) Moving subjects in low light are blurred and low quality

3D NR.PNG

This is a 100% crop from the no-IR clip where I was walking. I am quite sure the image artifacts come from 3D Noise Reduction (3D NR), which works by blending multiple frames together so that random noise cancels itself out. Unfortunately, in low-contrast situations like this, the noise reduction algorithm has trouble telling what is noise and what is real, so you end up with that mess.

In an effort to improve the situation, I tried reducing the 3D NR setting from its default value of 50.

Even taking it down just one notch to 49, annoying artifacts appear at random, scattered across the video. This really isn't a great option. Great low light performance is as much a result of strong noise reduction as it is the result of a large, advanced sensor.


For giggles, these snapshots were taken with 3D NR disabled entirely. I won't be showing a video of this because YouTube's re-encoding process would only make it look worse. Check these out at their native resolution. shudder

Night Mode - IR OFF - 3DNR OFF.jpg

Color Mode - LAMP ON - 3DNR OFF.jpg


As a Weather Camera

I ran this as a weather camera for a couple of weeks, side-by-side with an IPC-HFW4239T-ASE (2MP Full Color Starlight), both configured to allow maximum exposure time (1/3 second) and gain to achieve brighter night images. Here are timelapse videos from each.

tip: use < and > keys to skip frame-by-frame





Conclusions

I decided this camera should be my new backyard overview. It is leaps and bounds better than the piece of junk ACTi E77 dome which used to occupy this spot.

ACTi E77:


Dahua IPC-HDW5442TM-AS



Overall, this is a pretty good camera, but I do not plan to buy any myself. At the time of this review, its price is $158.31-$175.59, and I remind you, that is for a fixed lens. The lack of Smart IR is also a negative mark against it.

If I am looking for the best low light performance, I'll buy a 2MP IPC-HDW2231R-ZS or IPC-HDW5231R-ZE instead, and probably save some money. If I am looking for higher resolution, I'll buy an 8MP IPC-HFW1831E, again saving money. And if I want the best weather cam for a dark area, I'll choose the 2MP IPC-HFW4239T-ASE (still saving $$). If Dahua manages to add Smart IR in a firmware update, then I think this camera will start to make more sense to me. Until then, I do not believe the difference between 2 MP and 4 MP is enough to justify the increased price and lack of Smart IR.
 
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IAmATeaf

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Thanks for the review, really enjoyed reading it.

I was planning on ordering 2 of these from Andy but at the moment it seems that sticking with my 5231-ze cams may be the best option but the urge to get something higher than 2Mp is strong, must resist
 

IAmATeaf

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I notice that your iframe is set to 30 and frame rate to 10, would this have any impact on night time videos?
 

bp2008

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I notice that your iframe is set to 30 and frame rate to 10, would this have any impact on night time videos?
Not a huge impact. Longer iframe intervals tend to just make the stream more efficient because iframes are bandwidth hogs.
 

IAmATeaf

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Didn’t Andy write somewhere that SmartIR was there but under a different name?
 

IAmATeaf

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Wonder why they’ve removed a very useful feature? Would this require a lot of extra hardware and therefore costs?

The view here is that it requires firmware update but I would have thought it be there as a selling feature from the start?

Edit: According to the spec sheet the cam does have support for SmartIR so maybe it is a case of waiting.
 
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mudflap5

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Quote,

"As a Weather Camera

I ran this as a weather camera for a couple of weeks, side-by-side with an IPC-HFW4239T-ASE (2MP Full Color Starlight), both configured to allow maximum exposure time (1/3 second) and gain to achieve brighter night images. Here are timelapse videos from each."

Sorry for the OT question, but can describe your time lapse setup and how you made the video?
Thanks.
 

bp2008

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Wonder why they’ve removed a very useful feature? Would this require a lot of extra hardware and therefore costs?
No, it should be cheap and simple as these things go!

"As a Weather Camera

I ran this as a weather camera for a couple of weeks, side-by-side with an IPC-HFW4239T-ASE (2MP Full Color Starlight), both configured to allow maximum exposure time (1/3 second) and gain to achieve brighter night images. Here are timelapse videos from each."

Sorry for the OT question, but can describe your time lapse setup and how you made the video?
Thanks.
Sure. I used Blue Iris to upload a snapshot every 10 minutes to my FTP server. Then later I batch-renamed them all to 00001.jpg, 00002.jpg, etc and fed them into ffmpeg to produce a video at 30 FPS using commands like those described here:
It does take a bit of tech wizardry and I do not have a good automated process for producing these :)
 

MikeyTech8

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Nice review. I too am interested in buying this camera as well and currently the only thing that is holding me from buying the camera is the SmartIR Feature not being available... I have (yesterday) contacted my good old friend @EMPIRETECANDY to see when will he and his engineer get the ship the next firmware with SmartIR and he replied "The Smart IR we are working on it, no worry. I think can be solved soon. Andy". Hopefully the SmartIR firmware gets shipped out soon so I can proceed to buying the cam :D.
 
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