Review: Dahua SD5A425XA-HNR 4MP 25x Starlight IR PTZ

Wildcat_1

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All, as I mentioned in my 59232 review, I had purchased some other PTZ’s and would be reviewing. Glad to say that the SD5A425XA-HNR showed up today and looking forward to putting through its paces. This is one that on paper looks to be a great day and nighttime contender to the 49225 and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can pull out of this camera.

Again, this PTZ was purchased by me directly but I will always give a shout out to Andy as I cannot say enough good things about his service, response and commitment to all of us here.

Therefore I will use Andy’s link for those interested in purchasing as well. Unfortunately Andy is out of stock of these right now but I will re-populate with the link as soon as he has more in stock

I hope all of you and your families are staying safe, sane and well !

——
REVIEW

This is part of the new Dahua Wizsense range so features object filtering (Human, Vehicle, Non-Vehicle) and SMD Plus as well.
Supported AI modes include:
  • Deep IVS
  • Face Detection
  • Video Structuralization
Box Contents
  • SD5A425XA-HNR Camera
  • PFB-305W Wall mount bracket
  • Brick anchors for mounting wall bracket directly
  • Manuals
As usual I will be covering configuration, AI setup for critical capture, tips and tricks on how to best utilize and obviously a rundown of image quality in day/night capture scenarios. Initial vids and pics in post 2, AI feature breakdown and testing in post 3, tips and tricks on how to make these features work and other settings / menu functions in post 4 and a summary of findings / recommendations in post 5.

If anyone has any questions as I go just leave a comment.

Camera Details

Actual Max Bitrate (from cam not data sheet) - 20,480​
Image Sensor - 1/1.8” STARVIS™ CMOS​
Effective Pixels - 2560(H) x 1440(V), 4 Megapixels​
ROM: 4GB​
RAM: 1GB​
Electronic Shutter Speed - 1/3s~1/30,000s​
Minimum Illumination
Color: 0.001Lux@F1.6​
B/W: 0.0001Lux@F1.6​
0Lux (IR on)​
IR Distance - Up to 150m (492.13 ft)​
IR On/Off Control - Zoom Prio/Manual/SmartIR​
IR LEDs - 4​


Lens Information

Focal Length - 5.8mm~145mm​
Max. Aperture - F1.6~ F4.0​
Angle of View
H: 59.8° ~ 2.8°​
V: 33.7° ~ 1.9°​
D: 63.3° ~ 4°​
Optical Zoom - 25x​
Close Focus Distance - 0.1m - 2m (0.33ft to 6.5ft)​

DORI Distance
Detect - 1724m(5656.16ft)​
Observe - 689m(2260.50ft)​
Recognize - 344m(1128.61ft)​
Identify - 172m(564.30ft)​


Some Pictures Now - Ordered roughly in size order, included weights too)

Comparison weights and dimensions

SD49225XA-HNR - Net Weight 6.6lb - 6.3" x 11.61"
SD59232XA-HNR - Net Weight 8.6lb - 7.32" x 12.17"
SD5A425XA-HNR - Net Weight 10.3lb - 7.48" x 13.07"

1) 49225 on the left, 59232 in the middle and the new slightly larger (tapers more on the neck) 5a425 on the right​
49225 on left, 59232 in middle and 5A425 on right.jpg
2) 59232 on left vs 5A425 on right​
59232 on left vs 5A425 on right.jpg
3) Close up of new lens housing on the 5A425, notice the shinier plastic here, not the usual matte look on other housings scubas as 49225 or 59232 etc​
5A425 Lens Housing.jpg
4) PFB-305W Bracket Included​
PFB-205W Bracket.jpg
 
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Wildcat_1

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Post 2 - Video's

2.1 Daytime Video 1


Here is the first daytime video (be sure to choose 1080p HD). I tweaked the config for the FOV to ensure continued tracking through multiple time windows and for detail balance within the scene. Great tracking on this cam when dialed in even through foreground and background object interference. Be sure to check out my other video (should be uploaded soon) where I go into Tracking Target Size and the importance of this when dialing in your PTZ.

More video's to come including the all important night performance. Let me know with any questions



2.2 Night Time Video

All, as promised here is the all important night video. I’ve purposefully sectioned this video into 3. I uploaded in native format so make sure you select 1440P HD

Section 1 - Non tweaked / non optimized night video from old (shipping) firmware​
Section 2 - New firmware, tweaked and optimized to show what is possible​
Section 3 - Push the camera to limits by introducing noise and tweaking to show whats possible in difficult / touch night time installations.​

For reference here, this camera uses the same firmware as the 49225 therefore the shipping firmware is 2019-11-21 (shown in section 1) and upgraded to 2020-03-31 in Section 2 & 3

Overall, very impressed with how this sensor handles noise (easily mitigated) and the performance (once FW upgraded) of night captures when you dial in as previously mentioned. This camera does VERY well for a 4MP sensor at night even in tough scenarios (see section 3 of the video). Have seen some great performance from this even when I push it exceptionally hard.

Take a look and as always let me know with any questions

 
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Wildcat_1

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Post 3 - AI Features

3.1 - Daytime Video 2 - Tracking Target Size Feature


I mentioned the importance of this feature and how it works in my 49225 thread HERE
BUT I wanted to take a moment to show how this can have positive and negative impacts on your captures and how to use in a target zone and FOV. Therefore please take a look at this 2nd video today that shows different tracking target sizes and their impact along with best practices.

As a reminder, here is my write up on the feature:

Target Tracking Size is defined as a portion / percentage of your final scene or FOV. The scene is bound by criteria above including object filtering, max target size etc etc. The Tracking Target size relates to how the PTZ adjusts itself in motion or tracking while ensuring it keeps the defined target within its FOV. You could also state it that its a percentage of the FOV that it will look to intelligently fill with the target WHERE POSSIBLE. This plays a large role (and is a huge underrated / mis-understood benefit) with AI PTZ’s by ensuring they more accurately track and keep a target on screen through the tracking time window while honoring your requirements for target size to be met before tracking engages. You have to be careful here though, too tight and you will lose a target, too loose and you won’t get enough detail and run the risk of another ‘object / potential target’ distracting the PTZ.

 
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Wildcat_1

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Final Thoughts After Long Term Use

All

I’ve held off posting my conclusion to this review as I wanted to put this cam through its paces over a longer period of time.
So after using this camera for the past few months, here are my final thoughts:


Pro’s
  • The 4MP, 1/1.8” and optic pairing of this camera are spot on but do represent us getting very close to the limit of this pairing *
  • As a PTZ this camera works very well which includes its all important ability to track an object BUT you do have to dial this in and that starts with install location which this camera requires a little more thought on based on new design **
  • IR layout is different on the 5A425 and needs to be understood by users. Why ? Well in this new design the IR LED’s have moved to the slightly more angular sensor panel a little further below the lensand sit on top of each other (like the 4 on a dice, see pics below). This particular layout means it produces a more conical, focused IR beam. While this may sound like a good thing (and its certainly not bad), it can mean that the falloff of IR happens quicker than you would expect horizontally therefore needs tweaking in your config. This is in contrast to the 49225 for example that has it's 4 LED’s in more of a V shape (again see pics below)
  • Nightime capture is very good but definitely needs to be dialed in per item 3 above. This means you need to adjust Iris a little more to achieve the balanced scene that is critical. Again not a dealbreaker but must be understood and if you follow some of the tips I included in the video’s this will help you achieve that
  • Image noise is kept to a minimum and is easily mitigated as its a crawl not a pulse
  • Camera movement sound OR more accurately, what sound ? Unless you throw this 180 or 360 on super fast this thing is amazingly quiet, even more so than the 49225 and certainly night and day difference to the SD6C’s, SD59xxx and other cams. I kid you not, the 49225 sounds like a quiet R2D2 BUT the 5A425 is EXTREMELY quiet

Con’s But Not Dealbreakers

  • Build quality definitely exudes a cheaper feeling on the lens housing of the 5A425 starting with the shiny plastic housing I mentioned from day 1. I’m not a lover of this choice of plastic but again, this is becoming the norm unless you step up to the Pro & Ultra series of PTZ’s
  • IR LED layout could be more optimal to ensure more balanced IR spread

Other Notes

* As mentioned in Pro’s, the optics and sensor pairing is great for this 4MP but approaches the limits for what I would want to see implemented into this setup. In other words 8MP and beyond using the pairing should not be considered equal until testing of those units has taken place. Per my post HERE there’s a lot that has to be factored into this critical pairing for it to perform and is much more involved than just adding more MP’s​
** PTZ’s must be installed at the right height (higher than regular cams for optimal use) and this gets even more imperative as PTZ design changes. That is true for this model. For example, the 49225 has its IR panel closer together within the lens housing therefore more flat, face on, whereas the 5A425 has its IR separated, a little lower than the lens housing (which is curved) and are angled slightly further down (more of a diagonal) which requires you to take into account mounting height more. This is important especially with regards to vertical height and overall distance to target zone. Not a dealbreaker because this should be part of any site survey you conduct for personal or business use but again is a critical component to any install. Worth pointing out this design is becoming more popular so just make sure you note this or reach out and I’ll help where I can​

Pics of 5A425 vs 49225 IR Layout

I’ve grabbed the 5A425 & 49225 pics and overlaid the IR positions for point of reference below. In the case of the 5A425 the slightly larger LED’s are for Far Light and smaller are for Near Light


SD5A425XA-HNR Sensor View.jpg DH-SD49225XA-HNR Sensor View.jpg



Summary

Overall, after purchasing and using multiple units of this camera, I would recommend it but just understand (similarly to all PTZ’s) that you need to take time to install and configure this correctly. Just remember to plan your install and configure / dial in to get the most out of a PTZ while taking into account changes in the design as I mention here. Therefore this unit joins my current favorites.

HTH




Current Favorite Cam List For Those Interested
A little extra as I close this post.
As I get asked this all the time, my current favorites list and those I recommend based on their per class performance and use case are, in no particular order:

49225 - Coming with 2MP, an absolute powerhouse for the price, certainly a rare gem in this category of PTZ’s
5A425 - Continues on the great sensor to optic and MP pairing for the 4MP line providing a great image

5442 - A well rounded and very flexible series of cams that has the pairing of MP to sensor and optics almost perfect
  • Bullet IPC-HFW5442E-ZHE
  • Fixed IPC-HDW5442TM-ASE
  • Varifocal - IPC-HDW5442T-ZE
7442 (ANPR Models) - These really are amazing models and 1 of my all time favorites for vari bullet cams due to feature and performance. A Z12 variant in this model would be an amazing addition and would increase the flexibility even further
  • IPC-HFW7442H-Z
  • IPC-HFW7442H-Z4

5231/5241 - Due to advances in the other models above, my 2 current favorites in this model are based on their performance for reliable long range LPR (not ANPR of course, for that, 7442) therefore the Z12's only.
  • IPC-HFW5231E-Z12E
  • IPC-HFW5241E-Z12E
 
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Wildcat_1

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Not a huge problem mounting these if you’re careful. The 4K I reviewed was closer to 19lbs. Use the correct mounting brackets and things like SPAX lag screws etc (wood mounting in many cases hence reco for these) or masonry anchors etc and you are good to go


10lbs! We'll need mounting pics!
 

entreri

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Not a huge problem mounting these if you’re careful. The 4K I reviewed was closer to 19lbs. Use the correct mounting brackets and things like SPAX lag screws etc (wood mounting in many cases hence reco for these) or masonry anchors etc and you are good to go
So no issue on top of vinyl siding using on of these plates for example?
I'm looking for a solution so watch 260 degrees of a corner of my house and contemplating PTZ vs 2 bullets. Definitely no 10lbs under my soffit and placement of that PTZ seems complex
 

Wildcat_1

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Vinyl is certainly more of a challenge when adding weight for sure but depending on what you can brace against, wood etc behind or if you have other mounting options

So no issue on top of vinyl siding using on of these plates for example?
I'm looking for a solution so watch 260 degrees of a corner of my house and contemplating PTZ vs 2 bullets. Definitely no 10lbs under my soffit and placement of that PTZ seems complex
 

Wildcat_1

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All, first daytime video is up in 2.1 above. Another video coming today showing you a feature I get asked about assisting with all the time, Target Tracking Size. Should be uploaded soon
 

Wildcat_1

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As promised, 2nd video of the day just uploaded (with a friction spelling mistake, will correct later :)). This one is in post 3.1 showing Tracking Target Size, how it works and why it's so important to dial this in correctly for your install location and FOV. Enjoy and hope this helps !
 

FlipNJ

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I am the poster boy for "Underestimating" how important target tracking size is. Even by just 5% screwed things up very bad. I simply never thought to adjust that and test until it is right. I know now!
 
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