REVIEW: SD6AL445XA-HNR-IR 4MP 45x Starlight IR AI PTZ

bigredfish

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Many thanks once again to Andy @EMPIRETECANDY we have for testing the SD6AL445XA-HNR-IR 4MP 45x Starlight IR AI PTZ
This camera has been provided by Andy in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is a 3.95 mm–177.7 mm lens camera with the 1/2.8” sensor.

AliExpress Link & Specs: (Current price as of this posting is $849.96 US)
US $849.96 5% OFF|New Model SD6AL445XA HNR IR 4MP 45x Starlight IR PTZ AI Network Camera Support Hi PoE , free DHL shipping|Surveillance Cameras| - AliExpress
SD6AL445XA-HNR-IR_thumb.png

Key Features:
1/2.8" 4Megapixel CMOS
Powerful 45x optical zoom
Starlight technology
Max. 25/30 fps@1080P
Deep-learning-based auto tracking and perimeter protection
Support face detection
Support Hi-PoE
SMD
IP67





Camera
Image Sensor1/2.8" CMOS
Effective Pixels4MP
Max. Resolution2560 (H) × 1440 (V)
ROM4GB
RAM1GB
Electronic Shutter Speed1/1 s –1/30000 s
Scanning SystemProgressive
Min. IlluminationColor: 0.005Lux@F1.6
B/W: 0.0005Lux@F1.6
0Lux (IR light on)
IR Distance300 m (984.25 ft) For good light place in the night, if very poor light 120m.
IR On/Off ControlZoom Prio/Manual/SmartIR/Off
IR LEDs Number7
WiperSupport
Lens
Focal Length3.95 mm–177.7 mm (0.15"–7.00")
Max. ApertureF1.6–F4.9
Field of ViewH: 70.3°–1.8°; V: 37°–1°; D: 69.3°–2°
Optical Zoom45x
Focus ControlAuto/Semi-Auto/Manual
Close Focus Distance0.01 m–3 m (0.03 ft–9.84 ft)
Iris ControlAuto
DORI DistanceDetect 3554 m (11660.10 ft) / Observe 1421.6 m (4664.04 ft) / Recognize 710.8 m (2332.02 ft) / Identify 355.4 m (1166.01 ft)
PTZ
Pan/Tilt RangePan: 0°–360° endless
Tilt: –20°–+90°, auto flip 180°
Manual Control SpeedPan: 0.1°–200°/s
Tilt: 0.1° –120°/s
Preset SpeedPan: 240°/s; Tilt: 200°/s
Presets300
Tour8 (up to 32 presets per tour)
Pattern5
Scanning5
Power-off MemorySupport
Idle MotionPreset/Tour/Pattern/Scanning
ProtocolDH-SD
Pelco-P/D (auto recognition)
Artificial Intelligence
Video MetadataSupport detection of human bodies, motor vehicles and non-motor vehicles; support optimization; support taking snapshots; support uploading high-quality motor vehicle snapshots.
Perimeter ProtectionTripwire, intrusion, abandoned object and missing object. Support human and vehicle alarm classification, and linkage tracking.
Face DetectionSupport face detection; support optimization; support taking snapshots; support uploading high-quality face snapshots; support attributes extraction: 6 attributes and 8 expressions.
SMDSupport

Let me say that this is my first 'Big Boy" PTZ. Though my experience with smaller ones like the SD1A203T-GN and the SD29204UE-GN did help give me a basic understanding of the capabilities and limits. I still have a long way to go in exploring all of the features and fine tuning for various use cases.

Some Initial Impressions....

Image Quality
First impressions on image quality are that while it's 4MP and has good detail, especially during daytime, the nighttime performance reminded me a little more of the 5231/5241 series than the 5442 series if that helps you get a general idea. Of course like the 5231/5241 these also use the 1/2.8" sensor.
Still, I cant complain about the image. It produces crisp clean exceptional daytime video, and acceptable nighttime video with the right light, but its not a 1/1.8" sensor so plan on needing a good amount of white light if you are running it in color at night. Remember each scene is different and has different objectives and complexity. The values I use for my test may not reflect the reality of a different location/scene/use case. YMMV

IVS
IVS (Tripwire and Intrusion zones) work amazingly well out of the box.! The only rare occasion where Ive got a false alert is with motorcycles, which when you stop and think, DO have Humans on them so i guess that's not really a false alert ;) I've also had a couple of occasions where it saw a human in the back of a moving pickup truck and correctly identified a Human target. It has not yet identified any non vehicles as vehicles and this is all in a fairly busy scene with many hundreds of vehicle events and many dozens of human events per day. So far IVS has been extremely accurate.

SMD PLUS
I havent had a chance to really wring this out yet, but just preliminary testing shows that while it appears to be highly accurate during the day, it suffers as does most MD at night under low light conditions and/or fast exposure rates. More detailed testing of SMD PLUS in Post #3 later this week

Deep Learning AI
Again I have a long way to go on testing the various AI capabilities, but initial impression is that for IVS it does seem to get better at tracking the more it does it. I'll go deeper into AI functions and testing in Post #4 later, but so far I'm impressed!

IR
IR was a pleasant surprise having dealt with various "Smart IR" issues like Hotpots and the like from other cameras. The IR on the SD6AL445XA performs as you would hope/expect it to. Subjects were not washed out, and the IR adjusts quite well as the subject gets closer or further from the camera. On manual setting, you adjust Near and Far IR lED's with a combined total value of 100, so for example I'm currently using Near 60 and Far 40 for my practical installation below. 5 stars so far with my experience with the IR

PFA - Predictive Focus Algorithim
In theory per the specs PFA+ "ensures the accuracy and predictability of the direction of subject distance adjustment." In reality I'm still undecided about its benefits and affect. I need to do more A/B testing with it and will post later in this thread.


Browser/SmartPSS/DMSS Compatibility
I find it likes standard IE as a browser best, but have not had any real trouble with Firefox or Pale moon . SmartPSS is a handy way to both view Live video as well as download footage or snapshots and the SD6AL445XA plays nice with it. The DMSS app seems to also behave as it should, though I've not and wont be tackling the whole push notification with attachments issue in this review as that is a function more of the app itself.

Installation
So for my location (the entrance to our cul-de-sac street) I had an existing pole to hang it on at about 14ft with other cameras already mounted. I used an existing cable and replaced what was a dedicated fixed LPR camera facing the exit with the PTZ. Just 10 ft away I have a NEMA box with a 4208-8P-4KS2 NVR and an Asus router along with the cable company modem. As the PTZ takes a lot more juice than the NVR can output, I used a Dahua PFT1200 60 watt High PoE midspan to power it, also in the now cramped NEMA box. The Camera came packaged with the PFB303W wall mount bracket which fit my needs perfectly


Image3.jpg
PTZ-1.jpg
 
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bigredfish

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Practical Use Case
So I wanted the camera to be useful and have a practical application, not just a toy to play with. So I chose the entrance to our street and an existing pole owned by the HOA (being Pres of the HOA has its advantages ;) We live on a small 1400ft long street with 41 homes and a single entrance/exit which makes things convenient.

The goal was for the camera to have 3 tasks:
1
- During the Day- watch for and track people entering/leaving the neighborhood.
2- During the Day - double as an LPR cam for cars exiting the neighborhood. (we have 2 other LPR cameras, so this is a redundnt LPR cam just in case I missed a plate inbound or at the culdesac)
3- During Nighttime - LPR duty on Exiting vehicles

*A 4th task would be to have the camera do the same as in the daytime and watch for/track humans at night. But as anyone who has done LPR knows, you're just not going to be able to do both LPR and wide area human tracking with the same camera and settings at night. So for now, that's the trade off. I may eventually decide to swap role #3 and 4 and dedicate it back to human patrol at night, but I would lose that LPR redundancy at night... decisions decisions...

Lets get to some video shall we...
(Remember to change the Youtube player to 1440 for all videos)

Task #1 - watch for Humans and track them at the entrance to the neighborhood any direction. This is done via IVS Tripwire and Human object filter. Goal is to get facial ID where possible, but at minimum enough detail to ID a person and where they're heading. If into the neighborhood, other cameras will pick up their journey up where the PTZ leaves off.

IVS-lines.jpg Daysettings.jpg IVS-Human.jpg

  • The Tripwire is drawn as a zig zag line left to right roughly following and extending well past the crosswalk and the sidewalks on either side of the street. Distance to far corner of crosswalk is approx 80ft. This is Preset #1
  • Target Tracking Size is set to 35
  • Exposure- Customized Range 0-8.33, Gain 50, Iris 10-50, Exp Comp 50, DNR 35, Bitrate 8192 CBR, No backlight



Notice in this next video, the camera tracks the person approx 350-400 ft across the busy road



And these next two clips I think demonstrate just how accurate the AI Object detection is.
IVS set for Human only and it spots..... a human! and tracks it.




Task #2- Double as an LPR camera for vehicles Exiting the neighborhood during the Day.
This makes use of a "Spotter" camera to tell the PTZ to zoom to a tight spot at the entrance and wait there for 60 seconds to capture a license plate. The Spotter is a 6mm fixed lens 5442 bullet that looks down the street into the neighborhood from its position on the same pole as the PTZ cam.
An IVS tripwire watches for Vehicles only, traveling towards the entrance, using the object filter. When it senses a vehicle moving that direction it sends a command via the NVR to tell the PTZ to zoom in to the plate capture area (Preset#2 on the PTZ)

The magic happens at the NVR

-On the NVR go to AI
-Then choose "Parameters" and IVS and go to the spotter camera IVS rule
-Go down to "PTZ Activation" and in the popup choose the PTZ on the left list (cam 1 for me) and enter the number on the right of the PTZ Preset you want it to go to when the IVS rule is tripped (Preset 2)
spotter1.jpg spotter2.jpg spotter3.jpg


Finally, once it goes to the preset based on the spotter cam IVS rule, you have to setup a Time Task on the PTZ to tell it to go back to its original "Home" preset.
So the Time task in my case says:
Once called away from your Home Preset (by the spotter cam) return to "Home" after 60 seconds. (Home being Preset 1). I've also set that time task to be just during daylight hours as I have another task for it at night.
PTZTimeTask1.jpg PTZTimeTask2.jpg


So lets see what this all looks like on video......

Car leaving neighborhood is picked up by IVS rule on Spotter camera
Clipboard01.jpg


Which then tells the PTZ to zoom to the entrance to capture the license plate
HOA Ent_IP PTZ Camera_main_20201026121551_@3.jpg




Task #3- LPR at Nighttime
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, its simply not possible to have a camera do nighttime LPR duty as well as capture large area overview. So I decided to use the PTZ as a dedicated/redundant LPR camera at night to capture vehicles leaving the neighborhood, on the off chance I missed their plate when the entered.

For this job, like my other dedicated LPR cameras, I use the trusted method of having the camera change from Day to Night profiles approx 30 minutes before sunset while it can still find something to focus on. It has been rock solid never losing focus. IVS tracking rules are turned off for nighttime and the camera operates as a fixed single purpose LPR cam.
It does EXTREMELY well as a dedicated LPR camera, though at $850 a bit of overkill perhaps ;)

Night LPR Settings below - 1/1000 exposure
Nightsettings.jpg


HOA Entr_IP PTZ Camera_main_20201113223103_@3.jpg HOA Entr_IP PTZ Camera_main_20201107010111_@3.jpg HOA Entr_IP PTZ Camera_main_20201106031812_@3.jpg


Then i discovered just how well it was seeing plates! At just 1/1000 it's catching reliably good plates from vehicles traveling 45-50mph, at about a 45 degree angle on the 4 lane road that intersects our street

HOA Entr_IP PTZ Camera_main_20201115213557_@3.jpg
 
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bigredfish

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Here's some additional situational video examples.


Vehicle Tracking
Camera is very responsive and can easily track vehicles without getting distracted or losing the target (Except when palm trees get in the way)


Multiple Targets
Camera stays with original target and doesn't get distracted by other objects passing within FOV while tracking.
This is actually pretty impressive!


Nighttime/Low Light Tracking
This is where the 1/2.8" sensor shows itself and thus my comparison to the 5231/5241 series (which remember just 2 years ago was King of affordable nighttime low light cameras). There is a streetlight at the corner and a fair amount of light, but I was unable to run any faster shutter than 1/60 in color due to excessive noise and/or dark image. Not bad though, and with the light I have here its acceptable. But the 5442 series 1/1.8" sensor puts it to shame in low light, of course that comes at a price as the 1/1.8" version of this camera is almost twice the $$$
 
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bigredfish

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Exploring other Features and Capabilities

Ok so lets be honest, the coolest feature of the PTZ is the built-in Windsheild Wiper.
(no its not rain sensor automated, you have to manually tell it to turn on)




....More to come here.....
 
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tech101

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Are these the units with the Laser IR. I always wanted to test / see results with that. Also looking forward for your results with this. Thank you !!!

Update never mind I see LED IR listed.
 

tech101

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No this has regular LED IR
45x zoom with this will be still an nice test with AI Deep learning Track.. Can you also see if the Ratio can be adjusted in this for tracking. I do have currently one of the 1 1.8 PTZ with AI Track but on that firmware I cannot set target ratio ..

I think I find that feature nice on latest firmware give some more granual control over things as I am learning :D Thank you always bigredfish for all you do. Looking forward for this review :D
 

bigredfish

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45x zoom with this will be still an nice test with AI Deep learning Track.. Can you also see if the Ratio can be adjusted in this for tracking. I do have currently one of the 1 1.8 PTZ with AI Track but on that firmware I cannot set target ratio ..

I think I find that feature nice on latest firmware give some more granual control over things as I am learning :D Thank you always bigredfish for all you do. Looking forward for this review :D

Are you referring to Target Tracking Size? If so yes, it has that and I've found at the distance and FOV Im covering, 35 or so seems to be about right. too high and you lose targets as it zooms in too much
IVS-Human.jpg

Example video too high Target Tracking Size value



Here's a good explanation by member @Wildcat_1 about Target Tracking Size and its importance

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.?
Review - Dahua SD49225XA-HNR 2MP 25x Starlight + IR PTZ AI Camera with Deep IVS & SMD Plus
 
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tech101

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Are you referring to Target Tracking Size? If so yes, it has that and I've found at the distance and FOV Im covering, 35 or so seems to be about right. too high and you lose targets as it zooms in too much
View attachment 75185

Example video too high Target Tracking Size value



Here's a good explanation by member @Wildcat_1 about Target Tracking Size and its importance

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.?
Review - Dahua SD49225XA-HNR 2MP 25x Starlight + IR PTZ AI Camera with Deep IVS & SMD Plus
I see you are using tripwire. I usually use Intrusion I am gonna setup some tripwires and see if I get better results this is so helpful. Thank you!


Update - On one of my AI camera I do not have a way to setup ratio.. Any other way can you think of to do this ?

1605654612627.png
 
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bigredfish

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I see you are using tripwire. I usually use Intrusion I am gonna setup some tripwires and see if I get better results this is so helpful. Thank you!


Update - On one of my AI camera I do not have a way to setup ratio.. Any other way can you think of to do this ?

View attachment 75208

No other way I'm aware of. What model camera is that? Its only a feature of PTZ's...
 

tech101

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bigredfish

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Can you add a video of the 1.8 sensor for comparison?

I dont have a 1/18" PTZ, but here is the 5442 VF bullet on the same poll covering the same intersection... running /120 exposure
(remember to change the YT player to 1440)

 

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Do you have PFA enabled ( Predictive Focus Algorithm ) as it seams to struggle to keep focus I always turn this OFF even though Dahua states it helps.
 

bigredfish

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On some clips I do and others I dont. Havent had the time to really play with it as much as Id like. In daytime its ok, at night it seems to try and refocus way to much..
 
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