This is another bargain brought to us by Costco.com, the Swann 1080P IR Bullets, at press time, $349 for two of them. Originally designed to work as part of their NVR package, I took a look at it as a standalone camera. This camera is manufactured by Hikvision and is OEM’ed to various companies, Swann and Lorax included. Hikvision is selling the camera as the DS-2CD2032 with the added bonus that it’s capable of not only 1080P, but also 3MP mode. At this time, Costco.com seems to switching to the Lorax branded version of this camera.
- 1/3” 2.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- H.264 dual-stream encoding
- Max of 30fps @ 1080P (1920 x 1080)
- 4mm fixed lens (75 degree viewing angle)
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
- IR LED advertised working distance 35m
- IP66 Rated Outdoor Bullet
- Powered by PoE
- Smartphone apps available
Overall, this is an impressive camera with very good image quality, good low light performance, well-organized menus and very, very small. The IR illuminators are bright and have good coverage. The lens, while it says it’s 4mm actually feels wider because it’s view.
This is what the web interface looks like when you first log in. There’s options to take a snapshot, manually record, chose a stream and more.
Here’s some of the setup screens. First thing to do on any network camera is set a fixed IP address, this is done here BUT, as a word of warning, the camera comes setup with a fixed IP of 18.104.22.168. There’s no easy way to change it. I downloaded iVMS-4000 from Hikvision and this had an option to find the cameras and change the IP but I had to manually change the IP on my laptop to the 192.0.0 subnet for it to work. I think Swann or Hikvision can make it easier on us and provide a simple IP camera finder app.
The next thing is to set the time. I use times.windows.com with port 123. Then go to the DST tab to set your daylight savings time days.
The reason you want the time set correctly is because these cameras have the coolest On Screen Display (OSD). It looks at the contrast for each letter and makes it black or white depending on the background. You can see that the date/time is black when over the concrete and white over the grass. This happens automatically.
The image setup screen is where you fine tune the image, select WDR and noise reduction settings. Probably one of the most configurable camera in this price range.
Now onto the images. I mounted this in the usual spot, under the eave of my garage. As before, you can click on the image to see the full size, 1080P image straight from the camera. Also as before, I set the max exposure time to 1/30th.
This is a day shot, color balance is quite good and it’s just a nice sharp clear image. This is taken in the late afternoon, the harsh sun shining towards the camera. With WDR set moderately low, you can see the tire tread in the shadow of the car. With WDR off, this would just be black. This is actually one of the better WDR implementations I’ve seen at any price.
Here’s a b&w image at night. Good contrast, small amount of noise, good IR coverage.
Since there’s streetlights I have no control over, I also mounted the camera in my backyard which is only lit by the moon. As you can see, the scene is well lit by the built in IR illuminator, noise is slightly increased.
Some of you use BlueIris software, good low cost general purpose NVR software, now with IOS and Android smartphone apps, and a streaming server so you can embed live streaming video from your cameras on a web page.
There’s some quirks you have to look out for. First, select Hikvision RTSP as a camera choice. I was able to get smooth video after making some tweaks. On the camera, I increased the CBR max bitrate to 5120, I set the key frames to 30 both in BlueIris and on the cameras, I set BlueIris to 29 fps, and set the received buffer to 10MB and I was able to get smooth video as you’ll see from the videos.
I uploaded day and night videos to YouTube. To see them at the full 1080P resolution, you must click on the gear icon and select 1080P resolution and then click on the icon with 4 corners to see the video full screen. The video was extracted from BlueIris and represents several events pieced into one extract I did.
Some of you may be trying to compare this to the similar looking Dahua cameras, IPC-HFW2100 sold as Q-See 720 IR Bullet currently at Costco for $299 for a 2-pack that I previously reviewed HERE. The cameras look nearly identical. There’s the obvious difference that the Dahua is 720P and this is 1080P. To me, side by side, the image quality both day and night is superior on the Swann. The color balance, the WDR, the noise reduction is better handled on the Swann. Also, while Dahua will not provide factory support in the U.S., Hikvision will provide factory support on their branded cameras and of course, if you buy the Swann or Lorex versions, they will support you directly. For example, a lot of the software Hikvision provides is readily available along with documentation on their website, www.hikvision.com. Also, they have a U.S. headquarters just outside of Los Angeles, CA. If you never heard of Hikvision it’s because they are fairly new to the U.S. market but they are the worlds largest manufacturer of security cameras. Swann, headquarterd in Australia also has offices in the U.S. and Lorex is headquartered in the U.S. in Indiana.
Some people have successfully loaded the Hikvision firmware for this camera allowing it to operate in 3MP mode. The NVR can not record past 1080P (2MP mode), so you would have to run NVR software like BlueIris to derive benefit from 3MP resolution.
The pluses for this camera are;
- 1080P at 30fps
- Bright IR illuminators
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
The shortcoming of the camera are;
- They need an easy to use IP camera finder
- Was not able to get the camera to FTP motion triggered video
Click here to go to the company web page for the camera