This is one of Dahua’s latest PTZ cameras with IR LEDs and 30X optical zoom. If you have lower zoom needs, the same camera is available with a 12X zoom as the SD59212S-HN. What makes this camera unique from other PTZ as well as other IR PTZ’s from Dahua or Hikvision is that it can tilt up 15 degrees above the horizon. If you have ever owned a PTZ, you know what I mean, very annoying when you can’t see past the horizon. If you compare this to prior IR PTZ’s from Dahua, this one is considerably smaller. What also makes this PTZ unique is the more affordable price.
- 30x optical zoom (12X on SD59212S-HN)
- H.264 &MJPEG dual-stream encoding
- 30fps@1080P & 60fps@720P resolution
- DWDR, Day/Night (IR Cut Filter), Ultra DNR, Auto iris, Auto focus
- Max 400°/s pan speed, 360° endless pan rotation
- Up to 300presets, 5 auto scan, 8 tour, 5 pattern
- Alarm inputs (2), output (1)
- Intelligent 3D positioning
- Micro SD card slot (card not included)
- IR Distance up to 100m
What comes in the box is the camera, a wall mount, a collar to attach the camera to the mount and a 24V power supply (not PoE).
Dahua has become a PTZ leader in the industry with a large assortment of megapixel PTZ cameras. What makes them unique compared to past PTZ cameras I’ve reviewed like the ACTi, Axis and Panasonic PTZ is the built in IR LEDs. Most cameras I’ve worked with will claim 20m, 30m IR working range, but that’s misleading as you don’t know how they tested that, meaning was that lighting up a person at 30m or a reflective surface at 30m and what are the exposure settings. I’ve always used the rule of thumb of assuming half the manufacturers rating, including Dahua cameras. But here’s the exception. This camera has IR LED’s rated at 100m and I can tell you, that it lit up an area at 30x zoom 100m away without a problem.
There’s two LED’s and the way the IR LED’s work is clever. They have one that’s very narrow, maybe 10 degrees wide that can light 100m away and one that is wide that maybe good for 30-40m away. It automatically adjusts the light output of each LED to coincide with the amount of zoom. You can also control them manually. For example, this is a shot at about 20x zoom at night in auto mode. If the IR was off, the house at the end would be very dark, but you can see the light on face of the house. You can click on the images to see the full size from the camera.
But say I want more light, you can set the IR LEDs to give more power to the long distance LED. You can see the additional power of the LED on the more distant objects in the image below.
Another cool feature is the HLC mode that lets you read license plates. There’s a compromise when you want to be able to read license plates at night in that the correct exposure for plates is not the same as the correct exposure for the overall scene above. But you can read a license plate, in this case about 100m away without a problem with HLC turned on. Ideal if you see a suspicious car, you can quickly turn on HLC mode, zoom into the plate, take a snapshot and turn the camera back to normal mode to capture the event in progress.
Went out of my normal order, but here’s what the interface looks like starting with what you see when you first log in. There’s options to take a snapshot, manually record, chose a stream and more. If you have a previous model Dahua, all will seem familiar. What’s different is the PTZ controls and menu on the right side.
You can use the arrow keys to pan and tilt the lens and the + or – to zoom. I set the speed at 1 because at the default 5, it’s too dificult to control. To make it real easy to control, click on the button in the center of the arrows with the spyglass icon. This will turn yellow when selected. In this mode, you can draw a box around an object and it will pan/tilt/zoom to that object. If you just click on the screen, it centers the image at the point of your click. Clicking on an arrow or the center button turns the mode off.
Click on the Setup tab to configure the camera. It places a menu of options on the left. The top one is Camera and it has 3 sub-menus. The first is Conditions where you set the image settings. Below you can see there’s a sub-menu in the center with different choices, in this case, I clicked on Exposure that allows you to change settings to the shutter settings, WDR, BLC, HLC and such.
The Picture sub-menu is where you can set image color and brightness settings.
The last one I want to show you is NR. You can fine tune noise reductions settings for 2D and 3D noise reduction. For the sake of this review, I left the settings at their default which worked well.
The next menu is Video where you set the resolution and compression settings for the main and sub streams
The overlay tab in Video allows you to set what is displayed as an overlay on the image. It can display camera temperature, time, name and various other items, even one 5 line display. You can move the location of the text by moving the yellow box to where you want it. There’s no control over font or color.
In the network tab, under TCP/IP, you can set the IP address and such. To change ports, click on Connection.
The next category on the left is PTZ and the Function submenu is where you set PTZ parameters. During testing, I was asked about privacy masking to avoid seeing something that may be considered private. You can draw a privacy mask anywhere the camera can see. In this case, I drew a box around the house across the street from me. When I PTZ, the mask stays with that house. If I pan away, I don’t see the mask, pan back and the mask is there over the house. It works the way I would expect it to.
One key thing with PTZ cameras is ability to set presets. With this feature you can quickly go to a preset location with the zoom you want without having to mess with clicking arrows and + & – buttons. To use it, you pan/tilt/zoom to the location you want to save, click Add, give it a name if you like and click the Save button. On the Live view tab, to go to a preset, select preset from the PTZ Function drop down, enter the preset number and click Go To and the camera will rapidly go to that preset.
Another use for presets is a tour. A tour is patrol that automatically cycles through each preset. You click Add to add a Tour, give it a name, then add the presets to it and how long a duration to stay at each preset. You select which Tour from the Live view tab similarly to Presets and click Start or Stop to control the tour.
One quick hint is many of these parameters, presets and tours can be set or started/stopped using URL commands. It’s possible to write a script that turns tours on/off certain times of day. Also, some cameras can send URL commands like Axis or ACTi on motion detect. You can have a very wide angle, or even a hemispheric/fish-eye camera send commands to this PTZ and have it go to a specific preset if motion is detected in parts of the image. Very cool use of a PTZ without the need to use tours which can wear out parts in the camera if overused.
The next menu item, Peripheral has only one sub-menu, IR Light. Here’s where you can chose automatic or manual. In manual as shown below, you can determine the percentage of brightness from each of the two LED’s. The settings have to sum up to 100 or less, in other words, it won’t let you make both 100.
Under Storage, you can set where to have it record to. In my case, I used FTP to send motion detect events to an FTP server. Local is for the SD card but I was not able to find the SD card slot but it’s somewhere inside Dahua assured me.
In the FTP tab, I set my FTP parameters. When I configured the motion detect area in the Events tab, it started sending motion detect events to the FTP server. The video’s I’ve done here were from Milestone XProtect although I could have just as easily got them from the FTP server. Having the camera on a patrol creates constant motion so motion detection has no value if you use it with a Tour as it will record continuously.
In the System menu, General, Date&Time is where you setup the date/time and daylight savings time parameters. I used the default NTP server and set my time zone and that worked well.
The last menu item, Information has the firmware version. This is the firmware version I used. The firmware that came with the camera had a few bugs this version fixed, for example, not being able to set a motion detect area. On the downside, the update added a delay on going to presets. Like any firmware update, use at your own risk.
This is looking down my block zoomed out all the way, so 1X zoom. As with past reviews, you can click on the image to see the full resolution image. The house at the end of the block is just over 100m away. The image is nice and bright, colors are vibrant, very nice image sensor.
Zooming in about half way shows more detail as what’s going on at the end of the block, a truck on the right, a red car on the left.
Zooming in some more shows a worker getting stuff out of his truck, or is it his truck?
Panning to the left show more detail on the red car.
At night, the noise level is low, the image looks pretty good and with WDR turned on, you can see decent detail in the shadows.
A testament of how well a sensor performs at night is how well it does without the aid of IR illumination. This is a color image and you still get very good detail with low noise.
I uploaded day and night videos to YouTube. To see them at the full 108P 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 first one I did was a tour I setup and it’s for 3 different times of the day, a day tour, a dusk tour and a night tour. To see how much zoom 30X is, check out the toll road between houses at the end of the block, something that I’ve never noticed in 30 years of living here.
Then I used the PTZ in a common way, manually to follow a trash and mail truck working the street.
If you want an outdoor 1080 PTZ camera, there’s good choices out there. If you want one with built in IR LED’s, the choices narrow dramatically. This latest model from Dahua works really well, it’s fast, the image quality is excellent, the low light sensitivity is very good and the interface is clean and works well.
There are some minor flaws, including the hidden SD card slot and the manual controls for the camera can be twitchy at times, sometimes makes the camera move 2-3 degrees with a click, sometimes 20-30 degrees. I worked around that by using presets and the ability to draw a box around a suspect and quickly move to that location and zoom in as necessary.
The current street price for this camera is $899.99 at Wrightwood Surveillance and is a good deal for a PTZ camera with these features as the prior models cost about $1,500. If cost is an issue or you don’t need the 30x optical zoom, consider the 12X zoom version, the SD59212S-HN. Wrightwood Surveillance should be getting some of those in soon and I expect the price to be a few hundred less, but still have all the same features and functionality of the 30x zoom version.
The pluses for this camera are;
- Good value for the money relative to other brand’s PTZ offerings
- 1080P at 30fps or 720P at 60fps
- Very good IR illuminators that adjust automatically based on zoom amount
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
The shortcomings of this cameras are;
- Not vandal proof, a tradeoff of having external IR LED illuminators
- Twitchy manual PTZ controls
- Not PoE but Dahua includes the power supply
Click here to go to the company web page for the camera