This is Dahua’s latest mini-dome and it’s tiny and priced very competitively at $129.99. It uses a 3MP CMOS sensor but at the moment displays a maximum of 1080P at 30 fps. The camera delivers good image quality, good responsive interface in a well built compact dome without some of the issues I ran into in previous mini domes I’ve reviewed.
- 1/3” 3Megapixel progressive scan CMOS sensor
- H.264 & MJPEG dual-stream encoding
- 3.6mm fixed lens
- Viewing Angle 72.5°
- Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
- 2D Noise Reduction
- Back Light Compensation (BLC) and High Light Compensation (HLC)
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
- IR LED working distance 30m
- IP66 Rated Outdoor Dome
- Powered by PoE or 12V
- ONVIF Profile S
- Smartphone apps available
This is the dome version of the IPC-HFW2200s I reviewed in the summer and has many of the same traits. What I really like about this mini dome is that it’s very small and has a modern sleek look about it. It’s 1080P at 30 frames per second despite it’s 3MP sensor. It has many of the features you expect these days like Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), Backlight Compensation (BLC) and even Highlight Compensation (HLC).
This is a 2-axis dome, meaning you can pan & tilt the lens (manually, not a PTZ camera), but you can not rotate the lens. This means it should be mounted facing down on a level surface. It should not be mounted flush against a wall or on a tilted surface. You could surface mount it and you can tilt the lens up/down, but not pan side to side which may be useful say centered above an entrance door.
The same config tool that Dahua has been using for a long time is what is used to initially find the camera and change the IP address that is compatible with your network. The default address is 192.168.1.108 and in my case, I changed it to 192.168.0.108 to work with my network.
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. If you have a previous model Dahua, all will seem familiar.
To go to the configuration screens, click the Setup tab on top. One of things you may want to check is the Network tab to make sure your networks settings were setup correctly by the ConfigTool.
The next one in the same menu category is Connection, this is where you can see what port numbers the camera uses and change them if you like. These are the ports you must port-forward on your router to access the camera from the internet. I recommend you leave these as-is, then use the port-mapping feature of your router to give each camera a unique set of ports to use from the internet.
To set the time and keep it in sync with a time server, use the System -> General menu option and the Date&Time setting. You can set the date & time format, set the daylight savings time if your area requires that and the NTP (time server) to use to synchronize the clock.
Under the Camera menu on the left, Conditions is where you find the camera image settings. This is probably where you will spend more time fiddling than elsewhere.
Resolution and frame rate are chosen in the Camera Video screen. This camera will do up to 30fps in 1080P mode but can be set down to 704 x 480 with a few choices in between.
Moving to the right across the tabs, the Overlay is where you put the time and name overlay funtions as well as privacy masking if you chose.
If you want the camera to record on motion, there’s a few things you have to set. First is under Event, Video Detect. You have to enable this feature by checking the box, Then click on Setup next to Area to define the motion detect area. This is different that previous Dahua cameras I’ve tested. You can draw in the motion detect area, play with the sensitivity and threshold settings and see the results in the moving graph. I purposely cranked up sensitivity so you can see what happens. The red in the graph shows that motion has been triggered with the settings.
If you want the camera to FTP event videos, go to the Storage, Destination screen, select the FTP tab and check Motion Detect.
Another area you need to change is to make the schedule record on Motion. Make sure it’s yellow like this.
Now onto the images, how well does this camera perform. I mounted the camera at two places, one at the front of my garage, under the eave, and in my backyard because they represent different lighting situations. This camera has the 3.6mm lens which is fairly wide and covered most of front of my home.
As with my other reviews, click on the images below to see the full size image, straight from the camera.
This is a daytime shot in my driveway. The detail, color, contrast is pretty good. I do like the 3.6mm lens as a 2.8mm used in some cameras is a little too wide and has more barrel distortion and for some, a 4mm may be too narrow.
Turning on the Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) feature reduces the contrast significantly that lets you see more in to the shadows but makes the image look dull. Sort of a trade off between having a pretty picture and having one with more detail in shadows, for example, getting facial features when someone’s face is partially obscured by the shadow created by the brim of a hat.
This is in my backyard which has a more contrasty scene
At night, the image quality is pretty good, in this case with WDR turned off, exposure at AUTO.
In my backyard where is very dark, no other light source. The image is using default settings and appears dark. An external illuminator can help brighten up areas further away.
Turning on WDR and tweaking some setting, you can make the image brighter at the expensive of a little more noise. It’s all about experimenting to see what works best in each situation.
One thing to note is the IR LED’s are recessed nicely and the seal is very good between them and the lens making this one of the better dome cameras in terms of controlling IR light bleed that plagues other domes in this price range.
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 current sale price for this camera is $129.99 at Wrightwood Surveillance and is a good deal for a camera with these features.
The pluses for this camera are;
- Good value for the money
- 1080P at 30fps
- IR illuminators without IR light bleed issues found in cameras in this price range
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
- Smartphone apps – everyone wants to access their cameras from smartphones these days
The shortcomings for this cameras are;
- Average low light performance in very dark scenes
- 2-axis adjustments limits cameras placement in some areas