This is a new camera from Hikvision for indoor use that looks very cool. The pictures don’t do it justice because this has a night light built in that’s a ring just under the camera that changes colors. It has IR LEDs that are recessed behind the smoked cover to give it sleek look. It’s full of features like PIR motion detector, built-in microphone and speaker, SD card slot to do in-camera recording and it’s WiFi or Ethernet (not PoE).
- 1/4” 1 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- H.264 dual-stream encoding
- 30fps @ 720P (1280 x 720)
- 4mm vari-focal lens
- Built-in Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot, up to 64 GB
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
- IR LED advertised working distance 10m
- Powered by USB adapter
- 3D DNR & DWDR & BLC
- Smartphone apps available
This is going to be a tough review because honestly, this is one of the worst products I’ve seen come from Hikvsion and not even on par with lower end competitors like Foscam. I find the light ring that’s a night light to be very annoying and changes colors as it boots up, but stays a steady green all night. If you want a night light/camera combo, this may be for you, if not, I could not find a way to turn it off.
Other annoyances are the feature that draws people to getting this camera. I’ve had several indoor pan/tilt cameras from Panasonic, Axis, Foscam so I’m familiar with the type of camera and benefits but this one disappoints in many ways and very frustrating to use. Here’s my top reasons why you may not want this camera;
- Panning is quite slow and not smooth. It takes pauses to catchup with itself once in a while. Most pan/tilts are much better than this at any price point
- I set pan tilt presets, works as expected. 10 minutes later I set another preset and it forgets the other ones I set. Setting multiple presets was impossible for me
- When the camera reboots, say after a power failure, most of the time for me, it ends up staring at the ceiling or the wall behind the camera, rarely where it was last
- The built in microphone is weak. I set my phone playing music 3′ away at a relatively loud volume. I can barely hear it in on my PC unless I crank the volume up on my PC and then there’s static
For the most part, I’m not a fan of indoor pan tilt (non-zoom) cameras. I’ve had a Panasonic for a long time, but rarely take advantage of that feature. I feel that you would be much better served by a fixed cube camera like the Hikvision ds-2cd2432f-iw with similar features but 3MP resolution. For example, if you are covering one room, you could put that in the corner, cover the entire room and with the additional resolution you would not have to pan tilt.
So who is an indoor pan tilt camera for? If you had a camera say in a hallway where you can maybe cover both sides of the hallway and also look into a room. if you have a practical reason for having an indoor pan tilt camera, let e know in the comments section ad I can review other solutions.
Now onto the meat of the review. 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 you can chose the aspect ratio which should be automatic, but it’s not, even with 5.23 firmware.
There’s a hidden PTZ menu that’s actually on all Hikvision camera, even ones without PTZ. If you click on what looks like a rubber stamp icon in the upper right of the image, it will open up this PTZ menu. Like with most Hikvision cameras, most of these buttons do not work. There’s only 4 that do, it’s the arrow up, down, left, right. Even the diagonal arrows do not work. On the bottom right of the image, there’s some buttons to help with pan, tilt and digital zooming. If you click the spyglass icon with the + sign in it, it will put you in zoom mode. You draw a square with your mouse, and when you let go, it digitally zooms in to that spot. Digital zooming is not real zooming, it’s more like magnifying the portion of the image. If you click on the magnifying glass with “3D” icon, it will put you in on-screen panning/tilting. You click on the part of the image you want to center and it will pan/tilt to that location.
To setup the camera for WiFi, you first should connect it to your router via an Ethernet cable. Yes it has WPS for automated syncing but could never get that to work. This camera is unusual for Hikvision in that the IP address defaults to DHCP vs. 18.104.22.168. You can find it using the included SADP program or use a smartphone app called Fing that I use to find new DHCP devices on my network to get the ip address of the camera. Once you connect, click the Configuration tab, and click Network on the left. It first shows you the LAN confirmation like this;
Click “Select NIC” and select WLAN for Wireless. Here you can specify a fixed IP address in your home network. Don’t use DHCP because each time you boot your router or camera it may give it a different address, not fun.
The next things is to setup your WiFi settings so it can connect to your router. Pick the SSID of your router and enter your password if you have one. If you don’t have a password, this may a good time to set that up as you don’t want just anyone connecting to your network now that you have indoor cameras in private places.
While in the Network section, you may want to setup Email. Since this has a PIR motion detector, it’s pretty accurate and not affected by lights and shadows. I use a camera with PIR motion detection as my home alarm since you can have it notify you of an intrusion.
A good alternative if you have an iPhone or tablet is to use their free iVMS4500 app. The reason is you can not only view the camera remotely, you can also use their push notification that alerts you on your smartphone if it detects motion. They have the same app for Android, but I’ve tried it on two different devices, a Google Nexus tablet and a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone and push notification did not work. Hopefully they will get that working in future releases.
If you go to Video/Audio, you can adjusts the microphone volume. Set it too low and you can barely hear anything, set it too high and you get static. I tried all the audio encoding options and didn’t find one that stood out.
The video settings are where you can set the resolution for the main and sub stream. 720P is the highest but you can set it low to 640×480 if you wish. The only reason you may want to set it lower is to minimize network usage and costs when viewing from your smart phone.
If you click on Image, it will take you to where you can change settings that affect the image like brightness, contrast, exposure, WDR, noise reduction;
If you’ve seen my other Hikvison reviews, you’ve seen this before, but wanted to show you a trick as sometimes you want to set different parameters for day vs. night. For example, I use WDR during the day, but may generate too much noise at night so I turn it off. If in the top drop down menu, you select “Scheduled Switch” instead of “Auto Switch”, it give you a place to enter start/end time. This is the time you want parameters to be different. It’s not related at all to the time the day/night filter takes effect. For example, if you get sun through a window that blinds the camera certain times of day, you can set different brightness settings during those hours. Below you can see there’s a new common/day/night tab. I selected Day and set WDR on.
Then I selected the Night tab and get new settings, in my case, I left WDR off by default.
If you want to do in-camera recording to the internal SD card (not included), you have to first insert the SD card at the base of the camera., then to format it. go to Advanced Configuration, Storage, Storage Management and click the Format button.
The screen will go dark during the format process, that’s normal.
The next step is to setup how you want to trigger recording. You can use video motion detection by going to “Basic Event”, selecting the Motion Detection tab, click on “Enable Motion Detection”, draw the area you want to use, set sensitivity higher than zero and check off Notify Surveillance Center and Trigger Channel and click Save.
To setup PIR motion detection, ignore what I just said and click on the “Other Alarm” tab. Check the box that says “Enable PIR Alarm” and click Save. It should already have the proper check boxes ticked.
There’s the “Smart Event” settings for line crossing and intrusion detection.
Once it starts recording, you can click on the Playback tab on top to review the recordings. The screen will look like this;
The red hash marks on the timeline show when a motion detect event has occurred. You can drag the timeline to find the event you are looking for, You can also take a screen snapshot, digitally zoom in and export video, The calendar is used to go to a specific date and time without a lot of scrolling of the timeline.
When you click on the export icon, it will list out all the recordings as files. You can select the ones relavent to your time period, click Download and the files will be put on your PC, typically the C:\Users\yourname\Web directory.
The last new thing I wanted to show you is EZVIZ. This is a way to view your camera from the cloud. To some this is easier than setting up port forwarding on your router or in some cases, may be the only way to view your camera remotely like in a shared router / common area situation where you can’t make router changes. You enable it here, then go to the EZVIZ website (http://www.ezviz7.com/) and setup an account and add your cameras.
Now onto the images. I put the camera in a bedroom. I figure the targeted use is as a baby or pet cam, so this would be the most like scenario. As before, you can click on the image to see the full size 1 megapixel image straight from the camera. Also as before, I set the max exposure time to 1/30th which is a good compromise between low light performance and movement. This is a daytime shot. The color accuracy is good, the image is sharp like other Hikvision cameras I’ve reviewed.
This is at night, The IR LEDs tend to light up only the center in what most call the flashlight effect. Don’t know why because with a 4mm lens, this is not that wide of an area to light up, especially considering the bright reflective colors of the room.
Here’s another night shot, leveraging the pan tilt capabilities to view a suspicious animal next to the bed. Even close up, even a bright white object is not overwhelmed by the IR LEDs.
I uploaded a video to YouTube. You must click on the gear icon and select 720P quality and then click on the icon with 4 corners to see the video full screen. The video was extracted from the SD card recording which works quite well.
For a Hikvision camera, the image has good clarity, but just underperforms as a pan tilt camera and is buggy. While I generally like most cameras I review, I would recommend this as a “Don’t Buy”.
The pluses for this camera are;
- Local SD card storage for recording
- 720P resolution
- Pan Tilt capabilities
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
The shortcomings for this camera are;
- IR LED coverage is not very good
- Very slow, not smooth panning
- Looses Pan/Tilt preset settings
- Annoying built in night light you can’t turn off
- PoE would have been a nice touch like on other Hikvision cameras, although most will likely use WiFi
- Proprietary USB power cable – why go as far as using USB power, but then not use a USB connector on the camera