Dahua vs. Hikvision

Dahua & Hikvision Network Camera Reviews by Carl

Recent years, the video surveillance market keeps going through fierce market competition, especially among different low-cost Chinese brands. Because the huge decrease on the price of HD network video surveillance equipment, this makes global buyers better off if comparing with the old analog era. Among these brands, undoubtedly Dahua and Hikvision are the shining stars.

Product range and features keep the same, even the price range is very close. This makes users difficult to choose between these two brands. Is Dahua camera good, what about the Hikvision camera? Which brand is the best? We are not going to give you a quick reply. Why don’t we find the answer via reading the product reviews written by Carl.

Carl was the popular blogger had written many reviews to many network cameras from plentiful of brands (Acti, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Mobotix, Hikvision and so on). He received a good professional reputation because he not only personally tested the products each, but also wrote the review without bias (unlike some bloggers have discrimination to Chinese brands). Now we are going to share you the some best reviews from the deceased Carl.

Dahua 2MP Mini PTZ Dome Camera

For those users who don’t want to pay a thousand dollars on an IP PTZ camera, you can look at the Dahua DS42212SN-HN (new model is SD42212T-HN), which is a mini PTZ camera offers less powerful 12x optical zoom capability. Since the total power consumption to this Mini PTZ camera is not very high, it can be powered either the included power supply or a PoE+ injector/PoE switch.  

Dahua SD42212T-HN 2MP PTZ Dome Camera
Dahua SD42212T-HN 2MP
Dahua SD42212T-HN vs DS-2CD2132-I
DS42212SN-HN vs DS-2CD2132-I

The camera was mounted to the roof of Carl’s weekend lake home by using the optional cap and arm. Check the picture below to see how it looks.

Dahua SD42212T-HN Mounted with bracket
Dahua SD42212SN-HN Mounted with bracket

Though this camera belongs to Dahua affordable Eco-savvy series, and it doesn’t include infrared illuminators, this doesn’t mean it’s a low end camera. In Carl's test, Dahua SD42212SN-HN has much better low light capability can compete Hikvision mini IR bullet camera.

The below picture is what the web interface looks like. This camera’s web interface has many PTZ buttons to allow you to easily pan/tilt camera or zoom in/out the lens. Despite allowing users to manually change the image parameter, it also support WDR and BLC, HLC function to better handle difficult lighting conditions.

Dahua SD42212T-HN Web Interface
Dahua SD42212SN-HN Web Interface

Carl’s review to Dahua SD42212SN-HN Camera, as an affordable PTZ camera, it offers high image quality, true color reproduction image and decent low light performance, it’s definitely the right one for those residential users who looking for a small PTZ camera to secure their outdoor areas.

The pros are can upload video footage to FTP remote server, or on-board microSDHC/TF card (not included), it’s an inexpensive IP PTZ camera with very good low light performance, video capturing can support 1080P@30fps, or 720P@30/60fps.

However, when it tested the camera, it would occasionally encounter video delay that lasted up to 5 seconds while using the PTZ controls. Additionally, it’s called mini, but it’s actually a regular size camera if comparing with a Dahua mini dome camera.

Hikvision 3MP IR Bullet Network Camera DS-2CD2032

Hikvision DS-2CD2032 is a tiny IR bullet camera that not only can capture clear and sharp image, but also offers advanced image processing functions such as WDR, and 3D noise reduction. It’s an entry-level camera and the most popular to global users.

Hikvision DS-2CD2032
Hikvision DS-2CD2032

In Carl’s test, it was a DS-2CD2032 with a 12mm lens which might be discontinued today. Hikvision offers an utility called SADP software to allow users to manage their IP cameras/DVRs/NVRs easily. This camera uses a default IP address, opening your web browser, then input this IP address after logon you’ll see camera’s web interface.

Hikvision DS-2CD2032
Hikvision DS-2CD2032

Carl mounted the camera aiming at the outdoor traffic road, the below day & night pictures were captured by DS-2CD2032 with 12mm lens. 

Hikvision DS-2CD2032 Day Image Quality
Hikvision DS-2CD2032 Day Image Quality
Hikvision DS-2CD2032 Night Image Quality
Hikvision DS-2CD2032 Night Image Quality

Carl recommended this camera because the price was very attractive. Though it’s an entry-level network camera, it can provide up to 3 megapixel (1080p, 720p selectable) resolution, has WDR, and ability to upload video footage to NFS.

Dahua 3MP Mini Bullet Network Camera IPC-HFW4300S

Dahua Eco-Savy series IP cameras boast saving power consumption to be eco-friendly. By utilizing the low consumption power hardware design, the camera’s total power consumption is less than 5 watt, while regular 2MP mini bullet IR network camera e.g. IPC-HFW3200S (3MP cameras has been upgraded to 4MP, the latest model for this camera is IPC-HFW4421S) consumes approximate 6 watt power. 

Dahua IPC-HFW4421S
Dahua IPC-HFW3200S

IPC-HFW4300S 3-megapixel bullet camera utilizes a 1/3 inch type progressive scan CMOS image sensor from ON-Semiconductor (formerly Aptina). It’s capable of shooting video with resolution either in 20fps@3MP (2048*1536) or 30fps@1080P(1920*1080) mode. It comes with a standard fixed 3.6mm lens can provide wide viewing angle, supporting DWDR and 3DNR function. This camera can be powered by DC12V or PoE (IEEE802.3af).

Compared with the IPC-HFW3300C, this camera is a very compact and doesn’t support rich feature. It doesn’t have audio I/O and alarm I/O, no microSDHC/TF card slot for on-board video recording. As replacing the Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor, this camera can output crisp and vivid color highly detailed image. Carl commented that Sony Exmor sensor was able to capture good image with the right color saturation and contrast, but compromised detail

Dahua IPC-HFW4421S Web Interface
Dahua IPC-HFW3200S Web Interface
Dahua IPC-HFW4421S Profile
Dahua IPC-HFW3200S Image Profile

Separating Dahua cameras from other brands is the Dahua camera’s web interface offers image profiles. Profiles allow you set different options for day & night video monitoring, you even can set a time when camera should switch to a different profile. Scheduled profile switching is very handy to installers.

Dahua IPC-HFW4421S Profile
Dahua IPC-HFW3200S Image Profile
Dahua IPC-HFW4421S Image at Night
Dahua IPC-HFW3200S Night Image

Carl reviewed, Dahua IPC-HFW4300S provides good value for your money, it offered 3MP/20fps or 1080P/30fps video shooting capability, while image quality was awesome. However, it also had shortcomings, for instance, image might not have the contrast of other cameras in this segment like the Hikvision mini bullet IR camera but the trade off was better detail in the shadows.

Hikvision Vandal-prooof 3MP Dome Camera DS-2CD2132-I

Similar to the Hikvision mini dome camera, DS-2CD2132-I (discontinued model, 2MP model is available, DS-2CD2120F-I) is also another popular camera but it’s an vandal-proof type. It’s a 3-megapixel dome camera that supports 2-axis adjustment inside, it offers 30FPS@1080P or 15FPS@3MP video shooting, included with Infrared illuminators, it can be powered by PoE or DC12V power supply.

Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I Dome Camera
Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I Dome Camera

Different from the Hikvision bullet camera, aiming this camera is not easy due to it only supports 2-axis rotation. Carl suggested to use the wall mount bracket which was specifically designed for this camera.

Navigate to Configuration tab, you can set stream type, frame rate, resolution etc many video encoding variables. Why your cameras shows the max. 25FPS for 1080p, not 30FPS? This depends on which TV system version your country uses. If you live in Europe, Asia, you may see frame rates max at 25FPS for 1080P resolution, but it will become 30FPS for 1080P resolution for America countries. Typically, the camera web interface can allow users to switch between PAL (25FPS) and NTSC (30FPS) system.

Hikvision DS-2CD2142FWD-I 4MP Dome Camera Web Interface
Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I Web Interface

Carl mounted the camera to the front of house aiming at outdoor road. Wondering the picture quality, you can take a look at the captured day&night images. Undoubtedly, the image is quite clear and sharp, color reproduction is accurate. 

Hikvision DS-2CD2142FWD-I Image In the Day Time
Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I Day Time Image
Hikvision DS-2CD2142FWD-I 4MP Dome Camera Night Time Image
Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I Night Time Image (Color mode)

Good image quality and many rich features, but it also had some shortcomings such as not easy to adjust ideal viewing angle since it only supported 2-axis rotation, due to the vandal-proof dome cover, it might encounter IR light bleed issues (IR reflection that caused the IR-halo effect) especially when equipped with a 2.8mm lens – this is the Carl’s final review to Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I vandal-proof mini IR dome camera.

Hikvision Eyeball IR Dome Camera DS-2CD3332-I

Hikvision eyeball-look mini dome camera comes with a high-power infrared array illuminator which can offer up to 30 meters IR illumination range. By employing 1/3” 3-megapixel CMOS image sensor, it’s able to deliver 20FPS@3MP or 30FPS@2MP video. Since the video and feature specification is the same with Hikvision DS-2CD2132-I mini dome camera, why should I choose this eyeball camera?

Hikvision DS-2CD2342WD 4MP EXIR Turret Network Camera
Hikvision DS-2CD3332-I EXIR Turret Network Camera

Well, Carl explained that this eyeball camera was able to provide 3-axis rotation therefore quite easy to aiming the camera, since it didn’t have an vandal-proof dome cover, it unlikely might encounter IR bleed problem. Lastly, no need to open the dome cover in order to adjust the angle of lens. Why not choosing the Hikvision bullet camera, well, once dome cameras installed they were much harder to knock out of position – Carl added.

After logon camera’s web interface, the Hikvision has improved some things. New firmware web interface can allow users to choose video aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3), users also can choose to play the video by its webcam player or the Quicktime. Additionally, it supports corridor mode, corridor mode means the image rotates 90 degree to capture a long narrow area such as a long corridor.

In addition to recording by using Hikvision NVR, the camera offers the ability to upload video to remote NAS through SMB/CIF which is a regular Windows type mount found in inexpensive NAS equipment. 

On to image, you can check the day/night image captured by this camera.

Hikvision DS-2CD2342WD 4MP Daytime Image
Hikvision DS-2CD3332-I Daytime Image
Hikvision DS-2CD2342WD 4MP Nighttime Image
Hikvision DS-2CD3332-I Nighttime Image

Carl recommended this camera because it offered 3-axis dome adjustment, and could provide very good low light performance in color, it added support for remote recording to NFS or CIFS. All Dahua 3MP cameras have upgraded to 4MP resolution, DS-2CD2342WD is the replacement to this discontinued model. 

Dahua Outdoor 1080P IR Mini Dome Camera IPC-HDBW2200E

Dahua IPC-HDBW4220E
Dahua IPC-HDBW2200E

After went through the installation and test, Carl concluded Dahua IPC-HDBW2200E (discontinued, the latest model is IPC-HDBW4220E) was good value for the money, it delivered crisp image with 30FPS@1080P resolution as it advertised.  Unlike Hikvision vandal-proof cameras, this camera didn’t have IR halo issue. The setback was it only supports 2-axis adjustment limited camera’s placement in some areas.

Dahua followed the footprints of Hikvision, Dahua released the ConfigTool to help users to search and config IP cameras at the initial stage. Enter the default IP address (, you can access its web interface.

The below image is a daytime shot in Car’s driveway. The color accuracy, contrast, detail is very impressive. Carl liked 3.6mm lens because it offered the right viewing angle,  while 2.8mm lens was a little too wide would cause a distortion on the edge of image, the 4mm might be too narrow.

Dahua IPC-HDBW4220E Daytime Image
Dahua IPC-HDBW2200E Daytime Image

Dahua Outdoor 3MP Zoom Dome Camera IPC-HDBW2300R-Z

Dahua IPC-HDBW2300R-Z is the smallest size optical zoom dome camera that Carl had been reviewed. It’s equipped with a 2.8mm-12mm motorized zoom lens which can provide maximum 4x optical zoom capability. This camera still adopts ON-Semi CMOS image sensor, has a day/night ICR filter built-in to provide you crisp image in the day time and the decent low light performance at night. 

Dahua IPC-HDBW5431R-Z Motorized Zoom Lens Camera
Dahua IPC-HDBW2300R-Z Camera

Installation of this dome camera is straightforward, it offers DC12V and PoE power supply options. It’s also a vandal-proof dome camera which protects it from vandalism. By leveraging the motorized zoom lens, the camera can adjust the optical zoom and auto-focus to obtain clear view, eliminating the hassle to adjust the focal length manually.

Intending to solve the IR bleed problem, the include Infrared array LEDs are located further away from the lens. Carl wrote this was a genius idea.

In this review, Carl mentioned how to set DDNS up for Dahua IP cameras. Using the DDNS, users can remotely access the camera’s web interface even the camera uses dynamic IP address. DDNS also converts IP address to easy remember domain name. 

Dahua IPC-HDBW5431R-Z DDNS Setting
Dahua IPC-HDBW2300R-Z DDNS Setting

Since it can automatically zoom in and auto-focus, this camera is super easy to install, as it uses ON-Semi CMOS image sensor, the image quality superb, clear and has good clarity. Moreover, the IR LED design is so clever, Carl liked this dome camera very much. This camera is also discontinued, you can find the upgraded model - IPC-HDBW5431R-Z

Hikvision 3MP IR Dome Camera DS-2CD3132F-IS

Hikvision DS-2CD2142FWD-I 4MP Dome Camera
Hikvision DS-2CD3132F-IS Dome Camera

DS-2CD3132F-IS is the upgraded model based on its predecessor - DS-2CD2132-I. Hikvision made some improvements that make this camera better. The new model can support 3-axis mechanical rotation, and included microSDHC/TF card slot (up to 64GB) for supporting of on-board video recording.  The Infrared LEDs have changed to become pure white type that the IR halo problem has been resolved.  Though it’s a small dome camera, it adds audio I/O and alarm I/O interface for better accommodate the integrated applications among different security systems.

Since it supports audio I/O, users can choose MicIn and LineIn audio input on its web interface. How to select the one fit your microphone? MicIn is for un-amplified microphones and LineIn is for amplified microphones. 

Inexpensive but offering exceptional image quality, the camera’s highlights including microSDHC/TF card for video recording, good low light performance, multi-functional model (S) has audio input/output and alarm input/output, can record to remote NAS.  (Note: since 2015, 3MP cameras have been discontinued, today's offer is 4MP resolution camera, the latest model is DS-2CD2142FWD-I)

If you wish to read Carl's review in full content, you can visit his website (http://www.networkcameracritic.com/). As a blogger in video surveillance industry, we admire Carl, he contributed his time to write such informative articles included expert's insights. 

Other reviews from our website:

Hikvision: DS-2DF8223I   DS-2CD2412F-IW DS-2CD4065F-A DS-2CD6362F DS-2DF7286 DS-2DF7230IX-X DS-2CD4026FWD DS-2DY9187-AIA DS-2DF8223IW-A

Dahua: IPC-A35 CA-FW191I DH-SD6A82C-HN DH-IPC-HF8281E 

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Tags: Hikvision, Dahua