IP cameras appeared as an innovation in the security business, offering excellent features to clients who need high-resolution footage for lower prices.
Although initially these type of CCTV cameras were of low-range, with fixed lenses and very limited options, companies like Dahua and Hikvision launched CCTV camera models with the features of high-range products, such as remote focus, powerful zooming and high-quality audio, all of it for prices that were below the usual range.
Hikvision appeared in the surveillance market in 2001 and its success soon followed, becoming the leader of security technologies.
On the other hand, Dahua Technology, also founded in 2001, holds the second largest market share.
Both companies have dedicated their work to satisfy the requirements of those clients who look for quality solutions for the lowest price possible, that is, the most cost-effective options of the market.
Today, Dahua and Hikvision are practically must-be choices when it comes to a list of surveillance equipment providers. By offering similar products, these two companies frequently are hard to differentiate, so that is necessary to talk about the small but existing differences between them in order to help consumers make an informed purchase decision.
Understanding the main features of IP cameras
If you need to make a decision regarding which camera should you purchase, it is essential that you have a general idea of what do their features mean.
Therefore, before comparing both brands, we think it is important to explain at least the main characteristics of an IP camera.
1. The Range of Vision/Lens
This is a measure of the angle that can be covered by the IP camera. There are varifocal lenses that have a range of vision that can be lowered or increased. On the other hand, there are fixed lenses that can only offer an invariable angle.
Usually, a 2.8 mm lens opens 90-105°, making the range of vision go from wall to wall and a good quality image up to a linear distance of about 5-8 meters (focal length). The higher the number in millimeters, the narrower the angle of coverage is, but the longer the distance is covered.
Both brands of Hikvision and Dahua offer a variety of fixed and vari-focal lenses with their respective focal lengths, ranging from 2.8mm to even a few hundreds millimeters.
2. IP Camera Zoom
First of all, there are two types of zooms: digital zoom and optical zoom.
Security IP cameras with a resolution of 1080p (and higher) include a digital zoom. This feature is more efficient as the resolution goes higher, because with lower resolution cameras, the image gets pixilated when trying to zoom in for details.
The motorized vari-focal zoom function is highly useful. It allows users to adjust the coverage distance and the angle of coverage after installation. This Dahua 4MP IP Camera package includes the motorized vari-focal function.
3. Size of the Sensor in the IP Cameras
This feature has a big influence on the capability of the camera to record quality images even in low-light conditions. Generally speaking, the larger sensor in the IP camera will have a better performance in dark scenes.
With a small sensor, pixels get crammed resulting in a lot of noise and consequently, a poorly detailed image. On the other hand, larger sensor size will allow more pixels to be part of the image, reducing the noise and offering more sharpness.
Both brands of Dahua and Hikvision support a good level of minimum illumination but Dahua has an advantage in some models thanks to the superior sensors they use, which allows a better night view with Starvis® and Darkfighter® technology.
4. Bit Rate of the IP Cameras
The bit rate of a security camera describes the number of bits moving from one point to another in a network per second. Bitrate is measured in kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps).
For IP cameras, this number of bits include video and audio. For higher capacity cameras, bitrate is often measured in Mbps.
The maximum bitrate in Hikvision IP Camera can go to 12Mbps. Dahua’s maximum bitrate usually reaches 10 Mbps, although it is said that a bit rate of 10 Mbps is quite good for the usual needs.
5. Motion/Face detection
This is a desirable feature in surveillance systems. Motion detection is possible thanks to the comparison of consecutive images that the camera “understands” as the occurrence of movement in the scene under surveillance.
When IP cameras include the motion/face detection feature, there is a significant saving of storage space. Time is also saved since it makes the review of recorded images faster since it is possible to go directly to the scenes where movement occurs.
Facial detection in IP cameras is mostly used by companies, offices, buildings, houses and organizations that need to record the physical details of the people moving about. The inclusion of this feature in IP cameras can be quite helpful nowadays.
All the models from Hikvision and Dahua offer motion detection functions; while quite a large number of models from Hikvision and Dahua offer the function of face detection.
6. Simultaneous video streams
Both Dahua and Hikvision IP cameras come with the feature of “multiple video stream” which allows the output of more than one video streams at the same time. Different settings can be defined for each output regarding resolution, bitrate and other aspects.
The possibility of sending different and independent streams is a great advantage. Most of the Hikvision IP Cameras have dual streams (one main and one sub); while most Dahua IP Cameras have triple video streams (one main and two subs).
7. Missing Object Detection, Audio Detection, Scene Change Detections, etc
These are the smart functions included in most of the IP cameras of Hikvision and Dahua. They can be particularly helpful when there are such specific needs, such as you need to monitor a specific object like an expensive item in a store. If the camera detects the object is missing from the scene, it starts to record immediately and sends an alert to the system manager.
The possibility of detecting noises with your IP camera can be useful when you need the most detail about the area under surveillance. In some situations, it can be helpful to detect car alarms, objects being hit or broken, people screaming, etc. Those IP Cameras include audio detection that immediately sends an alert via email or smartphone to the security manager so that an action is taken. The camera should also be directed towards the place where the noise comes from.
Both Dahua and Hikvision have certain models that include these features.
8. Maximum Resolution
Camera resolution indicates how detailed the image will be. The higher the resolution, the better, and of course, the cost will be higher. Resolution is given by the measure of the images recorded by the camera. This measure is made in pixels (width x height) and it is also referenced as the multiplication of both numbers followed by the letters “MP”. Most of the IP camera models for both companies range between 1MP and 4K (8MP) but there are some models with even higher resolutions.
Which brand should you buy, Hikvision or Dahua?
This is a very particular decision. Since most of Dahua and Hikvision products are similar, the key is to define your specific needs and make a review of the functions each model offer in that regard.
As for the price, both brands offer very similar prices in most of their product variety, which is very competitive when compared to the rest of brands in the market. The good news is, whatever your choice is, you can be sure of purchasing high-tech equipment from one of the two leading brands of surveillance systems in the world.