Dahua Technology have such an extensive range of IP cameras that it can be difficult to choose between them, especially between models that are superficially similar. Generally, Dahua cameras work very well with our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy, and this particular model, the IPC-HDW5831R-ZE, looks like it could be something special.
This is an “eyeball” type camera, which is a form factor with some significant advantages: they are generally compact in size, easy to swivel and rotate to the correct position, and, unlike dome cameras, there is no curved perspex dome in front of the lens to reduce quality.
This particular model has a comprehensive feature set that sets it apart from other superficially similar cameras, specifically:
- A 2.7-12mm varifocal lens, providing a comprehensive range from wide-angle to moderately telephoto, making the camera suitable for most use cases (note that varifocal lenses are designed to set the zoom level at installation time; they are not true zoom lenses that can be operated continuously).
- Auto-Iris: this allows the camera to open and close its aperture based on ambient light levels, which maximises its ability to provide quality images across both day and night. During the day, a smaller aperture provides sharper images, while during the night, a larger aperture allows more light to reach the sensor, reducing noise. Most cameras in this class have fixed apertures, which are inevitably a compromise and not optimised for either day or night.
- Auto-Focus: the lens allows motorised control of its focus, potentially allowing for sharper images than the fixed-focus lenses found in most other IP cameras in this class.
- Night-vision: good low-light performance and built-in LEDs allow vision up to 50m (164′) at night.
- Audio: a built-in microphone provides audio in high-quality AAC format.
- 8 MP (4K) resolution.
Each one of these features is important on its own, and it’s especially unusual to find them all offered by one camera at such a reasonable price (around $240). The camera also has a compact size, a well-designed web interface, and PoE (Power-over-Ethernet).
The metal casing has a quality feel to it, as does the eyeball itself. Installation can be a bit fiddly, but this is partly due to the compact size of the unit.
All network cameras should come preset to DHCP (to automatically obtain a valid IP address) with a manual fallback address, but unfortunately Dahua cameras don’t. Instead, they come preset to a static IP address of 192.168.1.108, which is fine if your network already uses 192.168.1.x addressing, but if it doesn’t, then initially connecting to the camera to adjust its settings can be a bit difficult (we have instructions at Connecting to a Camera Over Ethernet – scroll down to the section Cameras with a fixed address by default).
Once set to an appropriate IP address for your network, the camera is easy to configure, with a web interface that is comprehensive and that works well on Mac web browsers.
The combination of auto-iris, motorised auto-focus and 8 MP resolution means that this camera does deliver great images. There are also many software options such as backlight compensation, WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) and image adjustment controls (brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness) that allow fine tuning for the particular installation environment.
This is an excellent camera with a great feature set, which would make an effective addition to any CCTV system.
- Excellent feature set: the combination of varifocal, auto-iris, auto-focus and audio is very difficult to find in one camera, especially in this price range.
- Compact size and quality construction.
- Well-designed web interface; highly compatible with macOS and SecuritySpy.
- Great value at around $240.
- The preset static IP address can make this camera a bit tricky to set up initially.
- We are not associated with any hardware manufacturers, nor have any financial incentive to recommend products; our recommendations are based entirely on our own testing.
- SecuritySpy is macOS CCTV software that turns any Mac into a fully-featured NVR (Network Video Recorder). It works with virtually all IP cameras on the market. A free trial is available.
- Other camera recommendations can be found on our Supported Cameras List and blog.