The IP camera market is replete with bullet-style cameras, with Dahua Technology being one of the major manufacturers of cameras of this type. Basic Dahua bullet cameras are well-designed, inexpensive, and generally provide good quality video, however it doesn’t cost too much more to get a model like this one, which has some key features that allow it to perform much better than basic models.
The main feature set is quite impressive:
- A varifocal lens (there are two options: either 2.7–13.5mm or 3.7-11mm focal length) that provides a good range to set the camera up in a variety of installation situations (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).
- Great night vision, with good low-light sensitivity plus built-in infrared LEDs with a long 60m (200′) range.
- Auto-focus: the lens allows motorised control of its focus, allowing for sharper images than the fixed-focus lenses found in basic bullet cameras.
- 8 MP (4K) resolution.
Additional features include audio input via an external microphone, digital input/output ports, PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), and a well-designed web interface.
The sensor, at 1/1.8″, is larger than that found in most similar IP cameras, which has the benefit of good low-light performance and a wide maximum angle of view (112° at 2.7mm focal length), however it does mean that the image won’t be as “zoomed in” at the maximum focal length as you might expect.
This camera is on the larger size, with an overall length of 244mm (9.6″), but this is fairly standard for cameras that integrate varifocal lenses, which are larger than the fixed lenses found in basic bullet cameras. The metal casing and mount has a high-quality feel to it, and all mechanical adjustments to the angle and position work nicely.
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.
Image quality is very good, thanks to motorised auto-focus and high resolution. The only feature lacking, that we would have liked to see, is auto-iris, which would have allowed for slightly sharper daylight images than is possible with the fixed-iris lens that this camera has.
There are 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 a very good bullet-style camera that would make an effective addition to any video surveillance system. The only major feature it lacks is auto-iris.
- Good feature set that includes varifocal, auto-focus, 4K resolution and audio.
- Better night vision than most similar bullet cameras.
- Well-designed web interface; highly compatible with macOS and SecuritySpy.
- Great value at around $170.
- Lack of auto-iris necessitates a compromise lens design that is not optimised for sharpness during the day.
- 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.