Hikvision 4-Line Smart IP Camera Review

Hikvision 4-Line Smart IP

Hikvision’s new 4-Line Smart IP is a solid range of cameras that combines high performance in key areas like wide dynamic range, colour rendition, and pointy prices. In key ways, the 4-Line represents Hikvision’s coming of age. 

I got a look at a swag of new stuff at the Hikvision demo room in North Ryde late last month. Hikvision’s is one of the better set up demo spaces I’ve seen but best of all, the boys have taken the opportunity to install a broad spread of Hikvision cameras on the roof of the large building housing their office. The building holds a commanding position looking over serious distances with major infrastructure assets in all directions. These include nearby roadways, intersections, and multiple industrial and retail complexes. 

In this feature, I’m going to focus on the 4-Line series but it’s a difficult thing to do. For a start the Hikvision back story is fascinating and while the boys fill me in on the enormous size of the company, its huge, new manufacturing facilities and 3500 surveillance engineers, it’s just impossible not to warm to their story. 

Michael Bates and Tony Lagan are sensible men with technical acumen and more than enough experience to give them a frame of reference through which to view Hikvision’s current and future aspirations. Their commitment to the company and their ownership of its drive to become CCTV’s technology leader is palpable throughout this demo. 

Adding to the challenge today is Hikvision’s 6-Line series and in particular a pair of cameras I take an immediate shine to – the first is an IR equipped 6MP hemispheric. The second is Hikvision’s Darkfighter. I’m going to review these in upcoming issues but we spent a bit of time looking at each during the 4-Line demo and it’s seriously good kit. 

4-Line Smart IP

4-Line Smart IP is a range of 16 cameras. For the sake of readability I’m going to generalise here and not include the model numbers. There are box (full body) cameras, indoor domes, IR bullet cameras and outdoor domes, all with resolution options of 1.4 (720p, DWDR, 60ips), 1.3 (120dB, WDR, 30ips), 2MP (1010p with DWDR and 30ips) and 3MP (1080p with 120dB, WDR and 30ips). If you need it, there’s onboard storage to 64GB with all 16 cameras.

The Hikvision demo room has a good spread of 4-Line cameras up and running on the video wall but the camera we are looking at most specifically is the DS-2CD4024F-(A) 3MP Full HD box camera sitting on a stand on the main table. Doing a lap, I can see it’s a handsome camera - the first thing I notice is the blue LED light on its flank. As well making the camera look cool, it allows security staff to see at a glance that the camera has power. Neat. 

Lagan tells me this unit is available with a standard or P-Iris lens – the latter is a lens and processing combination that improves a scene’s depth of field. In this case, we are looking at the standard lens version. Before we start looking out across the North Ryde scenery, Lagan takes me through the range’s specifications and what really strikes me with the 4-Line is just how well optioned it is. Hikvision’s engineers have left nothing out. 

The primary specs include a 1/3-inch progressive scan CMOS sensor giving a minimum scene illumination of 0.1 lux at F1.2 and 0.01 in monochrome at F1.2, both with AGC on. Depending on the model you select, there’s a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. At that resolution you get 20 frames per second. Come back to 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720 and it’s 60 or 30 frames per second, depending on which camera you have. 

WDR is a very strong 120dB and there’s digital noise reduction and auto back focus. Although we are looking at a full body camera without IR, you can select an IR bullet camera with a Smart IR function allows IR strength adjustment governed by analytics. Power is reduced when faces are closer to the camera, reducing blooming. 

Compression options are H.264, MPEG4 and MJPEG, with H.264 in baseline profile, main profile and high profile. This is nice work from Hikvision. H.264 is a framework rather than a standard – for the company to have gone to the trouble of developing high profile H.264 shows great integrity in my opinion. Depending on the compression option selected, video bit rate runs from 32Kbps to 16Mbps. 

“The first thing I notice is the WDR performance, which is exemplary for a 3MP camera. The transition from internal to external view is pretty much seamless to my eye”

A big thing these days is clever bandwidth and storage management and Hikvision is on the money here. An advanced codec is used to increase image quality by 30 per cent at 2Mbps in 720p mode – these are good numbers in the real world. Also helping out with bandwidth management is region of interest which allows techs or users to pare back the resolution of non essential parts of a camera’s view – the sky, a ceiling or a blank wall, for instance. 

And speaking of walls, 4-Line also sports a corridor view which maximises useful pixels in a hallway. You simply select Rotate Mode when commissioning the camera. Meanwhile, getting live images in front of security staff is handled by triple streaming and there’s autofocus, which saves operators from having to make adjustments due to drift, changes in a scene or action that takes place right in front of a camera.

source: http://www.securityelectronicsandnetworks.com/articles/2014/07/17/hikvision-4-line-smart-ip-camera-review

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