Dahua’s DHI-NVR4432-16P is one a number of Dahua’s NVR4432 series which delivers effortless plug and play performance using Dahua’s big range of internal and external IP cameras.

WHEN Seadan’s Bruce Maxwell pops into the SEN office to drop off a Dahua PnP solution for SEN to test drive, one of the things that impresses me most of all is the speed of setup. By the time Maxwell has finished telling me about the company’s new 4K range, this plug and play system, comprising Dahua’s DHI-NVR4432-16P and a spread of 4 cameras, is up and running.

The hardware itself is well made. The NVR is a nice unit – it’s rack-mount, handsome with blue lights accenting the front panel. Ports are clean – there are 16 alarm inputs, network port for connection to a remote switch, USB front (USB 2.0) and rear (USB 3.0), audio on the rear, RS232 for PC and keyboard and RS-485 for PTZ control.

In terms of performance this NVR is not the world’s most powerful but it’s extremely heavy on real world functionality at its price-point. There’s a dual-core embedded processor running an embedded Linux operating system, HDMI, VGA and BNC ports with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, audio input and output, and a global recording rate of 200Mbps with a bitrate range between 48 and 8192 Kbps.

Compression is H.264 and MJPEG, maximum resolution is 5MP (2560 x 1920) and there are 4 HDD SATA ports offering up to 16TB of storage, as well as 16 PoE inputs with a maximum of 25.5W per port. An eSATA port offers expansion to an external port should this be required. You can drive the unit from the front panel in the usual way. Something you notice about the DHI-NVR4432-16P is that to adequately cool the 4 HDD bays, it sports a high volume fan that moves plenty of air through the case to stay under its maximum working temperature of 55C.

The cameras feel good and work well, the joins are tight, the connections look well made. They have IP66 ratings and good resolution numbers. There’s the IPC-HFW5200CP outdoor IR bullet camera, the IPC-HDB4200CP-0360B vandal, the IPC-HDW4300CP-0360 IR ball, and the IPC-HDBW-5302 vandal dome. Importantly, the DHI-NVR4432-16P NVR also supports cameras from Arecont Vision, Axis Communications, Bosch, Brickcom, Canon, CP Plus, Dynacolor, Honeywell, Panasonic, Pelco, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Videotec, Vivotek and others straight out of the box. This is nice capability to have.

Of the cameras I play with, the external bullet gets the most attention, it’s simply easier to view a bullet or full body camera without mounting it than it is to prop a dome up on its flank. But playing with the other cameras internally gives me a clear idea that they are more than capable. Several have the same 3MP drive train but I have a sense of the domes the 5302 is best in terms of colour rendition and backlight capability. It does well with depth of field, too. And with all 4 cameras up and running, there’s very little latency through the system.

Driving the system

Tip-toeing through the menu is not challenging. Main menu gives access to all aspects of the setup, networking, reporting and comms, including a viewer with a swag of display options. You can find your way anywhere you need to go through the main menu. I have a play with some camera configuration settings and spool up sharpness, saturation contrast a little. The camera is set to day to start with. 3D noise is enabled. Something that’s handy is a mask allowing motion detection areas to be selected.

I’m running a 4-screen split during this demo. The viewer has time line search, search by camera, you can set up video motion detection across 396 zones (22 x 18 selectable tiles), the system can report options on alarm events from alarm input devices. You can also generate alarms on video loss and camera blank.

From the viewer you can manage recording, drive PTZs, setup tours, alarms, set up video push to email or FTP, as well as creating buzzer alerts and generating screen tips for operators. Record mode can be undertaken manually, scheduled as regular or continuous, can be set up on VMD, or on alarm event. The record interval can be 1-120 minutes with pre-recording of 1-30 seconds and post-recording of 10-300 seconds. Synchronised playback options are 1, 4, 9 and 16 cameras.

This NVR’s search mode is simplicity itself. You can hunt for video on the basis of time/date, alarm event, VMD or Exact search (accurate to one second), There’s also a smart search function. As you’d expect, the viewer incorporates playback functions including play, pause, stop, rewind, fast play, slow play, next file, previous file, next camera, previous camera, full screen, repeat, shuffle, backup selection, digital zoom.

Along with direct driving of the system using a mouse and a connected monitor, you can hop into the system using an iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows smart phone. There’s also access for 128 users, which is plenty for broader applications, which might require viewing of cameras by multiple members of a surf club or similar.

Testing the IPC-HFW5200CP

When I first set up the IPC-HFW5200CP outdoor IR bullet camera outside, conditions are pretty nasty, with a lot of glare on a bright cloudy day. Grey but glary days like this are a pain for camera testing as they tend to wash out colour and deepen shadow. But while there’s a little of that going on, when the sun comes out from behind the clouds for a few minutes here and there you get a much better sense of what the camera is capable of.

This is the same old view over Surry Hills that readers know about, with plenty of texture and contrast and serious depth of field. Details stretch from a couple of metres all the way through to 1000 metres and more. Looking at the view full screen, with loads of movement from wind-blown trees, there’s a little processing ‘swim’ in the image but it’s no different to that seen with other IP cameras.

My sense is that viewing this big scene the camera is restricted by its general purpose 3-9mm lens more than anything else. It shows better than average levels of barrel distortion of straight lines typical with very wide angle lens and I’m getting a good, tight view and it stays that way all afternoon and into the night. With a very wide angle lens like this you are never going to get high resolution zooming at 1920 x 1080 on a 50-inch Samsung monitor in full screen.


Close to 90,000 lux at the lens – there’s a small green ghost mid-upper left but otherwise the image is tight

The IPC-HFW5200CP has a 1/3-inch 2MP progressive scan Sony Exmor CMOS offering H.264 and MJPEG dual-stream encoding, 25/30fps at 1080p (1920 x 1080), DWDR, Day/Night (ICR), auto iris, 3DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC, network monitoring via web viewer, CMS (DSS/PSS) and DMSS. There’s a 3.3-12mm varifocal lens and 30m of IR. This camera is PoE and IP66-rated.

Early mid-afternoon we have a bright scene – harsh. There’s some small flare off lens elements or the bullet housing window in the fierce sidelight. The camera is position horizontally, which is not really fair. No sensible installer would deliberately set up like this with the sun at only 15 degrees from an unshaded sensor.

Something I notice as light levels fall from a maximum of about 80,000 lux during some breaks in the cloud during the afternoon down to 5000 lux in the afternoon, is that the image seems to improve. As light falls from extremes the camera delivers better colour rendition, better contrast and enhanced depths of field. Later on as light levels drop to 1200 lux at 630pm things continue to remain tight. There’s a reason for this improved performance – I’ve seen it in other cameras, too – perhaps it’s a combination of larger aperture and slower shutter speeds in lower levels of light.

At about 7.10 pm with around 100 lux showing on the Sekonic, I set the bullet to night mode and that’s when it impresses me most. The IR is not activated but the image is excellent. I can see a bird flying up Elizabeth St at about 250m away. The great performance as light levels fall away is unexpected. The hard foreground shadows I’d been seeing all afternoon have disappeared and this camera is going great guns. There’s what I think is elevated ISO noise and some processing artefacts in the scene but overall, colour rendition is good.


Early evening and falling light levels increase contrast – the World Square is at 1000m. This image is at 100 lux with the camera in night mode. 

A little later and to my eyes it’s dark outside. The good night performance continues and it’s still in colour, too. I’m getting some yellow shift now, probably from the low pressure sodium streetlight in the lane. The image seems to keep improving right down to about 10-12 lux before beginning to get a little noisy. At about 7.45pm I measure 1 EV in front of the camera (about 5 lux), noise is impacting on image composition now. You’d set IR to come in at about 8-10 lux, I think, which is great performance at this price point.

Something else I have a play with is face recognition in strong backlight and performance in this key area is solid. There are variations between the cameras – I think the little domes do better than the bullet, while the bullet handles internal scenes more effectively in the presence of strong backlight. In either case, performance is good. Appropriately installed to capture faces, none of these cameras would let you down.

Other cameras I take a look at as part of the demo include Dahua’s IPC-HDB4200C eco-savvy dome has a 1/2.8-inch 2MP progressive scan Sony Exmor CMOS, H.264 and MJPEG dual-stream encoding and runs at 25/30fps at 1080p. The cameras is day/night, has 3DNR, auto iris, AWB, AGC, BLC and offers multiple network monitoring options including web viewer, CMS (DSS/PSS) and DMSS. There’s a 3.6mm fixed lens standard, with 2.8mm and 6mm options and you get MicroSD slot, IP66, IK10 and PoE.

The IPC-HDBW5300/5302 Full HD Network IR dome has a 1/3-inch 3MP progressive scan CMOS made by Californian chip-maker Aptima, which offers H.264 and MJPEG dual-stream encoding, a maximum of 20 fps @ 3MP (2052×1536) or 25/30fps @ 1080P (1920×1080). There’s DWDR, day/night(ICR), 3DNR, auto iris, AWB, AGC, BLC, there are multiple network monitoring options. There’s 2.7-12mm or 3-9mm varifocal motorized lens options, built-in 1/1 alarm in/out, IR range of 20 metres, MicroSD slot, IP66 and IK10 ratings and PoE.

Finally, there’s the IPC-HDBW-5302 vandal dome, again with a 1/3-inch 3MP progressive scan Aptina CMOS, H.264 and MJPEG dual-stream encoding, 20fps @ 3MP (2048×1536) and 25/30fps @ 1080p (1920×1080). This camera also has DWDR, day/night (ICR), 3DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC, offers multiple network monitoring via web viewer, CMS(DSS/PSS) and DMSS, has a 3.6mm fixed lens (6mm optional), a maximum IR range of 20m, IP66-rating for external use and PoE. All these cameras are capable and priced very sharply indeed. ♦

Features of the DH-NVR4432-16P NVR include:

* Up to 16/32 channel IP camera input
* H.264/MJPEG dual codec decoding
* Max 200Mbps incoming bandwidth
* Up to 5Mp resolution preview&playback
* HDMI/VGA/TV simultaneous video output
* 16 channel synchronous realtime playback, GRID interface
* ONVIF Version 2.3 conformance
* 3D intelligent positioning with Dahua PTZ camera
* Support 4 SATA HDDs up to 16TB, 1 eSATA up to 16TB,2 USB(1 USB3.0)
* Support IPC UPnP, 16PoE ports
* Multiple network monitoring: Web viewer, CMS(DSS/PSS) & DMSS.