Security cameras from Dahua can be found all over the world, including in many prestigious and well-known locations, such as the Shanghai World Expo and the London Underground. Local councils across the UK have contracts with Dahua and its cameras can be found guarding businesses and homes.
In January of this year, two more London councils signed contracts with Dahua to upgrade their CCTV systems, which involves replacing more than nine hundred cameras and building a shared control room. And this despite Dahua’s questionable record on human rights and cybersecurity. But more on that later.
Dahua cameras are popular for their cutting-edge smart features, easy-to-use systems, high-definition footage, and price to quality ratio. Today, we’re going to explore some of Dahua’s most popular models to find out if they warrant the popularity they receive.
Dahua and UNV: Comparable IP Cameras
Throughout this review of Dahua, we test comparable IP cameras and other CCTV products with the Dahua model being reviewed. In most cases, we’ve tested Dahua cameras and related products with Uniview products.
We chose Uniview (UNV) for our IP camera comparisons because in many ways the two companies and their products are similar: they fall within the same price range, they are both Chinese owned, and they provide similar features and functions. Yet despite the similarities, there are significant differences too. For example, Dahua has been banned from selling its products in the USA and it cannot buy parts from companies based in the USA.
What’s more, Dahua, like market leader Hikvision, has been implicated in the Chinese State’s repression of the Uyghur Muslims, which has brought it to the attention of governments and human rights organisations around the world. Both Hikvision and Dahua have been banned from selling products in the USA. And both companies are unable to buy from American telecommunications companies, which has cut of their supply of high-tech parts.
Uniview, meanwhile, took no part in the abuse of human rights being perpetrated by the Chinese state with the help of technology and services from Hikvision and Dahua. As such, UNV is not threatened with a ban in the USA or anywhere else and, therefore, offers future-proof CCTV solutions that you can rely on.
Dahua DB11 Review
The Dahua DB11 is a doorbell camera similar to Amazon’s infamous Ring camera. As far as doorbell cameras go, the Dahua DB11 is a reasonable option.
With 2MP resolution, the footage produced by the Dahua DB11 is clear, although sharper images are possible with other doorbell cameras. The viewing angle is 140 degrees, which is probably fine for most homes but might not be ideal for all commercial environments.
Some customers have reported finding the setup difficult or irritating because serial numbers on the parts were incorrectly labelled. However, if you’re lucky enough to get a kit that is correctly numbered, then the setup is straightforward enough.
The camera is wireless and can be connected to your mobile device. Both the footage and audio are accessible through the Dahua app once the camera is connected to your mobile device. You can then watch and communicate with whoever is at your door using your phone, tablet, or laptop. As far as we’ve seen and heard, the connection is stable once the software is properly installed and the camera is correctly set up. Giving you consistent protection and control.
Like most doorbell cameras, the Dahua DB11 uses passive infrared to detect movement. When movement is detected the camera immediately begins recording. Many passive infrared security devices have issues with false alarms. A falling leaf or passing wild animal can set an overly sensitive security alarm off. On this count, Dahua’s technology is fairly sophisticated and you are unlikely to receive many false alarms from the DB11.
One downside is that the DB11 does not support POE (Power over Ethernet). If you’re using an ethernet system you will need to use a converter to connect this camera. The DB11 is 12V compatible, so you’ll need an ethernet to 12V converter to make it work with your ethernet system.
Dahua Starlight Camera Review
Dahua Starlight is a powerful low-light technology developed by Dahua for its IP camera range. Starlight comes in three performance grades, each suitable for a different type of low-light situation: Basic Starlight, Enhanced Starlight, and Starlight+.
Unlike traditional analogue CCTV security systems, modern IP CCTV can collect all sorts of data which is transported over ethernet to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) where it can be read and processed. The additional data collected by IP cameras makes possible an array of Smart features and improvements to the quality of footage collected by IP cameras. This means that IP cameras are able to perform functions and produce footage that goes beyond the capabilities of the hardware alone.
Starlight by Dahua is a great example of this. Starlight cameras combine sophisticated sensors and lenses with cutting-edge image signal processing. The combination of powerful sensors and lenses supported by digital signal processing and an advanced algorithm results in excellent video quality even in very low-light environments.
Cameras equipped with Starlight low light ability will automatically adjust in response to changing light conditions. As the light fades, a Starlight camera will begin reducing the shutter speed to allow in more light, increase light sensitivity, and keep providing images in colour.
While equipped with infrared (IR) capabilities, Starlight cameras can also be adjusted manually to cope with extremely low-light settings without using IR. This means you can avoid the whiteout effect, which is a common problem with standard IR CCTV cameras.
What’s more, Starlight cameras come with Smart Scene Adaptive technology that allows them to adjust to changing scenery. The camera automatically adjusts with dynamic range, compensates for backlight and highlight, and responds to low light. This a useful for areas where the lighting changes rapidly and often, such as the entrance to a warehouse, where the opening and closing of shutter doors can cause dramatic changes in lighting.
If you’re looking for even more light and colour, Dahau’s top of the range low-light technology is Night Color, and a new version, called Night Color 2.0 Fusion, is coming soon.
Dahua technology is impressive, but once again UNV offers a comparable and perhaps even better alternative with its LightHunter technology. LightHunter provides HD images in ultra-low light conditions. Cameras in the LightHunter range are equipped with a large BSI sensor and an F1 aperture. Not only can they deliver high-quality, crystal clear footage in ultra-low light situations automatically, but the footage will also be in vivid colour.
Dahua LM28-F420 4K Monitor Review
For professional CCTV security operations, a high-resolution monitor is an important part of the setup. No matter how impressive the video quality of your cameras, if your monitors can’t match them then you’ve got a problem.
If you're committed to a Dahua camera system then you're in luck because Dahua technology extends beyond cameras to monitors as well. The Dahau LM28-F420 4K monitor provides high-definition security footage at a great price. It is a decent option for a security control room.
This 28-inch monitor has a response time of 5ms so there is little chance you will notice any latency issues while monitoring your security system. This is ideal for real-time monitoring where vigilance is required constantly.
Since the LM28-F420 is able to handle high-definition footage up to 4K it is compatible with most Dahua cameras. The footage is clear and vivid and easy to look at for long periods of time.
The most comparable product from Uniview is the MW3243-F-V 43 inch 4k monitor. It is a durable and lightweight monitor with automatic colour and image enhancing features that ensure a stunning image at all times. It has an industrial-grade panel that makes it suitable for 24/7 use.
Dahua App Review
These days every CCTV camera supplier has its own app to make connecting camera networks with mobile devices straightforward and easy—at least that’s the idea.
Dahua’s app is called the Dahua DMSS Mobile Surveillance app. The app uses cloud-enabled software to give you constant control of your security system directly from your mobile or tablet. To connect with an Apple device, such as an iPhone, you will need to use the iDMSS app. Android users can download the gDMSS app from the Google Play Store.
In terms of functionality and features, the two versions of the app are identical. The DMSS app can be used to view real-time live video from any one of the cameras connected to your network, and you can use the app to scroll through and watch recorded footage with the playback function.
The app can be configured to allow push notifications that will keep you informed about the status of your security cameras and alert you to any suspicious activity triggered by your camera's alarm system. For example, if you have a camera with intrusion detection you can set the app to notify you when the alarm is triggered. All sorts of active Smart features can be used to trigger alarms, such as missing object detection, line-crossing detection, face detection, and motion detection.
Whatever your cameras are capable of can be controlled and communicated through the Dahua app on your mobile device. And, as mentioned, the app can be synced with your doorbell alarm, making it possible to answer your door remotely.
Setting up the app and connecting all your security cameras and DVRs is easy. The simplest installation method is P2P. This involves scanning QR codes on all of your devices, selecting the kind of device you just scanned from a menu in the app, and then naming it appropriately.
Live view is available in SD (Standard Definition) and HD, which is a useful feature if you find yourself with low network coverage but still need to check the status of a particular camera or determine the validity of an alarm.
The DMSS app from Dahua is comparable to the apps from other brands. Dahua and Hikvision have very similar apps, with similar functionality, and the UNV app is no different.
Dahua’s Discriminatory Facial Recognition Technology
Dahua’s security cameras, monitors, and DVRs are technologically advanced and of decent quality. However, Dahua’s operations extend to areas that breach human rights and, as a result, the company has been sanctioned by the USA.
Perhaps the most disturbing of the revelations to emerge about Dahua’s role in the oppression of the Uyghur people in China was the racist facial recognition technology the company has developed.
Dahua initially attempted to deny the existence of the discriminatory software but investigative reporting uncovered the details, many of which were found published openly on Dahua’s website in Chinese. The documents discussed how their software could identify so-called Uyghur looking people picked up on a Dahua security camera. Once identified, the software would send a notification directly to the local police, giving them the location where the person was last tracked.
Several products listed on the Chinese version of the Dahau website come with a “real-time Uyghur warning” function. This demonstrates that Dahua is actively promoting and profiting from its discriminatory facial recognition software.
As we’ve pointed out throughout this review, UNV provides comparable IP cameras and related products to Dahua’s extensive range. And this without all the issues surrounding Dahua’s involvement in human rights abuses.
Dahua Cameras Review Conclusion
To conclude, Dahua does offer a wide range of quality CCTV cameras that come equipped with some impressive Smart features and night vision technologies. Dahua technology is definitely up to scratch. What’s more, Dahua’s produces quality monitors and an easy-to-use mobile app available to all its customers.
However, Dahua faces serious obstacles in the international market due to the growing pressure against it for its role in the oppression of Uyghur Muslims, the development of racist facial recognition technology, and its willingness to lie about it. Hikvision and Dahua, despite being the market leaders, are fast becoming pariahs of the CCTV industry due to their disregard of human rights. At the moment, it is unclear whether Dahua and Hikvision will continue operating in the UK.
For an enduring solution to your CCTV security needs that doesn’t compromise your morality, we strongly recommend choosing another company, such as UNV.