Worlds First Review - Dahua IPC-HFW8442-Z4-D47-LI - Dual Sensor Micro PTZ Bullet

Wildcat_1

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Intro

You heard it right, this is the worlds first review (I checked) of this brand new (barely left development) monster camera the Dahua IPC-HFW8442-Z4-D47-LI - Dual Sensor Micro PTZ Bullet. Thanks as always to @EMPIRETECANDY for providing this unit in exchange for a fair, honest, unbiased, no holds barred review. I’ll attempt to answer any and all comments as always BUT please keep those to the main topic of this thread.​
There’s is a lot to cover so lets get into it………..​

The Camera

Well for starters the camera model number is a mouthful BUT that goes in line with the size of this behemoth. Pics below (post 2) for comparison. Remember this is a dual sensor and therefore dual channel camera (requires 2 channels on your NVR or platform of choice). This gives you the benefit of either setting up each lens to focus on a separate area or using both to cover the same, 1 focused on wide/panoramic and the other on detailed close up. The camera comes with a whopping 32GB RAM so should be no slouch regardless of situation but we’ll see.​
This camera has some clear use cases which I will go into over the course of this review. Its also critical to note that this camera does NOT currently support POE of any flavor and is strictly DC powered only. Based on the use cases this is understandable, however with the camera only requiring 35.5w with maximum power, it would be possible to utilize PoE++ or Hi-PoE to power this and simplify on cable runs. I’ve recommended this to Dahua already who are investigating a potential POE module to assist here. I did have to wire this one manually so can include links to the right adapter, pigtails etc should anyone need them.​
For initial reference on size this is akin to the Dahua dedicated Traffic cams such as the ITC952-AU3F and a little bigger than the newer ITC431-RW1F. Again the pics below should help put this beast in perspective.​

Mounting Options

The mount options for the HFW8442 are:​
  • PFA160-SG (Housing Bracket)
  • PFA150 (Pole Mount Bracket)
  • PFB716W-SG (Wall Mount Bracket)
Couple of important points here, IF you go with wall mounting then you will need the PFB716 + the PFA160 to give you the benefit of physical tilt, pan on the camera at point of installation. NOTE: I also looked at the engineering diagrams for these and found out that thanks to the hole alignment I was able to get this to work with a PFA120 junction box which as you know, I and others are a fan of. Due to this, I will be using the PFA120, PFB716 & PFA160 in this installation for testing.​

New Web GUI

Yep thats right a whole new web GUI for these new ultra AI cams and I’ll be breaking this down in post 3 with some screen grabs and explanations of how this new layout works, the options within it and some of the cool new features. Worth pointing out that there is no indication this is coming to current/older cams unfortunately but the future of the GUI looks good based on this cam.​

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Onto the specs.........

This is part of the Dahua Wizmind range so not only gets object filtering (Human, Vehicle, Non-Vehicle) as well as Face Recognition, Crowd Distribution Mapping, Video Metadata BUT no SMD on this model (understandable). NOTE: Under the hood and prying into the FW the cam also looks to support ANPR and I will be testing that too.​

Camera Details - Datasheet added to this 1st post as well

Image Sensor - 1/1.8” STARVIS™ CMOS + 1/1.8” STARVIS™ CMOS​
Effective Pixels - 2688(H) x 1520(V), 4 Megapixels​
RAM: 32GB​
ROM: 4GB​
Electronic Shutter Speed - 1/3s~1/100,000s​
Minimum Illumination
Color: 0.001Lux@F1.2;
B/W: 0.0002Lux@F1.2;​
0Lux (IR on)​
IR Distance - Up to 150m (492.13 ft)​
IR On/Off Control - Auto/Manual​
IR LEDs - 8 including dual light fusion​
Lens Information
Focal Length
Channel 1 = 8mm~56mm​
Channel 2 = 8mm~32mm​
Max. Aperture
Channel 1 - F1.2 (constant)​
Channel 2 - F1.6 (constant)​
Field of View
Channel 1
H: 42° ~ 10°​
V: 24° ~ 5.5°​
D: 47.5° ~ 11.5°​
Channel 2
H: 40° ~ 15°​
V: 23° ~ 9°​
D: 46° ~ 18°​
Close Focus Distance
Channel 1 - 2m - 3m (6.6ft to 9.8ft)​
Channel 2 - 2.5m - 6m (8.2 to 19.7ft)​
DORI Distance
Wide
Detect - 151.1m (495.4ft)​
Observe - 60.7m (199.1ft)​
Recognize - 30.3m (99.4ft)​
Identify - 15.1m (49.5ft)​
Tele
Detect - 400m (1312.3ft)​
Observe - 160m (524.9ft)​
Recognize - 80m (262.5ft)​
Identify - 40m (131.2ft)​
Size
Here’s the engineering diagram for dimensions and remember to check out the pics in post 2​


1616734083947.png


Breakdown Of Posts

As usual I will be covering configuration, AI setup for critical capture, tips and tricks on how to best utilize and obviously a rundown of image quality in day/night capture scenarios.
  1. Initial vids and pics in post 2,
  2. New web GUI pics and discussion in post 3,
  3. AI feature breakdown and testing in post 4,
  4. Tips, tricks on how any specific features to this cam work and other settings / menu functions in post 5
  5. Summary of findings / recommendations in post 6.
This review will take a little while to unpack due to mounting, AI options, dialing in the config and editing of the multi channel raw but bear with me as we take this new cam for a spin.

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Lastly before I break from the initial post, I hope all of you and your families continue to stay safe, sane and well.
 

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Wildcat_1

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Post #2 - Pictures / Videos

I mentioned the size of this cam above but engineering diagrams and words in general do not do it justice, so lets jump into some pics.
First the unit mounted to the PFB716W-SG with the PFA160-SG housing in place
8442 Mounted On PFB716-SG with PFA 160-SG Housing Bracket.jpg
Here it is face on, keeping an eye out with dual fusion and some heavy duty IR
8442 Face On.jpg
Now some comparison pics starting with piggybacking the 7442-Z4 & 5442 turret on the 8442

8442 vs 7442-z4 vs 5442.jpg 8442 vs 7442-z4 vs 5442 #2.jpg
Now comparing the 8442 vs a 59232 PTZ
8442 vs 59232.jpg
And finally, an overview for comparison of all of the above vs the 8442 in full mount
8442 vs 59232 vs 7442-Z4 vs 5442.jpg 8442 vs 59232 vs 7442-Z4 vs 5442 #2.jpg
 
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Wildcat_1

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Post #3 - 3.0 Menu

New Dahua Menu For 2021 Ultra AI Cameras - Walkthrough


I know its not the most stimulating video but as promised here is the new Dahua 3.0 menu walk through. I thought it was important to show for 2 reasons:
  1. This is the new menu system for 2021 Ultra AI cameras and there are a number of new features and layout options as well as an improved GUI
  2. This allows me to show you details relating to the 8442 camera and its configuration options
I go through each section (timestamped again for ease of viewing or jumping to a specific piece) and point out these new features + those configuration options specific to the 8442 along with some of the caveats or limitations you need to be aware of when setting up this camera.

I didn’t bother overlaying an audio track so kick back, put on some headphones, and take a look. Spoiler alert there are some really cool new features like Time Plan Settings in the Camera menu (that addresses a long time need of a lot of Dahua users), the number of streams this beast can support in the Encode section or the on-board AI features to name a few.

As always, let me know with any questions

 
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Wildcat_1

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Post #4 - AI Features & Video Tests

Video 1 - ANPR + Night Walk Around Testing


I’ve uploaded the first video in my testing of this camera. Its captured and edited in full 4MP so please be sure to select at least 1080p or ideally 2K/1440p (since YT doesn’t support native 4MP) resolution for playback.​
In this 18 (almost 19) minute video I take you through ANPR (day & night) + walk around at night across multiple exposures and lighting (including white light on board). I show you how you can use the dual sensors to ensure vehicle type + plate caps are gathered and focusing on wide vs tele FOV’s when using the sensors to provide overall coverage of a specific area. I built timestamps and chapters are in the YouTube description for quick access to the areas you may be interested in.​
All ANPR footage resulted in successful plate matches from Sensor (Channel) 1. Due to this, plates are slightly obscured but I tried to leave enough so you can see the performance/readability in these tests where possible. This camera is very capable and is able to hunt and utilize light extremely well. The 8442 even outperforms the 5A425 and B5442 sensors at 1/500 in same configuration and same lighting conditions. Although somewhat expected, as the 5A425 has an f1.6 to f4.0 (wide to tele) aperture and the B5442 has an f1.8, the 8442 just uses light available more efficiently while keeping noise at a minimum. Therefore this cam, the 8442 is more in line with performance from the 7442 sensors but even then performs slightly better still in the f1.2 sensor (same aperture as 7442)/ The f1.6 is also no slouch either :) and when used together for the same FOV coverage, really shine.​
With the night walk around testing I completed in this video, I leave both sensors at the same exposure therefore any differences you see are just those inherent of the different apertures of the sensor, f1.6 on sensor 2 and f1.2 sensor 1. I purposefully switched the sensors when moving from the ANPR FOV setup to the walk around so you can see performance of each in different situations.​
I will be capturing day walk around video + the new 3.0 menu walkthrough (for post 3) and then look at some further ANPR utilizing only white and soft light functions at night. I may also look at switching the sensors in other caps as well.​
Enjoy and please let me know with any questions​

Video 2 - Day Walk Around + Face Recognition + AI Live

All, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve captured and edited another video for you. This time the focus is on daytime performance of this camera with the addition of Video Metadata & Face Recognition testing. All details are in the video, lenses kept in sync from configuration perspective as noted. Timestamps as always, included in the description for your convenience. Uploaded again in 4MP (YouTube is still processing that stream so either wait or stream in 1080p and check back in later for the 4MP as it really is crisp. NOTE: AI Live caps are from a windows laptop capture so jerkiness there is from the fact it’s OOOOOOOOLLLLLLLDDDDDDDD.​
Take a look at the results. I’m really liking the Hyper DOF this can pull off and the way the camera handles manual focus. The Face Recognition in camera is superb as you’ll see. I set a recognition percentage of 90% (minimum) and it captures me with 97 & 99% accuracy. Nice to see the camera calls me by name ;)
By the way did I tell you, THIS CAMERA’S IMAGE IS NICE & SHARP !
Pasting here and in POST #4 for easy reference those joining the party late.​
 
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Wildcat_1

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Post #6 - Summary of Findings - Pro's, Con's, Bug's, Recommendations

** WARNING: LONG POST INCOMING **

After spending about 2-3 weeks with this camera I wanted to now provide the pro’s, con’s, bug’s and a summary based on my experience. Lets jump in. Lot of info below broken into categories by section with notes for easier viewing, didn't want to leave anything uncovered.

NOTE: First I want to address something that might confuse people. While this is classed as a dual sensor PTZ (which in a way is accurate), it should not be confused with a traditional full blown PTZ as those of course can rotate a full 360, can be called to a specific location via PTZ activation and have presets set for specific FOV’s. This camera combines 1 sensor with PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) capabilities and 1 sensor with TZ (Tilt, Zoom) capabilities and therefore is probably easier to understand when referenced as a dual sensor varifocal bullet cam BUT with the advantage of Pan Tilt Zoom (sensor 1) and Tilt Zoom (sensor 2). No presets or PTZ activation here. Hope that clears it up.

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Pro’s

  • Hyper DOF (Depth of Field)
    • This actually works as intended and is VERY GOOD, not a gimmick
    • You can set a manual focus with crazy DOF and it will remain between profiles making it exceptionally useful when dialing in an FOV
    • Allows a separation of the target from the background generally seen on high end DSLR’s, Cine Cams etc and certainly a first (thats implemented well) on CCTV which lends itself to both human, face, and plate detection scenarios
  • Face Recognition In Cam
    • To see how this works in camera and can keep up (thanks to the SOC and whopping 32GB ram) is incredible, great accuracy, quick results
    • Easy to setup, easy to use and recognition is spot on
  • Sharpness
    • As I showed in my videos, these lenses are super sharp and perform well in day & night
    • This is not merely over processing as seen on some cameras but is truly optically sharp throughout the range
    • Assists in target acquisition, recognition and the results make it easy to forget this is only 4MP, not 4K
  • Night Performance
    • With the aperture of the sensors, overall light handling capabilities + the sharpness of the lenses, capturing usable images at night (human or ANPR) works very well, just remember to dial in
    • Due to this camera’s ability to hunt and use light, you find you can drop exposure/shutter to lower levels, preserve motion (without blur) + capture plates and vehicle identification with little noise
    • These sensors are a step up from the 7442’s (and they are no slouch either) and show this through their performance when operated in the same environment
  • Light Options
    • There are options for every lighting scenario you can think of, Full White Light, Soft White Light, IR, Blend
    • IR on lens 1 is SUPER bright as in you see it a mile off :) so if looking for a discrete install this is hard to hide at night
    • You have more than enough IR to use for most situations even out to around 120’ of usable light and can augment with the other on camera light options too should it be needed
  • Overall Image Quality
    • I discussed sharpness above but in addition, colors are well saturated, skin tones kept true and quality of the image is very high
    • Noise levels are super low (day or night) and any noise that does appear is easy to mitigate by reducing gamma slightly
    • Allows for you to adjust noise reduction lower than you might normally and still get a usable image without too much ‘crawl’
    • Chromatic aberration is kept to a minimum regardless of range
  • New Menu System
    • The embedded 3.0 menu system in the 2021 Ultra Line is a fantastic upgrade
    • Menu’s are snappier (except for bugs, see below), feel cleaner, more well laid out
    • Tabbed approach and being able to flick between open tabs (akin to Web GUI on 5xxx NVR’s running v4 FW) is a really nice touch
    • A HUGE win for the menu is the addition of the time of day by month scheduling which is absolutely phenomenal. The ability of adding the extra profile types (including custom) is a great benefit and combined with the day/month approach makes it easier than ever to set for Sunrise/Sunset adjustments through the year proactively while keeping the benefit of granular configuration by profile
  • Power of the SOC + RAM
    • I said up front that this camera should be no slouch and it did not disappoint
    • The camera responds super quick to its duties. As you saw in my daytime ANPR video, even when multiple cars come into FOV at the same time, the camera is able to process multiple vehicles and plates with ease
    • The power this camera has enables the huge amount of streams it can support. In short you shouldn’t run out of stream options. To recap here are the number of supported streams all of which can run at 30fps and up to 17.6K bitrate per stream:
      • Sensor 1 - 1 x 4MP Stream + 2 x full HD streams
      • Sensor 2 - 1 x 4MP stream + 1 x full HD stream

Con’s & Bugs (All Bugs Reported to Dahua & Andy)

  • POE vs AC Power
  • Bug 1 - Camera sometimes resets to previous settings
    • This is definitely a FW issue that needs to be resolved. Reported this back to Andy & Dahua
  • Bug 2 - Focus & Zoom Menu Settings
    • These can sometimes disappear from the menu and require a browser restart to re-activate. Definitely appears to be activex/webplugin related. Reported back to Dahua
  • Bug 3 - Menu System Becomes Unresponsive
    • I’ve noted that on a few occasions the web menu locks up completely. Many times a simple browser restart will assist, pointing again to code base
  • Bug 4 - Auto Focus Sometimes Doesn’t ‘Adjust’
    • Every so often I noted that when not using Hyper DOF and Manual focus that Auto Focus did not adjust, this looks to be a hold over from previous setting i.e if you used manual first then auto focus that it doesn’t save the change (even though the web GUI acknowledge a save). This may be tied to bug 1 above
  • Bug 5 - PTZ Functionality Not Recognized by Current NVR FW
    • Currently on a 5216 you cannot Pan and Tilt the lenses on this unit as its not recognized as a ‘true PTZ’ therefore camera web GUI has to be used to compose your FOV


Neutral / Other Thoughts

  • Future Consideration - Constant Aperture on Both Sensors
    • Would be great to have constant aperture the same (f1.2 in this case) on both sensors of a dual sensor unit BUT understand that the secondary lens is a smaller unit in smaller housing so is remarkable what they are able to pull off. Either way, matching aperture on both sensors in the future would allow for more consistent image matching across an FOV. Don’t get me wrong, the f1.2 & f1.6 work very well (take a look at the videos) BUT either way, nice to have.
  • PTZ Term Can be Confusing For Some
    • While its sold as a PTZ and realistically is (for 1 lens) it cannot be used to move the focal length or position of the lens through a overwatch, spotter arrangement using PTZ activation + presets. The 2nd lens as I mentioned only features Tilt & Zoom therefore this would be great to see the limitation of each sensor called out clearer and maybe a new term is needed to avoid confusion.
  • Light Controls
    • White light works very well but is conical in shape and does have a drop off. In Auto mode this adjusts quickly and ensures that the subject is not washed out. In comparison to 250w LED’s it lights the subject quite evenly even when set to full
    • Full IR adjustment available on sensor 1 but sensor 2 is just a brightness slider only, no option for near vs far which can limit (depending on installation) the effectiveness of the IR on sensor 2. Same for white & soft light. Not a deal breaker but something to bear in mind
  • Cost
    • I place this in neutral because for some this will be an expensive unit but you have to balance the cost of this unit (still unknown but should have it soon) with the fact you are getting 2 very capable sensors in an ultra line camera (Face Recognition. ANPR) within 1 unit. Therefore my guess is that this camera will not see change from $1000 but when you compare 2 x 7442-Z4’s around $500 a piece that is to be expected
  • ANPR
    • I've added this to the Neutral (instead of con’s) only because it impacts multiple cameras not just this one, there are options to mitigate as I mention below and due to impact I’ve ensured the visibility of the issue is high with Dahua and Andy and I believe a fix is currently being investigated.

      The ANPR function performs extremely well and doesn’t miss a capture even in dense vehicle environments BUT unfortunately the current implementation of the underlying database does not support US license plates correctly (doesn’t understand the format of all plates). Due to this, while a clear plate is captured, letters and numbers identifiable and the camera truly acknowledging a plate was processed, the database cannot match all of the formats so can show an Unknown Plate. Pass this through another source (AI NVR, 3rd Party Processor, Plate Recognizer Plugin for BI etc) or just review the plate capture and you get hits on every occasion.

      UPDATE: I’ve contacted Andy & Dahua on this and they are looking into correcting this. I’ve asked that the code pertaining to the ITC traffic range for in-camera DB be utilized in a fix for this camera as those traffic cams have a specific US database. More to come


Summary
Overall in my testing I’ve found this to be an exceptionally versatile (with the exception of it’s size for some) and certainly powerful camera. The ability for a business (small, medium, large, enterprise) or homeowner (where it can be accommodated) to have 1 camera with 2 sensors monitoring an FOV wide and tele + processing multiple Face Recognition & ANPR targets in realtime is phenomenal.​
Taking ANPR (through on camera AI vs 3rd party) for a second,. When framing your shot and FOV to enable ANPR on AI cams you need to ensure the camera identifies the target as a vehicle first then with that it will actively look to process the ANPR via AI (as I detailed in my What About AI section HERE). This is sometimes hard to do with 1 camera based on install, angle, distance to target AND need for long focal length to ensure large shot of plate. Add the complexity of usually having to increase shutter speed at night to ensure crisp plate capture and this can ruin a single sensor camera’s ability to detect a vehicle in the first place therefore not categorizing as AI and leading to unprocessed events. This camera removes that hurdle with its dual sensors. You are able to have 1 sensor left wide, detecting vehicle + plate and 1 sensor full tele with close up of the plate itself.​
While there are some quirks and a few bugs that I’ve listed above that do need to be ironed out by Dahua, we also have to remember that this camera is so new, it came straight from exiting a development teams hands and still does not have a price yet. I have no doubt that these issues will be fixed, in fact there is now new FW however this is the Chinese language version so I’ll be waiting for the English language to be uploaded so I can test.​
For the intended audience of medium, large, enterprise businesses with applications in parking garages, entrances, access enforcement, intersections, highways, Face Recognition or ANPR situations that can scale to accommodate lots of targets, this camera is ideal. For the homeowner, if you can accommodate the size then this can work and serve as a very capable camera just realize that although targets will have a harder time to hide from the cameras processing ability and image quality that its also harder to hide the unit itself :)
What is most interesting to me however is that this shows how dual sensors are starting to be implemented with improvements in AI and optics and with more on the horizon I don’t doubt that this will become a staple in the Dahua & Hik portfolios. As these increase in product ranges so the size of the footprint will reduce and based on volume so will the price.​
If these sensors in the 2021 Ultra Line are anything to go by, the future looks very bright from a sensor offering even for those single sensor units employing this tech. Therefore this camera represents a look at the future today and with the image quality, low noise and speed of processing AI on camera, in my opinion this is something to get excited about​
Thanks to @EMPIRETECANDY for providing this unit for review. Hope you’ve enjoyed it and please let me know with any questions​


WC
 
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Mike A.

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Damn... That thing is HUGE.

Was not expecting THAT large. lol

Curious to see in operation.
 

catcamstar

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Indeed, looking forward to see some footage.

With such dimensions, one can load a cannon in it, and shoot darn perks. bam! :p
 

tech101

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LOL, I guess I am getting an idea of what cam I will be adding soon haha Thank you! Waiting for the video / performance in low light.
 
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