Hikvision Darkfighter DS-2CD4B26FWD-IZS review

Top image quality, an IP67 rating and colour at very low light levels makes this a great choice for external surveillance

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£299
  • Excellent motion support; Great image quality
  • Expensive

Hikvision's Darkfighter is an IP camera for all seasons. This big 2MP bullet camera has an IP67 rating, indicating that it's dust-tight and able to survive the heaviest rainstorm. As the name implies, it's also designed to work even in very low light conditions.

This is no idle claim. We found the Darkfighter served up colour surveillance footage at light levels that would normally see a camera like this switch to black-and-white infrared mode. From our outdoor test location it delivered full colour images well after dusk, with only street lights to work with.

This wouldn't be useful if the images themselves were blurry and indistinct, but we found the live view was very sharply focused, with excellent colour balance and contrast. This quality was maintained in both our indoor and outdoor location tests, and even though the camera only has two IR LEDs, we found the claimed surveillance range of 20 metres was perfectly achievable once the evening became properly dark.

The camera is exceedingly well built -- it weighs a hefty 2kg -- and it offers a far more generous range of connection options than your average IP camera. No fewer than seven cables are routed out the back, offering analogue BNC, female 10/100 Ethernet, alarm input and output, RS-485 serial, audio in, audio out and a connector for the optional power supply.

There's also a waterproof slot cover underneath the camera, where you can insert a microSD card for local storage. It all comes with an internal bracket for wall or ceiling mounts, and for external mounting there's a junction box too to keep your cables dry.

Hikvision's tidy web interface provides easy access to a wealth of features. You can simply click buttons on the live view screen to change the aspect ratio, take snapshots, record to local or network storage and activate a mic and speaker connected to the camera's audio cables.

The camera can serve up three simultaneous live streams, but the primary one only supports H.264: we were able to access it with IE 11 and Firefox, but Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome wouldn't work. The second stream supports MJPEG, meaning it works in all browsers, but it's aimed at mobile users and only has a maximum resolution of 704 x 576 pixels.

Motion-detection support is excellent: you can define up to eight different areas to monitor, each with its own sensitivity settings. An arming schedule allowed us to decide when each zone was active on each day, and you can link events to actions such as recording to local or network storage, sending an email and triggering an alarm output to a device attached the camera's I/O block.

You can also configure different types of detection. Line-crossing detection triggers an alarm if an object or person moves through a line drawn on the live view: you can draw up to four lines and also set detection for either direction on one-way only.

Intrusion detection triggers an alarm if an object enters a predefined area or remains in it for up to 10 seconds, while video-tampering detection triggers an alert if an area in the live view is covered over.

There's also a target cropping option, which lets you draw a box around an area of interest and assign it to the third stream. If you see something occurring in the primary stream, you can switch to the third stream to focus on this region.

The kit includes Hikvision's iVMS-4200 software, which is a complete video management platform for multiple cameras. It worked fine with Windows 10, where it discovered our camera and offered recording and playback tools, e-mapping, event management and a video wall for up to 16 cameras.

Hikvision's Darkfighter bullet impressed us with its wide range of features, versatile software and excellent video performance, especially in low light. The IP67 rating makes it perfect for all-weather surveillance too, so even though it's a comparatively expensive camera, it's a great choice for businesses seeking surveillance without compromises.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 270

Verdict

Hikvision's Darkfighter bullet impressed us with its wide range of features, versatile software and excellent video performance, especially in low light. The IP67 rating makes it perfect for all-weather surveillance too, so even though it's a comparatively expensive camera, it's a great choice for businesses seeking surveillance without compromises.

1/1.8in. 2MP RGB CMOS 2.8-12mm, f/1.4 lens 1080p max res 25fps IP67 certified MJPEG/H.264 10/100 Ethernet PoE BNC I/O block RS-485 audio in/out micro-SD slot 2 x IR LEDs Hikvision iVMS-4200 video management software 100 x 312 x 104mm (WDH) 2kg wall mount bracket 2yr RTB warranty

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