The Dahua 4 Megapixel IPC-HDW4431EMP-AS is a turret style surveillance camera (sometimes labelled as “eyeball”) featuring 1/3” progressive scan CMOS and comes in 2.8mm, 3.6mm or 6mm lens size. This is one my favorite Dahua cameras, great picture quality, mic built-in and a sturdy metallic build. The weatherproof housing makes this camera a good solution for outdoor installations. The camera is equipped with one big LED IR which is separated from the camera sensor and has a range up to 50 meters (164 ft). What I like about this design is there’s no way to have glare or a situation where the IR bleeds into the sensor. The IR block and the sensor are in separate rooms, meaning there will be no glare effects.

IPC-HDW4431EM-AS retail box. The OEM one comes in brown box.

IPC-HDW4431EM-AS retail box. The OEM one comes in brown box.

The label on the box.

The label on the box.

The accessories that come in the box.

The accessories that come in the box.

Main features

  • 1/3” 4 Megapixel progressive scan CMOS
  • H.265&H.264 triple-stream encoding
  • 25/30fps@4M(2688×1520)
  • Smart Detection supported
  • WDR(120dB), Day/Night(ICR), 3DNR, AWB, AGC, BLC
  • 2.8mm fixed lens (3.6mm ,6mm optional)
  • Built-in Mic
  • Max. IR LEDs Length 50m
  • Micro SD memory, IP67, PoE

Installation

This Dahua turret surveillance camera is fully metal, including the eyeball where the camera is housed and the base. Compared to the other cameras I’ve reviewed it feels relatively heavy and gives the impression of a heavy-duty camera.

To start the installation you should stick the position map on the ceiling (or wall) and drill the holes following the template holes on the map, afterwards insert three expansion bolts into those drilled holes. Next step is to disassemble the camera parts. First take off the base of the camera by half unscrewing it on the side. Install the base in the ceiling with three screws. Place the dome body and the dome enclosure together and start installing in the base but not screwing all the way. Angle the dome body correctly than you can fully screw the housing. I found the installation of this camera a bit frustrating, it’s not difficult though, it just needs a little bit patience when angling the camera in the desired position. The last step is to put the final small screw on the side (top) of the base.

Camera is out from clamping ring.

Camera is out from clamping ring.

The Dahua IPC-HDW4431EMP-AS turret camera supports micro-SD card, in case you need the camera to record independently. You need to open up the whole camera in order to find the card slot, check the picture below to see where the slot is located. The camera is IP67 weatherproof and comes with IK10 vandal-proof protection as well. In the old 3 megapixels version I had many issues with the water getting in through the microphone hole, however Dahua fixed this issue on the 4 megapixel version.

It's difficult to locate the micro SD slot on this camera. It supports up to 128Gb.

It’s difficult to locate the micro SD slot on this camera. It supports up to 128Gb.

Hardware is included for surface-mounting the camera (such as directly to the ceiling) but you can also incorporate an optional Dahua brackets, such as: junction box (model: PFA139), wall mount (model: PFB204W) or pole mount (model: PFA152). The wall mount is very useful, since it will extend the camera from the wall, hence giving a better view and angle. Moreover the whole setup will look sleek, however it depends from your location.

Bracket for this camera: junction box (model: PFA139), wall mount (model: PFB204W) or pole mount (PFA152).

Brackets for this camera: junction box (model: PFA139), wall mount (model: PFB204W) or pole mount (model: PFA152).

Configuration

To start the configuration you need to connect your camera to your network using the Ethernet cable. There are two ways to achieve this: using the PoE option (make sure the router/switch port supports PoE) or powering up the camera via the power adapter (DC12V, 600mA). When the camera gets powered, the IR light with turn on for a few seconds then will go off (this way you can tell whether the camera is getting power). Run the Configuration Tool and normally the IP of the camera will be listed there. The default IP is 192.168.1.108, modify it to match your network.

After you run the Configuration Tool the camera will be listed there in its default IP address.

After you run the Configuration Tool the camera will be listed there in its default IP address.

Modify the IP address to match your network. Or you can leave the default IP of your network is 192.168.1.1.

Modify the IP address to match your network. Or you can leave the default IP of your network is 192.168.1.1.

Use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox ESR to access the camera. The webplugin needs to be installed and allowed to use all the functions. One the Live tab you can check the live feed and switch between the Mainstream and Substream. There are a few other options there such as: snapshot (single or triple), manual live recording, digital zoom, changing the aspect ratio etc.

If the plugin in not installed correctly you will get a "Failed to Login" message.

If the plugin in not installed correctly you will get a “Failed to Login” message.

This is the Live tab. There are many features here such as: snapshot, zoom, manual recording etc.

This is the Live tab. There are many features here such as: snapshot, zoom, manual recording etc.

Under the Camera, on Conditions you can adjust the image settings such as Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness. The default settings work good on most of the setups, however depending on your location you may play around with the image till you’re happy. The Anti-flicker settings must be on Outdoor if the camera is going outside or 60HZ for the installations taking place in USA (if the camera is set to 50HZ the picture may flicker).

The image settings. Don't forget to set the Anti-Flicker correctly.

The image settings. Don’t forget to set the Anti-Flicker correctly.

The WDR can be enabled on the Backlight section. Dynamic Range is the difference in light levels in an image, between the darkest and the brightest areas. On an overcast day with little sun and few shadows, there will be a fairly low dynamic range, i.e. there will be no areas of deep black and no extreme bright spots. On a sunny day, however, in a scene with distinct shadows, there will be a greater difference between the brightest and darkest areas, and this is what we call a wide dynamic range or WDR. This camera comes with True WDR (120dB) optimizing both the bright and dark areas of a scene at the same time hence providing a usable video.

The WDR can be enabled on the Backlight section.

The WDR can be enabled on the Backlight section.

On the Camera > Video you can modify the video settings. You may need to change the encode mode to H265 which uses more complex encoding algorithms and will produce better quality video at an equivalent transfer rate, saving a lot of hard drive space at the same time (more about H.264 vs H.265 on this article). The max frame rate for 4MP is 20fps (2688×1520), it can be lowered in case you want to have save space on the hard drive. The bitrate for 4MP should be between 4-8 Mb/s. As you can see on the picture below, there are two modes Mainstream and Substream. Mainstream is what’s going to be recorded/stored on the hard drive, the Substream is set on lower settings (resolution, bitrate) and it’s meant when the system/camera is accessed remotely via phone (so it can load faster). However on the app you can switch between Mainstream and Substream.

Here you can modify the video settings. In this case it shows where to enable the H.265.

Here you can modify the video settings. In this case it shows where to enable the H.265.

The Motion Detection can be found under Event and then Video Detect. Make sure the Motion is enabled and you can adjust the other settings. For example the motion can be enabled only on certain timeframes (to adjust click Period). The motion can be linked in order to get emails, or have snapshot stored on hard drive, show a message on the monitor or even make is beep (when connected to a recorder). On the Region function, you can exclude parts of the image that you don’t want the camera to be triggered from. Let’s say there’s a tree on your backyard that is triggering your camera, using this feature you can exclude the tree from picture.

On the Region section you can change the Sensitivity and the Threshold. Also you can create areas with different sensitivities or even exclude certain parts from the picture (so it doesn't trigger the camera).

On the Region section you can change the Sensitivity and the Threshold. Also you can create areas with different sensitivities or even exclude certain parts from the picture (so it doesn’t trigger the camera).

This camera comes with another interesting feature: Audio Detection. Meaning the camera can use the built-in mic to detect audio/noises from the environment and by doing so triggering the camera/NVR to record. For a better performance you can adjust the sensitivity and the threshold. Extra options include customizing the schedule (period), set the camera to take snapshot or send emails.

Audion Detection works the same way as the Motion Detection, except the camera will get triggered by the noise/audio picked up from the environment.

Audion Detection works the same way as the Motion Detection, except the camera will get triggered by the noise/audio picked up from the environment.

Another interesting feature is the Face Detection, which works good only if the camera is mounted properly. Basically the camera shouldn’t be too high (otherwise the camera will see only the top of the head) or too low. To have more than 95% successful face detection rate you need the face to fill up 50% of the screen. All the faces detected are store on the hard drive on the NVR (or micro-SD) as snapshots. You can browse them regularly and by double clicking you can go on the playback at the moment the snapshot was taken. On the settings on Event > Face Detection you can set the target (min/max face size), the face enhancement feature and few other settings. IVS also supports Tripwire analytics, allowing the camera to detect when a pre-determined line has been crossed, ideal for business intelligence

This is where you enable the face detection.

This is where you enable the face detection.

Audio Performance

On the Audio section you can adjust the audio settings of the camera. Make sure it’s enabled on the Mainstream and Substream (for the phone). Also enable the Noise Filter for a better performance. Check your local laws before enabling the microphone. You may get in legal trouble if you record audio without consent.

For a better performance enable the Noise Filter.

For a better performance enable the Noise Filter.

The built-in mic performs well and it’s quite sensitive, especially if it’s an indoor setup. Outdoor works good as well, however if there’s a lot of wind hitting the camera the mic might become quite noisy. It’s gonna be less noisy if you install the camera in a protected spot. The camera has no option to hook up a speaker (so no two-way audio on this model). As shown above, you can use the built-in mic for audio detection.

Daytime and Nighttime picture quality

This Dahua surveillance camera has a great daytime picture: clear, sharp and good color accuracy. Judge by yourself by checking the clips below. In my opinion the picture is very warm and accurate. The setup shown below is in countryside, in a wooden area with very limited street light. The 2.8 mm lens offers a wide angle of 104 degree which provides a lot of coverage. If necessary you can use the WDR to deal with the images that have a high contrast.

For the night time the camera use a single IR (EXIR family, as the Hikvision turret camera) and is good up to 50 meters (165 ft). The nighttime performance depends on the street light as well, on the demos below the street light is very limited since the setup is on a countryside area. A good thing about the turret design is that there’s no chance for the IR to bleed/reflect on the camera sensor, hence avoiding the glare. Compared to the other full dome or mini dome cameras, this camera has a very good night time performance (same range as the Hikvision turret camera).

Conclusion

The Dahua 4 Megapixel IPC-HDW4431EMP-AS turret camera is good performance camera with a great daytime and nighttime picture quality. The fully metallic body and housing gives the impression of a sturdy and heavy-duty camera. The built-in mic is another interesting feature, it performs well and it gives you a solution when you don’t want to run a separate mic on a different wiring. Overall this is great camera for outdoor or indoor installations.

Note: There are two versions of this camera, one is the professional version featured on this article the other one is the cheap (light) version. I’ve used both of them and I don’t recommended to use the light version. The differences: 1) the light version uses an inferior chipset hence the color accuracy is not as good as the pro version, you may even get artifacts; 2) the light one is fully plastic, while the pro version is metal; 3) the light one is more prone to water damage; 4) the light version has a short lifespan (cameras go bad pretty soon). I’d suggest to always go for the metallic version. More reliable and better picture.