My top thirty tips for choosing and using HikVision products:
- Our recommended and bestselling camera is the HikVision 8MP turret camera - see also our HikVision 2385 turret camera review. We love turrets because of their flat faced, dual window design as this combats issues with rain, IR reflection and spiders.
- If you can afford to pay more, then the 2H85 version with motorised zoom may be more suitable as the focal length can be manually adjusted anywhere between 2.8mm – 12mm to match your exact required field of view.
- If you find that the 8MP turrets are over your budget but you’re still a fan of the design then don’t fret as they are also available in 3MP and 5MP variants! (2335, 2H35, 2355, 2H55)
- For applications which may require a longer night-time viewing distance than what the turret can provide (turret cameras provide a 30m / 90 feet IR range, beyond that, with any camera other than an operator-driven PTZ you will only see movement - not recognition or identification); you’d be best to buy a bullet camera which is also available in 3MP, 5MP and 8MP variants. – (2T35-I5, 2T55-I5, 2T55-I8, 2T85-I5, 2T85-I8). The –I5 variants provide a 50m max IR distance while the I8 provides an 80m max distance.
- We tend to only recommend dome cameras over turret camera if vandalism is a huge concern for the user. The domes come fitted with IK10 rated vandal proof housing (see our video explanation for IK ratings here ) but struggle with internal IR reflection.
- It’s best not to choose a camera from older generations for the sake of saving a few pennies. If I take the turret camera as an example, the R0 Family of turret cameras was introduced about three or four years ago (2312 & 2332 in 1.3MP and 3MP respectively). The R6 Family was introduced a couple of years later (2322 & 2342 in 2MP and 4MP respectively). The G1 Family was introduced in Spring 2017 (2335, 2355, and 2385 in 3MP, 5MP and 8MP respectively). Each new range introduced new features and better sensors. But also, as you would expect with any manufacturer, development work only continues with the current model range. Old ranges stop getting updated except for the very bare minimum security updates. The price difference between these series is minimal so we suggest you try to future proof your system as much as possible.
- Don’t let lux levels hugely influence your choice of camera. As far as low-light performance goes, the 2332 was better than the 2342 that replaced it, and the latest 2335 is THE best yet! It is hard to notice the difference between cameras with a performance rated at less than 0.01 Lux. Take a look at our Lux level chart for some information about how lux levels measure real life light levels.
- Some users find it difficult to come to a decision when choosing a focal length for fixed cameras. 2.8mm, 4mm, 6mm and 12mm lenses used to offer the same horizontal viewing angle to cameras within the same series. This is no longer the case with the newest EasyIP 3.0 series. Cameras in the EasyIP 3.0 series use different chip sizes for each resolution meaning that a fixed focal length will deliver a different horizontal viewing angle for the 3MP, 5MP and 8MP cameras; a 2.8mm lens in a 3MP turret would provide a 98° horizontal field of view while in a 5MP turret the same focal length provides 81° (We state the various viewing angles on each product page). Vari-focal (a lens you can adjust by hand) cameras and motorized zoom (a lens you can adjust remotely from your computer/phone) cameras give you the ability to adjust the view to match your scene anywhere between two fixed focal lengths e.g 2.8mm-12mm. This has the effect of packing all of the camera/chip resolution that you have paid for into the area that you are interested in. If your budget allows for a vari-focal camera then it is the best solution for your system. However, it of course comes at a price premium for the better/adjustable lens. There are a couple of Posts in this Forum that will help you to better understand and select the ideal fixed lens for your requirement. This one illustrates the viewing angle delivered by different fixed lenses. This one teaches you how to use just your fingers to assess the viewing angle you need. For a door or porch camera you will probably need a 2.8mm lens; people are very close, which means you actually need a wide view. Most of the sample back garden videos shown at our YouTube channel were captured with a 6mm lens, with the camera mounted at 4-5m height e.g. Our sample video for the 2385 can be found here.
- It’s really important for your cameras and NVRs to always be running the latest firmware. Please check for new firmware for your HikVision devices regularly. Nine months ago Hikvision’s back door vulnerability was exposed and fixed meaning that a firmware update was crucial; I am still updating firmware for our customers who are sending hacked cameras back to us for resetting and updating. Sign up for our email newsletter to receive notifications when significant updates are released. You should be able to find the latest firmware for your HikVision devices at their European Download Portal (Front-ends equals cameras / Back-ends is where you'll find NVRs and DVRs). Follow our simple guide to update HikVision Firmware if you need a hand.
- For 95% of people who select HikVision cameras, a HikVision NVR is THE best AND most cost-effective solution. It really is best to stick to one manufacturer when possible as this offers the most flexibility with configuration. Just add one or more HDDs and it'll be fully compatible with your HikVision cameras, provide POE power to them and be relatively easy to set up and view remotely. Our mega thread explains every step you’ll need to follow to get your Hikvision system up and running so take a look if you’re unsure about set up.
- For people who own a Hikvision system, HikVision's Hik-Connect web portal and Apps are also the best solution. Although a privately configured VPN access solution is more secure, (if you know that and are capable of configuring one you don't need my tips!) Hik-Connect offers a more simple set up and provides apps that work with this service - Hik-Connect in a nutshell. Please find more details and more videos on set up here.
- Install HikVision's SADP from the get-go, it's a simple Windows utility which will help you to find HikVision devices on your network, assign IP addresses etc.
- Use DHCP initially – this will let your router set a relevant and available IP address on your network for your devices. You can then untick DHCP and fix your device's IP address.
- Use Internet Explorer (or the IEtab extension in Google's Chrome browser, which emulates Internet Explorer) with your HikVision devices as the plug-in is unsupported on other browsers (Make sure you are using Internet explorer specifically and not Edge).
- Windows users - don't install HikVision's IVMS-4200 software - if you don't know a good reason for needing it, then you don't need it, just use your browser as this works just as well, if not better!
- Mac users - unfortunately, no manufacturer makes a simple utility for you - you will have to install IVMS-4200 for the Mac and use that instead of the simple SADP utility. At the time of writing, the latest Mac OSX and Safari work fine with HikVision products.
- If you have a HikVision NVR, then enable the Virtual Host feature - it provides you with clickable links in Camera Management to access and configure the cameras directly connected to the NVR (without this not all camera settings are accessible).
- Record continuously. It's the only way you can be sure to not miss anything. Video Motion Detection is impossible to perfect. With the introduction of H.265+video compression you can record continuously without using huge amounts of storage even with 8MP cameras.
- Record at the maximum resolution available from the camera - it's what you paid for!
- Hikvision cameras generally have a maximum frame rate of 20fps-30fps. You can hugely minimise your storage and bandwidth usage by lowering this to anywhere between 6fps-15fps (Our demo footage is recorded at 6fps). Your footage will still appear to run smoothly and you shouldn’t be able to notice a difference.
- Use h.265+ where possible as it is the most efficient CODEC, and therefore minimises bandwidth and storage use hugely. Only HikVision's latest G1/EasyIP 3.0 cameras offer the h.265+ CODEC and only suffix -k or -I NVRs can record with it.
- Use WD Purple HDDs. The drives literally cost as much as the NVRs these days! Buy a good one, made for the purpose of continuous CCTV recording and it will serve you long & well. We ship loads, and have done so for years, and see only a tiny amount of failures.
- You can't back everything up to the cloud, there's just too much data/bandwidth.
- If you want an ANPR solution, then you cannot beat the value of HikVision – they include ANPR features free of charge in their NVRs. However, you will need a specialist ANPR camera to utilise these features. Either the 4A25 or the 4A26 running ANPR firmware (you'll need to get this from your camera supplier. After loading this firmware both camera models become identical) can capture number plates day & night. Most ANPR applications tend to need the longer focal length (8-32mm) variant of the camera, unless you are close to the number plate. Always aim to read the front number plate and to have one camera per lane of traffic. More information about ANPR can be found here.
- HikVision Technical Support have their own YouTube channel, they post lots of 'How To' videos.
- Never buy Chinese versions of HikVision products - at some point you will 'brick' them while trying to update the firmware or simply by configuring them.
- Only buy HikVision products from the cheapest vendor you can find on the internet if you are confident you won't need their help & support at any time, now or in the future, this is especially relevant with eBay and Amazon sellers.
- We can only support our own customers one-to-one, there simply isn’t enough time to help the world! If you haven't bought from the use-IP Ltd webshop you are of course free to take advantage of all the help and support we make available free-of-charge in this Forum, at our YouTube channel, and at our IP camera reviews website. Incidentally, we receive password reset requests from strangers at the rate of more than one per hour throughout the day!
- The contact details for HikVision in the UK can be found here. Including a phone number and email addresses for Sales & Support.
- If you are not based in the UK, then contact details for their HQ in China and all of their other international offices can be found here.