Hikvision models are more expensive than the budget-minded Amcrest IP security cameras. That’s just a fact. With that said, is it really just a debate of cost-effectiveness versus the kind of quality you can get when money is no object? Or is Hikvision overpriced and Amcrest gives you more bang out of your buck when push comes to shove? Many people have emailed us about this topic, which we now wish to cover. As a brief summary of the article, Amcrest gives you a cheaper alternative while Hikvsion is a little more expensive but is worthwhile.
What is the bottom line regarding Amcrest vs Hikvision? Keep on reading to find out. We will cover comparable models that the two companies have made in terms of performance and features. How big is the gap between Amcrest and Hikvision if there’s a gap at all?
All About Amcrest
Amcrest Technologies is actually a rebranding effort by one Focsam U.S. back in 2016. Focsam U.S., also known as Focsam Digital Technologies used to serve as an independent reseller rather than a standalone company. They specifically resell wares supplied by their Chinese manufacturer and supplier parent company known as Focsam Shenzhen. This changed in 2016 when Focsam U.S. got undercut by Focsam Shenzhen (allegedly). According to Focsam U.S., they had no other recourse but to cut away from Focsam Shenzhen.
From the dissolution of that partnership was born Amcrest Technologies. Amcrest curiously launched affordably yet quality security cameras that outdid Focasm security cams (which never had a great reputation for quality, to begin with). Amcrest cameras are known for their reputation of being high quality, reliable, and well-supported by customer services and help desks. This is the brand that surprises many in regards to their high-quality offerings relative to their price or even beyond that, with their wares surpassing even the greats of the DIY home use security cam market.
All About Hikvision
If you’ve been trying out Do-It-Yourself (DIY) security cam solutions for quite a while then you’ve doubtlessly heard about Hikvision. The company primarily markets its wares to professional installers. They have no interest in general public retail or private home security. However, they still impacted the DIY market somewhat due to their affordable IP cameras that you can DIY install yourself. They’re full of features you’d see in a professional installation, even.
You can get to enjoy features like 3MP sensors, which were available in professional-level security cameras but weren’t even heard of in DIY security Wi-Fi cameras for home use back in 2015. The Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I is one particular camera of note during that era. Several years back, they launched the EZVIZ retail brand, which is also the name of their cloud app. It provides user-friendlier versions of Hikvision cameras, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on the main brand instead to get their peak quality wares.
Amcrest vs. Hikvision
Without further ado, here’s the deal when it comes to Amcrest vs. Hikvision. For the purposes of this article, the specific cameras involved will be the Amcrest IP8M-2496EB versus the Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I.
- Why Those Two IP Cameras? Instead of using the DS-2CD2083G0-I, the cheapest Hikvision camera available, it’s instead prudent to present the more powerful Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I for the discerning consumer even with its slightly higher price. Also, even though 4K resolution might sound like a buzzword to you, that’s the peak resolution you can get from the 8MP Amcrest IP8M-2496EB, one of the most cost-effective Amcrest cameras around. Practically everyone’s selling 8MP IP security cams nowadays though.
- The Consumer’s Point of View: From a consumer’s point of view, as good as the Amcrest IP8M-2496E is (it’s the only 8MP bullet camera available from Amcrest), the Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I is simply the better camera all-in-all. It’s the best model to compare to the Amcrest due to it challenging the “more bang for your buck” marketing strategy of the rebranded company. Speaking of rebranding, the IP8M-2496E is actually a rebranded Dahua IPC-HFW4831E-SE.
- Hardware Features of the Darkfire Series: Which has the better hardware features? The Darkfighter series is the brand line where the model DS-2CD2085G1-I belongs to. They’re composed of ultra low-light cameras that feature night vision and color video during low-light conditions (such as 0.002 lux). These cameras can also use infra-red technology to give you standard black-and-white night vision video for your security needs. However, the camera doesn’t have a colorful technology that does color night vision. It also lacks the AcuSense feature that keeps false alarms to a minimum.
- Amcrest Lack The Starlight Technology of Dahua: AcuSense is the feature that ignores tree movement, lights, animals, and birds so that the alarm is only triggered when real people end up in your property or something. These are available with premium Hikvision camera lines but not with the model DS-2CD2085G1-I. Meanwhile, Dahua cameras make use of Starlight, their own propriety night vision tech. It has a full-color night vision itself. Unfortunately, Amcrest cameras lack Starlight and can only get full-color night vision at a mere 0.3 lux at 1/30 shutter speed before switching to IR for black-and-white night vision.
- The Battle of Sensor Sizes: Amcrest has a smaller sensor at 1/2.5″ versus the 1/2″ of the Hikvision. The larger sensor is required due to Hikvision’s use of Darkfighter tech. The size of the sensor is required when it comes to maximizing a camera’s ability to discern objects in near darkness. The bigger the sensor the greater the light-gathering ability of the security camera. However, as more pixels are added to the same size of the sensor, they get tinnier and tinier, which then results in noise and artifacts. A low-light video with noise is as rough to look at as a pitch-black picture since it reduces video detail.
- Wide Dynamic Range and Certified Durability: Both Amcrest and Hikvision have the 120dB WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) to help improve video quality when dealing with high-glare or daylight conditions, so they’re equal in the glare department so that your video won’t be obscured by intense light reflection. The cameras are also quite durable in that they’re both made of metal and IP67-certified. This means that their ingress protection is at the same level and provided you don’t get a defective unit, they should last you a long, long time equally.
- More About IP67 and Vandal Ratings: Dahua has always used the IP67 certification for outdoor cameras while Hikvision only went for it instead of IP66. However, Hikvision has added IK10 to its bullet cameras while Amcrest lacks vandal protection certification. So for the individual cameras, they’re equal, but as far as the company and brand are concerned, Hikvision outdoes Amcrest. The main concern we have about Hikvision isn’t so much their wares but who owns them. The government of Mainland China has a stake in the company.
- VLAN Protection Might Be Needed: Hikvison’s Chinese roots present some moral and ethical quandaries for some consumers regarding privacy and spyware. You can lock down your Hikvision cameras with Virtual LANs to safeguard it from Chinese spying along with the rest of your DIY home security camera system. Going for the previously Chinese-owned Amcrest might not be any better but at least it cut ties with its Chinese parent company and has become an American company on its own. With that said, you can never be too careful so if you have VLAN, use it to safeguard your Amcrest camera system as well.
- Software Features of Amcrest and Hikvision: ONVIF/RTSP support, advanced motion detection, and NVR feature are the three pillars of software features you should be on the lookout for. All these work hand-in-hand to keep you from wasting battery power or electricity from false alarms and alerts. By having RTSP and ONVIF support, you can use it as a pro-DIY type for your NVR system or as a standalone IP camera. You have more options for usage and more configurations to specify to prevent your camera from becoming an automated mess that is triggered by birds and animals. Both camera types support ONVIF and RSTP.
- Regarding Motion Detection Ability: Amcrest lacks advanced motion detection. It can’t do object removal detection, unattended baggage detection, intrusion detection, or line crossing. Therefore, in this facet of security camera features, Amcrest is a false alarm magnet. The Dahua IPC-HFW4831E-SE that the Amcrest IP8M-2496E is based on has all such features, so hopefully, in the future, Amcrest will incorporate more of the IPC-HFW4831E-SE into the IP8M-2496E. Meanwhile, the Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1 covers all of these features, making it the smarter and superior camera that reduces your false alarms to nil or at least nearly zero.
Like in the debate regarding which is superior, HDMI vs. component video (YPbPr), it’s the same deal with Amcrest vs. Hikvision. This time around, it’s Hikvision that’s HDMI (leagues above in terms of quality) and Amcrest is a component video (can compete with HDMI relative to cost in some areas but ultimately is the lesser brand). If your budget can spare enough to get Hikvision, go with Hikvision. If not, you can finagle a good deal with Amcrest, which (unlike the obsolete component video technology) is finding its footing in the world of IP security cameras.
- Daniel Ross, “Hikvision vs. Amcrest – The Most Popular IP Cameras Compared“, VueVille, Retrieved September 23, 2020
- “Hikvision Original DS-2CD2085G1-I“, Amazon.com, Retrieved September 23, 2020
- “Amcrest UltraHD 4K (8MP) Outdoor Bullet POE IP Camera“, Amazon.com, Retrieved September 23, 2020