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The Most Popular IP Cameras Compared

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Around these parts it’s well known that I am a fan of both and IP .

Hikvision is probably the most popular non-retail brand whereas Reolink is a very popular budget-friendly yet brand. They are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum.

While enthusiasts might balk at budget brands like Reolink and Amcrest, I am a big fan of only spending as much money as needed on this hobby. You don’t need the most powerful IP camera everywhere in your home. So there’s a place and application for all types of .

Having owned and used many cameras from both brands extensively, here’s my detailed take at Hikvision vs Reolink and which one may be right for you.

Hikvision vs. Reolink – the Stories behind the Brands

Hikvision

Unlike Reolink, Hikvision is not a retail brand. They are an OEM and primarily cater to professional installers. They are not really interested in retailing to the general public. But their affordable DIY IP cameras with powerful features and great build quality attracted DIY-ers like crazy. That’s also the reason I bought my first IP camera, the Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I back in 2015.

A couple of years ago, they launched their retail brand . Confusingly, used to be the name of their cloud app as well. Anyway the models are dumbed down versions of the Hikvision cameras and are not worth spending any money on. What about HiLook? Same story. That’s why I am focusing on the main Hikvision brand.

The biggest concern I have with Hikvision is not so much about their cameras, but who owns the company. The Chinese government owns at least a partial stake in Hikvision. This creates a few ethical and moral quandaries that I won’t go into here – you know what I’m talking about.

From a technical standpoint, you should treat any the same way – with maximum suspicion that they may be ‘dialing home’ to their manufacturers servers. So lock them down using Virtual LANs (VLAN) and strict firewall rules like I have in my DIY home system.

Reolink

Reolink is the brand name of IP cameras manufactured by Shenzhen Baichuan Security Technology Co., Ltd. which is an OEM. The parent company has been around for some time but their IP cameras never really took off.

But a few tears ago, they launched the Reolink brand and seriously upped their marketing game. This push paid off handsomely with Reolink pulling off an upset in the budget IP camera market.

Apart from solid build quality, super affordable pricing, and totally offline operation, what I really like about Reolink is the quality of their apps and PC software.

4MP IP Camera Duel – Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I vs. Reolink RLC-410

In 2020, everybody’s selling 8MP IP cameras. 4K resolution is the buzzword and 8MP is what you need to get 4K video.

However Reolink doesn’t yet have an 8MP model that is ONVIF compatible. So I’m going for the closest 4MP bullet from Hikvision, the DS-2CD2043G0-I.

From Reolink’s side, let’s pick the 4MP RLC-410 (also available in 5MP guise).

Hardware features – Hikvision vs. Reolink

The Hikvision and Reolink both have a 1/3″ CMOS sensor. You need to step up to a more expensive Hikvision model to get a larger sensor. The Darkfighter series even have 1/2″ sized sensors.

The size of the sensor has a huge bearing on the low light ability of a camera, whether it be a camcorder or a security camera. The larger the sensor, the greater its ability to gather light and so do well in low light conditions. But as you cram in more and more pixels into the same size sensor, they get smaller and smaller, which adds noise. Noise is the bane of low light video and reduces the detail that you can get out of your video.

Both cameras support Power over (PoE). But only the Hikvision has on-board storage in the form of a microSD card slot.

The cameras bodies are both made from metal but differing levels of ingress protection (IP67 for Hikvision and IP66 for Reolink). I am happy to see Hikvision have embraced IP67, they have always gone for IP66 for their outdoor IP cameras.

Neither have vandal protection (IK10), more expensive Hikvision bullets do have it these days.

Software features – Hikvision vs. Reolink

The three most important software features that I look for are ONVIF support, the built-in NVR feature, and the advanced motion detection features that help reduce false alerts. Why because if an IP camera has ONVIF and RTSP features, you can use it as a standalone IP camera or easily integrate it into a Pro-DIY type DIY like mine.

While Hikvision supports ONVIF and RTSP on all their IP cameras, Reolink is a real mix. The RLC-410 does support both protocols but the B400 model doesn’t.

ONVIF ensures that your camera will work with standards-compliant gear from other manufacturers. This is why you can add a Hikvision or Reolink camera to your ONVIF-compatible NVR or DIY NVR and integrate it into my smart home automation system.

RTSP allows even non-ONVIF equipment (such as software) to access the security camera’s video stream. Examples are video players like the popular VLC player or tinyCAM Monitor Pro on Android.

The Hikvision camera I have selected doesn’t have the AcuSense feature which reduces false alarms by ignoring birds, animals, lights and movement of trees. The Reolink doesn’t have anything similar.

The Hikvision has true 120dB Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) to help improve video quality in high glare situations. The Reolink has only digital WDR.

Hikvision cameras now support H.265+ which is a very efficient codec for encoding video streams. But Reolink is still stuck with the much older tech. The difference you will see is in the file size at the same bitrate. You can benefit from H.265+ by increasing the Hikvision’s bitrate to the max 16Mbps and still enjoy bandwidth and storage requirements comparable to the Reolink at its max 8Mbps bitrate.

Motion Detection ability

Reolink doesn’t have advanced motion detection features like line crossing, intrusion detection, unattended baggage detection, and object removal detection.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of these advanced motion detection methods in reducing false motion alerts.

The Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I has all these features.

So Hikvision gets the slight edge here if you are going to use it as a standalone IP camera without an NVR connected, or as part of a DIY NAS NVR system.

Warranty – Hikvision vs. Reolink

Hikvision products come with a limited 3-Year Warranty at B&H Photo. Please note that warranty will be honoured only if you buy from an authorised retailer like B&H Photo.

Reolink provides only a 1 year warranty.

So Hikvision wins easily here.

Verdict – Hikvision vs. Reolink

The Hikvision wins this duel thanks to its advanced motion detection abilities and longer warranty period.

The biggest advantage of Reolink is the super attractive price points.

Also check out the other recommendations on our best outdoor IP cameras list.

Summary comparison table

Here’s a summary of the full review in a nice and easy table:

Feature Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I Reolink RLC-410
DS-2CD2085G1-I 4K 8MP Outdoor IP Camera Dahua IPC-HFW1831E 4K 8MP Outdoor IP Camera
Product line Pro series
Hardware features Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I Reolink RLC-410
Sensor 1/3″ 4MP CMOS Sensor 1/2.7″ 4MP CMOS Sensor
Night Vision 850nm IR, Black & white night vision, IR cut filter with auto switch
IR Range 30m (92 feet) 50m (164 feet)
Minimum illumination Color: 0.01 Lux @ (F1.2, AGC ON), 0.018 Lux @ (F1.6, AGC ON), B&W: 0 Lux with IR B&W: 0Lux with IR on
Lens Type Fixed type
Lens Field of View (FOV) H (2.8/4/6/8mm): 103°/83°/51°/39°
V (2.8/4/6/8mm): 58°/45°/29°/22°
H (4mm): 80°
V (4mm): 42°
Metallic housing Yes
Ingress protection IP67 IP66
Vandal resistance No
DC 12V power Yes
Longest dimension 155mm 186mm
Dimensions Camera: Φ 70 × 155.03 mm (Φ 2.8″ × 6.1″) Φ67×186 mm
Power usage <7.5W (IR ON) <10W (IR ON)
Operating conditions -30 °C to +60 °C (-22 °F to +140 °F), Humidity 95% or less (non-condensing) -10°C~+55°C (14°F~131°F), Humidity: 10%~90%
Interfaces Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I Reolink RLC-410
PoE Yes, 802.3af
Ethernet port RJ-45 (10/100Base-T)
Wi-Fi No
SD Card Yes (128GB max) No
Alarm in/out No
Audio in/out No
Microphone No Yes
Software features Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I Reolink RLC-410
ONVIF, RTSP Yes
WDR Yes (120dB) No
Backlight compensation Yes
Encoding Main stream: H.265/H.264
Sub-stream: H.265/H.264/MJPEG
Third stream: H.265/H.264
Main and Sub-stream: H.264
Max Resolution 2688×1520 (4MP) @ 25/30fps 2560×1440 (4MP) @ 25fps
Max bitrate 16 Mbps 8 Mbps
Simultaneous streams Up to 6 channels 12 simultaneous video streams (10 substreams & 2 mainstreams)
3D Noise Reduction Yes
Built-in NVR Yes Yes but no microSD card slot
Network storage NAS (Supports NFS, SMB/CIFS), FTP, ANR NAS, FTP, Local PC
Max users Up to 32 users Up to 20 users
Alert events Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I Reolink RLC-410
Email alerts Yes
Push alerts Yes
Simple motion detection Yes
Audio Detection No
Line crossing detection Yes No
Intrusion detection Yes No
Abandoned/Missing object detection Yes No
Scene change detection Yes No
Face detection Yes No

Where to buy

  • Hikvision DS-2CD2043G0-I at B&H Photo (Authorised retailer) or on your local Amazon website.
  • Reolink RLC-410 at local Amazon website.

A quick note: This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and then purchase something, we may receive a fee. This does not cost you anything extra. Also note that Hikvision and Dahua do not consider certain platforms including Amazon as an authorised seller platform, so we recommend instead B&H Photo who are authorised resellers of Hikvision and Dahua products.

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