Hikvision Network Cameras Guide 2018

Network or IP security cameras

A network camera (often called an IP camera) is basically a CCTV or security camera that has a computer built-in. Most network cameras can independently monitor, detect and send (push) notifications to computers in a home network, or on the Internet, mobile phones, smart phones or any email address. Some can also record footage locally to SD cards or to Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives, upload snapshots to FTP and much more. In a sense they perform the function of a camera and Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or Network Video Recorder (NVR) combination.

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 authorized seller platform. So if you need warranty support please purchase from authorized resellers of Hikvision and Dahua products in your country.

Hikvision – who are they?

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd. popularly known as simply Hikvision, is a Chinese surveillance product company started in 2001. It is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. It claims to be the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products and solutions including security cameras. Indeed, many of the popular security camera brands (such as Swann and older Lorex) are rebranded Hikvision products. Hikvision is a name that is quickly becoming popular in the home security and surveillance market owing mainly to their inexpensive but reliable and high performance network (or IP) security cameras and Network Video Recorders (NVR). In a crowded market with names such as Dahua and Foscam, Hikvision stands out as a great first choice for a network camera.

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Network camera range

Hikvision divides their network cameras into three product lines, rather interestingly called 2-Line, 4-Line and 6-Line. Please note that these terms have nothing to do with the analog resolution term ‘lines’ (TVL). Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera models are not included in the scope of this guide, as they are more expensive and probably not of interest to the average homeowner.

What can these cameras do? As a standalone device, they do not need a computer to function. So if you are looking for an inexpensive, simple, energy bill friendly CCTV solution that you can monitor through email, FTP, or from your smartphone, without having to run a computer 24/7 the Hikvision cameras are perfect.

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Model naming convention

The full Hikvision IP camera naming convention is:
‘DS-2CD’ ‘1234’ F/H/WD – I (A) (H) (P) (S) (W) (Z)

  • A fixed prefix:
    • ‘DS-’, then
    • ‘2CD’, then
  • 4 digits:
    • product line number 2,4,or 6
    • a digit from 0 to 5 representing the type of IP camera.
    • a digit representing the number of megapixels.
    • a digit representing – currently unknown.
  • The next set of alphabets of F, H or WD indicate the presence of certain features:
    • F indicates Flash memory. This means that the model has the on-board flash storage option. Remember you will have to add a suitable SD-Card.
    • H indicates a built-in heater.
    • WD indicates Wide Dynamic Range (WDR).
  • The suffices are:
    • I indicates a true IR cut filter with auto day/night switch.
    • A indicates Auto back focus.
    • H indicates HD resolution (1080p).
    • P indicates P-iris.
    • S indicates Sound or what Hikvision calls Smart Audio Detection – 2 way audio using either inputs or a mic and a built-in speaker as in some indoor models.
    • W indicates WiFi.
    • Z indicates a Motorized VF lens.
    • The last digit indicates the range of the camera infrared LEDs. Model specific details can be found below.

For the Hikvision NVR model naming convention, check our detailed NVR Buying Guide.

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Product lines

We have grouped Hikvision’s network camera range so that you can easily find the model you are looking for.


Fixed focus / Standard IR LED

MegapixelsFixed BulletFixed DomeMini Dome / Turret / Eye-ball
DS-2CD2E20F (-W)

Fixed focus / EXIR LED

MegapixelsBullet (30M Range Dual EXIR)Bullet (50M Range Dual EXIR)Bullet (80M Range Dual EXIR)Mini Dome / Turret / Eye-ballCube

As one of our readers pointed out, the last digit in the DS-2CD2T32-I3 / DS-2CD2T32-I5 / DS-2CD2T32-I8 models represents the claimed range of the infrared LEDs:
I3 = 30 metres
I5 = 50 metres
I8 = 80 metres

Variable focus / Standard IR LED



Box camera

MPStandardWDRLow Light

Bullet camera

MPStandardWDRLow Light

Indoor Dome / Standard IR LED

MPStandardWDRLow Light

Outdoor Dome / Standard IR LED

MPStandardWDRLow Light


Ultra lowlight

Ultra lowlightFisheye IRCovertIntelligent
3MP-Not launched yet-Not launched yet
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Where can I buy them?

Hikvision network cameras have good reviews on the Internet and we you can check out our reviews of the Hikvision 2CD-2132F-IS and the Hikvision 2CD-2542FWD-IS. The cameras are officially allowed to be sold via designated distributors only, however it is often cheaper to source them directly from China via AliExpress or via Amazon.


You can read more Amazon user reviews and buy them here:

[content-egg module=Amazon template=custom/compact limit=4]

View on your local Amazon site

As always on an online marketplace, please ensure you are buying from a genuine seller.

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More resources

Full product catalogue (PDF)
Hikvision Web catalogue

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I am Daniel and VueVille is where I document my DIY smart home journey. I focus on 100% local-processing and local-storage because that’s the only way to secure my family’s safety and privacy. Oh and I don’t like monthly subscriptions!

  1. Hi,

    I was wondering what it means if a letter in the end is in brackets

  2. Hello,
    I’m new to the home security system . I’m building a new home so I wanted to put a couple of smart tracking cameras up. I have it narrowed down to 2 cameras that I have in mind, the first one is the hikvision ds-2de4a425iw-de and the other was the ds-2de4a225iw-de, I guessing they both have smart tracking also will the NVR ds-7608ni-12/8p series 8- channel 12mp NVR with 4tb of storage handle the two smart tracking cameras?
    Kindest regards

  3. Brilliant site! Great info/advice

    I’m looking at cameras for outdoor applications. Need 3 longer range cameras and was thinking 2CD2T42WD-I8 with a suitable lens to capture the desired angle. What day time range do you think this would achieve (image doesn’t need to be perfect at extent)? Im hoping to achieve 100m+.

    Also looking at the 2CD2342WD for shorter range coverage (30-40m). Must be good at nights. Is this the right camera? Don’t need audio. I assume the EXIR feature is something i need?

    Will run the cameras via 230V power and send image to NVR via wifi… which Wifi transmitter / receiver setup would you recommend? I will need to order the power cables as additional… how do they plug into the camera if they don’t come as standard?


    • Thanks Todd! The 2CD2T42WD-I8 has been replaced by the DS-2CD2T43G0-I8 which should do the trick with a 8mm lens. The 2CD2342WD turret cams are great for night time thanks to the EXIR LEDs.

      These are PoE cameras, you need to feed them power using a PoE injector or a PoE network switch. I don’t recommend using Wi-Fi for security cameras, because Wi-Fi is not robust enough for security purposes. You can power the cameras by feeding them 12V but PoE is a far better option – see why in this blog post.

  4. Hi,

    Glad to have found this site !!! – I’m learning what is needed for HickVision or similar system.

    Do the PoE cameras take audio back to the NVR via the RJ45 ethernet connector?

    • IP cameras (with or without PoE) are by definition digital cameras. If they support audio, then the audio signal is digitally sent through the RJ45 cable just like the video data is sent.

  5. Hi. Really like your write ups.Good info always. Would you know if these cameras WDR DS-2CD2442FWD-IW 2.8mm support push notifications via email or in app messages. How to power up these cameras without running ethernet cables all over the house? Found one on Amazon that does not come with a power cable which i dont mind as im in Australia. It’s a rental.TP-LINK TL-PoE150S PoE Injector would this work? And last thing is. Would you recommend setting this up on a window sill looking out? Kind Regards. Dharman.

    • Thanks for the kind words! Yes the DS-2CD2442FWD-IW supports push and email notifications through Hikvision’s IVMS4500 app. If you don’t want to use ethernet cables, you can use the camera over WiFi and use a DC12V power source. Hikvision cameras generally do not come with power cables. Yes you can also use a PoE injector such as the TP-LINK TL-PoE150S.

      You can point the camera out of a window and it will be fine during the daytime but at night if you keep the Infrared LED on, it will reflect off the glass and totally spoil the image. So your camera would be useless once dusk falls. Now you could keep it in day mode even at night by switching off the auto day/night switch and the IR LEDs, and install external IR LEDs such as this one to light up the scene.

  6. I currently have a swann nvr 8ch using swann 3mp poe cameras.
    I would like to add a couple more cameras.
    And Hikvision are almost half price of swann.
    If there just rebranded would they work on my swann nvr with no issues on my setup?

    • Hi,

      If your Swann NVR is ONVIF compliant, Hikvision cameras should work with the NVR. All the Hikvision cameras are ONVIF compliant. If you look up the spec list of your Swann NVR, you can find out whether it supports ONVIF or not.


  7. Hi, looking to add an extra camera outside for backyard, but comparing DS-2CD2T42WD-i5 vs DS-2CD2042WD-I. Range depends on how wide the angle ends up being, but could be 20-30m. Thoughts?

    • Hi, the DS-2CD2T42WD-I5 would be my choice due to the extended IR range of 50m over the DS-2CD2042WD-I’s 30 metres. If you are using external IR lamps however, this point would be moot. Also the DS-2CD2T42WD-I5 uses EXIR LEDs that will last longer before fading compared to the DS-2CD2042WD-I’s ring type LEDs. But other than this, I would go for whichever is cheaper!


  8. Hi:

    I am looking at these cameras and am having a hard time deciding between the DS-2CD2T42WD and the DS-2CD2232-I5. From the videos I have seen, both have great daytime video (easy part) but the DS-2CD2232-I5 seems to do a little better at night. Do you have any experience with either of these? They will rarely be exposed to complete darkness because there are street lights around.

    I am looking at the following setup:

    Outside – 4ea of either DS-2CD2232-I5 or DS-2CD2T42WD
    Inside – 3ea DS-2CD2142FWD-I
    NVR – Hikvision DS-7616NI-I2/16P

    Recommendations? FYI…these will all be english versions with upgradable firmware (probably purchased from Amazon).


    • Hi Matt

      No personal experience with these, but here’s my opinion based on the specs.

      The DS-2CD2T42WD-I5 has true Wide Dynamic Range (120dB) whereas the DS-2CD2232-I5 has only digital WDR. This should give the former an edge in night time quality. The WD in the model name means the camera has true WDR.

      The inside camera – would you want to record audio? If so the DS-2CD2142FWD-I doesn’t support audio. You would need the -IS version of the camera for audio support.

      The NVR is exactly what I would go for, you will have the option to add more cameras in the future.


  9. -s need audio cable or not.

    I want audio recording.

  10. Hi Rob,

    Foscam have never sold rebranded Hikvision, this is wrong and misleading. Please correct this as we wouldn’t want people confusing lower quality Foscam cameras for higher quality Hikvision products.


    • Thanks for pointing out this typo, I meant Lorex at the time. However newer Lorex cameras seem to be rebranded Dahuas.

  11. Hey guys,

    Really good article. Was looking to purchase some POE cameras. I was a bit confused on the – S two way audio smart audio parameter on the camera. Does it mean that the camera has a built in microphone and speaker or do we have to buy our own microphone and speaker to connect. What would you go for if this is the case in the 2 line cameras or the 4 line cameras in terms of Fixed DOME vs BULLET for outdoor. I was looking at 2142 FWD IWS and the 2742 DOME 2642 BULLET from the 2 range as long as they could support TWO WAY AUDIO whether it was built in or I had to provide my own speaker and mic. Or Maybe something from the 4 LINE cameras. This is for home install. Can you guys help out.

    • Hi Rob,

      Hikvision puts a -S in the camera model name if it either has two way sound inputs or it actually has an onboard microphone. Confusing, I know. The only way to know for sure is to look at the datasheet. None of the outdoor models have a built-in speaker, that’s for sure. For example, the 2142FWD-IWS and DS-2CD2742FWD-IS domes have audio in and out connectors, you have to add the actual mic and speaker. But the DS-2CD2532F-IWS has a built-in mic! Note all 3 examples have the -S. What I have noticed is that among outdoor cameras, the mini-domes tend to have on-board mics. Use the network camera comparison table here to find ones with the features you want.


  12. Hi VueVille,

    Thanks for your great article/guide. I am a Chinese living in Canada. I plan to purchase HikVision IP cameras directly from on-line store in China, and do not worry about Chinese interface/menu. I know HikVision has the Chinese model and overseas model. Can I use those Chinese model here in Canada, and update the firmware safely?

    HikVision IP cameras sold in Aliexpress/Ebay always have warning not to update firmware. Is it simply because after updating the firmware, the interface will become Chinese? I read somewhere saying some camera will even become brick by entering rebooting cycle. Are those HikVision cameras sold in AliExpress/Ebay Chinese model with hacked firmware to have multi-language interface/menu?

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your kind comment. You are right, there are two official versions of Hikvision cameras – the Chinese versions and the International verions. The cameras sold on AliExpress/EBay with the warning not to upgrade the firmware are the Chinese versions hacked to enable the “Multi-language” options. When you upgrade these cameras’ firmware, the language will return to Chinese. This is the main reason that the sellers do not advise upgrading the FW.

      There is also a chance that the cameras may get bricked if the wrong/incorrect FW is flashed onto them. This is why we recommend buying the international versions from Amazon or other reputed local distributors.


      • Hi VueVille,

        Thanks for your prompt reply. So I can purchase a “original” Chinese version HikVision IP camera (no hacked firmware: all menu are in Chinese) and use it in Canada, correct?


        • As far as we know, yes. We haven’t tried this but hey it’s an IP camera, it should work anywhere in the world.

  13. Hi,
    I’m thinking of purchasing 4 DS-2CD4332FWD-PTZ(S) cameras and a DS-7716NI-E4/16p NVR from China to use in Australia as they are considerably cheaper to buy than from an official store.

    The seller claims that they have been upgraded to a mult-language version and the firmware will be V5.2.5 or V5.3.0. He also claims that the fimeware cannot be further upgraded.

    Is it worth the risk to purchase this setup despite not being able to upgrade the firmware?

    • Hi Daniel,
      It all depends on whether the cameras are exposed to the internet and if so, how secure your network is. I say this because the main reason you would want to upgrade the firmware of your camera or NVR is if major bugs or security issues are found in the current firmware, which can be fixed through a newer firmware. If your cameras/NVR will not be connected to the Internet, but will be used purely for recording on to an NVR which itself will not be connected to the internet, you will not normally need to upgrade the firmware. Of course I also make the assumption that you will be happy with the features provided by the firmware versions that come with the camera.

      Now one of our cameras ordered from China is on the V5.2.5 multi-language version and we are perfectly happy with it. We are not too concerned about upgrading the firmware because even though our cameras are connected to the Internet, the entire network is behind a VPN server and this provides a level of security we are happy with. Have a look at our network setup here. So for us, the savings of ordering from China far exceeded the disadvantage of not being able to upgrade the firmware.

      Another point to consider is how long you will be using the cameras/NVR. Any device’s firmware will become dangerous to use beyond a certain age (2-3 years?), simply because technology moves so fast these days.

  14. I have installed a Hikvision DS-7716NI-SP/16 with 10 Hikvision bullet and dome cameras. The firmware for NVR is 3.34 and cameras are 5.3 and I keep getting no resource showing up on some of the cameras on the split screen instead of the picture but I can see them if I go to full screen. When I search for recording most of them come up with no resource and I can’t find any recorded video except on a couple of them but the cameras show the motion recording icon on the screen when movement is happening, any suggestions.

  15. Hello
    My name is Moshe Lahav from Israel
    I want to install a security system in my house.
    I need your help to define a system which will be based on Hikvision products:
    1. Four 6MP IP cameras (DS-2CD4A65F-IZ(H)(S) ??)
    2. One compatibe NVR
    Thank you
    Moshe Lahav

    • Hi Moshe, I had replied to your message by email but have not seen a response. I hope you found a solution. If not, you can try this Hikvision NVR that can get record upto 6MP: Hikvision DS-7716NI-SP/16. The cheaper Hikvision NVRs only record upto 5MP.

  16. Hello, I found this to be a good article. especially the naming conventions. I was wondering if you knew of a guide for the NVRs. I can’t make sense of their naming conventions.
    Some are plug and play and some are not, but I don’t know what this means.

    • Hi Mick,

      Very sorry for the late reply. Plug-and-Play means that the NVR has a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) interface available, that is you can power the cameras over the same ethernet cable that carries data to/from the camera.

      From what I can see in this document page 37, only the DS-76XXNI-SE/N PVRs have this PoE feature. However if a seller claims that an NVR is Plug-and-Play, just ask him if it has the PoE feature.

      The PoE feature is very useful as you don’t have to worry about how to get power to your cameras, it also vastly extends the possible locations you can place your camera in, as all you need to do is route a single ethernet cable that carries both power and data. Hope this helps!

  17. PTZ is Pan Tilt Zoom not Point to Zoom 35 years in the industry, I have learned a few things, some of them were acronyms.

  18. Hi,thanks for the guide. could you indicate that I3/I5/I8 means the power of IR Led,

    I3 – 30 meter
    I5 – 50 meter
    I8 – 80 meter


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