How do the more budget oriented Amcrest IP cameras compare to the more expensive Hikvision models? This is something I have been wondering about for some time now. From the emails I get, I am not the only one! So in this post, let’s take a detailed look at Hikvision vs Amcrest.
We have looked at Hikvision vs. Dahua in the past, and we found that comparable models from the two companies are very close to each other in both features and performance. Even though Amcrest rebrands Dahua cameras, the gap between Hikvision and Amcrest is a bit wider as we shall see.
Hikvision vs. Amcrest – the Stories behind the Brands
You’re probably no stranger to Hikvision if you have been dabbling with DIY security cameras for some time. Hikvision is a surveillance equipment manufacturer based in Hangzhou China. They primarily cater to professional installers and are not interested in retailing to the general public. But still they made a splash in the DIY space because of their affordable DIY IP cameras with powerful features. Like 3MP sensors which were unheard of in mainstream IP cameras in 2014 when I bought my first IP camera, the Hikvision DS-2CD2032-I.
A couple of years ago, they launched their retail brand EZVIZ. Confusingly, EZVIZ used to be the name of their cloud app as well. Anyway the EZVIZ models are dumbed down versions of the Hikvision cameras and are not worth spending any money on. 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 Hikvision. The Chinese government owns at least a partial stake in Hikvision. This creates a few ethical and moral quandaries. From a technical standpoint, you should treat any security camera 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 security camera system.
Foscam US re-branded themselves as Amcrest Technologies in early 2016. Foscam US (Foscam Digital Technologies) used to be an independent reseller for the Chinese manufacturer/supplier Foscam Shenzhen. However in 2016, the Chinese supplier allegedly started undercutting Foscam US. Foscam US says they had no choice but to cut all ties with Foscam Shenzhen and go it alone as Amcrest Technologies.
Foscam security cameras never had a great reputation and once Amcrest launched their own products, they have quickly overtaken Foscam both in quality, reliability, support service levels, and reputation. They are still around though.back to menu ↑
8MP 4K IP Camera Duel – Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I vs. Amcrest IP8M-2496EB
In 2020, everybody’s selling 8MP IP cameras. 4K resolution is the buzzword and 8MP is what you need to get 4K video.
I have picked two compelling options from the two companies and pitted them against each other. I would normally compare the DS-2CD2083G0-I which is the cheapest Hikvision 8MP bullet you can get. However as a consumer you will probably be looking at the more powerful Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I which is priced only a bit more than the DS-2CD2083G0-I. It would be remiss of me to steer you to the DS-2CD2083G0-I when the more capable DS-2CD2085G1-I is available at a similar price.
So as you peruse the rest of this comparison, please bear in mind that the Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I is from a consumer’s point of view the best model to compare to the Amcrest IP8M-2496E (the only Amcrest 4K bullet camera available right now). By the way Amcrest IP8M-2496E is a re-branded Dahua IPC-HFW4831E-SE.back to menu ↑
Hardware features – Hikvision vs. Amcrest
The Hikvision I have selected is from the Darkfighter series. These are ultra low-light camera that can produce night-time colour video down to 0.002 lux. They can also provide great black and white video together with IR. Interestingly, Hikvision doesn’t claim that this camera has ColorVu technology which does the same thing effectively.
Nor does this camera have the AcuSense feature which reduces false alarms by ignoring birds, animals, lights and movement of trees. For these features you need to step up to a more premium line of Hikvision cameras.
Dahua has a highly acclaimed low-light technology called Starlight. The highest spec of Starlight also has full color night vision. But the Amcrest cameras don’t get Starlight at all. So the lowest light level that the Dahua is rated for before having to switch to Infrared is 0.3Lux (at 1/30 shutter speed).
The Hikvision has a larger sensor (1/2″) than the Amcrest camera (1/2.5″). This is necessitated by the Hikvision’s Darkfighter technology.
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 the Hikvision & Amcrest have true 120dB Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) to help improve video quality in high glare situations.
The cameras are both made from metal and have the same level of ingress protection (IP67). I am happy to see Hikvision have embraced IP67, they have always gone for IP66 for their outdoor IP cameras. But Dahua has always been using IP67. So Amcrest also gets the IP67 rating.
But the Amcrest does not have any vandal protection rating, which Hikvision has added IK10 even to their bullet cameras!back to menu ↑
Software features – Hikvision vs. Amcrest
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 NVR system like mine.
Both Hikvision and Amcrest support ONVIF, and RTSP on all their IP cameras.
ONVIF ensures that your camera will work with standards-compliant equipment from 3rd party manufacturers. This is why you can add a Hikvision or Amcrest camera to your ONVIF-compatible NVR or DIY NAS 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.
Motion Detection ability
Amcrest doesn’t have advanced motion detection features like line crossing, intrusion detection, unattended baggage detection, and object removal detection. Interestingly the Dahua IPC-HFW4831E-SE that this Amcrest camera is based on has all these features, so here’s hoping that one day Amcrest will also have these.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of these advanced motion detection methods in reducing false motion alerts.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-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.back to menu ↑
Warranty – Hikvision vs. Amcrest
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.
Amcrest provides only a 1 year warranty.
So Hikvision wins easily here.back to menu ↑
Verdict – Hikvision vs. Amcrest
The Hikvision edges out just in front of the Amcrest thanks to its advanced motion detection abilities and longer warranty period.
Also check out the other recommendations on our best outdoor IP cameras list.back to menu ↑
Summary comparison table
Here’s a summary of the full review in a nice and easy table:
|Feature||Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I||Amcrest IP8M-2496EB|
|Product line||Darkfighter series||-|
|Hardware features||Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I||Amcrest IP8M-2496EB|
|Sensor||1/2" 8 Megapixel Progressive Scan CMOS||1/2.5" 8 Megapixel Progressive Scan CMOS|
|Night Vision||850nm IR, Black & white night vision, IR cut filter with auto switch|
|IR Range||30m (92 feet)||40m (131 feet)|
|Minimum illumination||Color: 0.008 Lux @ F1.2 (AGC ON), 0.014 Lux @ F1.6 (AGC ON), B&W: 0Lux with IR on||Color: 0.06Lux @ F1.6, B&W: 0Lux with IR on|
|Lens Type||Fixed type|
|Lens Field of View (FOV)||2.8 mm: horizontal FOV: 102°, vertical FOV: 55°, diagonal FOV: 120°|
4 mm: horizontal FOV: 78°, vertical FOV: 43°, diagonal FOV: 92°
6 mm: horizontal FOV: 50°, vertical FOV: 27°, diagonal FOV: 59°
|2.8mm @ F2.0, Angle of view: horizontal 112°, vertical 69°|
|DC 12V power||Yes|
|Dimensions||70 × 68 × 171 mm (2.8″ × 2.7″ × 6.7″)||180mm×70mm×70mm (7.09”×2.76”×2.76”)|
|Power usage||<6W (IR ON)||<6.5W (IR ON)|
|Operating conditions||30 °C to +60 °C (-22 °F to +140 °F), humidity 95% or less (non-condensing)||30° C ~ +60° C (-22° F ~ +140° F) / Less than 95% RH|
|Interfaces||Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I||Amcrest IP8M-2496EB|
|Ethernet port||RJ-45 (10/100Base-T)|
|SD Card||Yes (128GB max)|
|Software features||Hikvision DS-2CD2085G1-I||Amcrest IP8M-2496EB|
|WDR||Yes (120dB)||Digital WDR, HDR|
|Encoding||Main stream: H.265/H.264|
Third stream: H.265/H.264
|Max Resolution||3840 × 2160 (8MP) @ 20fps||3840×2160 (8MP/4K) @ 15fps|
|Max bitrate||16 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Simultaneous streams||3 (Main/Sub/Third)|
|3D Noise Reduction||Yes|
|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-2CD2085G1-I||Amcrest IP8M-2496EB|
|Simple motion detection||Yes|
|Line crossing detection||Yes||No|
|Abandoned/Missing object detection||Yes||No|
|Scene change detection||Yes||No|