Last month a reader asked me how the Reolink cameras compare to the Lorex and Swann ones.
Until recently, Lorex cameras were intended to be used only with their own NVRs. In other words, you were not allowed to venture outside their ecosystem. This was totally against the ethos of openness and inter-operability that I champion here at VueVille. That’s why I never used to recommend them in our outdoor and indoor IP camera recommendations.
But a few months ago, Lorex released the latest version of their IP cameras and surprise surprise, they now support ONVIF Profile S. Of course, Lorex cameras are rebranded Dahuas so they were always capable of it. It was just that Lorex chose to disable it.
But Dahua acquiring Lorex in 2018 seems to have triggered this new development. What this means is that the DIY IP camera enthusiast now has a new budget option to consider, other than Reolink.
Usually I would look at the 4MP IP camera models as this is still the most common resolution for newer IP cameras, but Reolink has phased out the 4MP model in favour of a 5MP model with new features. Lorex goes straight from 4MP to 8MP in their line-up. I want to compare cameras in the same class, so I cannot look at the 8MP Lorex. So this comparison will be the new 5MP Reolink vs. the new 4MP Lorex.
Reolink is a popular brand that is only a few years old. But they are not exactly new to the surveillance camera industry. The brand Reolink is owned by Shenzhen Baichuan Security Technology Co., Ltd. who are a manufacturer of security cameras and other surveillance equipment. What’s the source? I simply emailed them and asked. Simple as that.
So Reolink is not a rebranded Hikvision or Dahua as some people have claimed online. Therefore they are not subject to the Federal government ban imposed through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is a huge positive for Reolink.
Lorex was founded in 1993 and has head offices in Markham, Ontario, Canada and in Linthicum, Maryland, USA. They have product warehouses in Markham, Indiana and California.
But first let’s start with the company FLIR, better known as the high-end camera manufacturer who revolutionized thermal imaging for the military and industrial markets. They acquired Lorex in 2012 for around $60 million seeking to lower the cost of thermal imaging and open it up to the retail market.
So for the next 6 years they tried to penetrate the DIY and SMB markets. During this period, their main OEM supplier was Dahua. In February 2018, however, FLIR exited the DIY security camera space by selling Lorex to Dahua. They currently operate as a subsidiary of Dahua. So think of Lorex as a Dahua brand.back to menu ↑
Here’s a summary in a nice and easy table:
|Feature||Reolink RLC-410||Lorex LNB4163BW|
|Lens Type||Fixed type|
|Lens||4mm @ F2.0, Angle of view (horizontal): 80°||3.6mm @ F2.0, Angle of view (horizontal): 83°|
|Sensor||1/2.7" 5 Megapixel Progressive Scan CMOS||1/3" 4 Megapixel Progressive Scan CMOS|
|Night Vision||Black & white night vision, IR cut filter with auto switch||Colour night vision, IR cut filter with auto switch|
|Minimum illumination||0 lux with IR on||0.38 lux without IR and 0.28 lux with IR|
|DC 12V power||Yes|
|Interfaces||Reolink RLC-410||Lorex LNB4163BW|
|Software features||Reolink RLC-410||Lorex LNB4163BW|
|Max Resolution||2560x1920 (5MP)||2688 x 1520 (4MP)|
|Max bitrate||8 Mbps||Unknown|
|Simultaneous streams||12 simultaneous video streams (10 sub-streams & 2 main streams)||Unknown|
|3D Noise Reduction||Yes|
|Alert events||Reolink RLC-410||Lorex LNB4163BW|
|Simple motion detection||Yes||Yes but requires NVR|
|Email alerts||Yes||No standalone operation, requires NVR|
|Push alerts||Yes||No standalone operation, requires NVR|
|Line crossing detection||No|
|Abandoned/Missing object detection||No|
|Scene change detection||No|
|Where to buy|
The Lorex has the most common sensor in this class of IP camera, a 1/3″ progressive scan CMOS sensor. But Reolink does one better – it has a slightly larger 1/2.7″ sensor.
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. So while security camera manufacturers have pushed pixel count from 3MP to 4MP and beyond, they have not increased the sensor size. Kudos to Reolink for bucking the trend here.
Next up is WDR or Wide Dynamic Range. This is a feature that enhances the level of detail an IP camera can pick out in shadows. Unfortunately neither IP camera supports it. Not entirely surprising given the budget nature of the cameras though. However Lorex claims to support true HDR but does not provide any technical details about it.
Low light performance is crucial for an IP camera. While most cameras are good in daylight, decent night-time performance is tricky to achieve. The Reolink does not specify a lux rating without InfraRed (IR) illumination, but with IR on it handily beats the Lorex as can be seen in the comparison table.
Winner: Reolinkback to menu ↑
The three software features that make a great IP camera are ONVIF/RTSP support, built-in NVR feature, and the advanced motion detection features that help reduce false alerts.
Both the Reolink and Lorex support ONVIF & RTSP. While ONVIF/RTSP is conspicuously absent from Reolink’s spec sheets and their marketing material, Reolink has confirmed that their non-battery powered IP cameras do have ONVIF and RTSP support.
Lorex however explicitly mentions ONVIF support on their product pages, but mysteriously drops it from their technical spec sheet.
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, and Blue Iris PC NVR software.
In the latest refresh, Reolink has added an SD card slot and built-in NVR capability to the RLC-510. The Lorex doesn’t have the built-in NVR feature nor does it have on-board storage.
The Reolink IP cameras can all do basic motion detection and can send email/push alerts – so its capable of standalone operation. The Lorex cannot do any of this. It is just an IP camera with no smart features unless its connected to an NVR. More on that later.
But the Lorex does have one trick up its sleeve – full colour night vision. This is a very interesting feature and does set the Lorex brand apart. However be aware that the camera will switch back to black & white IR night vision below 1 lux to ‘ensure optimal low-light image quality’ as Lorex puts it.
Motion Detection ability
Both cameras support basic motion detection only. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of these advanced motion detection methods in reducing false motion alerts.
However the Reolink is capable of standalone operation. It can record motion detection triggered clips, take snapshots, and send out email alerts and push notifications to the Reolink app on mobile devices without an NVR or PC. The Lorex can do none of this by itself, you have to buy a compatible Lorex NVR. Also bear in mind that (as of writing this post), Lorex NVRs work only with Lorex cameras, but Lorex cameras will work with any ONVIF-compliant NVR.
Winner: Reolinkback to menu ↑
Reolink IP cameras come with a limited 2-Year Warranty as standard. Lorex has a 2 year warranty as standard, but can be extended to 3 years or 5 years for an extra fee.back to menu ↑
Reolink is the clear choice here because it has on-board SD card storage, and is capable of standalone operation thanks to the built-in NVR functionality. If you would like to research more about IP cameras, do check out the other recommendations on my best outdoor and indoor IP cameras list.back to menu ↑
Where to buy
- Reolink RLC-410 at Amazon or Reolink.com
- Lorex LNB4163BW 4MP High Definition IP Camera with Color Night Vision at Amazon
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