Fantastic image quality and a 4MP sensor, the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is a solid PoE IP camera for 2016, but does require some technical know-how to setup.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is a 4MP bullet IP camera refresh in a similar vein to many of Hikvision’s previous PoE CCTV cameras.
Favoured by enthusiasts and CCTV installers looking for high quality / relatively good value units, how does the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I stack up against the competition in 2016?
Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I – a solid unit
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is a surprisingly weighty IP camera straight out of the box.
A thick metal housing and good quality internals will mean you want to make sure this is screwed properly to a wall. The mount and joint system are an all-metal affair, and the ball-and-socket adjuster makes it easy to reposition the camera.
You’ll need a network cable crimper and some basic wiring skills to take advantage of the Hikvision waterproofing noodle during installation. Despite being a Power-over-Ethernet IP cam, the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I doesn’t have a detachable input on cable tail to the camera, so you will need a big hole (15mm+) to run it through a wall.
Alternatively, a waterproof junction box can house the cable inputs to the CCTV camera, although it’s not as tidy.
Design-wise, the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is perfect for small businesses or larger properties. It’s conspicuous, without looking like a toaster bolted to a wall.
However that ball-and-socket hinge is crying out for intruders to whack it out of alignment (a product test for another day, methinks). If you’re putting this camera out unsupervised and within reach, take a look at Hikvision’s 4MP dome equivalent, the DS-2CD2142FWD-IS.
Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I – great images
Where the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I really excels is in image quality.
Hikvision have bumped their core PoE IP camera line-up to 4MP, with prices hovering around the £110 mark, and the video stream is fantastic. Below is a sample image taken at 1920×1080 late on a Spring evening in the UK – the light outside is failing, but the image quality is still excellent, with lots of detail on the brickwork etc.
In day-light the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is even sharper, and the image quality is sustained even at dusk and lower-light levels, before the infra-red illumination kicks in.
If you need it, you can pump the resolution for video up to 2688×1520. On my bog standard home network the video stream choked and became choppy, so if you absolutely need to use this resolution, go Gigabit or you’ll have to reduce the other video settings.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I has oodles of image settings and event triggers to play with on the embedded web controller for the camera. It does ONVIF, has dedicated apps for mobile playback, and supports the usual email notifications, FTP uploads and so forth.
My unit shipped with firmware 5.3.3 and a build date of November 2015, and out-of-the-box the Hikvision web interface is a pleasure to use, barring the odd grammatical error (is your camera ‘controllered’ anyone?).
Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I – not the complete package
So what’s not to like about the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I?
The camera is bundled with a 4mm lens, which is great for wide-shots but you’ll need to switch lenses / buy another cam to monitor tighter angles.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is a PoE camera but there is no onboard wifi or microSD backup for this model, which seems a bit miserly from Hikvision. There are variants with these included, and it’s understandable if you’re an installer and know exactly what you want.
Initial setup on the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is pretty easy, with a simple IP address and password reset in a browser window. BUT, Hikvision then obliges users to install a web plugin to view the stream on OSX or Windows, whilst the remote access with servers in exotic locales is another security hole.
It’s unlikely to bother domestic users, and these features are very convenient, so individual users must weigh up the pros and cons.
Where the Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I was a bit of a let down was in the ease of using a NAS as a target disc for recordings. Direct captures from the browser window to a local target were easy.
In 2016 though – and with NAS from Synology and the like becoming quite common – Hikvision really don’t make it simple to point a feed to an NFS or CIFS share.
The on-camera firmware uses confusing language like ‘format’ to prepare a target partition on your network, which thankfully doesn’t actually wipe your NAS target. Some oft-mentioned 200GB limit requires some painful work-arounds, and unless you delight in re-partitioning disks and creating extra user profiles, recording events demands several hours of work.
Of course, even though it doesn’t work straight out of the box, this is half the fun of these Hikvision CCTV cams. These problems would be negated by a Hikvision NVR, a dedicated server or any of the Surveillance Station / Blue Iris software solutions, plus the costs they entail.
Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I – conclusion
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is a stellar mini bullet IP camera. With 4MP resolution, it doesn’t compromise on image quality. This cam is strictly PoE only, but the design lends itself to a relatively tidy installation. Personally, for CCTV installers, these Hikvisions make for excellent mid-range offerings, and pair it with a dedicated Hikvision NVR, some of which support 8-channels, and you’ve got a pretty snazzy setup.
Does everyone need 4MP though? Personally, the extra network demands mean that a full 4MP CCTV setup appears quite expensive to me, and will not make your environment that much more secure.
The Hikvision DS-2CD2042WD-I is fantastic camera though, the units offer good value – just look out for grey imports or copies when buying.