If you don't fancy forking out for a Hikvision, these SV3C POE dome cameras offer a fair imitation at a fraction of the price.
Never heard of SV3C? No me neither, but they make decent copies of bigger name brand CCTV cameras from the likes of Hikvision.
I thought I would give one of the SV3C dome IP camera a spin, mainly to test the POE capability. I was also lured by the ONVIF features too, which mean CCTV cameras like this can be built into a surveillance network using monitors like Blue Iris.
SV3C Smells Like A Hikvision
Out of the box, the SV3C dome cameras are very similar to a Hikvision. My model was labelled the SV-D02POE-1080P with a manufacture date of April 2017. These cams must be made on similar manufacturing lines to the other IP camera badges on Amazon, as even the waterproof dongle kits tethered to the cameras are a carbon copy of more expensive cams.
Build quality on these SV3C cameras is very sturdy. I didn’t test the promised waterproofing feature, although on inspection my unit seemed well sealed.
In the box I as surprised to find a short ethernet cable and power supply, should you want to run it without POE. Connected to a POE port on my router, the SV3C booted into action after after a few minutes – it is nice to get the power supply too though.
You get about 40cm of cable from the SV3C dome camera body to the the ethernet / power splitter itself, and this should be enough to run through even a thick wall, if necessary.
Some SV3C setup Woes
It wasn’t all plain sailing with the SV3C setup.
A network tool allowed to me to check the IP number for the camera on my network, and access the web login for the camera settings. However my unit refused to accept the default username and password combo (which is ‘admin’ and ‘admin’).
SV3C support via Amazon were very responsive though, and after a bit of back and forth, they finally directed my to a tool to reset the factory defaults on the camera. For reference, go to here and download ‘Search Tool’, find your camera and select ‘Restore’.
Once I was logged in, the SV3C IP camera web interface was revealed to be – just OK. I could set all the core security and networking features, and this allowed the camera to play with the 3rd party software for camera surveillance.
(For convenience, you can also use the rtsp stream of the form: rtsp://[camera-ip]:554/11 )
Bit of a pain, but that’s perhaps to be expected when purchasing these cheaper cameras from the Far East. You can also use a dedicated desktop app to manage the camera. However, the installation and software itself includes instructions in Chinese, and it from a security perspective is less than desirable. Stick to the plain camera, with modified security settings (IP address, password etc) and something like Synology Surveillance Station and your camera will be much safer.
Decent Picture on the SV3C
What matters really is the image quality and I was pleasantly surprised by the SV3c dome POE camera.
Colours and resolution at 1080P were very good for the list price. No, the picture was not as crisp as the 4MP Hikvision I’ve tried out before. But the quality was only a slight step down.
Given that these SV3C CCTV IP cameras are 1080P, POE-enabled, ONVIF supported and have a very good build quality, they are really attractive if you’re building a DIY surveillance system.
I would recommend them to friends, with the disclaimer that they may have to buy me a beer to help with the setup. Once they’re up and running, these SV3C cameras will chug away for years, feeding good quality video to your storage solution of choice.