Hikvision DS-2CD1721FWD-IZ 2MP Outdoor Vari-Focal Dome – Review

Now unlike our other reviews, this one is only going to be a short one as the DS-2CD1721FWD-IZ was part of Hikvision’s short lived (and no longer available) 1-series range. The idea of the 1-series was to produce a range of cheap cameras with lower megapixel options and only basics feature, all designed for the commercial end user market that is already dominated by brands like Foscam and Swann.

So knowing this camera was designed for the cheap commercial market we weren’t expecting anything mind blowing performance wise, but being a Hikvision camera we still expected some level of quality. In the case of the design of the camera the quality is still there with its metal case, easy and secure installation, and its simple 3-axis adjustment. In terms of how the camera actually performs we were quite surprised, its daytime footage was clear and bright with good colour rendition and pretty clear definition of the finer details, although these details are a little pixelated and distorted but this is to be expected with a 2MP camera. Even in very bright scenes the camera performed admirably, although it did struggle a bit with the dark shadows produced by the bright sun, but the camera’s auto settings kicked in and made sure that the most important areas of the scene were visible.

When it comes to the cameras IR night performance it suffers from the same flaws as all dome cameras do at night time, the main one being IR bright spotting which is really pronounced on this model especially when set to its widest focal length, when set like this the IR actually produces a spotlight in the centre of the scene that drops off into darkness in every direction, leaving more of the scene in darkness than is actually visible. The only way that you can get good IR performance from this camera is to have the camera set to its tightest focal length, around 10-12mm, because with this field of view you are so tight you are actually within the camera’s IR bright spot. I would go as far as to say that the 1721’s IR performance is so poor that it will actually be more of a hindrance to your security than a help.

Keep your eyes peeled for our first reviews of the Hiwatch range, we try to go in open minded to a review but after seeing this our expectations are low, to say the least.

Summary
In the end, the DS-2CD1721FWD-IZ lacks the all round performance expected of not only Hikvision products but also IP cameras as a whole, its day time performance is impressive for a 2MP camera of its price bracket, especially its ability to handle a broad variety of lighting condition with very little quality loss. What lets the camera down is its extremely poor IR night performance that, as you see in our video review on the previous page, without floodlights or background light like street lights the IR is pretty much useless. Overall as a whole package, it is very disappointing, especially knowing the usually high standard Hikvision likes to set with their products, and it doesn’t bode well for Hiwatch, the commercial range that Hikvision came up with to replace the quickly cancelled 1-series.
Good
  • Solid day time performance with vibrant colours
  • Auto settings handle all lighting conditions impressively
  • Very little resolution loss between the different focal lengths
  • Better build quality and physical design than most cameras in the same price range
Bad
  • IR Night performance is beyond poor
  • Suffers from extreme bright spotting
  • The combination of varifocal and dome doesn't really work
  • Doesn't bring any unique features to the table to help it stand out form the rest of the commercial market
6.3
Fair
Day Performance - 6.5
Night Performance - 3.5
Design/Build Quality - 7
Ease of Use - 8

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