Welcome to our review of the Samsung QNV-7030R 4MP vandal-resistant dome, the 7030R is from Samsung’s entry-level Q-series range and features H.265 CODEC which when combined with their own WiseStream CODEC can supposedly save up to 75% over using H.264. Also being a vandal-resistant camera it features both IP66 and IK10 ratings. We didn’t know what to expect from the 7030R before testing it as, at the time of testing, we had very little experience with Samsung, but seeing as it was in a similar price bracket to the 3 and 4MP Hikvision cameras we had already tested and liked very much, this was the standard we were expecting from the 7030R.
What’s in the Box?
Well, the box itself is much less commercial looking than Hikvision’s red & white packaging, it’s simply a brown box with the Samsung logo and the word dome and that’s pretty much it, but even with this minimal look it still looks like a quality product, from the outside at least. On first opening the box you’ll see all the standard things, installation guides, user manuals, software disc, there is also a separate alarm I/O cable. This cable is loose and not connected to the camera, so if you’re an end-user you will have to wire up this cable to use the cameras audio I/O features, which is tricky and time-consuming. The camera itself at first glance is just as well built as the Hikvision cameras, but there are a few design flaws of the 7030R that we are going to talk about in the next section as they make the installation process much harder.
Installation and Setup
So the first of these design flaws is that there is almost no space on the back of the camera to hide any excess cable, the back of the camera is completely flat except for a small section that is recessed by about half a centimeter. Now, this flaw is made worse by the fact that Samsung doesn’t offer a junction box to fit this model, which means that you pretty much have to drill a hole through the wall to pass the cables through. The second flaw is to do with adjusting the 3-axis of adjustment, the first 2, tilt and pan, are easily adjusted, but the rotational axis which is important for making the scene level after adjusting the other 2 axes is very tricky to adjust. It took a good amount of time to figure out how to even adjust it, with most cameras you just grab the front of the lens and twist, but Samsung has decided to reverse this meaning you have to tilt the camera forward and twist a little wheel on the back of the lens, but this design is massively flawed as when you are doing axis adjustment you do tilt and pan first to get those correct and then with this Samsung camera you have to tilt the lens away from the scene to get the rotate wheel, at which point you can only guess at how much you need to rotate the lens by because you can no longer see the scene you are trying to record. This is really poor design because it was a design change that is completely unnecessary as almost all other cameras rotate from the front and that works perfectly. The initial network connection and setup is no harder than setting up a Hikvision camera, but what does take the time is getting all the camera settings right to achieve the best video output, and even after spending hours playing with the settings as you’ll see from the next section the performance was surprising.
As I just said the camera’s performance was surprising, but sadly it was surprisingly bad, we weren’t so surprised when we first looked at the live view with default settings and it looked quite a lot worse than similar Hikvision models, but we were very shocked when after hours of tinkering with the settings the image had barely improved. It was so bad in fact that we had to double check that we weren’t testing the 2MP version instead of the 4MP because we have actually seen 2MP models from other manufacturers that are better than this 4MP Samsung camera. We tested the camera in a variety of lighting conditions and across the board it performed poorly, when the scene was very bright it over saturated the bright parts of the scene, whilst the shadowy parts were massively under saturated, to the point where the shadows were just black with no definition at all. At the opposite end of the spectrum we had a much more evenly lit scene, which is usually just a base test that all cameras can handle, not the 7030R though, it does pick up details across the scene but these details are pretty useless thanks to very heavy pixelation across the scene and some parts of the scene were out of focus, which is really poor for a camera that claims to have defocus detection as one of its many smart features.
When it came to testing the cameras IR night performance our expectations couldn’t be much lower because even with most reasonably good cameras they struggle at night and if it wasn’t clear from the previous paragraph the 7030R is not a good camera. Our expectations were met when we saw the first night scene, there was even less detail and clarity than in the daytime scenes due to even worse pixelation and an image that was consistently soft and mushy. In one scene (which you can see in our video review in the video tab on the previous page) a badger appeared, but due to the terrible night performance you would easily miss it if you were just scanning through hours and hours footage, it also becomes problematic for the cameras motion detection because it works on changes to the pixels within the scene and due to the amount of pixel noise any small movements are likely to blend into the background and not be picked up so easily, also on the flip side because of all the noise you are likely to get a lot of false alarms from the motion detection as it confuses it with actual motion.