Panoramic Security Cameras Change EVERYTHING! Reolink, EmpireTech, Annke & Uniview Dual Lens

November 26, 2022

Final Rankings (US Links):
1) Annke NCD800:
2) EmpireTech B180:
3) Reolink Duo 1:
4) Reolink Duo 2:
5) Uniview IPC-2K24:
6) Annke FCD600:
International Links:
Annke NCD800:
Reolink Duo 1:
Reolink Duo 2:
Annke FCD600:

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Today on the hookup we’re going to take a look at a game changing new type of security camera that uses two lenses and two sensors stitched together to give you an ultra wide horizontal field of view without the distortion typically associated with a fish-eye lens.  These cameras are so good that in my opinion at least one should be included in every well thought out surveillance system from this point on.

I like to think of myself as a pretty level headed reviewer.  I don’t get overly excited too often, and I understand that every new product isn’t revolutionary, so I hope what I’m about to say holds some weight: This camera from Annke, the NCD800 is my favorite security camera that I’ve ever used.  Period. and even though this one happens to be my favorite out of the bunch, all of these dual lens cameras did pretty well and provide up to 180 degrees of horizontal detection at up to 200 feet and recognition and identification performance up to 25 feet, all with a single camera and single ethernet connection.

So lets take a look at some general specs for these cameras, going from least expensive to most.  First, we’ve got the Reolink Duo 1 which has an MSRP of $120.  The Duo 1 was the first affordable consumer grade dual lens camera and features two 4 megapixel sensors that overlap in the middle for a total of 150 degrees horizontal field of view.  Next is the Reolink Duo 2 with an MSRP of $150 which upgrades the sensors to 5 megapixels and achieves a full 180 degrees of horizontal field of view.  After that, with an MSRP of $160 is the Annke FCD600 which has two 4 megapixel lenses, again with the same 180 degrees horizontal field of view.  Then for an MSRP of $320 is the Dahua OEM EmpireTech B180 available in both turret and bullet varieties which uses two 4 megapixel lenses.  Then at $370 is my personal favorite the Annke NCD800 also available in turret and bullet form and also using 4 megapixel lenses, and then last the most expensive camera in this test is the UniView IPC-2K-24 which has an MSRP of $740 and uses 2 megapixel sensors for a total of 160 degrees field of view.

One of the biggest differences between these cameras is the size and aspect ratio of the video feed that they output.  So for comparisons sake here they all are side by side and I’ve adjusted the scale so they all have equal heights.  You can see that the Reolink Duo 1, UniView 2K-24, and Annke NCD800 all have ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratios which are essentially two 16:9 images stitched together, except in the Reolink Duo 1, where they arrive in two separate 2560×1440 video streams instead of a single pre-stitched video.  The Annke NCD800’s 4 megapixel sensors result in a 5120×1440 resolution image which is 7.3 megapixels, while the uniview’s 2 megapixel sensors give it a total resolution of 3840×1080, or just over 4 megapixels.

The Reolink Duo 2 stitches two 4:3 images together for an 8:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 4608×1728 which is the highest of the group at 7.9 megapixels.  The Dahua B180’s resolution is 7.4 megapixels at 4096×1808 which isn’t any standard aspect ratio, and the Annke FCD600 also has a non-standard aspect ratio with a resolution of 3632×1632 which is just under 6 megapixels total.

I personally prefer a 32:9 image because it tends to look less distorted, but the other big advantage to a 32:9 aspect ratio is that in a multi camera view it neatly takes up two camera positions instead of leaving a blank space in a row, which as my 10 year old would say is “very satisfying”.  The EmpireTech B180 does have the option to output in 32:9, but only at a resolution of 3840×1080 which is unfortunately almost a 50% reduction in total resolution when using that format.

As for their field of view the Reolink Duo 1 advertises 150 degrees horizontal and the UniView advertises 160 degrees, while the rest of the cameras claim to have 180, but when they’re all mounted in the same position it definitely doesn’t appear that way.  The Duo 1 and Uniview have an almost identical field of view, and the Reolink Duo 2 and EmpireTech B180 appear to achieve the advertised 180 degrees horizontal field of view, but the Annke cameras are definitely selling themselves short, and you can see they both have significantly wider field of view than the rest of the cameras with the FCD600 on top and even shows the edge of my flower bed, which is about 8 feet behind the camera mounting location.  The FCD600 also has by far the largest vertical field of view and not only shows the sidewalk directly under the camera, but also shows the most area above my neighbor’s roof across the street.

However, greater field of view is usually associated with less image clarity because each pixel needs to represent more physical area, and usually when choosing a security camera you need to determine whether the purpose will be for general detection, in which case you’d want a wide angle lens with a focal length around 2.8mm, or a camera focused on identification with a more zoomed in lens using a focal length between 3.6 and 6.0mm.  And that’s where these cameras are truly game changing because they use two narrow field of view sensors to give a wide horizontal field of view while maintaining excellent clarity.  So next let’s look at video quality, and one important thing to note is that unlike a single lens camera where the clearest image will be in the middle, these cameras will have the best image at 1/3 and 2/3 of the horizontal view.   Alright, starting with a walking subject at 25ft.

Predictably the worst image came from the Annke FCD600 since it paired one of the lowest resolutions with the largest field of view, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as bad as it actually was.  In 5th place was the Uniview that just didn’t have enough pixels available at 25 feet to make a clear image.  4th was the Reolink Duo 2 which looked pretty blurry and had very little detail in my face or the sign.  3rd place was the EmpireTech B180 which actually looked pretty good aside from the distortion from being squished horizontally.  In 2nd place was the Annke NCD800, which was oversharpened but still overall had excellent clarity considering the scope of the image, and in first place the Reolink Duo 1 produced the best and most accurate image with no artificial sharpening or artifacting.

For a running subject at 25ft the results were mostly the same but with each of the Reolink cameras falling one position.  That put the FCD600 in last, the Duo 2 in 5th, the UniView in 4th, the Empretech in 3rd, the Duo 1 in 2nd, and the Annke NCD800 in 1st.

These results weren’t particularly surprising and the results correlated almost perfectly with their lens focal lengths.  The only one that was a bit of a wildcard was the Uniview which uses a 4.0mm focal length, but ultimately the 2 megapixel sensors were just too low resolution to compete.

At night, focal length and resolution are still important, but so is the physical size of the sensor, so lets see how they performed at night, first in color night mode with a walking subject at 25 feet.

The worst performer was definitely the Annke FCD600 which mutilated my face with distortion, then in 5th place the Reolink Duo 2 was just extremely blurry.  The Duo 1 was significantly better, but still ended up in 4th place, then in 3rd place the Uniview’s lower resolution helped it collect more light, but it was still overall very blurry.  In 2nd place the EmpireTech B180 didn’t have any real issues, but was just a little too blurry to make out details in my face or the sign, and first place went to the Annke NCD800 again which was oversharpened, but still had quite a bit of detail with no ghosting.

Adding in movement with the running subject test at 25ft the Reolink duos really struggled and the duo2 finished in last place with the duo 1 only slightly better than that in 5th place.  The Annke FCD600 in 4th placed managed an almost usable image but with a lot of oversharpening, and again in 3rd the uniview was nice and bright, but barely had any detail.  The Dahua did slightly worse in the running test than it did with walking, but was still very decent and more than enough to take 2nd place and the Annke NCD800 finished first again with an image filled with digital noise, but no blurring, and quite a bit of preserved detail.

Again, these results are far from surprising since color night performance is largely based off of the ratio of sensor size and resolution, and again we see an almost perfect performance correlation with their listed specifications with the Empiretech B180 and Annke NCD800 coming out on top with their 1/1.8” 4 megapixel sensors.

So, that means that the Annke NCD800 has the best aspect ratio, the 2nd best field of view, the best daytime image, and the best nighttime image, so the question is: Is there any reason not to buy it, or more specifically is there any reason you’d choose one of the other dual lens cameras instead?

First, lets talk price:  The Annke NCD800 is currently listed at $370 which is $50 more than the EmpireTech B180 and 4x more expensive than the Reolink Duo 1 which also performed pretty well.  To me, there’s no question that the NCD800 is the best in the group and if you consider you’re essentially getting two cameras in one then $185 per camera isn’t completely unreasonable, but it’s still a lot of money.  As for the UniView, I’m not sure why $740 is the price for 2 2 megapixel sensors, but one thing is for sure the cost vs performance on the 2k-24 camera doesn’t make any sense.

Second, form factor: The NCD800 and EmpireTech B180 come in bullet or turret forms, and I significantly prefer the turret form of these camera because they don’t feel as imposing and conspicuous, but the NCD800 turret design is not as good as the EmpireTech T180 because there’s no way to adjust the roll of the camera, only pan and tilt, so you won’t be able to level the image if your camera isn’t mounted to a level surface.

Third, the 2 way talk on the EmpireTech B180 works in blue iris, while the 2 way talk of the Annke and Reolink only work in their manufacturer apps.

Fourth, all the cameras have on device person and vehicle detection, and I was able to use the ONVIF triggers of the Annke, UniView and EmpireTech cameras to trigger recording in blue iris, but couldn’t get that functionality working with the Reolink cameras.  If you’re planning on using these cameras with a 3rd party NVR I’d suggest the Annke or EmpireTech, but if you’re planning on using them in standalone mode with an SD card the Reolink app delivers a significantly more polished experience for things like notifications, live view, changing settings, and viewing recorded footage.

Fifth, the Annke, UniView, and EmpireTech cameras are color night vision cameras and don’t have infrared filters or infrared LEDs, so if you prefer infrared night vision you’ll need to use the Reolink Duo 1 or Duo 2 instead.

And last, the other reason you might want to go with a Reolink is that the Duo 1 and Duo 2 come in a ton of other unique varieties like powered wifi, battery wifi, battery cellular, and even a power over ethernet floodlight version that might add enough supplemental light to solve the poor night time performance.

I’ve got links down in the description for all the cameras I tested in this video, and as always I appreciate if you could use those links since as an Amazon affiliate I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.

Thank you so much to my awesome patrons over at patreon for your continued support of my channel and if you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links down in the description.  If you enjoyed this video go ahead and hit that thumbs up button and consider subscribing, and as always thanks for watching the hookup.

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